With more than a year having passed since Driscoll Catholic High School in Addison closed abruptly, school alumni and supporters finally have a reason to celebrate.
Today, the Driscoll Legacy Hall will be unveiled inside Addison Village Hall. A five-member committee has spent about 12 months organizing fundraisers to make the $55,000 exhibit a reality, while also sifting through memorabilia to be included in this tribute to the 43-year-old school.
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If you go
What: Driscoll Legacy Hall unveiling
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Addison Village Hall, 1 Friendship Plaza
"It's been nothing less than a real labor of love," said Peg Senese, an exhibit organizer who is part of the Save Driscoll Foundation. The group tried to save the school last April after the Joliet Diocese announced it would close Driscoll due to falling enrollment and revenues.
"It's like we've put so much distance between the hard feelings we had then and where we are now, and now we are just super excited," she added.
The exhibit will highlight Driscoll's accomplishments in community service, academics and athletics. The museum-style tribute will include yearbooks, uniforms, trophies and more.
Addison Village President Larry Hartwig said he embraced the idea of the legacy hall from the moment it was proposed.
"Driscoll is an important part of the history of Addison and we really don't want to see the memory of that institution lost," he said. "Village hall already has a monument to old Concordia College and, on the southeast side, the archway to the old Kinderheim orphanage. I think this is just consistent with that pattern."
Hartwig will speak during today's festivities, along with former Driscoll campus minister Laraine Parker; Gene Faut, one of the founders of the Save Driscoll Foundation; and Tim Racki, who Senese calls "a rock star in the Driscoll world." Racki is not only a former teacher and dean of students, but he also coached Driscoll's football team to four of its seven state titles.
Although the project is complete, less than half the funding for the legacy hall is completely covered. Supporters can make tax-deductible donations even beyond Friday night through the Addison Historical Society. In addition, the village of Addison will continue to help the Driscoll family beyond housing the exhibit; alumni are welcome to book their reunions at village hall, said Senese, so the Driscoll Legacy Hall can be part of their nostalgic events.
This, she said, spurs her hope that Driscoll memories will live on.
"I hope that people will visit the hall until the end of time," she said. "That they will take their kids and grandkids. There's not that high school that people always think there will be, but the treasures that have value are always going to be there. Now there is a place to go."
To schedule a Driscoll Class reunion, call (630) 693-7511. To help fund the legacy hall, send donations to: Addison Historical Society, Driscoll Legacy Fund, 1001 W. Lake St., Addison, IL 60101; Attn. Valerie Loftus.