Posts Tagged ‘St. Thomas High School’

St. Thomas Sports HOF Class of 2015 Shines

May 31, 2015
MIKE MULVIHILL (L) AND RICHARD QUESADA, THE DYNAMIC DUO IN BASEBALL AND FOOTBALL FOR THE STHS CLASS OF 1956 ARE NOW BOTH INDUCTED MEMBERS OF THE ST. THOMAS HIGH SCHOOL (HOUSTON) SPORTS HALL OF FAME, AS THEY ALWAYS SHOULD HAVE BEEN.

MIKE MULVIHILL (L) AND RICHARD QUESADA, THE DYNAMIC DUO IN BASEBALL AND FOOTBALL FOR THE STHS CLASS OF 1956 ARE NOW BOTH INDUCTED MEMBERS OF THE ST. THOMAS HIGH SCHOOL (HOUSTON) SPORTS HALL OF FAME. MULVIHILL AND 9 OTHERS WENT INTO THE HALL, BRINGING THE TOTAL MEMBERSHIP UP TO 48 FOR THE FIRST 115 YEARS OF THE EAGLES’ S RICH PRIVATE SCHOOL HISTORY OF EXCELLENCE IN ACADEMICS, ATHLETICS, AND VALUES-CENTERED LEARNING..

The induction banquet was held last night, Saturday, May 30, 2015 for the ten inductees and a few hundred guests in the Reckling Gymnasium at St. Thomas High School at 4500 Memorial Drive in Houston. As an alumnus of St. Thomas and a friend and former Class of 1956 schoolmate of both Mike and Richard, I’m a little based in favor of the St. Thomas high school experience, but check it for yourself at the school’s website:

http://www.sths.org/

Now, if you have the time and interest, here is a quick look and summary of the ten quality men who were inducted into our Sports Hall of Fame last night. That first on the list was an American icon in the sport of bowling, but all of these guys have done major things in their own fields of life beyond sports as well.

Congratulations. Inductees! The St. Thomas High School’s worldwide community is proud of you all!

sths-hof-15-01asths-hof-15-05asths-hof-15-01bsths-hof-15-05sths-hof-15-01csths-hof-15-06asths-hof-15-02aasths-hof-15-06bsths-hof-15-02absths-hof-15-07asths-hof-15-03aasths-hof-15-07bsths-hof-15-03abGary Martinsths-hof-15-03acTed Nowaksths-hof-15-04aaMark Yokubaitussths-hof-15-04abBradley Smith

GO, TOMS! – KEEP UP THE GOOD FIGHT!

 

ONCE AN EAGLE. – ALWAYS AN EAGLE!

 

AND THE PECAN PARK EAGLE WISHES ALL OF YOU

AND YOUR FAMILIES OUR FRIENDLIEST TALONED “4500 FOREVER” CONGRATULATIONS ON JOBS WELL DONE AND LIVES WELL LIVED!

 

LOVE AND LOYALTY ARE FOREVER!

 

EDITORIAL NOTE: Thanks to the St. Thomas HS Alumni Staff! – They are due all the credit for the graphics and script that we used here to make this information reach an even larger audience. Thanks to all of you in general, but especially to those of you who prepared this very attractive material as a residual benefit to those who were unable to attend the ceremony.

All The Pecan Park Eagle (STHS Class of 1956) wants is to help this information move along to the larger interested readership these tem fine inductees deserve to reach.

Regards, Bill McCurdy

STHS Class of 1956

Publisher and Editor

The Pecan Park Eagle

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THE PECAN PARK EAGLE

THE PECAN PARK EAGLE

Happy 57th, STHS Class of 1956!

May 25, 2013
Yesterday, When We Were Young.

Yesterday, When We Were Young.

Dear Fellow Classmates of St. Thomas High School, 1956,

Unless I missed the date by a day or two, it was 57 years ago today, on May 25, 1956, that all of us, and more than a few now of our departed brothers, all graduated from dear old St. Thomas High School to live our lives and grow and love and test our dreams and survive heartbreak and come out the other side stronger for having come through each learning crisis long enough to have harvested all its lessons.

Time bends strangely into irony, with events seeming, more and more, long ago and only yesterday, in the same flash point of recollection.

Fifty-Seven Years! Where has the time gone, friends?

So long ago ~ so near at hand,

It’s not for us ~ to understand,

The dreams that lived ~ the loves that clung,

To us, last night – when we were young.

Happy Memorial Day, Fellow Eagles!

Hope to see all of you again soon!

Love and Peace to all of you now ~ and to all others who understand the harvest of this experience over time,

As Always ~ Regards ~ Bill McCurdy

St. Thomas High Honors Father Wilson April 5th

March 25, 2011

St. Thomas High School, 4500 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas.

First of all, I need to clarify and apologize for any wrong impressions I may have left here about St. Thomas Baseball as a result of my March 6th column, “St. Thomas Baseball Show DisappointsThat being said, I did write then that “This was my first time out there since Craig Biggio took over as coach last year, so I really have no grounds for complaint about the way the game was presented at St. Thomas on Tuesday. For all I know, yesterday’s show-time (a March 15th game with Kingwood) was an aberration of spring break.”

My complaints were about the non-use of the public address system as anything but a music noise filler, the absence of attention to lineup changes and batting announcements, the missing pageantry of the pre-game National Anthem, and the fact that there was no concession stand service.

Yesterday I heard from Mr. Tommy Schulte, Director of St. Thomas Alumni Relations. Mr. Schulte had slipped on over to Father Wilson Field to check out my complaints at a game played this week. As it turns out, in short, the experience we had back on March 15th, indeed, was all due to spring break. With the general student population off doing their various spring break things, no one was there on campus last week to do all the little game attendant things that usually go with St. Thomas baseball as a matter of form.

Everything is back to super well done normal for St. Thomas this week.

Again, my apologies. I should have waited to check all this out with an informed source before I went to print. Although I did qualify my review issues as possibly due to spring break, I could have simply held back until the facts could be checked. As it were, I only decided to do the article after I arrived home. By then, I had been swayed by the weight of my worst critical thoughts. It’s a common affliction among those of us who spend most of our lifetimes in recovery from perfectionism.

Forgive me, St. Thomas folks. If I were not also a St. Thomas guy, and had the subject been anything but how to present a baseball game when you have in your possession all the tools to do it right, I probably could have held onto some objective restraint with my keyboard over a time frame that would have allowed for adequate fact-checking before publication. My bad, but it won’t happen again, not with St. Thomas, at least.

 

Father James Wilson, CSB

Now comes some long overdue happy news – and it’s news that also goes out as a special invitation to all St. Thomas alumni.

 

On Tuesday, April 5th, at 6:45 PM, immediately prior to a big game with district rival St. Pius X, St. Thomas will unveil and dedicate a bust of the late Father James Wilson, CSB at the campus baseball field that also bears his name. What you may not read elsewhere is the fact current Baseball Coach Craig Biggio was the driving force behind the development of this special honor to the man who put St. Thomas High School on the serious championship map in the State of Texas back in the early 1950s. After hearing stories about the impact that Father Wilson had upon the baseball program and generations of young aspiring scholar athletes, Coach Biggio wanted to see the school go a step further in honoring the good man who put so much positive energy in motion more than a half century ago.

So, the invitation is this simple. Come on out for a free look at the fine baseball team that Mr. Biggio has put together on April 5th – on a night that St. Thomas High School pays special tribute to the other man who put all this conquering energy together in the first place, the Reverend James Wilson, Community of St. Basil.

St. Thomas has won ten (10) State of Texas baseball championships at various levels of designated competition in 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1963, 1990, 2008, and 2011. The championship chain started with Father James Wilson. It goes on today with Coach Craig Biggio.

If you need an added incentive, here’s one for you: The first one hundred St. Thomas alumni who check in with Alumni Relations Director Tommy Schulte on the evening of April 5th will also receive a free alumni association t-shirt.

Who could ask for anything more?

 

Mulvihill for St. Thomas Sports Hall of Fame

February 10, 2011

Mike Mulvihill (STHS 1956) is only Eagle to then play for an NCAA Division 1 national championship team.

The St. Thomas High School Class of 1956 is now busy rallying support for one their own this month. We have nominated classmate Mike Mulvihill for induction into the STHS Sports all of Fame. Others from St. Thomas who wish to help are strongly encouraged to go the STHS website and print out a nomination form that they each also mail or e-mail back to the alumni office prior to the Feb. 17th deadline for receiving new materials.

Here’s all the info you need to get the job done: For STHS alumni, nominations for a candidate’s induction into the St. Thomas Sports Hall of Fame for 2011, and notes of support submitted on the official nomination forms, are due by Thursday, February 17, 2011. Click here to download a nomination form. Please print, fill-out, and mail-in the nomination form to:

St. Thomas High School Alumni Association
4500 Memorial Drive
Houston, Texas 77007-7332
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To support Mike Mulvihill, simply reference it something like this: “I’m writing in support of the nomination of Mike Mulvihill already submitted on 2/07/2011 by Bill McCurdy.” A STHS committee will select inductees by late February or early March, but our show of support is also important to the successful consideration of our candidate.

Mike Mulvihill, STHS, 1956

For four years (1952-1956) and eight separate seasons of football and baseball, Mike Mulvihill was a driving force behind St. Thomas athletic accomplishment. As a fullback/safety in football, St. Thomas captured a state TCIL (Texas Catholic Interscholastic League) title in 1952 and played competitive football during Mike’s other three seasons. In baseball, Mike worked as n effective power pitcher and speedy outfielder for St. Thomas clubs that took one American Legion state title and three varsity state TCIL championships.

Then Mike Mulvihill graduated in 1956 and went on to do something that no other STHS athlete had ever done before, or since. Mike became a pitcher-outfielder for the Oklahoma State University Cowboys and a valued member of the club that won the 1959 national title in NCAA Division 1 level baseball.

Add good grades all the way through school and a 52-year stable marriage and a successful thirty year career in engineering equipment sales to the resume and we have a man who is wholly qualified for this  acknowledgement at the highest level by those of us who passed through the same system at St. Thomas High School.

Simply print out those forms and mail them back “in support of Mike Mulvihill”  today to St. Thomas today with your name and graduation year on the same page. They must get there by next Thursday, Feb. 17th, to be included as weighted support for our very deserving guy.

Acting upon this request is simply an extension of our old school motto. Remember that one? “Teach me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge” was, and still is, our school motto – and it is fully in that spirit that we act in goodness and responsive discipline upon the knowledge that Mike Mulvihill is totally  deserving of induction into the St. Thomas High School Sports Hall of Fame.

St. Thomas High School: A Houston educational force since 1900.

Brother Orchid Wasn’t Up for Tonys or Oscars

January 28, 2011

Yesterday I had reason to visit my old St. Thomas High School on other research business that took me enjoyably through all of our old “Eagle” newspapers from the time I was there, 1952 to 1956. Neither the material for this story, nor any of my personal misadventures from back then, had anything to do with the reasons that fellow 1956 classmate Ed Szymczak and I were there to meet with STHS curator Anna Henderson, but I simply could not pass on this copy and a few others I digitally photographed for today’s story in The Pecan Park Eagle. It was “funnest” thing I ever did back in the day.

For our Senior Class play in November 1955, Father Walter Scott, CSB, had decided to stage a production of Brother Orchid, an early 1940’s B Grade movie that had starred Edward G. Robinson in the dual personality role as the title character Brother Orchid and his pre-transformational personna, Little John Sarto.

Brother Orchid was a no-brainer for St. Thomas as a good play choice: (1) As an all male school, it eliminated the need for recruiting female actors from Incarnate Word Academy or St. Agnes; and (2) It rode on a Catholic theme. – a bad guy reforms by falling into the healing hands of a Catholic religious order after he’s almost killed running from his old crum-bum companions in crime and is found dying in the woods by one of the flower-breeding brothers.

Long story short: I tried out for the play and got the lead role as Brother Orchid/Little John Sarto. t age 17, I suddenly had more lines to learn in Brother Orchid than I would ever see again. It would prove to be, with cause, my only rodeo as a leading man on stage, but I loved every minute of it, as I think did everyone else who took the ride as actors and stage hands. I can’t see Sam Sacco to this day without getting into the first performance night in which Sam forgot his lines and was simply making things up to say to me.

“&$%@##*&, Sam,” I would say between scenes, “give me the right lines. Everything I’m saying out there sounds stupid because you can’t remember what you’re supposed to say.”

“A good actor doesn’t need lines,” Sam Sacco would shoot back. “A good actor just needs to feel his part and speak from those feelings.

In case you never saw any other plays or movies from Sam Sacco or yours truly, there’s reason enough right there in the Sacco pronouncements.

Delbert Stewart as The Gimp (right above in photo) and I also had our moments with the dialogue. Even in 1955, we thought the dialogue was often a little too corny to say, but we still accepted Director Scott’s will – and tried to say our lines, anyway. In the scene above, I’m supposed to turn around and confront The Gimp, who does have the drop on me. I’m supposed to interrupt The Gimp’s stream of vitriol toward me with this brilliant little dirge of dialogue: “Can it cluck-brain! You’re the one who got us all in the hot water!”

In our final rehearsal, I reached a point in which I could not say that line without breaking into laughter. That break would then get Delbert Stewart started on the same hilarity kick. It got worse from there. Pretty soon, all I had to do was turn around and make eye contact with The Gimp and we both would crack up. Thank God for the patience of Father Scott. We worked it out in rehearsal and delivered on stage – with no further fumbles in this area, anyway.

Something did happen shortly before the play that effected the rest of my life, but you need to hear this part in context. It was a very different era and none of our Basilian order mentors would ever have given us advice that was designed to harm our health in any way. Father Scott was just trying to help make up the visage gap that apparently existed between the way the grizzled Edward G. Robinson appeared in this role on-screen and the way I looked as a soap-behind-my-ears 17-year old in a high school play version of the same story.

“Say, Bill,” Father Scott asked me after rehearsal one day, near opening night, “do you smoke?”

“No, I don’t Father.”

“Well, why don’t you think about taking up cigars for the play? It would help you look the part,” Father Scott said. “You can always quit again once the play is finished.”

Made sense to me. I bought some cheap cigars on the way home. And I did quit after the play was finished – but it was fifty years later.

My love affair/addiction with/to tobacco was firmly launched with Brother Orchid. I loved the little kicky rearrangement of my brain cells that came from smoking – and I also learned on stage that I could use the smoke to enhance the attention people paid to my character. In fact, we had a whole scene that was virtually a throw-away until I figured out it all could change with one puff of smoke.

In this early scene, my old gang is on stage discussing my imminent return from prison and fearing the changes it may bring. They pretty well paint me for the audience as a cigar-smoking meanie who could punish those who had horned in on his territories while he was locked up. I’m supposed to enter the scene from the right after one gangster/actor expresses the vain hope that i won’t show. But, after listening to the scene off stage with my lighted cigar in hand, I pick what I think is a better route of entry. – I stay out of sight, but first blow this big cloud of blue smoke on stage  as the announcement that I’m coming.

The audience roars. Then I walk on the stage for the first time to applause. And I’m hooked. If not on the stage, a hundred per cent on smoking.

That one’s on me. I don’t blame Father Scott. And I did finally pull up from cigarettes fifty years later in better shape than I deserved to be.

In the final scene of Brother Orchid, I get shot by a character named Dum-Dum, but I live long enough to deliver one more cornball line: “I go to my God with a good heart because the Florentines have been preserved to do His Work!”

The trouble is – Dum-Dum’s gun doesn’t go off as scheduled. The blank bullet doesn’t fire.

In the interest of time, I fall to the ground, anyway. – Then the gun goes off. And I say my final lines to the titter of murmuring laughter. Then I stand up and we all take a bow for the mercy applause of our supportive audience. Stage careers end for all of us that night. Exiting left and right.

The cast for our play beyond my humbling “Bill McCurdy as Brother Orchid/Little John Sarto” role included; Sam Sacco as Fat Duchy; Delbert Stewart as The Gimp; Marcus Saha as Freckles; Michael Storey as Dum-Dum; Ralph Marek as Solomon; Buddy Negrotto as Dominic Battista; Kenneth Hogan as Brother Nasturtium; Joe Carlotta as Brother Geranium; Marshall Seavey as Brother Hollyhock; and Tom Withey as Abbot Jonquil.

The 1940 movie version of Brother Orchid pops up on Turner Classic Movies every now and then and it is also available from TCM on DVD.

No, I do not have a copy of the film.

Quo Vadis, Craig Biggio?

May 25, 2010

5/15/10: The Craig Biggio-coached St. Thomas Eagles defeated Houston Christian, 7-5, in the finals at Waco to take the 5-A State of Texas TAPPS baseball championship.

It only took Craig Biggio two years to lead the St. Thomas Eagles to a state title in baseball, but he and the boys did it in typical Biggio-Astros style over the 2010 season, weathering a phase of doubt and coming back strong to fare even better than Houston’s professional standard bearers. The Eagles went all the way to the top, winning their 23rd state baseball title in the 110th year of the school’s history.

Biggio got involved in helping out as volunteer assistant coach with St. Thomas football while he was still playing for the Astros after his oldest son Conor Biggio entered the school as a freshman. Conor was followed two years later by younger brother Cavan. What a dream opportunity this all turned out to be for retiring super big leaguer Biggio – a chance to watch and even be involved in the ongoing education of his sons as young men and serious ballplayers.

Biggio accepted employment as the St. Thomas baseball coach on May 18, 2008. Three days short of two years later, on May 15, 2010, Biggio and Company were wrapping up that most special prize in Texas high school competition, a state championship. St. Thomas defeated season-long nemesis Houston Christian, 7-5, in the 5-A TAPPS state baseball championship finals at Waco to bring home that very special prize.

Craig Biggio (4th from right in red jacket) & St. Thomas Good Company!

Our hats go off to Craig Biggio and the gang from old St. Thomas (my old high school too) – along with all the questions that Craig Biggio’s coaching success at this level now adds to all those queries that continue to float around about his future as a major league manager.

After Craig Biggio’s probable first ballot induction into the Hall of Fame in 2013, will he be open to managing in the big leagues? If so, will it have to be a term with the Astros – or will he be open to other offers? – Or will Craig Biggio simply prefer to stay where he is – close to home and family, and close to the handles on his favorite charities and involvement in the Sunshine Kids Foundation? I’m sure that St. Thomas High School wouldn’t mind it either if Biggio decided to stay at the helm of our baseball program at STHS far beyond the years that his sons are enrolled as students. He brings class, positive energy, and success to everything he does.

The final answers to all questions about the future of Craig Biggio rest down the road – and that’s where I think he places them too. As with all the rest of us, his best choices rest firmly in the Hand of God – and in his ongoing discovery of God’s Will for him in this lifetime.

God Bless you too now, Craig Biggio, for all you do to make the Houston community a better place.

The Sicilian Joy of Patrenella’s!

January 29, 2010

Patrenella's and the best authentic Sicilian cuisine in Houston is located at 813 Jackson Hill, at the corner of Jackson Hill and Barnes, just one block south of where the street "Ts" into Washington Avenue. NOTE: Patrenella's has its own Bocce Court too.

Sammy Patrenella, 75, and his Patrenella’s Ristorante Italiano are both Houston classics. If you have never tried Sammy’s classic Sicilian fare, you really owe it to your palate to do so. Come for the food and stay for the joy. You will be dining in a place built on the love of family, friends, and the best, most truly delicious Sicilian food in Houston when you do.

The menu includes the best beef, chicken, and seafood offerings that come to mind from the mention of any Italian food dishes, all prepared according to ancient family recipes and served with the freshest vegetable fare, pasta dishes, marinara sauce, and special oil seasonings that the veteran diner comes to expect from the true artists of Italian cooking. Patrenella’s isn’t simply good enough for Houston. It is a place that could easily hold its own with the best Italian places in The Hill section of St. Louis. Patrenella’s also bakes its own bread and offers some of the most delicious pizza in town as well. It contains its own small bar and offers all the right options of good wine to go with all the right foods for those who choose the fully European experience in dining.

In spite of its royal good taste choices in food and drink, Patrenella’s is laid back and casual in the way most Houstonians prefer their dining out experiences. Coat and tie or sporting casual wear are welcomed equally at “Sammy’s Place.”

Patrenella’s is open for lunch, Tuesday through Friday, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and for dinner, Tuesday through Saturday, from 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM. No lunch service is available on Saturdays and the restaurant is fully closed on Sundays and Mondays. For evening reservations, simply call 713-863-8223.

The Patrenella family home from 1938 is now the front door on a chain of three houses that owner Sammy Patrenella has strung together as the new home of his restaurant since 1991!

The story of Patrenella’s Ristorante Italiano is best told by Sammy Patrenella himself. You will find these same words on the back cover of his menu. They are written to explain the old photo featured above this section in today’s article. The original of this photo hangs proudly with other family mementos at Sammy’s Place.

Here are Sammy’s words:

“In 1938, my father, L.L. Patrenella, built this house in which you can now enjoy the food and hospitality of our family. After immigrating to Houston from his native Sicily, he started a grocery store in this neighborhood; it stood a mere block away. He and my mother, Nita, live behind the store. They were always cooking Italian recipes and giving samples away to the customers. I’ve always had a dream for a restaurant that would carry on the traditional good tastes and love of my mother and father. So, my wife, Josephine, my son, my daughters and I have uniquely renovated this house in which I was raised. We have kept it consistently dedicated to the ambiance of the historic Heights and Sixth Ward. The warmth and the great cuisine of the traditional Italian kitchen is presented to you by three generations of the Patrenella family. Please come by and enjoy.” – Sammy Patrenella.

Sammy's childhood home and two others have been linked since 1991 as the site of Patrenella's Ristorante Italiano. Safe parking is no problem in this gentle old Houston neighborhood.

When three-year old Sammy and his family first moved into their new house at 813 Jackson Hill in 1938, a Houston Chronicle human interest spotlight story described the new family home as “modern throughout.” Sammy says he later asked his mom what that meant. She told him, “Of course, it was modern throughout. The house even had an ironing board built straight into the wall.”

Thank you, Mama Petronella! We doubt that many women from the year 2010 equally share your enthusiasm for such conveniences as built-in ironing boards.

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!"

A friend recruited this robotic version of a famous entertainer as a gift to Sammy Patrenella a few years ago. Dino has held forth as the host of Sammy’s bar area ever since his arrival from New Orleans. The joy of life and the spirit of giving oozes from the walls of this happy place in ways large and small. This little Dean Martin “Mini-Me” simply fell into the mood of the place.

Sammy Patrenella (L) and Houston consigliere Richard Coselli.

The smile on Sammy’s face is as big as his heart. The smile you are receiving here from our last featured photo of Sammy greeting his luncheon guest and lifelong friend and fellow St. Thomas High School graduate Richard Coselli reaches out as an invitation for you to stop by sometime and also partake of the joy that is dining at Patrenella’s.

Let me put it this way: The Goombahs above are making you a dinner offer that they each hope you will not refuse. Life’s too short to miss out on the joy of this world’s best food and greatest company.

Have a terrific Friday, everybody!

Thank You, St. Thomas High School!

January 16, 2010

4500 Memorial Drive, Houston, Texas

“Teach Me Goodness, Discipline, and Knowledge.”

Many of us who went west along Buffalo Bayou to attend St. Thomas High in Houston back in the day had to grow into an understanding of how important those words of our school motto really were. All we knew wat that it was the only private Catholic school choice for boys in Houston when I started there in 1952 and you had to take an entrance exam to get in.

The Basilian fathers opened St. Thomas High School in Houston back in 1900 at a site on Austin Street in a residential area south of downtown. In 1940, the school moved to its present site on the north side of Buffalo Bayou at what is now the corner of Memorial and Shepherd Drives. Heading east, Memorial Drive ended at Shepherd back in 1952. The extention construction of Memorial Drive from Shepherd all the way to town only took place during and after the time I was in high school at St. Thomas (1952-56). We students used that closed completed  stretch of Memorial in front of our school in 1954-55 (for a while) as a parking lot and drag strip. That was a lot of fun while it lasted.

In the 1950s, St. Thomas was heavy on math and science – and the belief that students should take whatever courses their testing says they can handle. As a result, my course plan loaded me up with science and math courses that I would never have chosen for myself, if I had been given a choice. None of us at STHS had a choice beyond “perform or fail” at the level the school expected of us.

Was that message really so bad or so different from the one we would all soon enough see in the competitive real world that lay ahead? I don’t think so.

It also was a different era. And our world reeked with even more imperfection than we find today. The Jim Crow reach of  segregation kept us all Anglo with a smattering of Hispanics and no Blacks at dear old STHS while I was there. That separation of the races never made a lot of sense to me. Because of segregation, we were all living a life in reality that differed greatly from what we were being taught, especially in Catholic and other Christian schools, as the principles of brotherly love, tolerance, and acceptance. It wasn’t just a STHS thing. St. Thomas was simply part of the mainstream acceptance of segregation that sadly existed in Houston and throughout the Old South states back then.

What a sorry situation! What would Jesus have done? Well, I’m thinking about the “Sermon on the Mount” here. I do not remember ever reading or hearing that Jesus said anything like, “Before we get started, let’s get the colored section filled in over here on my right!”

All of segregated Houston was like that on the surface of our mainstream culture back in the 1950s. Some supported segregation because they really believed in the separation of the races. Others just went along with it because it was either all they had ever known, or because it seemed easier to go with the flow than stand up against it.

Thank God it changed.

The hypocrisy of our mainstream culture in the 1950s came very close to driving me far away from conventional religious practice for all time. Until we started the civil rights changes that are ongoing to this day, I couldn’t find any good in the idea of a heaven that developed from the concept of an afterlife version of a “colored section” admission for Blacks.

How stupid could our mainstream culture  have been back in the day? Pretty stupid. We also did an ashamedly good job of denying power access and opportunity to the large number of Hispanics and few Asians in our midst back then too. It makes me embarrassed as a Caucasian to this day to think back and admit to how things were for minorities in the times prior to Brown versus The Board of Education.

Still, STHS, and certain teachers there, helped me build a picture of a better world, one in which racial prejudice and social class preferential treatment would not prevail over equality of opportunity for all. To those special mentors, I shall be forever grateful. As for those few teachers, and one in particular, who seemed fine with segregation and the class status quo, I’ve learned to write them all off as the unfortunate products of those times. They’re all dead now, just as their prejudicial ideas need to be. The cemetery is a good place for them all.

We have come out of the dark ages of racial prejudice and grown into an important international city of vast opportunity for anyone with a dream and a willingness to work. Without “goodness, discipline, and knowledge,” none of that growth in the balance of opportunity for all could have been possible. I’m just proud to have been a product of one local institution that was willing to grow in its own right and then lead the way for its happening.

Thank you, St. Thomas High School, for all you were able to teach some of us about a world in which the products of successful living hinge upon our ability to live the three qualities of our school motto. “Good”” means we have to live with integrity. “Discipline” means we need to learn how to do what we are supposed to be doing and just do it. “Knowledge” means we have to keep on learning forever about our world, others, ourselves, and God’s Will for us in this life. Put all those things together in one basket of action and we are bound to do some things that are right and in greater service to a public goal beyond our own selfish needs, no matter how imperfect we are in the process of getting there.

Oh well, that’s all the philosphy time I have open to me this morning, anyway. Hope all of you have an enjoyable weekend.