Local Schools

Students celebrate 100 years of Catholic education

Holy Trinity principal Martha Concannon looks on as third-grader William Ashley adds a collage to the time capsule as memorabilia from Phyllis McEntire’s class.

Holy Trinity principal Martha Concannon looks on as third-grader William Ashley adds a collage to the time capsule as memorabilia from Phyllis McEntire’s class.

by Jill Ragar Esfeld

Lenexa — It was truly a grand finale as Holy Trinity Parish here concluded the 100th anniversary celebration of its grade school.

The official “end” began at an all-school assembly the afternoon of May 3.

Principal Martha Concanon kicked off the assembly by telling students some facts about life when the original two-room school was opened by Benedictine Sisters in 1912.

“How many of you have cell phones?” she asked — and almost every hand went up.

Students voiced surprise when Concanon told them that when their school was first built, only eight percent of the homes had a telephone, and only 14 percent had a bathtub.

“And the maximum speed limit?” she said. “It was only 10 miles per hour!”

The history lesson continued with a special guest appearance by Octave Chanute, who platted the town of Lenexa along the Sante Fe Trail in the late 1800s.

Chanute was convincingly played by former Lenexa parks and recreation director Bill Nicks, who entertained students with his expertise on Lenexa history.

After a sneak preview of the commemorative video made in celebration of the anniversary, students got down to the real business of the afternoon — filling a time capsule with mementos for future Holy Trinity students.

Representatives from each class and members of the staff and faculty came forward to fill the wooden chest serving as the time capsule with memorabilia from different events. Drawings, pictures, and notes from students and a current newspaper and yearbook were also included.

Middle school students put in one of their Holy Trinity sweatshirts and Concanon included a uniform from the elementary grades.

Pastor Father Mike Koller added a parish directory and a DVD of the anniversary video, saying, “I hope they’ll be able to play this in the future.”

The time capsule was locked in an air-tight vault that will be placed underneath the floor in the school entrance to await a future anniversary.

The celebration continued May 4 with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and concelebrated by Father Koller, associate pastors Father Francis Bakyor and Father Barry Clayton, and former pastor Father Tom Dolezal.

In his homily, Archbishop Naumann told parishioners his love for Catholic schools stems from his own experience as a student and as the son of a Catholic schoolteacher.

He talked about the importance of celebrating anniversaries of every kind, because they present an opportunity to reflect, reconnect and recommit.

“It is a time to give thanks for many blessings and to give God glory for them,” he said about Holy Trinity and its rich tradition.

He told parishioners it’s also a time for Holy Trinity School to “recommit to its mission of helping form the next generation of disciples.”

At the conclusion of the Mass, Father Koller invited special guests to stand and be recognized, including Benedictine Sisters, past and present principals and teachers, and alumni of Holy Trinity School.

After the Mass, most of the audience remained in the church to watch the 100th anniversary video presentation of the school with historic pictures, video clips, stories and interviews.

The evening’s celebration was concluded with a barbecue social held in the parish gymnasium.

DVDs available

DVDs commemorating Holy Trinity School’s 100-year celebration are available. This 30-minute video is loaded with historical pictures and interviews. The video is available at the parish and school offices. Holy Trinity is asking for a $25 donation to offset the cost of the centennial celebration with any overage going to the school endowment fund. For more information, call the parish office (913) 888-2770.

About the author

Jill Esfeld

Jill Ragar Esfeld received a degree in Writing from Missouri State University and started her profession as a magazine feature writer, but quickly transitioned to technical/instructional writing where she had a successful career spanning more than 20 years. She returned to feature writing when she began freelancing for The Leaven in 2004. Her articles have won several awards from the Catholic Press Association. Jill grew up in Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Missouri; and has been a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, Kansas, for 35 years.

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