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Outstanding Catholic Alumnus 2012-2013 Mike Vogel

Thursday, January 31, 2013

All the school children performed the various ministries at the 11 a.m. mass Sunday, Jan. 27, to open National Catholic School Week.

Toward the end of the service the St. Peter Catholic School Principal Mr. Littrell, announced the Outstanding Catholic School Alumnus of the year. This came as a total surprise to Mike Vogel. He said afterwards that he figured that something was up when his family surrounded him in the pews in church. His granddaughter, Tara Vogel, extended the truth somewhat when she approached him some weeks ago beforehand to acquire an interview with him that she was "required to have for an English class in college." This information supplied Littrell with the necessary material to lead the congregation and Vogel as to whom the award was to be given. The following are the thoughts that Vogel shared about his school days at Mercy Academy, now St. Peter Catholic School.

"I began my schooling in 1940 at Mercy Academy, now St. Peters School, in the first grade with Sister Mary Flourine. My mother, Margaret Vogel brought my sisters Kathryn Carroll and Mary Bleazard and me to school in a horse and buggy. In later years I would ride my bicycle to school. My sisters rode with a neighbor who had a car. My sister Margaret Ellen was a baby at the time. She died at the age of two. My other sisters, Vivian Kane and Georganne Edwards came later.

I wasn't too happy about going to school so I started to cry thinking I would get out of it. Mother took me home. The next day I had to go back.

Sister Fluorine was a very sweet young nun who taught first and second grade.

Sister Gertrude taught third and fourth grade. She was very strict. She would whack your knuckles with a ruler when you got out of line.

Sister Ambrose taught fifth and sixth grade. She was a good teacher who could keep us in line without being overly strict.

Sister Ignasius was my seventh and eighth grade teacher. She was very tough. She would say she had the last chance to shape us up before high school.

In high school we had Sisters Alysius, Depaul, Theodore, Joan, Rita, Raphael and Rose Marie. Sister Rose Marie was our favorite teacher. She was barely four feet tall but we listened when she spoke.

When I started high school our assistant pastor Father Byrne was a sports enthusiast. He wanted the school to have a football team. He found a man, Mitchell "Tody" Geisler, who was also chief of police, to be our coach. He worked with us all four years. By the time I was a senior we were pretty good -- Bill Dennis, Jim Heinzler, Jim Chevalier and myself and people called us 'The Four Horsemen.'

As it happened Father Byrne was a good friend with a priest at Redemptorist Parish in Kansas City. Byrne was bragging about how good our football team was. His friend said to set a date and they would come down and show us how to play football. They came down and were so cocky they started with their second team. By halftime we were twenty points ahead. Then they sent in their first team. We won 27 to 12. All of us including Byrne were on 'cloud nine.'

I was no angel in high school. Neither were my buddies. We got in trouble one time for hanging a dead opossum on the door of the convent. We didn't get caught so the whole school had to listen to a sermon on respect. Another time my buddies and I were visiting my dad's wine cellar and decided to partake before play practice. The nuns couldn't figure out what was wrong with us so we didn't get into trouble that time.

When I turned 16, I volunteered to drive the nuns when they needed to go to Omaha, Kansas City and elsewhere. When I returned from two years of service in the army the nuns asked me to drive the convertible with the queen candidates for the homecoming football game. I decided whoever became queen that is the one I would ask for a date. Fran won. We dated her senior year and we married in 1958. This Feb. 15 we will be married 55 years.

I have many happy memories of my school years at St. Peters. I have been richly blessed by the education that I received in the Catholic School."

After being awarded Mike said, "I am honored and humbled to be chosen as Alumnus 2012-2013 at St. Peter Catholic School. Five generations of Vogels attended here." Vogel was selected by St. Peter School Board. Those of us who know Mike, know him as a person who has as positive attitude toward people and life. One important value that he learned more than 60 years ago and which he follows to this day is to be generous and the need to volunteer to help others when this is possible.

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