Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
July 5, 2010
Schulte dynasty ends at St. James School
Family ends half-century of unbroken enrollment at school
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - For 50 years, the Schulte clan has had an incredible unbroken string at St. James School.
But with the Grade 6 graduation of Jackson McFall on June 25, the school will be without a single Schulte this fall for the first time in half a century.
Viola Schulte lived in Edmonton's King Edward Park district when the school was built in 1953. Near the Mill Creek Ravine and the shopping and nightlife of Old Strathcona, the residential neighbourhood appealed to her. Most of all, she recognized the inherent goodness in the Catholic school, situated at 7814-83 St.
Her eldest son Brent starting attending St. James School in 1961. Over the years, four more sons and a daughter also went there, as did their children.
The Catholic school played a crucial role in the lives of Viola's family. Being educated there early in life prepared them well for their respective futures.
"There's no one memory that stands out, just everybody passing through and going on to find very good jobs, very good homes," said Viola. "They are all happily married now and have children. This makes me feel very proud."
Brent's beloved school, now kindergarten to Grade 6, was Grades 1 to 9 when he attended in the 1960s. He went to St. Mary's High School afterwards, but those first nine school years were important in his life.
Today, he lives with his family in Kamloops, B.C., the community he has called home for the past 25 years.
"On the drop of a hat this week, my sister emailed me a picture of that reader board that said, 'Farewell to the Schultes.' I cleared all of my plans and drove in yesterday so I could be here today," said Brent, speaking of the special presentation for his family.
"I walked through the hallways as soon as I got back here. Firstly, this (gymnasium) wasn't here. The gymnasium used to be a library.
"My brother was commenting that it used to seem like such a long walk from the classroom to the principal's office, and now it doesn't seem like such a long walk," said Brent.
He called it a fantastic school, and he has fond memories of his teachers there. He pored over his old report cards as a reminder of his former teachers, dating back to Sister Mary Anthony, his Grade 1 teacher.
"Back in the day, when I first went here, everything was all tied together - the church, the school," said Brent. "St. James Church was still very much active. One of the things was if you went to St. James, you became an altar boy. So I was an altar boy here, and went to school here, the church was a block away and I played hockey for St. James.
"All of life was centred on St. James."
Never did Viola consider sending her children and grandchildren to another school. With news headlines about education cutbacks and school closures, Viola said, "I hope it never closes because it's been a great school."
Also a proud supporter of St. James School, Brent said the thought of attending another school never crossed his mind. "With my younger brothers and sister that followed, obviously there was a close connection to the school. Every two years there was another one of us coming along. I was the oldest one leading the way," said Brent.
A FAMILY AFFAIR
"It was such a family thing with school and church and hockey and parish activities, which are a big part of our lives. I couldn't imagine going to any other school."
He has four grown sons, and two of them have since moved back to Edmonton. One is getting married in October, and Brent has not ruled out the possibility that yet another generation of Schultes attending St. James School is on the horizon.
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