Holy Angels High School's class of 1960 will gather on the weekend of Sept. 11 and Sept. 12 to mark 50 years since graduation.
Holy Angels Academy, founded in 1907 as a coeducational school for first grade through 12th grade, became a high school exclusively for girls in the late 1920s. The grammar school at the location was known as St. Alphonsus School, which still operates at the site.
In 1923, Holy Angels Academy was the largest Catholic school in the state, enrolling more than 600 students, necessitating the construction of the red brick school building still in use.
Due to declining enrollment and financial concerns, Holy Angels High School, which occupied the third floor of the existing St. Alphonsus School building, closed its doors permanently in 1972.
While the majority of alumni still reside in Washington, others live in California, Montana, Oregon, Wisconsin and Manitoba, Canada. When they meet at the home of Sondra (Haney) Wagener Sept. 11, it will be, for many, their first encounter since their May 29, 1960 graduation.
Westside School is in their new home at 7740 34th S.W. in the E.C. Hughes building and they couldn't be happier. The school is a beehive of activity with teachers, and parent volunteers all preparing for the coming school year.
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Jo Ann Yockey, Head of the School, took the West Seattle Herald on an exclusive tour of the new home for Westside and pointed out the surprising and delightful aspects they discovered when they moved in.
"I'm in heaven," said Yockey, referring to the much larger space the school now has, "and we've filled up the building and so it's great. To see it come together, cleaning it up, you don't know when you are getting an old building but it's all wired for the internet, the security is fantastic."
On Aug. 4, teachers, parents and students from St. Alphonsus School harvested seven medium-sized bags of a variety of vegetables and herbs from its new community garden and donated the produce to the Ballard Food Bank.
The volunteers at the food bank were appreciative and thanked the students for their hard work and for their donation.
A second harvest is planned for mid-September when class is back in session at the school, located at 5816 15th Ave. N.W.
St. Alphonsus' community garden opened with a 60-person ground breaking event in March and the garden is flourishing.
The school garden was the first stop in the Ballard Edible Garden Tour that took place in June.
"I've known these people for 70 years. Don't let anyone tell you the are 69."
That was Ted Dooley, graduate of St. Alphonsus School in Ballard, talking about his former classmates, who met each other in first grade in 1932, during a reunion June 30 at Ballard Brothers Seafood & Burgers.
Of the 30 members of 1932 first-grade class, 15 are still alive, and reunion organizer Roman Miller said he expected eight to 10 to show up.
The group of friends first reunited 30 years ago, and it had been a while since their last reunion, Jackie Gross Mitchell said.
The reunion was being held at Ballard Brothers because classmate Frank Traverso owns the building.
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It was an unseasonably nice day for a bit of gardening Feb. 20, and nearly 50 volunteers from St. Alphonsus School took advantage of it, building a large garden the school plans to use to give back to communities near and far.
The garden comes courtesy of a Washington State Department of Ecology grant to St. Alphonsus, located at 5816 15th Ave. N.W.
The garden will benefit the students of St. Alphonsus, but Stephanie Schmutz, fourth-grade teacher and organizer of the project, said the benefit will reach beyond the school.
"We are creating a living lab, not only working with the earth but the different sciences and social studies," she said.
Students are researching plants to find out what will grow best in the new garden, but they will also give a portion of the proceeds from the garden to the Ballard Food Bank. Another portion will be sent to a school in Guatemala to build a library.
The garden gives the children a purpose and responsibility, Schmutz said. She said it is important for students to help less fortunate students in other parts of the world.
The volunteer turnout surprised Schmutz, who put a notice for help in the school bulletin.
On Monday, Sept. 21 Explorer West Middle School took part in an international art and literacy project, Pinwheels for Peace by “planting” pinwheels with messages of peace. This was the third year the school has participated. Sept. 21 is also International Peace Day.
Pinwheels for Peace is an art installation project started last year by two Art teachers, Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan, of Coconut Creek, Fla., as a way for students to express their feelings about world events and attitudes.
In 2005, groups in more than 1,325 locations throughout the world were spinning pinwheels on Sept. 21. There were approximately 500,000 pinwheels spinning throughout the world. The number was expected to be greater in 2009.
At Explorer West, art teacher Sarah Robertson Palmer had her seventh-grade students hand make and decorate metallic pinwheels, which were mounted on drinking straws and affixed to the school's link fence facing 30th Avenue Southwest.
"I wrote 'Peace' and 'Be Happy' and 'Be Peaceful' and drew a peace sign on my pinwheel," said student Amelia Best.
"I wrote 'Say something nice to someone' because that's something peaceful," said student Sam Waller.
West Seattle resident and Seattle Lutheran High School student Sofia Wagner, 15, is not exactly sure how long her hair is, "But it's more than 2 feet long," she said with confidence.
Wagner will attend South Seattle Community College's Running Start program to take college level courses. Before she takes on college, in high school she will join five other area teens and attend the 2009 National Youth Gathering for Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in New Orleans July 22 through 26.
When Wagner returns some of her friends may not recognize her. That's because she will donate her locks to an organization that provides hairpieces to children with cancer.
"The last time I seriously cut my hair was in third grade," she recalled. "But I’ve had it trimmed since then."
According to the ELCA Web site, 37,000 will attend the gathering, called "Jesus Justice Jazz."