Reunion Update

Your SJHS Reunion committee has decided that we will be postponing our 50 Year Reunion which was planned for the weekend of September 26, 2020. Instead, we will hold our Reunion the weekend of September 18, 2021.


One of our classmates said it’ll be our...

50+1 Reunion ~ A Special Gathering of Incredible Classmates.


It was a difficult decision, and one made with a heavy heart, but we believe it is necessary to protect the health and safety of our alumni. The reunion committee discussed many alternatives, and feel this will give our St Joe Bears the best Reunion possible under the circumstances.


We will still be holding the 50+1 Reunion at The Heritage as they have been helpful in rescheduling our event.


Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time. We find so much joy in bringing St Joseph High School alumni together, but it is important for everyone's safety and our long-term relationships to keep our connections virtual at this time.


We look forward to the day when we can safely gather together again and celebrate St Joe High. 


Send your stories from your time at the old Jr High and we'll post them. Here's the link to the: Jr High Yearbook

Keep those stories coming in and I'll post them when I receive them. 

One beautiful Spring day on the second floor with the windows open, in Mr.Denekas's Civics Class, we were discussing what our mom would say to us if we were taken away by Aliens. I was called on and said that she would tell me not to forget my rubbers. It took a long time for the class to settle down from laughing so hard !!! I just wanted to jump out the window !!!

Our first garage rock band, The Town Criers, played several dances there in the cafeteria and the gym !!! Ahhh, the good old days !!!   - Gary S

There comes a time in every young man's life when he has got to get away.  One day while I was in eighth grade I decided to "skip out."  I really don't recall what came over me or why I decided to do it but I was on a mission to get out of school that afternoon.  Come to think of it, I had a couple of bucks burning a hole in my pocket and my sites set on buying the new record album by the Young Rascals, their first.  I summoned up all the courage I had, stepped in the the bathroom and wet my head down and combed my hair back (the extent of any comb-able hair on boys back then were bangs) and removed my glasses.  I did this disguise to protect me from being recognized by any authority figure, namely Principal Ryan.  I left the building and walked down Niles Avenue toward downtown.  Me, Mr. Incognito, strutted right past the diner at the corner of Michigan Avenue  and Niles Avenue on the opposite side of the street.  Word had it that Mr. Ryan stood inside and took names of kids leaving school (no doubt while enjoying a cup of coffee and maybe a cigarette).  True or not I didn't care.  I was in disguise.  That afternoon was fun.  I walked all over downtown, went to the Five and Ten Cent Store and riffled through the albums, bought the recording I was after and walked out as the floor boards squeaked and creaked with each step.  I don't remember how I got home,  but I had hell to pay when I got there.  My parents had been well informed of the situation.  The next morning I was summoned to the office to have a chat with the Principal.  I was not a troublesome student and Mr. Ryan knew that.  He was fairly laid back about the whole matter as he gave me his speech about the unwise decision I made.  He probably knew I faced punishment at home as well as the stint in "Eighth Hour" he meted out to me.  That I saw the dark side of school truancy and didn't like the view.  As I left his office he said, "And by the way, you look better with your glasses on and your hair not combed back." - John B

The only story I can think of is sitting in Mr. Bennett’s classroom. Several of us boys would bounce our feet up and down until the wood floor would start to move up and down until desks would bounce up and down on the floor. I don’t think we did that when Mr. Bennett was in the room.

We also enjoyed him pointing at something with his index finger that was missing a part so he was always giving the finger to everything he pointed to, including students.   - Neil I

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I got a nickname from Denakas, "Ajax" cuz of the commercial on TV of a knight riding a horse for Ajax Cleanser.

Summer time vs school time: I said "HI Chuck" to Chuck Salvano in one of the stairways. He stopped and said, "In school it's Mr Salvano" in a a very stern voice making sure I remembered. He was my swim coach at Berrien Hills during the summer and "Chuck" was ok during the summer.

And one more: Brian B was picking on me after school one day and I had enough. I picked him up and said stop doing that. He never picked on me again.   - David K

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I painfully remember Coach Powell delivering justice on those who would dare walk on his gym floor with hard shoes by bending over and receiving the “shoe”! He would also threaten to make us wear “Sally Sues” if we did anything against gym policies. Since my cognitive skills aren’t what they once were, I should provide the disclaimer that this is what I recall.   - Garry A

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This is great! Ironically, with the stay at home order here in Maine, I was cleaning up my study at home and discovered both my Jr. High Yearbook and my St. Joe High School yearbook from 1970. So I have both. I even found my old Psychology notebook from Mr. Bruno's class in High School. Jay Schadler and I had a contest going through the semester to do these 'crazy' myths at the start of each class period. For instance he started it off one day by saying this:  "Did you know that if you took an infinite amount of monkeys, gave them infinite time, with infinite paper and infinite pencils one of them would eventually write the declaration of independence." Mr Bruno said that if Jay could come up with a new one each day in class he would give him an A. After protests from some of us, it became a contest; Jim Bartley joined Jay, and I had a team mate and we wrote and made up a new "myth" to say each day, then the class voted whose was the best. It soon got labeled as the "MYTH AMERICA" contest, and I think it was Lynn Owen who made an actual flag for the contest. I found in my notebook this week a bunch of Jay Shadler's hand written "myths" and some of my own hand written ones. Don't know how I got some of his in my notebook, but was fun reading them again this week.  Jay lives only about 45 miles from me here in Maine, he has an art studio in Portsmouth, NH, I stopped by since I travel there frequently with my church related jobs, we have a large Assembly of God church in Portsmouth, but Jay wasn't there the day I stopped.

The one weird  memory I have of Jr High School was taking Latin, several of us guys took it because the teacher was a good looking gal, and she seemed a bit flirtatious with the guys .. I think she was single, but don't recall her name.   - Dennis M

Ryan standing in the hall in front of the office with his arms folded inspecting students during class change for dress code violations.  One I heard his deep, booming voice after I passed in front of him “Moe, tuck in that shirt”   - Mark M

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We used to have pea shooters and would shoot them as we went from class to class. I can remember the hallways had lots of peas on the sides.

 Mr Wetters class. We would fire spitballs at the clock when he wasn't looking, trying to cover of the clock. Also on nice days when the windows were open we'd fly paper airplanes out the window. some days there were hundreds of paper airplanes on the lawn out side.   - Paul W 

I remember those guys cuz I'd have the class afterwards and there would be spitballs all over the place.   - DK

* * * * 

One of the main social lines us teenage girls had in Jr. High, was passing notes written in our girly squiggles to each other in class or quickly on the sly in our hurried hallways  between classes. The trick was to get our most pressing news (gossip) at that minute, or so we thought, of who did what to whom & when & where. Ha! Or any scandalous info about our teachers true or not that we would pass around.

We would be mortified to be summoned to Principle Mr. Ryan’s office. We learned later as we matured, that he was a great & fair equalizer .....chuckling knowing we were all good kids no matter what we did wrong.  

Us girls had our phones ringing Monday thru Friday each night before class making BIG decisions on what we were going to wear to school the next day. We felt cool decked out in our wool, pinned,  pleated kilts & knee socks & sweaters all matching of course. Home number: 983-3082. Kids line down the hall was: 983-0987 - Tom & Peg never answered that one. Cudo’s to them for the privacy.   - Jan K-N

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Mr. Ryan used to keep a recipe card file on his office desk. If one of us delinquents were sent to the principal’s office for an infraction, you would take your verbal beating and then he would write your name, date and describe your infraction on an index card, then read it back to you. If you were like me and too dumb to learn and continued to be sent to the principal’s office, he would sit you down and pull your card from his file. He would then commence to recount the date and nature of previous infractions, to provide you some extra shame and suffering, before getting to the current infraction. He would calmly describe the current infraction as he best knew it to be as you set there just waiting and praying for it all to be over. Then he would say, “do you want to tell me why you thought that would be a good idea?” and then sit back in his chair with that stern look we all knew and wait, while you squirmed and hemmed and hawed. I recognized later, not at that time, that the sitting back in his chair, watching you squirm and waiting for your explanation was in the end, his real punishment. During the whole meeting he was stern but he was calm, which was pretty smart on his part and he probably got some entertainment value out of it too. Waiting to see Mr. Ryan was “wait till your dad gets home” on steroids.   - Randy P


Stories (Any resemblance to the truth  is strictly coincidental)

Some one (maybe Tom K or Bill P) invented some stink spray and sprayed it in the hall out side Mr Zick's class room.   Rumor was it was just practice   The big event planned was that weekends B Ball game.

Marvin Dietz morning weather reports.

Mr Sexton used to always lean back in his chair during class one time he went to far and put his elbow thru the window.

Peter Thomas got caught acting up in the lunch room. Mr Ryan made him get up and sing "Rabbit Ain't Got No Tail At All"

Billy Kelly trying to put some hot plastic down my shirt in wood shop and I ran up to Mr K to save me. He just looked up and shook his head and went back to grading papers.

A few stories I'm not going to share to protect the innocent.

Billy Kelly (leather jacket, slicked back hair, cigarettes in the pocket)

Barracuda jackets, Chinos, Platform shoes for the boys.

Stand Out Student

Teachers... Pat Ryan  Principle, Mr. Zick: Science, Mr. Sexton: English, Little Hunt - Big Hunt - Ted Kilty - Lloyd MacTavish - Mr Kalnaraups: Wood Shop   - Jim B

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Definitely remember the fun trip with Ted K to NYC and the Worlds Fair!  C. Case and B. Williams and maybe C. Carlson were my room mates...along with my cousin Janice.  I think Herman the Hermits were actually staying at the hotel across the street from us...because we made signs for them and put them in our hotel window for them to see! ❤️ (DK- Yes, NYC trip where we went to the Worlds Fair. I wish someone had photos from that trip so we could post them)

I remember someone in class made teacher Velma Rittums get so upset she started crying! 😳 And big Mr. Baker leaning back his chair and falling asleep during study hall...snoring so loudly his chair fell backwards!  Definitely woke him up!!! 😂 Also a talent show? we did...and I think it was one of the home ec teachers that was getting married, and a bunch of us did a skit to the song...Going to the chapel...gonna get married! 😉“Sneaking” out for lunch and going to the Dairy Isle/Korner...😊Lots of great, fun memories! 😊   - Sandy G-P

* * * *

At track practice, Mr. Ryan yelled at me "Ruth, you run so slow that you look like you're  running on your left foot half the time!" I was crushed, until some time later I realized that everyone runs on their left foot half of the time. 😂

Practice for the football teams were held at Wells Field.  We all hated the walk to and from practice, but it was even worse when I realized that Big Hunt and Little Hunt drove to the field instead of walking. 😊   - Derek R

DK - I remember walking to Wells Field and thinking it was twice as far going back to the Jr High after practice. 

Ted Kilty and his travel agency across the street on Niles Ave......did 2 trips with him : #1- to downtown NYC, at the City Squire Motor Inn, where Herman's Hermits and the Dave Clark 5 were staying at the same time. Trip #2- was to Wash. DC, and the second bus had an accident with a Nat'l. Guard convoy. My mom was a chaperone on that bus and I was in the first bus, with no idea what happened until  3 hrs later. No cell phones back then!!! We sat and waited in a rest stop for the 3 hrs!!!   - Gary S

I remember this differently - I only did one trip with Kilty and that was to NYC for the Worlds Fair. I remember Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits was at our hotel cuz I got his autograph in the elevator. And the bus accident was the return trip from NYC. I think I roomed with GS in fact. I guess our old, feeble minds are wacky.   - DK

* * * *

This story starts in Little Hunts class. Penny Dwan sat behind me. One day she started tapping a pencil on my neck and pulling at my hair while Hunt was not looking. I muttered to stop but she just gigglcd and kept at it. I guess I'd had enough so I turned to ask her to stop, but never got the words out because my elbow knocked her books and papers off the desk. Hunt appears, doesn't ask any questions, just orders me to get on the floor to pick things up. Guess I may have been a little stunned and didn't move fast enough for him because he halls off and kicks me to the floor. Papers retrieved and class goes on. Afterward, Penny apologizes and we agree to forget about it; enough said until Ryan calls me in. He knew my parents and wanted an explanation. I told him I just leaned back and accidently knocked the books and papers off. He asked if Little Hunt had kicked me, to which I said yes, and if Hunt had asked about an explanation, to which I said no. Next day Little Hunt pulls me aside and doesn't apologize but tells me I got things wrong, that I had tripped and fell and not to act up again. Never heard another word, never talked to anyone else about it...different times.

Have another...
This ones with Big Hunt in gym class. Some guys were acting out instead of doing the exercises Hunt had instructed. He picked out a small guy, think his name was Jerry Turner, and sarted in on him because he couldn't climb the rope and was misbehaving. He tells someone to go and get "The Paddle." For those not in the Know, this was a cricket paddle with holes drilled through the center, meaty, part of the bat and on the down swing was nearly akin to the sound of a Stuka bomber; it whistled with the fear of God. I had seen it used a few times and witnessed the resulting red circular welts it left "behind." Most guys took it in stride and things moved on. Jerry, however, didn't weigh much and had no growth spurt yet; the perfect human missle. When contact was made it launced Jerry up into the bleachers and you knew the pain and humilation had just risen. Didn't call him "Big Hunt" for nothing. He just grunted and waddled on, so we checked out Jerry and he seemed OK. Most had a good laugh...except Jerry!   - Allen T 


History of St Joseph Public Schools

This is a fun website that SJ Public Schools put together. Click on the link below and enjoy.

https://issuu.com/cwaterhouse/docs/didyouknow_booklet

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ST. JOSEPH HIGH SCHOOL ALMA MATER

Sing we hail to Alma Mater,

Praise by sons and daughters all.

Give her victory and honor.

May her banner never fall.

For we love our St. Joe High School

Raise her Maize and Blue on high.

Though twill soon be just a mem’ry.

All the dear days just gone by.

We will all remember fondly,

Alma Mater, St. Joe High.

Thank you to Heather Burke-Fogle for finding a "boo-boo" in the above. The 2nd to last line was not in the correct place. All is fixed and the Alma Mater stands tall.


SJHS Class of 1970 Alumni Perform at Fund Raiser

Donna Nelli-Metz, Sue Waymire-Manke, Jim Bartley, David Knight & Pete Tohluizen


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