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Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s celebrates 125 years

October 5, 2008
Story/photos by FRITZ BUSCH

A 1934 Sleepy Eye St. Mary's graduate said she still remembers memorizing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poems and Bible verses as a young student.

Leona (Sellner) Seidl and her family moved to town after her father died when she was three years old.

"We lived in a house behind the church a half-block away. The church was connected to the school back then," said Seidl, 92, who still lives in a house several blocks northwest of the school and is able to drive herself around town.

Article Photos

A submitted photo of Sleepy Eye St. Mary’sChurch with the school at right.

Since only German was spoken at home, her first exposure to English was as a first-grader at St. Mary's School.

"Religion got top priority in school. But everybody took music too," said Seidl who sang in the school choir.

She still has other memories of her school days.

"I recall leaving school and hearing a marching tune before walking over big snowbanks to eat lunch at home," Seidl added.

Other memories include selling cows, horses and pigs from the family farm at the Sleepy Eye Auction Market, which is still in business.

After high school, Seidl took a year of college education courses at Sleepy Eye High School.

Prior to marrying her late husband Leonard Seidl Sr., she taught 35 students in grades 1-8 for two years in the former District 46 school house about a dozen miles southwest of Sleepy Eye.

All of the couple's 11 children and their children and grandchildren graduated from St. Mary's.

"The school was great. I think the school helped us keep our faith and the Ten Commandments, which enabled people to make better choices. How fortunate we were to have a Christ-centered education," Seidl said.

The school anniversary was celebrated with a homecoming parade on Friday, Oct. 3.

Saturday, Oct. 4 events included school tours, an anniversary Mass, social hour and meal plus a historical pageant performed by school students.

Pageant scenes included a re-enactment of a third-grade class with antique student desks.

 
 

 

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