School boasts third-generation families
Three members of Pope John XXIII Central Catholic High School’s senior class in Elgin bring something special to their graduation parties this year – family history.
They are third-generation graduates either of the high school, the Catholic elementary school in town before the high school was founded 51 years ago, or both.
It’s an important family tie, said Elizabeth Selting, who like her father, Lynn, and late grandfather, Don, attended St. Boniface School. Her father and his brother, Gene, also graduated from the high school, and they farm together. Elizabeth’s younger brother and sister attend St. Boniface School.
"I feel grateful to Catholic education and this chain of Seltings going through," said Elizabeth, a National Honor Society member and participant in volleyball, basketball and track. She also volunteers with 4-H and Future Farmers of America, which each harvest season holds a barbecue for area farmers.
"And I’m thankful to have hung around Elgin," she said. "It’s a great community." When Elizabeth received her diploma May 14, she was joined by third-generation graduates Erin Beckman and Jordan Mescher, and 10 other classmates.
FAITH AND FAMILY
All three multi-generation graduates said faith, family and education merge at the two schools – as well as St. Boniface Parish in Elgin and surrounding parishes that support the high school – creating many opportunities and a strong support structure.
"Everything we do is centered around the faith," said Jordan, who is a cantor and lector at St. Boniface Parish, volunteered with a school right to life group, and was co-president of the student council and National Honor Society, and involved in theater, volleyball, basketball and track.
The honor society and the school include service opportunities such as working at the school’s annual Valentine’s Day breakfast fundraiser and the parish’s Thanksgiving dinner and bazaar, Jordan said.
Jordan’s grandmother, Carol, and her father, Bill, attended St. Boniface School, and her father graduated from Pope John. Carol said all five of her children attended both schools, as did Jordan’s sister.
The schools prepare students for the future, "and the fact everything is done around our faith, it’s beautiful," she said.
Erin, whose parents, Lori and Gary, attended both schools, and whose late grandfather, Jerome Roth, attended St. Boniface through eighth grade before turning to farming to help his family, said it was an honor to graduate.
"I know one of my grandparents left to help with the family, and it was a tough decision for him," she said. "Being able to actually graduate and continue learning about my faith, it’s like carrying on for my grandfather."
Erin, who has been involved with the school musical, one-act plays, speech, cheerleading, dance and music, said that as a sophomore she and about 10 other students started an after-school Bible study that continued through senior year.
The schools have supported every endeavor, she said.
PARENTS ARE ROLE MODELS
Carol Mescher said she has volunteered at the parish, and Bill said his service has included time on the parish council, stewardship and maintenance committees.
"It makes you a better steward for the community, for the church," Bill said of Catholic education. "They do a lot of service projects. It gets them involved with everything, so later in life, if they are asked to participate, it doesn’t feel like a big burden."
Lynn Selting said he and his wife, Amy, also have been involved in the church and school, including the parish council and church choir, the Altar Society and volunteering for the Thanksgiving bazaar.
The schools are an important part of the mix, he said.
"It’s a good experience, real close-knit," Lynn said. "You know everybody, and it’s a quality education."
Lori Beckman said she and her husband also are involved in the parish, including the parish council, Altar Society and cemetery maintenance. They wanted Catholic education for their three children – each of whom attended both Catholic schools in town.
"We felt like it was the right environment for our kids," Lori Beckman said. "An environment where they can express themselves in the faith. We take pride in our schools as graduates and we want to carry that on."