The first Campionette, the student newsletter, was published 100 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 John Haurykiewicz '63
Music for Profit and Fun
In early 1963, my friends and I awaited word on our tape audition at RCA records. Would this lead to fame and fortune after graduation that year? Subsequently, a press release announced that RCA had signed a new band and . . . it was . . . not us.
The year before, Bill Kestell, John Augustine and Jerry Noel talked about forming a new band. Somehow I heard about the plan. Bill and John would play their electric guitars, and Jerry would be the drummer, even though he played the trumpet in the marching band. What was missing was a bass guitar player. I had never played that instrument, but was invited in when I volunteered. Fortunately for me, there were no other candidates.
I went home for summer vacation and traveled to Maxwell Street in Chicago (if you don't know about that, watch the first Blues Brothers movie; John Lee Hooker is sitting on the curb and playing on Maxwell Street) to buy an electric bass guitar and amplifier--used, and without a carry case for the guitar, but that was all I could afford. My aunt knew someone who built a carry case, and I showed up at Prairie in the fall after a short set of lessons, with my bass guitar in a black naughahyde case lined with leopard print velour. At the time, I was worried that the other guys (who had factory cases for their guitars) would laugh at my clearly "home-made" case. The worry was unfounded--my case was voted the most "cool" apparently because it was not just an "ordinary" factory case with bright orange velour lining.
John played lead guitar on a Fender Jazzmaster, Bill played rhythm guitar on a Fender Stratocaster, and I had my beat-up Fender Precision Bass. After a while, Ted Swartz '64 joined us with his Fender Jazzmaster, alternating between lead and rhythm. After graduation from Campion we continued to play (without Ted) and began to do vocals, with Bill singing lead, and the John and Jerry and I singing backup. This was the time of the "British Invasion," starting with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and you know the rest.
While at Campion, we practiced in the folding chair storage room off the old gym . . . great acoustics, and no "neighbors" seeking peace and quiet. The sessions were often interrupted with lively disagreements as to who was to be "featured" in the various parts of the songs . . . often about whether or not there was to be a drum solo in the piece. We taped ourselves there using a reel-to-reel recorder. Bill Kestell transferred the tape of that session to a CD and gave me a copy which I still enjoy listening to.
Our first public performance at Campion was at a smoker (pizza party) in the refectory. When I got up on the stage, I panicked at seeing all the faces looking at me; then I realized I had only myself to blame, and once we started playing (and getting our first 15 minutes of fame) everything turned out OK.
Bill was my roommate the first two years at Marquette University; Jerry and John attended St. Norbert's College in West DePere, WI, near Green Bay. Since Jerry and John had Saturday morning classes, Bill and I would drive up from Milwaukee and stay at Bill's home in New Holstein, WI (halfway up the east side of Lake Winnebago) for the weekend. We would play a job at a dance or bar Friday night, set up the equipment at St. Norbert's for a Saturday afternoon practice, then play another job Saturday night. Bill and I would then drive back to Milwaukee Sunday. During this time, Bill helped me build an additional speaker cabinet in his dad's furniture factory for two 15 inch woofers. We put a chrome "Custom" Ford nameplate on the front of the speaker cabinet to make it look more professional. The weekends during our college undergraduate years were great; it was just the first five days after that were slow.
During the summers through college, we were card-carrying members of the AFM (American Federation of Musicians) and played jobs around Wisconsin, from Door County to New Holstein, to Kenosha (my hometown) to Janesville (near Jefferson, Jerry's hometown). I booked many of the jobs, using standard AFM form contracts, (which may have unconsciously steered me towards my "second" career as a lawyer). We also managed to play in northern Illinois, (but not at a place as big as the auditorium where the Blues Brothers played to save the orphanage--probably because we did not have Steve Lawrence as our agent, nor Cab Calloway opening up for us--you really have to watch the movie, if you haven't seen it).
After college, careers, marriages and families replaced the carefree lives of itinerant musicians. Years later, I reconnected with Bill, visiting him and his wife in New Holstein; after serving and being decorated in the Vietnam war, he was then running the family furniture manufacturing business. I found out Bill had formed his own band and was playing the same music we played in high school. When I asked for the name of that band, Bill said there was none; they only played for their own enjoyment.
Oh, by the way, the band that signed with RCA back in 1963 was . . . The Beach Boys.
Check out the Campion Bands page for more
of Campion's Glee Clubs, Jazz Bands, Blues & Rhythms, Rock & Roll,
Bluegrass, Folk, Solos, Duos, Quartets, Orchesrtrial,
Famous Shower Sopranos, You Name It.
An Autumn 2017 Flyover of Campus (2:58-3:16) - Prairie du Chien, WI.
From Paul McCullough '70
I came across this article about one of Campion's sister schools, Creighton Prep in Omaha NE (coincidentally, my father was valedictorian of their class of 1935). While Campion was preparing to close for good, Creighton was almost "erased" by an F4 tornado on May 6, 1975. The article below details the events of the day and the recovery efforts that, just like after the Kostka Hall fire, began immediately.
At the time, Creighton's principal was Fr. Eugene Dutkiewicz, for many years Campion's assistant principal before being assigned there. The "Duke" canceled all school activities for the rest of the year, although students who wished to improve their academic record, the only functional building remaining, the "Tin Gym", was used for classes. It's not clear how graduation that year occurred. Under his guidance and leadership, Creighton Prep opened on time in fall.
If you are able to attach the article, I think it'd make an interesting piece for CF. Rather ironic.....I never knew about this before.
I was able to get the Newsletter and enjoyed it much as always.
An addition to the Ken Tuccori piece: He was the best baseball player on the teams 51-55. I played short stop when he pitched and second base when he short stopped. Coach Peterson taught us to steal home if the pitcher took a full wind-up and we did so 3 or 4 times as I recall. Pat O'Connel played third and Ken Rowley caught I think. Never saw Ken after 55 but remember we had a mini reunion at his family's restaurant on 79th Street in Chicago. (Maybe Armondo knows?) I thought Ken went to Marquette with Manion, Burke, Kelly, Walz and others.
David Doran '55
Opening Prayer at Golf Tour PdC 2018.
Had a great time at the golf outing once again this year! A great showing of guys from all classes but especially the class of 1969! Most everyone had dinner at the Angus on Sunday night and all of the guys from the class of 69 sat together at a very long table. They all were wearing the same shirts so you couldn't miss them! Joe Reilly was kind enough to give me one which I will be sure to wear! Golf on Monday morning was beautiful as the weather cooperated once again! Maybe the 'Our Father' we say as a group before we start has something to do with it! Please consider going as you won't regret it!
Joe Williamson '72
On 50th Reunions
At an impromptu meeting at the golf dinner tonight, an early consensus is emerging that the 50th should be in Prairie [du Chien] and it should be a guys weekend.
Jim Geldermann '70
Well, that certainly proved a provocative read for my morning coffee. Perhaps former members of the Debate team should divide up and orate the pro and con prior to votes being taken.
As for my thought, I get that reunions are essentially nostalgia and perhaps nostalgia should be the higher priority as this may be the last high probability for fulsome attendance. It is true PdC would be a greater logistical challenge for infil/exfil. Nonetheless, it also presents a nice opportunity for an Amtrak ride through the heart of central Wisconsin to La Crosse and then you can take the RideSMRT Red Line down to Prairie with the added benefit of quick stops in Ferryville, De Soto and Genoa........names that should be fond memories for those who hitch-hiked up Highway 35 to buy beer at the southside Stop n' Shop where Steve Shimshack advised they did not card.
I think a great reunion venue would be that little bar just outside the entrance to Wyalusing (for some reason the name "Harold's" sticks in my mind), where Tim Moore purportedly downed 24 shorties one Wednesday afternoon. At midnight, we could all convene at the middle of the trestle for the group photo. If a train should come, hiding spots under the tracks will be on a first-come, first-served basis, although we could allow those with lower joint arthritis a head-start.
And in keeping with the emerging theme, we could name this "Reunion Tour X - Return to the Scene of the Crime", complete with silk-screened t-shirts by Althoff, commemorative photo books by McCullough and a compendium of odd-bits of history by Olson.
That's all I can offer with a limited injection of caffeine.
Mike Sluka '70
From Ghost of Joe Campion...
The battle of the reunions!
I love Mike Sluka's thought on the matter.
1. Setting up a pro and con debate team. That in itself brings back memories. Anybody want to write an article about their experiences on the 1969 debate team.
2. What a cool idea of having a tour of places that are great memories, most likely never to be experienced again. It will be too late in our Alzheimer years.
My class seems to go through this conflict every reunions time. Usually the majority of a small group of guys (typically from Chicago) vote to have it near Chicago or Lake Geneva. They like Chicago because... like Mike indicates... their home, family, and childhood friends and fond memories are there. Never mind everybody else.
But, when we consider a class of 166 we discover the majority was not represented.
One year the majority of the full class voted PDC. And they wanted it in June, when we graduated, and not the usual crazy Labor Day weekend in September. The 'rowdy' group went and had a 're-do' in the Chicago/Lake Geneva area in September anyways. As it turns out the PdC reunions have more in attendance. Some guys hadn't been back since graduation. Others because they refuse to go anywhere, but our spawning grounds..PdC. Some, like myself, simply don't care for Chicago. And if you want to have a cheap easy ride, then Las Vegas is it baby... and why not... it has as much to do with CJHS as any other place. BTW, I don't like 'The Meadows' (AKA Las Vegas) either, but the wives love all the entertainment options. For me these places are too crowded and have next to no nostalgic value. OK, perhaps I can think one up; Jeff Paunicka lined me up with my first ever BLIND DATE from Gary Indiana, or was it Ogden Dunes... Is that considered Chicago? But, I digress.
As far as easy access to PdC:
The ride in a rented sports car is a fun ride whether from Chicago, or Minneapolis. For me it is a time for mental health... enjoying the sites and smells of the wide open country air. Do I hear a convoy of convertibles headed for PdC?
A recent class talked about renting buses or vans and commuting together. Hmm!, O.K., Team 1 in Vehicle 1. Got your pompoms! uh, your golf clubs.
Mikes idea about the train ride to LaCrosse and then the commuter back down to PdC, with stops, sounds nostalgic. I had no idea that was running these days. Cool!
Anyways, it is up to your class to battle out the location. My only thing, is it does not feel like a school reunion if it isn't at least in the town we went to school; where we can as a group experience how the places and the people have changed from the way we collectively remember them.
Mike, thanks for the inspiration.
ciao for now, your friendly nosey reporter.. NOT.... not what? not yours? not friendly? not nosey? not a reporter? Sorry about that guys, for a second I was playing with you as if you were all meeting up in a 'Mary Jane' State.... oh shoot. That 'state' could have a double meaning too. Is that a State in the Union, or a mental state? Ugh! Latin class flash backs. Sorry.
Tom Olson '72
From Fr. Tony Wach, S.J. '60...
Tom -- thanks for the heads-up. Most of all, thanks for all your commitment to Campion Forever & keeping us "old boys" (African, for alumni) connected. Below, a copy of our first "new Campion" newsletter located in northern Uganda. Perhaps you would include it in the Campion Forever. Despite our efforts, I know many of the alumns haven't heard of this effort or don't know what a great project it has become.
The school is a collaboration of the Jesuits and many of our Prairie du Chien Campion grads --for the most part, my classmates of 1960 but also a number of others from late 50's (my co-founder, Jim Strzok, SJ, is 1957) through early 70's. Some supporters have come from the Campion grads of 40's & even late 50's! Dave Zamierowski '60 (Kansas City) is still our '60 leader and the driving force for mobilizing alumns to support this -- to keep our original Campion alive and in honor of all the Jebs/lay collaborators who educated us. Sorry I can't mention everybody who have been helping, but we continue to need prayers and, when possible, financial support.
This area is very poor and still recovering from a terrible war (up to 2006). The African Jesuits are still young and few, but committed to the school. The local Church and community leaders are so happy we SJ's are here and in just a few years we are already recognized as one of Uganda's top schools. Oh, by the way, we also have girls!
Fr. Tony Wach, SJ --Campion '60
reprinted with permission
ISSUE 1 VOLUME 1 - 2018
Dear Friends of Ocer Campion, Greetings from Northern Uganda! Welcome to our first Ocer Campion News. It finally comes in the 9th year of our school, our 13th since 2006 when the Eastern Africa Jesuits committed to this project. At that time we said that it would be a long project! In fact, then there was nothing here but the dream. The long war was finally winding down, but the people were still living in displaced camps. The area and morale were much destroyed and literally even "dead." Hence, the name "Ocer," "He rose," to show the people hope!
Our local Archbishop immediately welcomed our coming as "an answer to prayers." The area member of Parliament quickly found a family to provide us 100 acres of land "for the future of our children." Many of my long ago classmates at our Campion Jesuit school in Wisconsin started generously donating. And so many of you joined in; fellow Jesuits, relatives and friends, volunteers from other Jesuit schools in the US and Europe and donor organizations. When we dream together, the dream becomes reality!
Ocer Campion now has over 700 students, 7 Jesuits, over 70 lay faculty and staff, numerous buildings including the soon-to-open new library, a big farm, and national recognition for its success in academics but also in "providing holistic growth." This year in May, we were selected to host a National Debate Tournament. This year we welcomed our first "advanced" (A) level students; the British system of pre-university.
However, our success is increasing the demand! Specifically, we urgently need another dormitory for girls, more science labs and classrooms, more playing fields and some faculty accommodations. We also always need more help so we can support the many disadvantaged children have this opportunity of an education!
Please, can you continue to help us? Already we're seeing some of our first graduates now working as nurses, midwives, primary teachers, some in medical school and university. Several have come back and volunteered at Ocer. Know that you are often remembered in our Masses and prayers. Please pray for Ocer and may God richly bless you!
Fr. Tony Wach SJ
Director - Ocer Campion Jesuit College
Ocer Campion transforms lives, shines a light in the dark
Even after scoring a good first grade in the Ugandan national primary leaving examinations, Vincent Olweny was not assured of enrolling for secondary education. His mother, a sickly widow could not afford to pay for his education as she lacked a solid source of income.
In 2010, upon recommendation from Fr. Tony Wach, SJ, the director of Ocer Campion Jesuit College, the priest from Vincent's parish reached out to his primary school looking for outstanding disadvantaged pupils for sponsorship. Vincent was among the pupils chosen to join Ocer's sponsorship program. On that day, a bright light shone in Vincent's life.
Vincent joined Ocer Campion in 2011, exactly one year after the school opened its doors with the aim of bringing hope and healing to the region that had been plagued by over two decades of civil war.
"In addition to tuition, they provided me with everything including beddings and scholastic materials, says Vincent. While everyone who was reporting to school had a suitcase and a mattress, for me I had nothing. In fact prior to reporting I had informed Fr. Tony that I have nothing. He told me to come as I am. When I reached school, he took me for shopping and bought for me all I needed."
In 2016, Vincent finished his secondary education and was accepted at Gulu School of Clinical Medicine still under Ocer's sponsorship. In two more years, he'll graduate with a Diploma and can begin practice. However, this is not Vincent's goal; he's still determined to study further to become a medical doctor, his dream since primary school.
Ocer is a place of transformation. Vincent attests to this vehemently. "There are things I never used to do, I never used to pray, I was not interested but all this changed. Ocer transformed me from zero to hero. I am so grateful." During his school holiday Vincent returned to Ocer for three months as a volunteer.
Every year Ocer receives so many sponsorship applications. Just like Vincent, they come from impoverished families and to most of them education, especially the quality of Ocer's, is a luxury. Currently Ocer is sponsoring 195 students, including a number of graduates in further studies, and the number will only increase.
With generous contributions from you, our friends and supporters, we have been able to touch and change lives like that of Vincent. Several of our girls are now certified midwives/nurses and are already helping themselves and others. We thank you so much, always pray for you and hope that you can continue.
Ocer Launches Advanced Secondary Education
In a short span of its history, Ocer Campion Jesuit College has envolved from a pre-secondary school to a fully-fledged high school.
Ocer students who wish to continue with their education after finishing Ordinary secondary Education can now afford a smile. This year the school launched Advanced Secondary Education- a British system which involves two more years required for university qualification.
Eight years ago, Ocer opened its doors with a population of 35 pupils in pre-secondary class. In 2011, the Ordinary Level started and in 2014 the school had its first candidates sit for the Ordinary level exams. Over the years, many of the candidates wished to return for Advanced Secondary education but the school lacked an A Level section.
This year the students' wishes and prayers have been fulfilled. Ocer has started A Level classes with 32 students, 20 of whom are girls. The numbers would have been more than this but most of the students wanted to offer Science subjects yet currently the school offers only Art subjects. This is because the school does not have science laboratories for A Level students.
Unlike in other schools where students are confined to an already set curriculum, the A level students here at Ocer are privileged to receive fundamental Christian teachings from the Jesuits. In a lesson referred to as Contemporary Christian Living, students are educated on crucial topics such as human rights, justice, service, morality and Christian marriage. Students have been touched and transformed through these teachings. Innocent Okello doesn't hide his delight to be back at Ocer where he had his Ordinary education. With a wide smile, he speaks with a lot of pride, "I had thought this lesson would be like Christian religious Education but no, it's different, it's about putting one's faith in action," he says. "From these teachings, I have learnt that I have to reach out to the poor and disadvantaged people in my community and that's the Christian way of living," says Innocent.
Science subjects will be offered as soon as we get well equipped laboratories hopefully by 2019. Opening up of the Advanced Secondary education has also posed a shortage in accommodation for female students. We also hope by then that we'll have built another girls' dormitory as we have recently done for the boys.
Ocer, an Academic Giant
At the center of our work, Ocer strives for excellence. This is evident in the academic arena, every year Ocer has proven to be an academic giant not only at the regional level but also nationally.
Since 2014, Ocer continues to top Gulu district in Uganda Certificate Examinations (UCE). This outstanding performance also extends to the region where the schools enjoys a good track record at excelling in the national exams. In 2016, a survey carried out by Uganda National Examinations Board ranked Ocer in 10th position as one of the schools that offer holistic education. In last year's (2017) UCE exams, Ocer was ranked 19th in Mathematics out of 2594 schools (countrywide).
At Ocer, academic excellence is central but also holistic development of the individual is accorded utmost attention.
Ocer hosts World School National Debate Championships
From 15th May - 17th May 2018, Ocer was a hive of activity as it hosted the World School National Debate Competitions.
For the first time, Ocer and Northern Uganda in general hosted the national debate competitions with 42 teams from 38 schools from the all regions of the country.
For three days, different students from various schools went to war, only not with brawn, but with brain power. Ocer fronted three debate teams who displayed oratorical skills in the first round. All the three teams advanced to the octo (best 16 teams). Even though the teams did not go beyond the octo level, the students did not feel that they were losers. "We did not lose, we have learnt so much from this competition especially from the other teams. We are going to work hard such that next time, we perform better than this," says Henry Odida, an A Level student.
Indeed it's not about winning the competitions, it's the lasting impression that debate makes to the participants that counts. In debating, one's confidence is boosted, debate helps one to develop essential critical thinking skills and one also learns to think on their feet. All these attributes are so evident in our students who belong to the debate society. "I have learnt to speak in public. I used to fear to stand before a crowd but ever since I started debating, all this has changed. I am confident and I speak to anyone without any fear," says Priscilla Piath, a senior two student.
Debate is one of the most thriving clubs in Ocer. Every Friday, students take part in inter-stream debate competitions which are later followed by Inter-house competitions. Outstanding debaters are given different awards to encourage other students to join the club and also to appreciate and motivate the students.
"I am happy to see that the Debate Club is doing well and making impact on our students, our students can now speak audibly and coherently," says Mr. Samuel Bwambale, the club patron. This year, Mr. Bwambale was named the patron of the year for Northern Uganda.
The school participates in various tournaments ranging from regional to continental competitions. After the National competitions, a team of three boys and the patron went to Rwanda for the East African Debate Competitions. Later this year, the school will take part in the African debate competitions.