St. Mary's graduating class of 100 years ago

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Eighth grade graduates of the St. Mary's School in Guttenberg posed for a formal portrait 100 years ago. While the names of class members are known (see story), anyone who can match a face to a name is asked to contact Austin Greve, 563-880-3899. Stella Weber is second from the right in the back row, and Anna Jaeger Greve is seated third from the right. (Photo submitted)

By Shelia Tomkins 

Turn back the clock 100 years and you would find that honoring young Guttenberg graduates who had successfully completed their years of study was an event that featured many traditions that are still in practice today.

Highlighting the similarities is a shadow box containing  memorabilia from St. Mary's eighth grade Class of 1916 that will be presented at St. Mary's alumni banquet on Saturday, June 4, at the church. At that time, eighth grade was the culmination of the Catholic school education; no high school classes were offered.

The shadow box was created by Susan Robbins and other descendants of Stella Weber, a member of the class. Family members plan to be on hand for the presentation. The shadow box will then be kept on permanent display in the Heritage Room at St. Mary's. 

The box contains a photo of the class, the graduation announcement and calling card, a bow from Stella's hair with the class flower (lily of the valley) and a journal containing requirements for graduation. The most unique item is a decorated egg, painted with the class flower by the teacher; it is believed each graduate received one. Stella's diploma could not be found, but the diploma of a classmate, Anna Jaeger Greve, has been framed and donated by her great-grandson, Austin Greve, and her children. 

The class posed for a photo to commemorate their special day, the girls with flowers and ribbons in their hair, lacy dresses and white shoes; the boys in suits and ties adorned with commemorative ribbons and small floral sprays. 

The 1916 graduation ceremony was held on a Wednesday evening in late April. Rev. J.H. Brinkmann handed the students their diplomas following a program that featured music, recitations, a comedy by the eighth grade boys and an operetta by the upper grade girls. 

There were 14 class members, Irene Eilers, Hildegard (Felder) Carrier, Raymond Frommelt, Anna (Jaeger) Greve, Emma (Junk) Valentine, Magdalene Junk, Vincent Junk, Patrick Monahan, Leo Pfiffner, Mildred (Saeugling) LaDage, Margaret Schumacher, Wilhelmina (Stoeffler) Brady, Margaret (Valant) Meyer, and Stella (Weber) Sholly. 

Information on several class members has been lost to the passage of time. Irene Eilers died in 1919, just three years later, while others lived long lives. Anna Jaeger Greve is believed to have outlived all her classmates, passing in 2001 at the age of 100.

After graduation Stella Weber moved to northwest Iowa for work and returned to St. Mary's in 1923 to marry Harry Sholly of Pennsylvania. The family raised a family of 10 children in northwest Iowa. Anna Jaeger married Joseph Greve, and they raised a family of 11 children in Dubuque and Clayton counties. 

This year's banquet

St. Mary/ Immaculate Conception alumni committee invites all those who attended St. Mary High School and St. Mary Immaculate Conception Grade School to the annual alumni banquet on  Saturday,  June 4,  at St. Mary’s Brinkmann Hall in Guttenberg.

The Heritage Room  opens at 4 p.m.  Mass will be offered at 5:30 p.m., and a social hour and dinner will follow Mass in Brinkman Hall.  Dinner tickets are $10.  

This year special acknowledgement will be given to  the classes of 1936, 1941, 1946, 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, and the class of 2016. 

Banquet reservations and nominations are due by Sunday, May 29.  Contact Erin Schmelzer, St. Mary IC School, P.O. Box 100, Guttenberg, IA 52052, or 563-252-1577, or any member of the alumni committee (see list in last week's issue).

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