The first Campionette, the student newsletter, was published 103 years ago, on November 11, 1917. The first Editor of the Campionette was Tom O'Connor, class of 1920. The last official issue was the one announcing the closing of the school in May 1975. Over the years various classes have published special editions for their class reunions, of which some have been pretty extravagant.
The Campion Forever Newsletter was first published by Aaron Huguenard, class of 1947 in 2000 as a means for alumni and faculty to keep in touch and share in life experiences.
We've been trying to get memoirs from retired and not-so-retired Campion Jebbies
for our newsletter for quite some time.
We don't care if the memoirs are about when they went to Campion, taught at Campion, or just what they've done since leaving Campion. We just want to hear something from our mentors in the first person; perhaps words of wisdom learned while IHS; typically we only get 3rd person post mortem.
Not to lay all the blame on the Jebbies... why can't we get memoirs from more alumni. Where are all those other authors and editors of the old 'ette.
While it has been a task getting
people to submit articles, there are a few dedicated alumni and Jebbies who do regularly provide ideas for articles. This is a good thing, else I would have to conjure the 'Ghost of Joe Campion' for ideas more than I care to.
From the Desk Of Tom Olson '72
Fr. Vacek SJ divulges some perhaps unknown concerns of our infamous Fr. A.
about the changes post Vatican II.
Wouldn't it be nice to hear from our eldest Campion alumni.
The farthest back we can go is the 1940s as we no longer have any living alumni that we know of prior that.
Currently, there is but a few handfuls of alumni living from the 1940s graduating classes ...that we know of.
John Downes '49 tells "A Brief Campion Grad's Tale"
In Mea Fabula, Dave Florence '48 tells his tale from convicted minor felon to a honorable career in Medicine.
Larry deLorimier '48 tells the tale from the perspective of a Day Student.
The Scarlett Knight treats us to another parable... The Land.
Marty Rhomberg '70, a Proud Father informs us of his son's musical career. As mentioned in the last newsletter we are looking for more musical career stories. Maybe this one will kick off some enthusiasm.
John Duskey '63 explains how Campion's Excellence was its Students.
From Ghost of Joe Campion - Manitowoc Minute
From Ed Vacek, S.J.
I left Campion in 1972, after two years of "regency" there. I worked in the Freshman dorm, smoking away on my pipe (gave it up a few years later.) I worked with Fr. Aspenleiter. He was easy to work with. I greatly admired the decades he had spent devoting his life to Freshmen. He was a fine introduction for many who came to Campion.
What is not so very well known is how tough those last years were for him. He grew up in the pre-Vatican II era. Then Vatican II happened. Then around the world there were riots in France and in the USA. There is something in the air that happened in those years in the Church and in the world that no one to my knowledge can explain. The post-World War II years had been, as an image, happy and content. Catholic religion pretended to have taught the same thing for two thousand years. For the most part, there had been not much significant change since the Council of Trent. The 19th century brought the Church to teach papal infallibility, a doctrine that had been rejected earlier in Church history. The church gradually moved away from its teaching that there is no salvation outside Church, which in Vatican II became "there's lot of salvation outside the Church." Now, it felt as if everything theologically once taught became less than certain. In the non-Church world, the human mindset radically changed, and Vatican II reflected all that. Being a good, law-abiding citizen felt to many people as if a stranglehold.
When I got to Campion those changes meant that students were no longer the way students had been. Previously, Fr. Aspenleiter had a well-marked lecture about what and how to teach his subjects. Now Campion students were resisting. Why do I have to do this study this? Why that? Though he probably did not let on to any students, he let me know that he was baffled. All his years of intelligent but accepting students had turned in about five years and after. Now students in effect were saying "Hell, No, we won't go!" He suffered that in silence, but like many older Jesuits he felt that the world and students and the Church had left him and what he stood for. Remember these were the years of "Kumbya" and protests and a change in order (felt as chaotic disorder.) Many of the newer Jesuit faculty were also changing radically. (My favorite humorous image is that the principal, Fr. Pat Connelly, put a Latin sign above his desk that said "Illegitimi non carborundum." Fortunately, no complaining parent ever asked him to translate it.) As a good obedient Jesuit, Fr. Aspenleiter carried on with his classes and dorm procedures, but he was gradually more and more alienated. I give him credit for trying to hold onto the kind of education he had been so successful at.
Many students did not realize they were, as the term later was coined, the "new breed." More and more of the Jesuit faculty at Campion were taking on the mindset of not just post-Vatican II but also of radical world-cultural shifts in the mid-1960's. I commend Fr. Aspenleiter for staying with the task. He did it for you students. But it became personally costly for him. Good Jesuit that he was, I am proud to have worked with him. As a fellow Jesuit to him, I am sorry it became harder and harder. But now we can all pray: "May he rest in peace."
Edward Vacek, S.J.
Loyola Jesuit Community
[ EDITOR: Ora Pro Eis ]
From Jack Downes '49
A Brief Campion Grad's Tale
John Downes '49
I was from Oak Park, Il, just west of Chicago. Although I had traveled a bit with family I had never been away from my folks to overnight camp or other adventure. As a freshman, I recall being very homesick at bedtime in that open dorm in old Kostka Hall. However I played JV Football, sang in the glee club, started a little 7 piece dance band (played piano) with the help of Mr.Snyder, SJ (taught chemistry), made friends and started to enjoy life.
By sophomore year I adjusted and liked my life at Campion. I recall a "riot" by students in the fall of 1946 about the quality of the food (frankly terrible) and like a dumb lamb I joined the crowed protesting. Of course when it got dark and cold we all came "home after classes.", the Jebbies identified each of us, three seniors got expelled, and I along with dozens others got many days of
"JUG" spent memorizing poetry and other stuff.
But I still had a good time.
I was skinny and poorly coordinated. so after 1st year I failed to make either the varsity football or basketball teams, but I did make the varsity track team every year running the 220 & 440 & relays, and got my big "C" for my sweater. I also enjoyed intramural sports despite being a klutz.
I did well as a student although i got a few "JUGs" for stupid actions.
Also was alumni editor of the Campionette which brought me in contact with some very interesting old grads.
I especially loved my numerous pals like Phil Thoner, Tom Lyons, Eddie Berteau, Frank & Desmond Ryan, Mark Monaghan, Bob Fitzgearld, etc., etc.
These were terrific friends and I hope they had fulfilling lives.
After Campion I moved back home and went to Loyola University Chicago for college where I also ran track but was just a utility runner; yet loved it.
I think the academics at Campion helped me study and learn throught my education.
Luckiy I got accepted at Loyola Stritch School of medicine and graduated on June 13, 1956. the next day I married Joann Splon, a lovely Loyola grad and the girl next door.
We went on to internship in Indianapolis, two years in the U.S.P.H.S. Indian Health Service, and then training in anesthesiology and pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). I then was offered and took a job at Children's Hospital and Penn, and we postponed our move back to Chicago. By then we also had two girls and a boy. We later had another boy.
Well things worked out that my career did well here at Chop & Penn,
I loved the work and my colleagues from whom I learned so much, and we sank our roots in the city of brotherly love. I was able to work full time until partial retirement in 2000 and part-time till full retirement in 2016.
Joann had a very successful career at Penn in the School of Social Work and was a nationally recognized pioneer in the hospice movement.
I now have 4 middle aged kids, 6 grandchildren (all finished college already) and 2 great grandsons.
Sadly, my dear Joann died in 2012 after a 15 year battle with parkinson's disease. we were lovers and spouses for over 57 years. She was the rock of the family, a wonderful wife and mother.
I miss her every day.
I am so lucky to have loving kids who visit often and care for old dad. Until COVID19 imposed isolation, I had remained active in lecturing at Penn and Chop on history of medicine, and attended lectures and seminars there and elsewhere on various topics.
So life is good despite old age and covid19 and our political turmoil.
I think my years at Campion prepared me for a full, rewarding and useful life, and for that I shall always be grateful to my parents (for their sacrifices to send me there), and to the many Jesuits who helped form and enrich my life.
Peace and good luck,
Jack (aka "Beaky") Downes, Class of '49
From Dave Florence '48
One might ask why I never revealed this information in the past, and here are the reasons: I was under a court order not to do so. I did not want to harm the employment potential of any of my six children who are now in their late fifties and early sixties. I did not want to jeopardize any of my medical licenses. You might say there was an element of fraud involved, but the laws of expungement can require absolute silence once implemented, and that was the situation with me.
So what is the story? I happened to grow up in the Underworld as my family did some work for the Mafia. The story is told in my book: "A Touch of the Underworld", written under my pen name, Dr. David Trucker. At age fourteen, as a gang leader, I was convicted of a felony and given my choice of the Juvenile Detention Center in Cleveland or reform school. I chose the latter with the political help of my relatives.
So I packed my black trunk and boarded a train for Chicago (the kind that puffs smoke) and then switched to the sleek Twin Cities Zephyr which did not puff smoke or jerk when it started. Upon arrival, I was taken to my cell in Koska Hall, and the cubicle was actually smaller than my quarters at the detention center would have been. An early meeting with Fr. Bernert took place and I was reminded that I was on parole and would continue to be so.
I assumed a very low profile, and I really hated the place but I fully appreciated the total picture. After a few weeks of adjustment, I discovered that Campion Jesuit High School was the highest rated prep school in the nation. I decided to give it hell and be top of the class at all cost. Well, all four years I was third in the class, as Bill Sullivan and Peter Duhamel always took the first two spots. Also, I had a perfect conduct record for all four years, and I still have those conduct cards at age ninety.
Were there any disciplinary bumps along the way? Well, I did well on the low profile until one day in the dining room in my second month at the school, Ed Beyer, the quarterback on the football team, decided that I should be bullied. So he smashed my hand into my cherry pie after enticement, and with lightning speed Mighty Mouse Florence, picked up one of heavy dining room chairs and clouted dear Ed on the head, and he went crashing to the floor. Did you ever see Jesuits move very quickly. They did prevent a murder by the Mighty Mouse. I waited for the next move and it came from Fr. Bernert who had a hard time holding back a smile as he pursued his duties. I was told that no disciplinary action would be taken. Two subsequent things occurred: Ed Beyer stayed miles away from me, and I became known to everyone, but I resumed my covert level of functioning.
I did become part of a small group consisting of Tom Emmet (the Dealer), Lee Bachle (the photographer), Bill (?) Fenton, Peter Duhamel and Bob Merkle. The enclosed photo was taken by Bob Merkle about three weeks before he and I were walking to the chapel and he dropped dead. That incident I still see to this day. Also, I stayed in touch with Lee Bachle until he said 'no more' for chemotherapy and bit the dust.
So what did I do when I was home in the summer. Well, I worked on a farm with German prisoners of war and ultimately progressed to a cook in a short order joint. I was all set to go to West Point but was ineligible because I wore glasses. So I accepted the scholarship to John Carroll University (Jesuit) in Cleveland, where I finished in three years and gotta scholarship to Loyola Medical School, in Chicago. So I had eleven years in Jesuit schools (enough to ruin anyone).
My life became an unbelievable series of events, and only three years ago I put most of them in book form titled "The 11th Commandment", under my pen name, Dr. David Trucker. Although there is a caveat at the beginning relative to veracity, that was inserted at request of my attorneys, but I can assure all that the content is ninety percent accurate.
So here is a thumb nail summary of some of the subsequent events: after medical school, I did internship and general surgery training in Chicago. I was very surprised with a scholarship to the Harvard Orthopedic Training Program where I did very well, and was in practice with the Chief of the Department when I was drafted into the Vietnam War, my first tour of duty. The stories related to that fiasco are related in the "Eleventh Commandment".
My days in Boston were graced with patients such as Elizabeth Taylor, Arthur Godfrey, Wilt The Stilt and several others including Elvis Presley later in The Twin Cities where I was brought from the Army to open a large trauma center emergency room. That led to an intimate relationship with the Minnesota Highway Patrol where I functioned as an undercover agent because of my continued relationship with the underworld. I also developed multiple medical and related training courses for The Patrol and other fire and police entities, and my prize possession is the bronze plaque hanging in my living room titled "Physician of the Year" from the police and fire associations of the State of Minnesota. I also had the honor of being Mother Teresa's body guard during her four day meeting in Minneapolis with her Co-Workers from all over America and Canada.
In the late seventies I was employed by the University of Minnesota, and my boss was a good friend of the Shah of Iran, and to make a long story short, I ended up working in Iran and Afghanistan as a surgeon, and the Shah paid the bills. These events are well described in the book.
After becoming temporarily disabled, I got a master's degree in healthcare administration, subsequently taking positions at Ohio State University, plus major healthcare entities in Detroit and Harrisburg.
I tried to retire in 1997, but it didn't work, so I became a practitioner at a large medical complex in Central Wisconsin for seven years, and in 2004 moved back to Twin Cities as a medical legal consultant, a job which I continued until December 2019 (nine months ago). Besides writing the book "Touch of the Underworld" five years ago, I wrote "The 11th Commandment" three years ago but have now switched to writing children's stories, of which I have accomplished nine in the last seven years. All of my books are available on: Amazon.com under Dr. David Trucker, as well as Barnes and Noble. This past week "Winky" came out, and "Baby Moon". I will keep going until I run out of money or just fall over.
By the way, in 1986 (three years before the Berlin wall came down), I was in a National Guard unit in Columbus which was activated and joined Patton's old Third Armor Unit with NATO in Germany, and I was told that I was the military physician in history to go from a convicted felon to a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army. I am proud of the discharge plaque.
Rest in Peace
From Lawrence deLorimier '48
Day Students - Campion '48
The day students of the Class of '48 were and always have been my best friends. In spite of our separation for school, jobs, military service, marriage, and retirement, we have stayed in touch or had visits and vacations and many phone calls. They are Bob Meganck, Ed Rogers, Bill Sullivan, Ken Otteson and Jerry Elliott. Jerry does not appear in our year-book, but more about that later.
I don't believe any of the above had any parent who went through college but they were all great people and I remember them well. All of them also struggled just to pay the unbelievable tuition of $125 per year. (I have friends here in the Washington area who pay $15,000 per year for a similar education at Georgetown Prep).
For those who may remember us, all of the '48 day students, except our lone Jesuit, had marriages of 50+ years or more. All had continuing careers in their professions or work. And all had good kids.
I referred above to Jerry Elliott. Jerry finished his Junior year at Campion but was asked to leave because he enjoyed his Campion teammates and carried a few letters from them off campus to mail. I don't really know if the Jebbies opened and read any of them but, because the students believed they did, some asked Jerry to be their mailman. Jerry finished high school at PdC, spent a couple of years in the army and then finished law school at Wisconsin. He became a lawyer in Beloit and had an obituary that showed he was overwhelmingly active in all civil service areas of Beloit.
Most of you know that Bill Sullivan, S.J. became President of Seattle University and had a stellar 20 years in that position. He added a law school and a nursing school to the campus as well as headed, with Ted Turner the 1990 Goodwill games in Seattle.
Ed Rogers finished dental school at Marquette University, entered the Air Force and achieved the rank of full Colonel. His brother, Larry '49, said Ed narrowly missed achieving the rank of Brigadier General. After service he returned to Marquette and taught in the dental school.
Ken Otteson spent a year at St. Thomas U. in St. Paul and then returned to Prairie to the real love of his life, Greta Anderson, where they raised 8 children and he ran a locker plant.
Bob Meganck spent a year in Korea after beginning at St. Thomas U.
He then returned to Milwaukee and spent his life in the electrical service business.
I spent 5 years flying in the Air Force and went to work with IBM as a marketing rep. I stayed in marketing positions until 1985 when I was asked to be President of IBM Trade Development, a subsidiary established to provide all services to the Soviet Union. I had an aversion, at that time, to living in Moscow so my wife and I settled in Paris and I commuted to Moscow. We left our youngest after putting her in college at the U. of Maryland and also 4 others who had graduated from college or did so the next year. Needless to say, my wife (and I) became very lonesome for a family in the U.S. who were marrying, having babies, finishing college. We kept Pan Am going with frequent trips back until we decided the family needed us instead of staying in Paris so we came home.
So that is a brief summary of fellas that you knew in the Class of '48.
I know that all of us had a great time at Campion with all of our classmates. I have sent infrequent e-mails to our "resident" classmates of '48. The topics usually relate to Campion or PdC news. Living now in Maryland and seldom getting to PdC to learn "news" makes it tough. My two main sources of that have recently died: Dave Krieg '49 and Mike Garrity '49.
Keep us in your prayers.
From The Scarlett Knight
by The Scarlett Knight
In the Land, it is the rising sun that allows the Eagle to take full flight in search of prey for dame and brood and it is only He that can fully embrace the expanse and essence of the Land below.
Northward in flight from the aerie, the Eagle surveys the Land below captured between sharpened cliffs and steep forested slopes. The Western Front still strong and treacherous to invaders maintains the peace. The River below, a vital source of strength and safety for the Land, flows beneath the western cliffs for unseen miles often keeping armored cavalry at bay impotently standing amid their own filth and dishonor as they gaze upon the Land with envy and lust. On the Eastern Front, time and nature have weakened both the strength and grace of the descending slopes where wide paths have been worn into its life by foraging deer, bear and their pursuing killers leaving the East within the grasp of enemies of the Land. Attack on the Land will surely first come from the East.
Further in flight, the Eagle soars into the life blood of the Land - the Home of the Knights. Jousting fields are the first to be seen by His eyes. On the left is a grass field twice in length than width with lines across its breadth to mark the fallen in a trial by combat not with swords but by ownership of a boar's head, properly inflated. The field on the right is oval in shape to honor the beginning and end of all things great and small - individual spirit and desire live well here during the jousts. Many challenges are put forth and many gauntlets thrown down by the Knights on these fields to all comers not more than 3 days forced march with all participants surviving the day of joust to fight another day.
Beyond the jousting fields, Eagle eyes are offered a treeless quadrilatus surrounded by fortified structures and gatehouses. Directly in view stands the Great Hall, Campion Hall, built to house the Halls of Learning and the Collection of Scrolls for all to study. Attached to the Great Hall at its Eastern edge is the Place of Challenge used by the youngest of Knights and containing anterooms with running water to cleanse their wounds and sacred enough to apply self-flagellation commensurate with their losses in Challenge.
The Eastern right flank of the "Quad" boasts two fortified gatehouses housing three cohorts of Knights able to mount a coordinated defense of the Land within minutes of the signal fire being set ablaze on the Eastern Front. The Chapel for the Land also rests on this flank amid the gatehouses for the Knights to seek strength and solace before entering into pitched battle. In days of splendor and beauty for the Land, it is the Chapel that remains the constant of spiritual enlightenment and enrichment of both mind and soul for all who enter.
On the left flank of the Quad stands the Arena of Knights, the Guardians Keep, and the butchery, kitchens and ovens always ready to feed the Knights and Guardians. The Arena was built to be an enclosed jousting field where Knights would hone their combat skills by challenging each other in bloodless sport either as individuals or as distinct groups and to also host sport between Knights and their outside Challengers vying for honors and colors of victory to display upon their shields. The Guardians Keep, home to the Guardians, is where they sustain themselves amid the Knights and the Land. Their strength emanates from the Keep, surging throughout the Land, and is protected by both Guardian and Knight. The Guardians strength and salvation have always resided in their belief in Someone Else and in their Pledge to the Knights - at times the Guardians true salvation has been just a Spit and a Whistle away. The only threat to the Guardians will come from within themselves.
Just beyond the Quad on this flank reside the Knights Elite, armed and ready to inflict Terror upon all invading armies. They and their Steeds of Honor will always hold the Knights Line and will always win the Day against all who dare attack the Land. The Heart of the Land beats nowhere stronger than in the Knights Elite and all Knights are destined to become Knights Elite and attain their Quest.
Allies and Defense of the Land
The Blue and Gold of Aquinas, adversaries on the jousting fields but allies in thought and spirit, hold sway to the North of the Land. They have pledged their Red in battle to protect the Land as the Knights have pledged their Scarlet to protect the Blue and Gold. The Northern Front is perilous for only those who attack the Land. Deep within the Home of the Knights, dedicated Knights of the Marlboro Brethren, Leinenkugel Templars, and Sons of Aunt Mary routinely position themselves on the Eastern Slopes as an advance Guard against invaders. They are joined by the Chiens de la Terre, fighters of the Prairie, whose land encircles the Knights for safety and mutual benefit. Together they will stem the early attack of onrushing hordes on the Eastern Front until the Knighthood and their allies mount their punishing response once the signal fire has been sighted. South of the Land the Illuminati of Wahlert have allied with the Knights in mutual defense of all their lands and freedoms. The Southern Front has been defended and secured by the blood of Knights and Illuminati for many years and will remain strong as long as the Knighthood remains strong.
Days of Future Passed in the Land
Dark skies have always appeared on the Western Front, the strongest Front of the Land, over the many years the Land has been alive with Knights and Guardians. The skies have now been getting darker and often more hostile in nature to the Eagle as well as the Land. A coming of change now rides upon the Western wind.
From Marty Rhomberg '70
A Proud Father
I moved to Chicago in 1977 with an art degree in photography. Had no job prospects but got work with JAM Productions at the Ivanhoe on Wellington. Then Park West after Ivanhoe shut down. After half a year I finally got a job as a commercial photographer's assistant. I think that paid $3.25 / hour. A rather dull existence.
Knox's story is way better. After graduating from High School, he was rejected by every college he applied to. Took some classes at a community college and then applied to Columbia, (the media school in Chicago) and studied sound recording. He got an intern job at a sketchy hip hop studio, and one day the owner tells him he has a project in LA and will be gone for several weeks. Gives Kev the keys and asks Kev not to burn the place down.
Then this unknown artist named Chance the Rapper shows up with no money and needs really cheap studio time. Kev thinks it can work, and acts as the engineer. In May of 2016 they were planning on dropping the album Coloring Book and they felt they had too many songs. Chance was going to drop the song "All Night", but Kev really liked the song. Chance told Kev he would need to "fix it" if it was to be included.
So Kev stepped up to the mic and created the hook which has around 13 track layers. He mixed it all together and the band loved it. Chance said they would make Kev a featured guest artist, ...but he would need a snappier name, ...and thus Knox Fortune was born. I didn't even know the kid could sing.
The song reached #32 (I think) in the US, and #5 in the UK. Beat David Bowie in the year Bowie passed away. Then the album won a grammy and because he was a featured guest artist along with Justin Bieber and Kanye West, he got a grammy too. Next Rick Rubin invited him to the studio in Malibu. Then it was tour time and he traveled all over the world.
Paradise was his debut album dropped in 2017 and his sophomore album "Stock Child Wonder" will release October 30th.
Proud? Oh you bet! You should see my collection of all access wrist bands.
From the Desk Of John Duskey '63
Campion's Excellence was its Students
In my previous article about our teachers, I said "It was the faculty, many of them Jesuits, who gave us the structure, the organization, the opportunities for learning." There was the critical role of moderators, coaches, directors, and other faculty who gave us that structure. Campion faculty members were much more that classroom teachers. While there were several who had served the school successfully for many years, it is simply a reality that there were some who were not as successful.
Some time ago, a Jesuit explained the situation to me like this: until the late 1960s, young men who joined the Jesuits took college courses for several years and then were assigned to teach high school for a period of three years known as "Regency." This was done whether or not the scholastic had any interest or talent in teaching. One of the purposes was to see how the young man would fit into a Jesuit community. Throughout those three years, the scholastic was continually being evaluated. The majority of these young men were interested in teaching Religion, History, English, Latin, and other languages. Some had interest in Math, and even fewer in Science. Most were successful as teachers, but some were not. The faculty of a Jesuit high school was a mixture, one that included Jesuit priests and scholastics, and some lay teachers who were carefully hired by the principal. Some of the lay teachers taught subjects that would otherwise not be available to Campion students. For example, in fall 1962, Mr. Maurice Oehler was hired to teach Chemistry. Some were hired as coaches, and also taught: Mr. L. G. Friedrichs was hired in 1961 and taught Math; Mr. R. H. Lundstrom was hired in 1962 and taught English.
In the early sixties, there were some weak spots in the curriculum, but this situation was remedied in the mid sixties. Biology was added to the curriculum in fall 1966, when Mr. Jeremiah McCarthy was hired.
In order to further upgrade the Science program, in fall 1965, Mr. M. R. Voss, S.J. was added to the Campion Faculty to teach Physics followed by Mr. Gunderson in Fall of 67 to teach Harvard Physics to Seniors while Fr. Scott taught General Science to Freshmen.
Mr. Robert Roemer, S. J. joined the faculty in fall 1965 and Fr. William Kidd, S. J., joined the math faculty in fall 1966, and then there was a Math Honors group that studied college level calculus. Social Studies is an important part of any high school curriculum. We had a year each of World History and U.S. History, but Fr. Doran added to that in fall 1962 by assigning Fr. Thomas A. Hoffman, S. J. to teach one semester of Sociology to the seniors, replacing one semester of senior year Religion. In fall 1966, Mr. Howard Culver introduced some improvements in the way senior Latin was taught (see the article in the 'ette, Oct 29, 1966). Fr. William J. Doran, S.J., served as principal from 1958 to 1968. His concern was that every student should be challenged to the extent of his abilities, and he knew that Campion was not always able to achieve that. Still, he was largely responsible for many substantial improvements in the curriculum at Campion.
Of course, calculus might not be important, except for students going into engineering or other technical fields. And one might get along well without a biology class, unless, as a teacher, your principal asks you teach biology. For students going on to college, there are continued opportunities for personal development, both for in classroom and out of the classroom fields, though these opportunities maybe limited, depending on the student's program of study. I know of one student who joined his college debate team, knowing that he missed that experience at Campion.
It is true that we don't go to school with the intention of learning facts. We are supposed to learn how to think. The goal is to learn how to evaluate and understand, and draw conclusions, not to memorize. The more we know, the more experiences we have, the more we will be able to think things through. Whatever we have in the curriculum should serve that purpose. Eric Zorn wrote a great column about this in the Chicago Tribune in fall 1993, and he didn't even have to ask me for my opinion.
In spite of all these difficulties, Campion was still an excellent high school, so the question is, where did the school derive its excellence? Some of it came from the faculty, some came from the curriculum, but by and large, it came from the energy, the enthusiasm, and other personal qualities of its students. For many years, Fr. Frank Carey toured the Midwest, and other parts of the country, making presentations at Holy Name Society meetings and other such parish gatherings, and visiting families of previous Campion students. He also recruited students from elementary grade boarding schools that existed in those days, such as St. Joseph and Bishop Quarter, in the western suburbs of Chicago. Students were tested and selected, with the hope to provide Campion with a student body with a great chance at success.
The structure that the Jesuits provided included a curriculum of classroom experiences, and a curriculum of other experiences throughout the school year. These are sometimes erroneously called "extra-curricular." These activities gathered students into a close-knit community with its own teams, publications, and individual and group performances. All of these activities offered students opportunities to develop skills and to create products of various types. These "products" included the Campionette, the Knight yearbook, the various concerts and plays that were presented, and teams in various sports, from intramural leagues to varsity. Campion offered opportunities in forensics and debate, in the campus radio station and in Band and Glee Club. Sodality offered a program for spiritual development. One can try to teach leadership, but leadership is generally learned by experience. With an enrollment of less than 600, what Campion achieved compared well with the achievements of much larger schools.
I have taught in private and public, day and boarding schools in the Chicago area for several years, and I know that the opportunities we had at Campion did not exist in the same way at other schools. (I once taught in a specialized boarding school, and I was principal of another specialized boarding school.) None of these schools offered the kind of opportunities that we had at Campion. In some cases where those opportunities were offered, participation was limited. Public education has evolved into a focus on classroom performance and test scores.
The experience of playing on a sports team is not just one of learning from the coach or the captain; it is learning teamwork from others on the team. In dramatic productions, one does not learn acting simply by direct instruction of the moderator or director, one learns from interactions with other actors, too. It also works that way in other forms of cooperative student work.
At Campion, students in the early years got to know, learn from and sometimes even admire the work of student leaders in the upper classes. (In larger schools, many students seemed to be anonymous.) This was very much to our advantage in our years at Campion. One of the great yearbook pictures that expresses this was in the 1960 Knight, where freshman Ron Merfeld '63 was seen looking up to the class portrait of the recent graduates of 1959.
In yearbooks during the early to mid 1960s, graduating classes identified a list of about ten who were considered as class leaders, "Men of the Year." There was usually some difficulty in determining just who should be on the list, and it was discontinued in 1968. Each student may feel his best influence came from any of a number of class leaders, including from some who would not have made the list. One alumnus told me his best influence came from the student who served as class president. But every case is different, and, for some, there is a desire to keep that designation private. Others might never have thought of how to answer this question.
In fact, every student at Campion could develop his own curriculum, adding to regular classroom work the many other activities. A look at the senior class photos, with the adjacent description of activities makes a great experience, even years after graduation.
From Martin Sawa '68
I thought I'd provide Tom with some filler between alumni articles and the obits. It's taken me over half a century, but I have finally put memories of Campion into some kind of perspective. While I missed the 50th reunion, I benefitted greatly from the email correspondence which preceded and succeeded the event, and the variety of opinions - often strongly felt - on the Campion experience.
As a townie, I probably enjoyed the best and avoided the worst; I don't know if I would have lasted as a resident. I did try to lighten the load for the boarders by smuggling some individuals off campus to the Pantry or to drink-fests in the cornfields, and creating a comic strip mythologizing one of my classmates, which was surreptitiously distributed in Latin class.
In retrospect, I have to admit that I learned more from the Jesuits than I did in any of the colleges I subsequently attended. The Jebbies taught me how to write and how to think, and helped shape my future. I regard my class of 1968 as one of the last cohorts to benefit from a classical liberal education, something I appreciate more and more as I try to make sense of the world around me.
For the past couple of years, I've worked on a memoir. I consider myself lucky to still be around and have the presence of mind to tell a story. Nominally, it is about my adventures in the world of commercial real estate but ultimately, it is about spiritual dormancy and reawakening. The Jesuits and Campion figure prominently in several scenes. The title is The Other Side of Success: Money and Meaning in the Golden State and you can check it out on Amazon and other booksellers.