The McNicholas student newspaper has gone through four different names and thousands of headlines over the past 62 years. The Co-Ed was in print from 1951 to 1972 and following that was the News Capsule in 1973. The name changed to Projections in 1988 and then in 1994, the school newspaper became the Milestone and continues today, although now it is only available online; the last print issue was in April 2010. The headlines have evolved just as time has. The top headlines from every publication show how McNick has grown.
Ground breaking marks start of construction for new gymnasium: In 1951, the front page story of the first ever McNicholas newspaper was the ground breaking for the new gymnasium. The “new” gymnasium isn’t even used as a gym anymore. This gym is now the library and the Jeanne Spurlock Theatre. The gym that we currently use as the main gym was built in 1970, and the auxiliary gym was built in 2007. These additions are some of many made as McNicholas grew and demanded more space.
Mary Anne Christmann, school nurse and McNicholas Alumna from the Class of 1956, said McNicholas is a patchwork of additions. “When I came, they’d already added the gym. They had just added Alter Hall and those ten classrooms,” Christmann said. Alter Hall is the formal name for the cafeteria and freshman hall. She also said they had what they called “the street car,” a passage between senior hall and the convent. Eventually the “street car” was replaced with the lower Marian classrooms. St. Joseph Hall was the final addition, which is currently used as the sophomore and junior halls.
From one girl to another (1960): This letter to the editor was written by a senior criticizing the freshman girls for the way they were wearing their uniforms.
“Don’t look now, girls, but your bad taste is showing…Could it be that the Dry Cleaner shrunk the uniform? Is that why the skirt comes above your knees girls? I hope that’s the answer. I refuse to believe that McNicholas girls are losing their good taste. I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Freshmen and Sophomore girls wearing wide belts with their uniform skirts…Honest, girls, people are talking about how short you’re wearing your skirts. Bring the length down below you knees, or is that considered ‘old fashioned’ modesty.”
This article really shows how fashions have changed and our uniforms along with it. This senior from the 1960s was calling out girls for wearing skirts above their knees. Now, our uniform policy allows skirts to be two inches above the knee. Apparently this senior’s opinion was old fashioned modesty, because now it’s almost impossible to find knee length skirts in any store.
Enrollment soars to 800: McNicholas was much fuller back in the 1960s. This story reported that the McNicholas population surpassed 800 students with the welcoming of the Class of 1965. During the current 2012-2013 school year, the student population is only about 640. Another major change in the 60s was the incorporation of a seven period day to accommodate for additional required credits for graduation in math and science mandated by the government. Now, there are eight periods in the school day.
Frosh face locked door: Let’s revise the date dance policy: In the 1975 story, Gene Pfeiffer, Class of 1976, addressed an issue that dance planning committees also faced this year: Should freshman be allowed at date dances? He argued, “What is it that students learn in the three months between freshman and sophomore year” that make freshmen too young but sophomores old enough to attend a dance. It’s interesting that in 2012 the winter dance could not be a Sadie’s because of this same policy. Even though separated by years, students are still fighting for many of the same causes.
Let’s go to the Drive-In: This feature, written by Mary Ann Scheidler, Class of 1979, highlighted one of the greatest past-times of students during the 70’s. Drive-in movies were the place to go for many teenagers, even if they had no interest in seeing the movie that was playing. It was a place to get away and hang out with friends. The drive-ins were also a common romantic destination for high school sweethearts.
Religion teacher Sam Roflow, Class of 1974, said he loved going to the drive-in. “It was a really fun family thing. We sat in our car and ate popcorn and watched the movie. A lot of times they had fireworks,” Roflow said. “It was a fun thing to do as teenagers, too.”
Although drive-in movies have died out quite a bit, some people still enjoy driving in to watch a good film with their family and friends. “We still go to a drive-in in Batavia sometimes with our family,” said junior Sarah Cornell. “I always thought it was a lot of fun to watch the movie under the stars.”
Kings Island plans a summer of excitement: This article, written in 1986 by Sharon Haemmerle, Class of ’86, tells the history of Kings Island since its opening in 1972. The Racer was claimed the most popular ride, and it still remains a crowd favorite today. The article also highlights a then-new ride coming in 1986 that most likely anyone who still goes to Kings Island has ridden a time or two. It’s called the Zephyr, which a staff member described as “a big thrill ride.” This spinning, swing ride is now easy to miss, as thrill seekers pass by it on their way to Firehawk and Flight of Fear. The ride is also somewhat of an inspiration for the high-flying Windseeker, which opened in 2011.
One more time Kirch: This article, written in 1991 by Jennifer Dennis, Class of ‘92, was announcing that history teacher John Kirchgassner, more commonly called Kirch, was nominated by the students to be the graduation speaker for the sixth year in a row. In 1991, Kirch would have been finishing his nineteenth year teaching at McNick. This 2013 school year is Kirch’s forty-first year at McNicholas. The story includes many quotes from graduating seniors about why they love Kirch and his class.
“There is no other teacher like him,” Brian Mannino, Class of 1991 said in the article. “His terrific personality and his tremendously large knowledge of his subject combine to make him one of McNick’s favorite teachers. Those who have had him wish they could have him again, and those who haven’t had him know they are missing out.”
McNick’s Paradise in Limbo: This story was written in 1994 by Becky Alexander, class of ’95, outlining the Paradise Project. The illustrations for Paradise were first drawn in 1991, with plans to gradually build fields for soccer, softball, baseball, and football. The story said that after building a soccer field, baseball field, a road and a parking lot, progress was halted because “The City Zoning Commission responded to complaints from nearby neighbors and required that McNick have a permit for the major construction.”
Years later, after working through many of the same issues, the football field was completed in 2010. Bleachers were installed, and the Paradise lot was paved in 2012. The Rocket Football team played on their home field for the first time at Homecoming 2010, and were finally able to enjoy the home-field advantage for the entire 2012 season.
Many new teachers at McNick: In this 1998 article, Michelle Metz, Class of ’99, covered 13 new faculty members starting at McNick, a few of whom are still familiar faces around the school today. Mary Honkonen joined the McNicholas staff after teaching high school in South Carolina and New York, and owning and operating a family daycare home for 14 years. Honkonen started at McNick teaching Algebra II, Geometry and Trigonometry. Now she teaches Algebra I.
Art teacher Willy Corbett was also an addition to the staff in 1998, coming from LaSalle and religion teacher Sam Roflow came from Notre Dame Academy. These three teachers were honored on Jan. 30 at the Catholic Schools Mass for their fifteen years of service to McNicholas.