McNicholas alumni-faculty describe changes to uniforms, classrooms, activities

The McNicholas faculty and staff includes 18 alumni, all of whom have great memories and stories from their years at McNick. Their hairstyles and fashions have changed over the years, along with uniforms, classrooms and extracurricular activities in McNick itself.

The McNicholas faculty and staff members who are alumni are Tracey Dietz Canisalez, John Chadwell, Mary Anne Moeller Christmann, Jill Grogan Crawford, Andy Ey, Regina Phelps Goines, Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth, Lizanne Gundrum Ingram, Tim Monahan, Julie Muething, Jeff Mulvey, Sam Roflow, David Sandmann, Mary Beth Carroll Sandmann, Michelle Semancik, Betty Barton Stelter, Patrick Stricker, and Lauren Wulker.

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Uniforms transform

In the 1970s, the dress code was very strict, but as time went on the styles and colors of the uniforms changed. The most recent change was in 2011, when all blue polos were eliminated from the dress code, and the girls’ skirt pattern changed.

Religion teacher Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth, Class of 1994, had very different uniforms when he attended McNick. “We wore Oxford short sleeve or long sleeve dress shirts (no polos). We were only allowed to wear dress shoes and we were NEVER allowed to wear shorts,” Hutchinson-Smyth said.

Campus changes

Even the school building itself, as well as the positioning of classrooms, is very different from what it was in the past. When Tracey Canisalez, current Spanish teacher and McNick graduate of 1991, was a student at McNick, the school building was completely closed off at the end of Senior Hall and the nuns were the only people allowed in the Convent.

Science teacher Regina Goines, Class of 1976, said there have been a lot of changes to the science classrooms since she was a student. When she started teaching in 1985, there were even more classroom changes.

“When I started teaching, room 22 was the band room, and the computer lab adjacent to that room was a storage room for band instruments and uniforms. Room 24 was the sewing room for home economics, and has been remodeled into the science lab,” Goines said.

Religion teacher Sam Roflow, Class of 1974, said that when he was a student at McNick, the religion hallway in Upper Marian was one large classroom. The room stayed this way up through the 90s, with only a curtain dividing the classes.

Not only were the buildings different, but so were the parking lots and sports fields. In the past, the Paradise parking lot and the auxiliary gym were nonexistent. When history teacher Tim Monahan, Class of 1996, was a student, the football fields behind McNick by Paradise were not there.

“Our JV football games were played in the upper lot (before they made it a parking lot),” Monahan said.

Extracurriculars evolve

English teacher Julie Muething, Class of 2003 said, “There seem to be many more clubs and activities now. However, we did have a Chess Club, which is no longer around. In the music department, we had jazz band, winter drumline, woodwind ensemble, brass ensemble, and percussion ensemble.”

A popular club in the 70s-80s was the Girls Athletic Association, one of the few organizations girls were allowed to participate in. There used to be a World Affairs Club, much like today’s Mock Trial Club. McNick also offered some additional elective classes, including home economics, cooking, woodworking, and life skills.

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