Once a Crusader, Always a Crusader

This guest post is written by Helias Catholic Director of Alumni Relations Ron Vossen.

A few months into my (now not-so-)new role as Helias Catholic’s director of alumni relations, it feels like I’ve been doing parts of this work throughout my career here at the school. It always seems that when I gather with family and friends, at some point high school days are brought up — teachers, games, football scores, dances, floats, JR (Mr. James Rackers) … the list is endless.

That feeling of familiarity, tradition and community continues today. I’ve gathered this fall with alumni in Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis and with recent graduates currently attending the University of Missouri. Alumni usually ask questions like: Who is still teaching? Are they still doing this? Everyone is curious what life at Helias Catholic is like now and how it compares to when they were walking the halls.

One of the highlights of this school year so far was Oct. 21, when we gathered alumni from the classes of 1957-61 and former Crusader football players who were part of Coach Jack Schnieders’ teams’ legendary 32-game winning streak. The evening was a tribute to Jack Schnieders and his family as well as Jim Rackers, who was Jack’s assistant coach before going on to become the school’s principal. We also retired the jersey numbers of All-American players George Heisler, Leon DeLassus and Tom Bacon. But what stood out the most was the love and friendship those players still have for one another as well as their classmates in attendance. Some of them are still in regular contact with one another, while some reunited that night for the first time in 60 years. 

I cannot tell you how many Helias Catholic alumni appreciated the opportunity to come back — to be recognized., to be appreciated, to once again be reminded of what it means to be a Crusader.

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In this blog, Helias Catholic President John Knight and guest writers share updates about ongoing work to advance Helias Catholic High School’s mission to provide excellence in Catholic education and vision to build a community of saints and scholars for Christ. Please send responses, ideas, questions and friendly greetings to Mr. Knight at jknight@heliascatholic.com.