Dear Fellow Alumni,
It seems to me that we live in a world that changes about every five years. Having been born in 1955, it is easy to compare how the world changed from 1960, to 1965, to 1970 and so on.
From Camelot, to The Great Migration, to Vietnam, to a recession, to the unceremonious end of disco, every five years a new set of facts and a different culture.
The first Leo yearbook was a senior book produced for the first graduating class. That class, brought in as freshmen in 1926, completed its first year of school in 1927, 90 years ago this May.
That class’s senior book features a picture done in pencil or chalk and that includes a vehicle passing in front of the school. The vehicle is much closer in its look to a Model T than to any car produced today. Clearly Leo has seen many changes in facts and culture.
Leo is a school that can trace the origin of its school motto to the monks copying bibles on the edge of Europe. In its 90-year history, Leo has produced a disproportionate number of business and civic leaders, war heroes, dedicated workers and others who have gone on to bring positive values to all walks of life.
In difficult times, the likes of Bob Foster, the members of the Leo Twenty First Century Society, dedicated individual alumni, faculty and staff have stepped in to keep the school operating. Now, under the capable leadership of President Dan McGrath, Principal Shaka Rawls, Coach (and holder of many other titles) Mike Holmes and the current faculty and staff, Leo is experiencing a resurgence.
The Senior Class book ultimately issued for the students who completed their freshmen year in 1927 includes the dedication:
“The Senior Class … have carved in letters large the fair name of Alma Mater and made Leo the synonym of Success. They have set the standard of ideas for future classes and realized in their own lives the value of the fundamental principles that influence character and determine the measure of success. They take with them the lasting affection of the faculty and the esteem of the students they have so often inspired. They take with them the wish and the prayer of all that they may achieve, the noble and invaluable things in life, shine forth as sterling example of Christian manhood and keeping intact the good of yesterday, add the better of today and ever press onward in faith and hope and charity to ward tomorrow and the best.”
Their senior year saw them graduate into the challenge of an unprecedented economic depression, but they had succeeded in initiating a great school and a great tradition. It is this tradition that President McGrath, Principal Rawls and their staff maintain on our behalf, with the assistance of dedicated alumni and others, through their continued stewardship of Leo High School. I’m honored to serve a term as the Alumni Association President and hope to see you all at the banquet and other Alumni events.
Tom Lynch ’73