Teachers, staff share how school once looked

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Students’ first impression of Saint Viator often revolves around the front parking lot, the spacious Querbes Hall, and the glamorous Hall of Fame. However, Viator was not always like this. Established in 1961, the school has gone through various changes. What started out as a boys’ school became coed after merging with Sacred Heart of Mary in 1987. After this transition, more changes took place, paving the path for what students see today.

“I was five years old when I first visited the school,” said Mrs. Maureen Martin, history teacher. “There used to be a circular driveway by the dean’s office, where the fishbowl is today. Most students went to school through the door there.” Although the school did have a main entrance, rarely anyone used it. There was a beautiful yard in front of the main entrance, students had to park on the street. As a result, students preferred to park their cars by the circular driveway and come in through the corresponding entrance.

“Students parked on the streets and also in the back, but there were not enough parking spaces, so they changed it,” said Mrs. Eileen Cairo, biology teacher, explaining the re-modification of the main entrance, as the front yard is now the front parking lot.

Walking across the school building to Querbes Hall, one can find the cafeteria. This place used to be called the Red Lion Room.

“There was a jukebox and a senior lounge in the back of the cafe because the cafeteria was very small,” said Mrs. Martin.

But the Red Lion Room was much more than just a cafeteria. It was also the place where dances such as Homecoming and Turnabout were hosted. Although the Cahill Gym existed, it was not as functional as it is now.

The Commons, where students lounge and work, also has an intriguing history.

“The whole Commons is brand new. It used to be a library, so you would have many metal shelves labeled in alphabetical order, according to either the title of the book or the authors’ last names,” said Mrs. Nancy Devroy, Campus Minister. “The former librarian, Mrs. Cheryl Quinn, had assembled a collection of books over a lifetime; she was very helpful. Kids would ask her where certain books were, and they would also ask each other for book recommendations. They interact less now.”

Perhaps the art room is the most nostalgic place. The winding staircase by the Commons did not always lead students into only the Chapel, but instead into certain individual studios.

“There used to be individual art rooms for AP art students, next to where the Chapel is. There was also a darkroom by them, where we would develop black and white photos for photography class. But because of the change in technology, it is hard to gather materials that develop the films and photos, so we stopped developing them,” said Mr. Matt Gruenfeld, art teacher.

On a lighter note, the science lab looks much newer.

“The science labs used to have really old sinks. Students did not have individual desks. They would sit on really long tables hosting ten seats,” said Mrs. Cairo.

Through these changes, Viator prepares itself for the future. It carries on its shoulder the memory of the past and focuses on the road ahead.

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