St. Augustine students celebrate school’s 150th anniversary

St. Augustine School, Elkridge, Principal Patricia Schratz was challenged the morning of May 30 as she delivered opening remarks outside for the 150th birthday bash. Behind her, the hovering Baltimore Oriole bird wisecracked, kissed her head, and caused the yellow and blue-clad student body to snicker.

Yet she persevered before passing the microphone to Father Gerard J. Bowen, pastor of St. Augustine, Elkridge, who oversaw contents being placed in a small silver tin time capsule by a representative of each grade. After the students sang a high-pitched rendition of “Happy Birthday,” the celebration kicked off with games, music, food, crafts and icy snowballs colorfully staining youngsters’ lips.

The Catholic Review met with five students to discuss the anniversary:

Why is it important that your school honor its 150th anniversary?
Kathleen McCullough, 13, grade 7: “… it’s really cool to celebrate 150 years; it’s not something every school can do.”

Eden Bartlett, 12, grade 7: “It’s amazing how our school has lasted after wars, hurricanes, natural disasters … and how the teachers and parishioners have remained strong and worked together.”

Gabriella Schoenbeck, 10, grade 4: “Our teachers have done so much … our school has had a great curriculum.”

Is 150 years a long time?
Sean Zaranski, 8, grade 3: “Yes, I think it’s a very long time. I saw pictures of the school back 150 years ago and it looked a lot different than it was today.”

Kathleen: “When the school was founded it was before the Civil War and when you think of the Civil War you think of ancient history in textbooks, you really don’t think of it as being any time recent.”

Would you send your kids to this school?
Eden: “I would definitely send my kids here. The teachers care so much and not only do they teach us Social Studies, Science, Math … but they teach us to care and love each other like human beings really should. I think it’s important for younger kids to grow up in such a loving environment to learn to be like this for the rest of their lives.”

Samantha Clarke, age 10, grade 4:
“I would definitely send my kids here because it’s a great learning experience … and they don’t just treat each kid like nothing, they treat them with love and respect.”

Gabriella: “I would send my kids to this school because we learn a great relationship with God and the Holy Family.”

Describe what a teacher was like 150 years ago.
Kathleen: “The school was actually formed by lay people, which is very rare for a Catholic school not to be founded by sisters … the people that taught here were ordinary people; they didn’t have any super powers of the religious.”

Gabriella: “… still as kind and loving as teachers now. They would be the same loving people in their hearts and they just want their kids to know right from wrong.”

What will people who open the time capsule say about its contents?
Kathleen: “What’s this? How do you work this thing?”

Samantha: “They will be confused because they won’t really know what we put in there. If I opened the time capsule, I would think it was pretty cool because you could learn about the different history and what they used to do back then.”

Eden: “Years from now who knows what technology’s going to be like? Instead of CDs for the Power Point they could have … something absolutely so tiny. In 25 years it could be the size of a thumbnail … they’ll try and do things with the CD: eat it or write on it.”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.