Looking back with others who were there almost always is a source of laughter. The hardships, the annoyances and the trials somehow lose their bitterness and become instead sweet nostalgia. What was once regarded as almost unbearable now is worn as a badge of honor. We suffered and survived, and we are proud. We wouldn’t want to return to those days, but we are now glad we lived through them. We see that in some way that what we had to go through has made us better and, perhaps, has made things better for those who have come after us.
There are 34 years of Seton history and 33 years of Seton graduates. There are two opposite ways that those years can lose their full significance. Newer alumni and current students may be unaware of the school’s history: rented classrooms; the “old building” that stood where a parking lot is now; the early teachers, coaches, office staff and parents who could look beyond appearance and see a purpose; the students — some who drove from out-of-state each day, some who boarded from out-of-state and some whose families moved from out-of-state so Seton could be their school. The beginnings, just as the middle and the present, form one Seton.
The other extreme is to have graduated some time ago or a long time ago and not kept up with Seton since then. Maybe some of you still picture the students in jeans rather than uniforms; think students still carry demerit cards; imagine basketball teams practicing on a carpeted half-court; think French class is held in Mrs. Haggerty’s home.
There are some things that have remained, though evolved, perhaps, since the very beginning or very early years: attendance at the March for Life; pro-life speeches; demerits and detentions; Monday Mass at All Saints; the May Crowning; the pilgrimage to Mother Seton’s Shrine; Mrs. Carroll, Mrs. Haggerty, Mrs. Mirus, Mr. Scheetz and Mr.Violett teaching or coaching.
I was thinking of the evolution of the school newspaper that began as The Conquistador, became the 7 Seas, then went through many other names and now is known as the Inquisitor.
The early production of the paper took place in the room above the old carpeted gym. That room is now known as the Cenacle and is Mrs. O’Herron’s office. When it was Seton’s press room, it was, shall we say, climate control challenged. In those variable environmental conditions the paper was typed on manual typewriters or sometimes working electrics; justification of margins had to be figured line by line and appropriate taps of the space bar made to get the alignment right; vinyl peel-off letters were used for headlines; gloves, scarves and hats were worn in the winter — the gloves made typing a little difficult, but it was done; Joe Fegan (now Father Peter, OP) wrote my all-time favorite sports line about a Seton basketball player: “He is improving by leaps and rebounds”; Rob Griffin honed his writing skills before becoming a professional writer; Seton Notes had their beginnings.
In later years we moved to the unheated library. For some reason Wyo-Tech, a Wyoming college featuring a degree in diesel mechanics advertised in our paper. Kathryn McKelvey was in charge of securing the ad, and I kept encouraging her to go there for college. The $100 she got from Wyo-Tech and a similar one from NOVA paid for the paper’s production that year.
I don’t know where the paper is produced now, but it is the work of a volunteer extra-curricular staff. It is a classy looking, well-written monthly complete with color photos. This past school year suscribers read about a Seton freshman winning the regional science fair and a trip to the international fair in Reno (She is there right now — my brother Dave lives in Reno and pixed me a photo of her by her project.); Seton’s swim teams taking state titles; Boomtown chosen as the spring musical; Michael Isenberg’s (’99) road from riches to the seminary. I think all alumni would enjoy reading it. And in next year’s editions you might see names you recognize since there are children of alumni and faculty throughout the school: Skube/Amos; Brien; Vander Woude; Heisler/McCarron; Pogue/Vugteveen; Angsten/Gregory; McCabe; Pennefather; “P”/Brien; Scheetz/Kelly and others.
The plan is for the newspaper to be on-line next year. So between it, ourseton and seton-school.org (a good site to visit often for current info on Seton), we should be able to stay connected and continue to appreciate our Seton.
In a nostalgic mood, here’s some Seton Notes (“notes” is “Seton” spelled backwards) based on this entry.
Father Peter: Order of Preachers! And to think you could have been a sports writer.
Rob Griffin: You have the write to remain a journalist, but no write to let your pen remain silent.
Cenacle Dwellers: Turn off the heat; turn off the air conditioning; turn on the nostalgia.
Inquisitor Staff: You’ve taken off the gloves — this is serious journalism now.
Kathryn McKelvey: If you’d gone there and worked on their paper it would have been: Hunt and peck
Collette: You’re in Reno even though I clearly proved my hypothesis that bean plants grow better with
sunlight and water than without!
Seton State Champs: Lend me your swimmers’ ears for I come to praise you.
To Boomtowners: 5280 feet worth of a standing ovation.
Seminarian Isenberg: Will you be ordained in the Year of the Priest?