Marquette High School begins celebration of 150-year history

OTTAWA — Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, will celebrate a Mass next Sunday as part of a weekend of events opening a yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of Marquette High School.

The 3 p.m. Mass on Oct. 11 has been moved to Bader Gym to accommodate the expected crowds, according to Ron Spandet, principal. Music will be provided by a combination of the Marquette choir and an alumni choir.

“We have room for 350 to 400, and we hope to get that kind of crowd,” said Spandet, who said a “real sense of celebration” is permeating the school in recent weeks as committees plan the various activities. He noted that several former classes have scheduled reunions around the Oct. 9-11 weekend, which includes a homecoming football game and post-game party on Friday evening.

An open house will precede Sunday’s anniversary Mass. Starting at noon, visitors can view a display of memorabilia from school history set up in the school library. The day will conclude with a dinner at the Knights of Columbus hall. Tickets are on sale at the school office, (815) 433-0125.

DESIGNATED as a diocesan “Pioneer School” in 2007, the school is the oldest high school in LaSalle County and was established in 1859 by the Sisters of Mercy. Through the years it has had several different names, including St. Xavier Academy, St. Joseph’s School, and Ottawa Catholic Academy, and has occupied a series of buildings. It has been known as Marquette for the past 60 years, with the present facility built in 1992.

The yearlong celebration will conclude next spring with the school’s major fundraiser, May Merriment.

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