"...regretfully we did not have band, chorus, drama (except for one year and that Sister was transfered)
no year book, no art programs, no extra-curricular activities....there was a Mother Seton Club, which ostensibly was organized
to aid in the sanctification of Mother Elizabeth Seton, founder of the order of nuns who taught. We had a mimeographed
school newspaper, but the powers that be canceled that the year we were seniors 1962-1963. There were no dances, nor
inter school activities.
"Most of the girls had jobs after school as soon as they were 15 to help with school expenses.
The neighborhood was in decline. There was a yearly "St. Patrick's Day Play," that lasted 3 evenings, which was a rather
formidable program of music, song, dance, and drama. The dance teacher, who was the 'gym ' teacher, taught us incredible
dance choreography...we had no gym, just a giant auditorium with huge stage.....we were never allowed to walk on the floor
with shoes to guarantee the perpetuity of the place.
"The classes offered were the minimum required by the state law,
though the subjects that were taught (for the most part) contained the excellence of old fashioned learning. There were
a few teachers who were way past retirement age and even somewhat demented. We had no young teachers until our senior
"The rule was absolute and autocratic, though as soon as we left the confines of the school, the
uniform skirts were rolled up to meet fashion requirements in the real world. We had to wear BEANIES.
"Our class had 13 grads. Though the school was small, the comaradarie I experienced in another
grade school, parish and school was missing, and post graduate contact was minimal...and not combined with school issues.
Though school spirit was always preached, there was little if any actualization. We, as a class, held our own reunions, we
were never contacted by the church or school for any reunion activities. I think 6 of us were found as we celebrated 40 years.
"Though we had little if any of the 'usual' high school adventures, sports, or activities, it seems
that those of us who are in contact all possess a set of values, and life approach that is unique. One of our class has passed
away. I am in contact with one person in the class that graduated ahead of us....they are not in contact with one another
either....it is as if it never were."
from St. Sebastian
GS grad Robert Weisskopf (courtesy of Mike Kessler):
"I grew up at 845
W. Oakdale in Chicago. That's
half a block from
Illinois Masonic Hospital, and went to St. Sebastian's at the corner of
Wellington and Halsted. It is now torn down and Illinois Masonic has
their office building there. I then went to St. Ignatius College Prep
and graduated in 1974. From there it was on to St. Mary's College in
Winona, MN, for three years. I finished college in 2 1/2 years. Joined
CPD (Chicago Police Department) on 14th February in 1983. Now that I retired, I write!"
From Kathy Lifka (former teacher, 1977-79):
"I ran across your website about closed schools, and St. Sebastian was one of those schools.
My first teaching job was at St. Sebastian from 1977-1979 when the high school closed. There were 120 girls with eight teachers,
I believe. I have forgotten most names, but here is what I remember.
Wierzbicki was principal at that time. He was a fair, but firm leader. I later ran into him at the Joliet Diocese where he
was Assistant Superintendent of Personnel. He is now retired. I believe we had two Sisters of Charity. One was around 60,
and the other was around 30. The younger one left in the fall of my second year for personal reasons. I taught 9th-12th grade
English and two history classes. I remember I had very few materials, and had to find my own resources wherever I could. I
also began a newspaper which we printed on the mimeo machine. Of course, the "news" was pretty well known among the girls
already, but they loved it.
"If I remember correctly, there were gang problems in Chicago,
and we had one girl bring in a knife. We had other minor arguments, but overall, the girls were pretty sheltered. We would
have dances once or twice a year, and the girls were allowed to bring dates. They would basically do a two-step shuffle for
the slow dances.
"The teachers I remember include Janice Bloomfield and Rita
Favorite Blickenstaff. I can "see" the science teacher and the one male teacher we had, but I cannot remember their names.
We taught English/reading, history, science, math, and religion. The girls were from various cultures, and only a few went
onto college. One of my freshmen was already a mother of two living with her boyfriend while attending school; I believe she
was 15 at the time. I remember the first grade teacher was Emily Peacock (1932-2009) of the Peacock family of jewelers. She
truly loved teaching, and she was very unassuming.
also taught at Maria High School at 67th and California from 1996-2003. Both schools were very dear to me. This is not much,
I am sorry. It is nice to know that St. Sebastian will be remembered."