A couple local media hits from St. Jerome's Alumni Bobby Vrbanac on the St. Jerome's Alumni Golf Tournament 2015.
Bob Vrbanac, Bobby’s World:
It was an event 25 years in the making as alumni from the former St. Jerome’s High School got together last Saturday to celebrate the legacy of the school, that was closed in 1990.
Because of that closure, there hadn’t been a focal point for that shared experience of 125 years of local Catholic education. No building, no staff and no student body to continue on with that tradition.
And it was quite the tradition with celebrated grads, from former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations Paul Heinbecker to former New York Rangers captains Dave and Don Maloney and Walt Tzaczuk.
There was a pent up demand to remember some of those traditions, and the sense of community instilled in graduates of school still on display in the likes of Berry Vrbanovic, the current mayor of the City of Kitchener.
A plan formulated earlier this year by a group called Legacy looked to reconnect grads to that glorious history and pay it forward.
They decided to hold a fundraiser and de facto reunion event at Conestoga Golf Club to reconnect with old friends while launching an ambitious scholarship plan to pave the path for the next generation of community leader. Their plan was to provide $2,000 scholarships to the region’s five Catholic high schools, including Waterloo’s St. David.
Even their wildest expectations were exceeded when groups like Heffner Toyota, St. Jerome’s University, Bishop’s University and Remedy’sRx stepped up with individual scholarships of at least $5,000 to go to deserving local high school graduates looking to pursue post-secondary education.
And while organizer were expecting about 150 people to attend the event, more than 340 attended the golf tournament and dinner that followed. They helped to raise $80,000 for scholarships for students in financial need at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.
Loretta Notten, the new director of education at the Catholic Board, was blown away by the donation. Usually commencement scholarships total $200 to $500. She felt this was an extraordinary expression of what St. Jerome’s meant to its former staff and students.
“This is a great way for them to give back,” said Notten, who received the cheque on behalf of the school board. “For the recipients of these funds, this will be an incredible opportunity for them to access a post-secondary future they might not have otherwise had.”
More importantly, organizers like Brian and Mike Denomme promised they’re not done. They talked about the mentorship and outreach Legacy plans to do in the future.
It’s a legacy to remember.
The promise of a lasting Legacy
By Bob Vrbanac
It was a cheer that hasn’t been heard for almost 25 years.
“Oskee Wee Wee; Oskee Waa Waa; C’mon Lions; Eat ’em raw.”
And those former St. Jerome’s Lions were roaring on Saturday at the Legacy golf tournament and dinner at Conestoga Country Club in support of a new scholarship program.
St. Jerome’s high school, in the heart of downtown Kitchener, has been gone since it closed its doors in 1990 but apparently isn’t forgotten by its alumni. However, without a physical location it was difficult to keep both school pride and 125 years of tradition alive.
Would people remember? Did that sense of community and shared history remain intact?
How do those who want to preserve those memories carry that legacy forward?
That’s when a group called Legacy came forward this summer and decided to put together a fundraising initiative that would honour the past, thank those who made contributions and inspire another generation of students by their example.
Organizers set a modest goal of hosting an event for 150 golfers on Sept. 19, with the hopes of raising enough money to provide $2,000 scholarships to graduating students in financial need at Waterloo Region’s five Catholic high schools.
Those expectations were blown out of the water when the tournament slots were quickly filled up and they had to get tee times at Grey Silo in addition to Conestoga Country Club. It also drew a number of distinguished graduates, including current Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic, who spoke of the values instilled by the school, and on display that night.
Coupled with the dinner, more than 340 people with deep connections to the school attended the event. It raised $80,000 for the Legacy scholarship program that will be distributed by the Waterloo Catholict District School Board.
That included donations of scholarships of at least $5,000 from Heffner Toyota, Remedy’sRx, St. Jerome’s University and Bishop’s University.
Loretta Notten, the new director of education at the Catholic Board, was blown away by the donation. Usually, commencement scholarships total $200 to $500. She felt this was an extraordinary expression of what St. Jerome’s meant to its former staff and students.
“This is a great way for them to give back,” said Notten, on hand to receive the cheque. “For the recipients of these funds, this will be an incredible opportunity for them to access a post-secondary future they might not have otherwise had.”
For organizers like Brian and Mike Denomme, they promised more, including mentorship and support. They also promised a lasting legacy to remember.