The History of Belleville St. Henry Preparatory Seminary
Belleville (population 41,410) is located in southeastern Illinois about 12 miles southeast of East St. Louis in the center of St. Clair County. The Illinois Routes of 13, 15, 158, 159, and 161 all pass through the town of Belleville. Interstate Highway 64 passes to the north of town.The Norfolk Southern and Illinois Central Gulf are two of the railroads that pass through Belleville. The Richland Creek flows through town as well.
A brief history of the St. Henry parish and school system has been attained by our good friend Mark Jurenga. St. Henry’s Preparatory Seminary was originally supported by Bishop Althoff (namesake of the current Belleville Catholic HS). It appears peak enrollment at the school reached 225.
St. Henry’s began as a college for candidates for the priesthood on October 4, 1926. Sometime after that the high school level came about. They eventually closed the college and those high school students who wanted to continue went to Lewis College in Romeoville.
During World War II, St. Henry’s had two graduates who were missionary priests who were beheaded in the Phillippines as officers in the United States military. They had a priest, Fr. Paul Schulte, OMI who was confined to St. Henry’s by order of the FBI due to his German birth. Also classes for the college students were held all summer long to keep the seminarians from being drafted.
St. Henry’s was closed in June of 1984 with an enrollment of 67 students.
A short and excellent history of the school can be found at the website located at the following web address: http://www.sthenrys.org/
Maurice (Micky) Lee (Class of 1966) tells us the college portion closed before he began attending the high school.
“I entered St. Henry as a high school freshman in the summer of 1962 and graduated in the spring of 1966. (I do not recall) college there the entire time I was there. It was only a high school.”
Paul Bauer, St. Henry class of 1962, attended college class at St. Henry during the 1962-63 school year. He attended St. Louis University after his first year was completed at St. Henry’s.
Brother Tom Ruhmann OMI (Class of 1967) advises that the college classes were discontinued after the 1964-65 school year ended.
The kids who may have attended St. Henry’s Prep now have the option to attend Althoff High School in Belleville for their Catholic education.
St. Henry’s High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1920s
Year Seminary Prep HS closed: 1984
Grade school closed: 2005
St. Henry team nickname: “Eagles”
St. Henry team colors: Blue & White
School Fight Song: “Fight, Eagles, Fight!”
Supplied by Michael J. L’Abbe
Music: Traditional arranged by Fr. John Edward Thomas Pylazinski, OMI
Lyrics: Bill Burke and Mike L’Abbe, Class of 69
Fight, Eagles, Fight til the end.
FIght, Eagles! Fight til we win!
Let ’em feel our weight, …oh…
Let them know that we’re great,
That we’re no second rate.
Fight, Eagles, Fight til the end.
Fight, Eagles! Fight til we win!
FIGHT for our colors: [shout] BLUE AND WHITE!
Eagles to Victory!
We believe that Belleville St. Henry competed in the boys sports of basketball, baseball, track, and soccer among others. Some sports according to “The Gleeman” Select editions archived online can be found at http://sthenrys8m.com We know the school acheived its greatest IHSA success (www.ihsa.org) in the Speech and Drama departments. St. Henry High School team fight song, team records, coach’s names, and other accomplishments are items we are seeking.
Former Coach and Class of 1967 graduate Dale Anderson provided the following information regarding St. Henry’s athletic program:
“After college I returned to St. Henrys and taught and coached for 4 years. St. Henrys did not have a track team, but did have a cross country team. We did play basketball, baseball, and soccer in leagues, with baseball and basketball in the IHSA Chartres Conference. Soccer was played in a Metro League before it became big in the IHSA.”
Baseball was a popular sport at the school. Despite the size of the school they took on any and all comers. Large schools include Belleville (East), Belleville (West), Belleville (Althoff), Mascoutah, Breese (Mater Dei), East St. Louis (Lincoln) etc. The squad was large enough to play JV games and also competed during the fall as well as during the spring.
Year Record Coach
1949-50 10-2 Fr. Baldus
1966-67 4-9* Mr. Patrick “Coach” Keefe
1967-68 ??? Mr. Patrick “Coach” Keefe
Chartres Conference champions (spring season)
Pitcher Ken Haselhorst had the following three game stretch (all victories for St. H)
A no-hitter vs. Coulterville
A five-hitter vs. Mascoutah
A one-hitter vs. Alton (Marquette)
During the fall season of this school year, the team went 9-2.
1968-69 5-5* Mr. Patrick “Coach” Keefe
Pitcher Louis Sondag threw a no-hitter vs. Coulterville (a 15-0 win).
1969-70 10-11* Mr. Patrick “Coach” Keefe
*Indicates partial record
1970-72 Mr. Patrick “Coach” Keefe
1972-73 Coach Dale Anderson
Belleville St. Henry Prep HS Baseball 1972-73
Provided by Dale Anderson – Left Click on Photo for larger view.
1973-74 Coach Dale Anderson
Belleville St. Henry Baseball 1973-74
Provided by Dale Anderson – Left Click on photo for larger view.
1974-75 Coach Dale Anderson
Belleville St. Henry Baseball 1974-75
Provided by Dale Anderson – Left Click on photo for larger view.
The Eagles had some real nice seasons, many under the leadership of long-time head coach Patrick Keefe. None may have been better than the winter of 1971-72. The hardwood court men finished that season as Chatres Conference Champs with a final record of 21 – 5! Former player on that team, Kevin Lloyd, had this to add about that magical season and his four years at St. Henry Prep:
“The school played in the Chatres Conference. Our colors were blue and white and Pat Keefe was head basketball and baseball coach through the 71-72 season. After that his brother Rick Keefe took over as head coach of both operations. Our best season in Basketball was by far the 71-72 season. We finished 21-5 and were conference champions and our star player John Strubberg was an ALL-State selection for Class ‘A’. Also in the 73-74 season we were co-champs of the conference with Valmeyer and DonRousseau and I were 1st team conference All-Stars.”
1966-67 6-12 Coach – Mr. Patrick Keefe
1967-68 10-12 Coach – Mr. Patrick Keefe
1968-71 Coach –Mr. Patrick Keefe
1971-72 21-5 Chatres Conference ChampsCoach – Mr. Patrick Keefe
1972-73 5-18 Coach – Mr. Patrick Keefe
1973-74 Chatres Conference Co-Champs Coach – Mr. Rick Keefe
Belleville St. Henry’s Prep Basketball Team 1973-7
Submitted by Dale Anderson – Left Click on Photo for larger view
Speech Individual Events Competition
This is the sole claim to IHSA hardware made by St. Henry High School. Five individuals brought home medals in IHSA competition. In team competition St. Henry won a Regional title after placing EIGHTH in State Competition in 1981-82!!
1973-74 Kevin Lloyd Dram Duet 6TH Place
Don Rousseau Dram Duet 6TH Place
1974-75 ?? Crovetta Humor Duet 6TH Place
?? Fieser Humor Duet 6TH Place
1981-82 Team Finished EIGHTH in STATE Competition!!
Mark Puente Dram Interp 3RD Place
Orig Oratory 4TH Place
Final Team Standings
1) Wheaton (Central) 24
2) South Holland (Thornwood) 19
3) Downers Grove (South) 14
4) Pekin 9
5) Arlington Heights (Forest View) 8
5) Des Plaines (Maine West) 8
5) Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West) 8
8) BELLEVILLE ST. HENRY HS 7
8) Richton Park (Rich South) 7
10) Peoria (Richwoods) 6
1982-83 Regional Champions
**Michael L’Abbe tells us two of the speech/drama coaches at St. Henry’s were Father Robert “Pop” Eimer, OMI, and Father Roger Schoenhofen, OMI.
**From Mark Beuligmann, Class of 1967 :
It was in my senior year at St. Henry’s (1967) that Fr. Donovan asked me to record a speech I had written for the Veterans of Foreign Wars “Voice of Democracy” contest. It was a five-minute recording that took an entire Sunday afternoon to get just right on a reel-to-reel tape recording machine. The school bell kept ringing at just the wrong moment, ruining the recording.
My recording won at the local and district levels, and I joined 16 other district winners for a tour of historical sites in Springfield, Illinois. I was in the group photo taken with then Secretary of State, Paul Powell. I still have the two medals I won and a very yellowed newspaper clipping of the story.
That same year, Fr. Donovan announced in a speech class that we would compete with about half a dozen other high schools in a speech meet coming up in two months. We thought he had come off the rails. Not only was that a short time to prepare, we had no speech team! The other schools had been in competitions for years. The short story is that St. Henry’s came home triumphant. We had earned two “Superior” awards at the meet. No other school matched that. I earned the Superior award in radio speaking, and, if memory serves, classmate David Hartman won the other top award, though I do not recall the category. (Please correct me if it was someone else.) I still remember the victory announcement being made in the dining hall.”
Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop Of Chicago – was a Belleville St. Henry Prep alum.
MEMORIES of ST. HENRY
**From Maurice (Micky) Lee (Class of 1966):
“Prior to the College and High School I heard anecdotally that the grounds themselves and the old, large red brick building we called “the A building” had been a horse race track whose centerfield was the lake. St. Louisans used do come out by horse drawn wagons for a day at the track. The A building had been a hotel for those who wished to stay for days on end. Another story was that the lake was created when that land had been either a quarry or a mine. If it had been a mine, I have no idea what was being mined. Coal comes to mind, but I really don’t know. What may have been the final nail on the HS Seminary’s coffin was the condemnation of the old A building. It was falling apart and dangerous. Some priests at their retirement home may have been there in ’84 when it closed.
So, the land had served as a mine, a horse track, and a Catholic Seminary. The grounds are beautiful.”
**From Brother Tom Ruhmann OMI (Class of 1967):
“There was never a st Henry’s football team but soccer was started during the 66-67 year. The first year was non conference play and we had 2 teams playing in a local league. One team was predominately seniors, the other juniors. The junior team took First place and the seniors took second (determined by an ot shoot off.) Fr John Alteir OMI was the coach for both teams.
In 1967 there were 42 students who graduated in that year. Total enrollment that year was around 250.”
HELP US IF YOU CAN
There is a ton of information we are missing. There are also many accomplishments which should be remembered and documented. If you have any information, including a photo of the high school building, please forward it to us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write to us at: