Two Schools Start Year with Celebrations
Aurora Central Catholic kicks off 50th year with opening Mass Aug. 24
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
September 6, 2018
AURORA—Aurora Central Catholic High School started the celebration of its 50th anniversary with a Mass in the school gym at 8 a.m., Aug. 24.
Students, teachers, staff, a few alumni and parents attended.
The altar was decorated with a cross that used to be on top of one of the entrances of Madonna High School, the former girls school that merged with Roncalli High School for boys to create Aurora Central Catholic in 1968. 
The voices of the school choir, accompanied on piano by Phil Nohl, chorus instructor and drama director, filled the gym.
Instead of reading the Gospel, Father William Etheredge, principal and superintendent, walked around the gym proclaiming the words from memory. 
“I think it helps me listen to the Gospel and I hope it helps everybody else listening to the Gospel,” he said after Mass. “I hope ... it becomes an invitation to really listen to God’s words.”
Some students wore sports and cheerleader uniforms. 
“Today we open our football season and we’ll have activities during home coming week for alums, we’ll have celebrations (for) each athletic season and drama seasons so we are really inviting alums, friends and families to celebrate with us,” said Father Etheredge.
On Sept. 23 at 11 a.m., he said,  “We’ll have a Mass, a kicking-off of homecoming week and we will go from there.” María Peña, mother of ACC freshman Arianna Rosales, said, “I’m very happy with everything they have to offer.  The classes, they have a lot of options. I’m looking forward to see how I can help with the celebration.” 
One of the aspects she and her daughter like about the school is “the way they offer more opportunities for kids who like to act (and) sing. They have a great drama club here and that’s one of the options and choices that she wanted to study so that’s really great.”
Delia Nila, who also attended the Mass, graduated from Madonna High School in 1968 in the spring before the merger and opening of ACC.
“I’m here,” she said, “because this is my school and I support it,” athough she admits it took her “a while to feel like it was my school because I had no boys at my school.”
She remembers there were nuns serving as educators in those times. 
Sister Mary Catherine Martini is considered the person who has the longest connection to Aurora Central. She has been with the high school, for “51 years.” 
She started in 1968, “when the two schools merged,” she said. “I taught biology for 30 years, then I was director of guidance for about 15 years.” 
Now Sister May Catherine helps the students in the library. 
As the Mass ended, Father Etheredge asked all to lower their heads to receive a blessing before the students were dismissed to go to classes.