Rockets inquire about mysteries of McNick

In 1951, McNicholas High School became the first coeducational Catholic high school in the Cincinnati area. Because of its rich history, Rockets often have questions about their school. From college choice to convent ghosts, McNick mysteries keep Rockets guessing.

“What college do most students attend after McNicholas?” Patrick Simmons, Class of 2015.

Graduation Day is fast approaching the Class of 2015. The three schools seniors have applied to this year are the University of Cincinnati, Miami University, and Ohio University. Many seniors are still receiving admissions decisions and most have not yet committed. It won’t be until May that this question can be answered definitively for the Class of 2015.  However, the Class of 2014 applied most often to the University Cincinnati, Miami University and Ohio University with Ohio State University closely following, according to Guidance Counselor Matt Wehrman.

“Are there really ghosts in the convent?” Emma McDermott, Class of 2015.

Many students at McNick have heard the rumors that the Convent houses ghosts. Mrs. Michele Byrne Thomas, Class of 1975, said that during McNick at Night preparations, she would hear unusual noises and unexplainable bumps. During this time, she would speak to them.

“We used to say, oh I guess the ghosts want us to leave,” Thomas said.

Many sisters have passed away in the Convent building, giving credence to many of the rumors.

The Convent, however, is not the only area of McNick where the living have had run-ins with the dead. The Heritage House property, located at the edge of the upper parking lot, was purchased by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1893.

Sister Judi Keehnan, Class of 1959, along with fellow Sisters of St. Joseph, had the opportunity to refurbish the Heritage House in 1977. During renovations, Keehnan slept in the Heritage House. The room Keehnan slept in consisted of two closets with one fireplace located between them. Restlessly tossing and turning, Keehnan opened her eyes and experienced something unusual.
“I distinctly remember that there was not any wallpaper on my walls,” Keehnan said.

Thinking it was only her restlessness, Keehnan turned her back to the closets. She then felt two hands rest on her back. To Keehnan, it was a sign that she was doing the right thing restoring the Heritage House.

Afterwards, during a séance at the Heritage House, Keehnan learned that there were five ghosts, all of whom were Sisters, and that she [Keehnan] would become the sixth.

“What constitutes as an A? How about a B? C? D? Even F?” Adam Blatt, Class of 2018.

McNick uses a seven point grading scale. Located on the McNicholas website under the tab ‘For Students,’ the student handbook can give the averages for each letter grade. Grading is located on pg. 10. Eligibility and academic integrity are also posted on these pages.

“What did the library/lobby look like before the remodeling in recent years?” Nick Rosenbaum, Class of 2018.

The spaces Rockets currently know as the Library and Theatre used to be the school gym until 1970.  It seated over 1,600 students.  The gym allowed the students of the McNicholas High School community to participate in a wide range of sports. Women became a part of the sports organization in 1966.

Previously, the lobby was not carpeted and the cases near the library were not there. All the display cases were in the place of the tall chairs and tables before the renovations. Along with that, the bathrooms were renovated as well.

“Whatever happened to the ‘street car’ near the convent?  My grandpa went to McNick back in 1951, and he asked me whether the street car (which was apparently some type of glassed-in hallway) was still here.  Is it just what we call the glass hallway today, or was there some other hallway years ago?” Isabella Daley, Class of 2018.

In September 1951, the all-girls Saint Joseph’s Academy became the coed Archbishop McNicholas High School. In 1953, McNicholas Hall, now known as the Senior Hallway, and the gymnasium (now the library) were built.

“The Streetcar was where Senior Hall is now, but it was called Marian Hall at the time. Then when they built the second floor that was called Upper Marian, and the lower [hall] was called Lower Marian,” McNicholas Archivist Mrs. Anne Marie Daniels said.

For the McNicholas Rockets, the second floor is known by the name of Religion Hall. When the guidance and administrative offices were built, Junior Hall was known as St. Joseph Hall and Sophomore Hall was known as Lower St. Joseph Hall.

McNicholas High School holds an abundance of information and history. This can be found through the faculty, teacher, alum, and many of the students walking the halls. McNicholas High School has been in this community since 1951, each generation brings a new mystery and a new question each year.

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