Connecting the Dots with Shawn Young

In this edition of Connecting the Dots, we meet Jennifer Ruthman Norrish '86 and her extended family that helps connect us to our earliest history.  Not only is Jennifer a graduate, and the mother of three graduates- Matthew '11, Molly '13, and Kevin '17- but it just so happens that Jennifer's mother is Marilyn Cappel Ruthman, who graduated from St. Joseph Academy in 1949. Jennifer was helping her mother to clean out her house as she gets ready to move. They came across several editions of The Chimes. These were the newspapers from St. Joseph Academy! Marilyn's newpapers ranged from 1946 to 1949. Jennifer called me and wanted to know if I would like to have them to add them to the McNicholas archives. Since I taught history for 26 years, how could I ever say no to such a great offer? We have nothing like that in our archives. The next day, I had a package waiting for me in the office. So I met with Sr. Judi Keehnen '59, our official archivist, and we looked through some of the stories. It is great to gain that view point on our history. I have included some links at the bottom of this story, if you would be interested in reading the articles. After reading some of the stories, and talking to Jennifer, she was kind enough to invite me over to sit down and talk with her and her mother about St Joseph Academy.
Marilyn and her siblings all attended St. Joseph/McNicholas: Rainey Cappel Holtel '50, Dolores Cappel Hoffer '52, Alice Cappel Savage '55, Janet Cappel Parrott '61, and  Bob '67. Since this is called Connecting the Dots, I must do some name dropping - here we go. Dolores is married to Ed Hoffer. Many of you should remember that name! Ed was a McNicholas teacher, coach, and at several times, even stepped in as principal of McNicholas High School. Alice has her picture hanging in the library, as she was on the first-ever McNicholas cheer-leading squad. If you have a good memory, you will remember that we have already done a story on Bob, back in March of 2016. Jim Serger '89, had written a book about the lessons he had learned from Bob while working at Summit Meats. The book had a forward written by Kevin Cappel '89, who is married to Anita Scales Threet '89. I would say that this is a very connected family!
When I asked Marilyn what she remembered most about St. Joseph Academy, she said "it was the closeness that all the girls felt towards one another. There were only 22 girls in the Class of '49, you knew everyone, and they knew everything about you." She remembers that English was her favorite subject, and fondly remembered Sr. Mary John , Sr. Mary Felix, and Sr. Francine Nason St. Joseph Academy '34. They did not have sports, but they would go bowling and liked to play volleyball. She reminded me that once you got to the seminary, Beechmont turned into nothing but farms! Her favorite memory was about a dance they were having. It was decided that her dress might be a little to revealing, so her dad made her a jacket, so that she could cover up. "Things were a little stricter back then," said Marilyn. She also remembered a trip to Biloxi and New Orleans and how when they got back her friend Marquerite Navaro, decided that she was going to be a nun. You might remember that name as well, as she started the Batahola Norte Center in Nicaragua.
Marilyn won a scholarship to Mt. St. Joseph, but decided that it was too far away, and decided to get a job and get married. She met John and they were married when she was 21, in what is now the old gym at Guardian Angels. He was in the Air Force, and they traveled all over the place. Their last stop was in Roswell N.M. She did not mention if she saw any aliens, but she did comment that the town was so small, that it had one root beer stand, and no job for her!
John and Marilyn eventually found their way back home to Mt. Washington and raised their family here. They had 5 children and 3 of them graduated from McNicholas. Karen was in the Class of '74, Mike was in '78 and Jennifer '86. Since Jennifer was with us during this meeting, I took a moment to ask her about what she remember from 1986. Jennifer said she was not into sports, but liked the theatre and journalism. She said it was her senior year when McNicholas got its first set of computers. She said her nickname was the "computer analyst," because she knew how to do a couple of things. To bring it full circle, she said that she wrote stories for the newspaper at the time, called Projections, (remember this all started because of the The Chimes), and she remembers constantly interviewing her uncle, Ed Hoffer!
Reading these stories with Sr. Judi prompted her to reminisce about the grand old Convent building and all of its history. While talking Sr Judi referred to the Sacred Heart Statue that used to greet people as they entered the building. She began talking with some of the sisters who were also graduates of St. Joseph Academy- Srs. Caroline Benken, Joan Hartlaub, and Janet 
Roesener. They said as far back as they remember  the statue was always there in the front hall, a welcome sight to pass every day  as they changed classes.  Sister Judi said "Being an archivist, I believe it would be fitting to bring back that tradition  of having the Sacred Heart statue back in the front so that our current students may also experience the  same welcoming sight to pass by going to the chapel. Sadly, t he statue fell into a state of disrepair, and was taken down. It has long been the dream of Sr. Judi to get that statue repaired, and placed back into the Convent. As we talked, the idea of joining this story with repairing the statue started to fall into place.
Sr. Judi asked, "What if we could get the statue repaired and also remember our graduates from St. Joseph Academy at the same time?" We are looking for McNicholas graduates, whose mother graduated from the Academy, to help us restore the statue, by honoring or remembering your mother with a plaque that we will put together for those who contribute to the fund to restore the Sacred Heart Statue. Our estimated cost for this project is $10,000. Of course we would accept any gift that you would be willing to make, but it is our intention to have three different giving levels; $1,000, $500, and $100, with a recognition to include the name of your mother and her graduation year. Will you please help us remember these women who were the cornerstone of our school today? If you do not have a mother that attended St. Joseph Academy, you can still be a sponsor of the project. Help us preserve our history.
If you can donate to the project please click here, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sr. Judi.
To read the stories in the Chimes, please click here. If you look close you might find your mother, grandmother in the stories!
2019 Alumni Awards - Call for Nominations

Attention all alums - please start thinking about deserving alumni for this year's Alumni Awards. McNicholas will host a special event on October 7, in the Café and Student Union to present the awards. (Archbishop McNicholas was ordained a Dominican priest on October 10, 1901.) The following day, October 8, the recipients will be introduced to the students at an all-school assembly.
The McNicholas community may nominate candidates for this award . If you nominated someone last year, we still have his or her name on file. All three awards will be selected by a committee of school representatives.  Nominations are due by June 15, and the committee will announce its selections in July. If you would like to nominate someone for this year, please  click here.
The Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented annually to one male and one female McNicholas graduate who have honored McNicholas High School with their outstanding professional achievements, volunteer activities, and community-organization advocacy. These alumni have shared their affection for McNicholas and its community and have been shining examples of high moral and ethical standards and values learned at McNicholas High School.
The Full Stature Special Achievement Award  will be presented to an alumni who exemplifies the ideals and mission of McNicholas High School and the Sisters of St. Joseph. It is presented to an individual in recognition of his or her accomplishments which bring honor to self and school and whose service, leadership, and concern for McNicholas support, strengthen, and exemplify the school's mission. This award is bestowed as a lifetime recognition and will not necessarily be presented annually.
The McNicholas Outstanding Service Award  will be presented to a member of the McNicholas community who has made, through years of tireless effort, significant contributions of time, talent, and treasure to the growth of McNicholas High School. 
Last year's winners:
Distinguished Alumni Award
MiMi Chamberlin '79

Distinguished Alumni Award
Dr. Bradley Mathis '87

Archbishop McNicholas Outstanding Service Award
Jim Hay '77

Full Stature Special Achievement Award
Sr. Jeannie Masterson '61

14th Annual Nick Erdy Foundation Golf Outing

The 14th annual Nick Erdy Foundation golf outing will take place on Saturday, June 1 at Hickory Woods Golf Course in Loveland. If you and your friends/family are golfers, this would be a fantastic outing to support. The Erdy family continues their generosity by providing scholarships to a graduating senior and an underclassmen. 
Registration starts at noon with a shotgun start at 1:30 pm. Cost of ticket includes Includes BBQ dinner, 18 holes with cart, free t-shirt, and prizes for longest putt, closest to the pin, men's and women's longest drive! 

Awards and prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, longest drive, closest to the pin and longest putt.
  • $100/person 
  • $12/person dinner only
  • $100 for 1 hole sponsor
Click here for registration flyer .
Memorial Day 2019
The Military Memorial Committee will host its 10th annual memorial service at McNicholas High School on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27.  The Color Guard from the American Legion Post 484 will arrive at McNicholas between 9:00-9:30 am for a short ceremony that includes a prayer, gun salute and the playing of Taps.  We ask that everyone arrive no later than 9 a.m.  This event is open to the general public, and the committee provides a continental breakfast of coffee, juice, donuts, etc. We hope that you will consider spending that morning with us to honor those who have served our country. 

Soaring Valor: History comes alive through the eyes of WWII heroes
by Vinny Ramundo '19 for The McNicholas Milestone

When McNicholas found out that we were being given the chance to participate in the Gary Sinise Foundation's Soaring Valor trip, administration jumped on the unique opportunity. Colonel Todd Mayer was instrumental in the Rockets being granted this exclusive privilege. "It's a great high school, it really is. They have great faculty... great opportunities for the students. I knew they would be a good selection because of the values the school teaches," Mayer said on why he vouched for McNick to represent the newest generation in accompanying the Greatest Generation to the Big Easy from Southwest Ohio.
Upperclassmen were briefed on the details of the trip earlier this spring and those interested were tasked with writing an essay on why we wanted to attend and what the experience would mean to us. The Sinise Foundation describes the Soaring Valor program on their website:
"We're bringing World War II veterans and their guardians to New Orleans to tour The National WWII Museum built in their honor... Students who accompany our veterans carry on their stories with a new appreciation for the sacrifices made by an entire generation."

To continue reading click here.

Alumni Soccer

alumni soccer 3
It is once again, time to dust off your cleats and grab your old warm-up jersey for the annual McNick Alumni Soccer Game in Paradise on Saturday, July 13. This year we are moving to the evening! Both men and women soccer alumni are invited. This is a family-friendly event, so bring the whole gang of Rockets along for the fun. Please arrive by 5:30 p.m. to pick teams. Bring a light and dark shirt. Depending on turnout, we will play two or three periods so everyone can get time on the field. Hot dog grill out to follow, courtesy of McNicholas Alumni Department. 
To register -  please click here. Contact Wade Johnston '08 if you have questions. 
Wade Johnston '08

Rocket Alumni Day with the Florence Freedom

On Saturday July 20 , the Florence Freedom will be hosting "Where'd you go to school? Night!" The game starts at 6:05 p.m. Stick around after the game for a concert by the Sunburners.  Wear your Rocket colors with pride, and $2 of every ticket will come back to McNicholas. Click here for a flyer that has all the information you'll need, including the promo code ROCKET and link where alumni can purchase tickets.  We hope to see all of you in your Rocket gear on July 20!
Alumni Association announces first Craft Fair

Calling all alumni who do crafts! Please save Saturday, November 9, for the first McNicholas Craft fair. We would like to know how many of you would like to participate. The McNicholas Alumni Board believes that there are enough alumni, parents, students, and friends of McNicholas who are talented crafters that we could fill the café and more! All items must be handmade or handcrafted. We do not accept vendors. If you are interested, the pricing structure will be: 8' X 8' space will be $30.00 by Nov. 1, 2019; 8' X 10' space will be $35.00 by Nov. 1, 2019; After Nov. 1 all spaces will be $40.00

Each crafter is required to donate one craft item per space (minimum value $15.00) to be raffled off with proceeds going to McNicholas. All other money is yours to keep. We would love to see many of you get involved with the craft show and see all of the beautiful and unique items you will be selling. If you have any questions, please contact Sister Judi Keehnen. In your message please include your name, year of graduation (if applicable) and the craft/s you will be selling.

To reserve a space on line - Click here.

Time to start planning reunions for 2019!

New year, new reunions.  If your graduation year ends in a 4 or 9, you are up for a reunion in 2019.  I have sent an email to the planning committees last week. Some reunions are already starting to take shape. The Class of '69 has selected September 27 and 28 to celebrate its 50th reunion. As we move closer to summer, please check our website to see as new reunion dates are announced. 

Rocket Corner - A place for alumni service

This is a new feature for the newsletter, and it is one that I hope catches on, and that you find helpful.  Many people contact me about getting the word out about service/ fundraising opportunities that they would like to get out to the alumni community.  We would like to focus on service that you and your Rocket friends have done, or help support you in your effort to spread the word about an upcoming event to the Rocket alumni community. You can send in your request for help, or your story to Bridget Kahermanes '66 prior to the first of the month.  Bridget is the chair of the alumni service committee. 

Our first story!

On April 6, 2019, Bret and Bridget Liette Dennis '98, Dan and Sarah Liette Losee '01, Tom Liette '99, Josh and Sarah Braun Falter '98, Nora Falter Wiley '00, and other friends and family participated in the 6th annual Free Throws for Kids event at Lakota West in West Chester, Ohio. Free Throws for Kids is an annual event that raised over $185,000 this year to pay for the daily salad bar at The Ronald McDonald House of Cincinnati, and they give out over 1000 care packages to children and families staying at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. 

Four years ago, Bret and Bridget Dennis received a care package from Free Throws for Kids when their youngest son, Ryan, was at Cincinnati Children's Hospital for a bone marrow transplant to treat a life threatening genetic condition called SCID, which he was diagnosed with when he was 6 days old. The Dennis family knows first hand how a generous care package from Free Throws for Kids gives families love and support in some of the most difficult of times, and they are overjoyed to join their friends and family for the Free Throws for Kids event to "pay it forward" for other families going through a difficult medical journey. 

To learn more about Free Throws for Kids, please visit

Alumni Updates

Any news?
Do you have news to share? Let us know what you've been doing since graduation! Update your information by completing our alumni update form on the McNicholas webpage or call the Alumni Office at 513.231.3500. ext. 5850

Maia Forman '16 is featured in the U.C. News for her work with U.C.'s chapter of Engineers Without Borders. They have been tacking water problems in Northwest Tanzania. Click here for the full story. Maia is also featured in a video put out by Stepping Stones. Click here for the video. She is living her Rocket values!  

Ben Johnston '17  used his spring break trip to a humanitarian aid trip to  Vietnam.  He is also the President of the Phillipino Club at U.C.
In Memoriam

This list is generated from local obituaries and information received from the family and friends of our alumni and current students. Please contact the alumni office  if there is incorrect or missing information. 


Mary Judith Kipp Pater '57; Sister of the late Charlotte Kipp Shanahan' 54.

Michael W. VonLuehrte '72; Husband of Pamela Rensing VonLuehrte '74, Brother of Greg '68.  

Distinguished Family and Friends

Pauline N. Diemler; Mother of Neil '72, Denise Diemler Franer '73, Suzanne '79, William '83, Nancy (attended), and the late Joel (attended). 

Thomas P. Finn; Husband of Gail Middendorf Finn '61.

Kenneth L. Hinners ; Former husband of Charlene Bernert Hinners '56, Father of Janet Hinners Wulker '77, and Greg (attended). 

Patricia Kappel; Mother of Andrew '86. 

Charle s Sponsler; Father of Gary '69, and the late Kathleen Sponsler Applegate '66. 

Quick Links for Alumni