St. Francis Xavier High School's Last Graduating Class, 1969
John Duguay was a faithful and long time member of St. Francis Xavier Parish and he took many pictures of the church through the years.
The Ecorse Advertiser of May 28, 1969, recorded an end of an era in the annals of St. Francis Xavier High School in Ecorse.
Its 30th graduating class will open wide its portals, turn their eyes toward their Alma Mater and suddenly realize that this haven is no longer for them. It’s inevitable that they must part and there will be tears in many eyes as not only the graduates but also the lower class men leave its doors for the last time.
Only the grade school will reopen in September. The Catholic financial crisis is forcing the high school to close.
The school building was erected in 1924 under the guidance of Father Tobias G. Morin, pastor, who was later elevated to the rank of the Right Reverend Monsignor. The Sisters of St. Joseph were placed in charge.
Enrollment for the first year was 200, and it increased continuously from year to year. The class of June 1939 was the first graduating class of St. Francis. Some graduates remained in the area and others moved away. Many survived World War II.
Students in the class of 1939 were Leo Thibeault, Robert Sackett, Henry Myrand, Edward Foley, George Cloutier, Everett Kovalchick, James Hodge, Donald Stevens, Harry Gladding, Anthony Shield, Jack Spaight, Roger Raupp, Ray Livernois, Louis Poupard, Agatha Beausejour Bankovich, Mary Sanscrainte Monks, Betty Plourde, Peggy Sarchet, Rita Konzen, Bernice Raupp Stein, Ruth Happ, Mary Freeman, Josephine Page and Betty Navarre Schoenherr.
The last class of St. Francis Xavier High School included Kathy Abler, Linda Alcala, Sidney Alent, DeborahAllen, John Bedo, Shirley Bondie, Gary Baumgardner, James Carmody Arlene Chrapko, Celeste Cloutier, Thomas Cousino, Donald Dionne, Patrick Dolan, Danell Enright, Regis Enright, Monica Fashbaugh, Michael Forest Jr., Mary Anne Gibbons, Brian Harney, Dennis Hicks, Sue Hollobaugh, Dennis Hunter and Karen Schafran.
The valedictorian and salutatorian of the last graduating class of St. Francis Xavier High School were Karen Schafran and Arlene Chrapko. Karen Schafran was the daughter of Mrs. Andrew Schafran, 1570 LeJuene, Lincoln, Park. She was selected as valedictorian of the graduating class by attaining the highest academic record. Based on 3 ½ years she has attained a 3.5 average, earning 136 honor points and never had a mark below “B.” Karen plans to attend Eastern Michigan University or Wayne State University.
Arlene Chrapko, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Chrapko, 3601 Marian Drive, Trenton, former Ecorse residents, was selected as salutatorian. She has attended Xavier of 12 years and during high school has made the honor roll every year. She has changed from a college course to a business course and does not plan to attend college. She will seek employment after graduation.
Mary Ann Price wrote in the Ecorse Advertiser of Wednesday, May 28, 1969, that Richard Morgan, superintendent of the 80-inch Mill, Great Lakes Steel Corporation, was guest speaker at the annual all sports banquet Sunday at St. Francis Xavier School, Ecorse. Highlight of the evening was a film of the Detroit Lions by Leroy (Friday) Macklen, Lion’s equipment manager. This was the last athletic banquet because the high school will close in June.
Joseph Wierzbiecki, former Xavier All Star and now basketball coach at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Wyandotte, was master of ceremonies. The Reverend Norbert Chateau gave the invocation. Guests included Mayor Richard E. Manning, Nicholas Galante, athletic director; Bernard Poppa, head football, basketball, and track coach; Jack Seitzinger, assistant basketball coach; Joe Benso, assistant football coach; Philip Ventimiglis, sports student manager, and John O’ Toole, C.Y.O. football coach.
Awards and letters were presented to Seniors Kenneth Mehi, football, basketball and track; Donald Dionne, football and basketball; Regis Enright, football and track; Dennis Hicks, track. Football awards also went to John Bedo, Thomas Cousino, Konrad Walker, Alden Markel, Charles Montie, Curtis Gatney, Bernard Olesko, James Carmody and Gary Baumgardner.