St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church
A CZECH NATIONAL PARISH
Alumni Association - p 2
Our School History
St. Wenceslaus High School was started in 1921. Classes met first in a hall in the elementary school building, then in rooms added to the rear of that building.
Thus the first high school class was able to graduate in 1925, a year before the high school building was opened. The first class consisted of six girls.
The high school building, built in 1926, contained four classrooms, a library, a small office, a physics cabinet and a large hall capable of seating 400 people.
The hall included a store room, cloak room, a large kitchen and showers. A stage was set back from the floor on the west side and a gallery for seating was situated over the kitchen on the east side.The hall was equipped to serve as a gymnasium and served as the basketball home court for the Redhawks.
The Sisters of Mercy, who were already teaching in the elementary school, furnished teachers and a principal for the high school. In addition, the pastors and assistant pastors of the parish also taught classes. With the availability of the new building and a degreed teaching staff, the high school was able to be accredited in 1926 and became the first accredited Czech parish high school in the United States. In 1958, St. Wenceslaus High school was closed, being merged into the newly opened Regis High school. During its 34 years of existence, the high school graduated 440 students, an average of just less than 13 overall. Graduating class numbers ranged from four in 1927 to a high of 24 in 1957. In addition, many others had received at least a partial education, leaving before graduation to transfer to other schools or going to work to help support their families.
Our School Activities
Since the Bohemian population was noted for a love of athleticism, sports became an appealing addition to the activities sponsored by the school. In 1925, a football team was organized.
The coach was S. V. Sonka, an ex-captain of the University of Nebraska football team. He coached 15 boys to a 4-2-1 record that first year. The same year a basketball team was also organized. The next year the basketball team won the Archdiocesan Championship with only eleven boys competing for the team. The boys football and basketball teams continued to be highly competitive. Football was dropped about 1932 but basketball continued during the life of the school. A girls basketball team was organized in the mid-1930’s but was dropped about 1950. Baseball competition was entered in the spring of 1951 but was never again tried.
Most of the athletic events, including state tournaments, were played under the auspices of the Iowa Catholic High School Athletic Association. But in 1941, the Iowa High School Athletic
Association changed its constitution to allow parochial schools into membership. But even then, St. Wenceslaus teams seldom played against public school teams except in state tournaments.
Over the years other school sponsored activities included a School Council, Science Club, an annual play, orchestra, choir and various religious organizations.
A year book was published in 1929 and again in 1952.
St. Wenceslaus Alumni Association
1224 5th Street SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401-2697