Hampshire School Celebrates 90 Years
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
September 12, 2019
‘Think back to 1928 and 1929, as this was the beginning of the Depression. There were tremendous sacrifices and challenges by the people who preceded you in these pews to keep the school going.’ 
Bishop David Malloy
 
HAMPSHIRE— In the fall of 1929,  St. Charles Borromeo School opened its doors to students. To commemorate that momentous occasion, many who have learned, prayed, and worked at the school gathered for Mass and an informal dinner, Sept. 7.
 
Vera Binz attended with her daughter Elaine Setter and proudly recollected that she was in the first class of students that went from first through eighth grade at the school, graduating in 1937. 
 
“All of my nine siblings and all of my own six children have graduated from this wonderful school, too,” said Binz. “I also have a daughter who is a nun, Sister Ella Binz of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart.” 
 
Over 350 people filled the church as Bishop David Malloy celebrated the  90th anniversary school Mass at the parish church with Father Sylvester Nnaso, pastor, and Msgr. Thomas Dempsey and Father Geoffrey Wirth. 
 
“Think back to 1928 and 1929,” Bishop Malloy said, “as this was the beginning of the Depression. There were tremendous sacrifices and challenges by the people who preceded you in these pews to keep the school going.”
 
The bishop noted the value and significance of a Catholic education. 
 
“It teaches us to know Jesus Christ,” he said. “One thing matters, heaven alone, and that’s the lesson of the Catholic school. We don’t know the future, but let us learn, pray, and go to confession. Through 90 years of this school, and for those who attended here and who have lost their way, may the seed planted here bring us back.” 
 
Bishop Malloy thanked the choir composed of students and parish members “for your enthusiasm, excellence, work and practice.” 
 
Following Mass, over 250 people remained to dine on food donated and prepared by parishioners and grilled by the Knights of Columbus. With so many families in attendance for the party, they filled rooms in the school and the lower level of the church. No one seemed to mind.
 
Former principals Karen Behrns and Sister Geraldine Kemper, OP, and former teacher Sister Jane Ann Beckman, OP attended the celebration.
 
Maureen Jackson, school principal, expressed her pride in the students, teachers and staff. 
 
“We have 106 children enrolled from (pre-kindergardent) to eighth grade, and our faculty is the best around,” she said. 
 
“There is no better group of people with whom to work. You could play the song ‘We are Family’ here because at SCB we truly are,”  she said.
 
Jackson’s two children graduated from the school, as did many teachers and their children. 
 
“Even our janitor, Tim Wiesneth, is in the mix,” added Jackson. “His two children are alums.”
 
Debbie Vicicondi, whose daughter graduated from the school, shared some memories. 
 
“Today’s Mass was so beautiful,” she said. “I loved going to the children’s Masses on Friday when the school choir sang. Today, hearing their voices during Mass, it brought tears to my eyes.”