Trinity High School celebrated 88 years of being in River Forest last Thursday. The school's students and staff joined with the school's alumni, Dominican brothers, village officials and students from St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Luke's grade schools to review their long and deep history in the village, as well as to commit to continuing to express those values into the future.
Congratulating the village on its upcoming 125th anniversary (Oct. 24), Trinity President Sister Michelle Germanson told her audience that Dominican institutions had contributed to the life of River Forest for 88 of those 125 years. Among those institutions are Trinity, Dominican University, St. Luke, the Dominican House of Studies and St. Vincent Ferrer. All of the institutions except St. Vincent's were established between 1918 and 1926. St. Vincent's church and school were established between 1931 and 1940.
Much of the presentation was moderated by founding Dominican mother, Mother Samuel Coughlin, O.P., played by Trinity's Sister Joan O'Shea. One by one, individuals representing each Dominican facility were introduced by "Mother Coughlin" and came on stage to share their history and accomplishments with the audience.
But Germanson took particular pleasure in introducing one historical alumni who didn't need anyone to portray her. Elizabeth Barrett Roche McMahon, who graduated from Trinity's predecessor, Rosary High School in 1924, six years after the first class was welcomed at the school?#34;watched the proceedings from a first row seat. McMahon, who is still spry and friendly at 99, also graduated from Rosary College, Dominican University's predecessor, in 1929.
The program concluded with the unveiling of a statue of Mother Coughlin donated by Mary Ann Murphy. The statue was placed on a pedestal in front of the school last Friday.
River Forest President Frank Paris, a graduate of Fenwick in Oak Park, another Dominican school, called the Dominicans "pioneers," saying, "They really were pioneers in establishing education in the village, and it's important we celebrate that."
A smiling Sister Michelle said afterward that the celebration was also of purposeful education of young women. Germanson said she was pleased to have the opportunity to share the Dominican's history with other people. Education, she said, is the answer to the world's challenges, and providing students with the tools required to deal with those challenges is the focal point of Trinity's activities.
"When you have an informed mind and a sensitized heart, then you can take on the struggles and challenges of society," she said.