Bishop Guertin High School INSPIRED BY THE BROTHERS OF THE SACRED HEART
Fifty Years Bishop Guertin High School
This magazine represents a collaborative effort from an array of sources: scrapbooks, past editions of the Guertin Pride and Alumni Connections, testimonials, student and faculty perspectives, and alumni reflections.
We are deeply grateful to the entire Bishop Guertin Community for sharing their
Annive r sary Magazine
stories with us. In particular, our thanks go out to Peter Batchelder who deserves special recognition for his design and layout expertise.
he story of BG begins distant from Nashua, NH; distant even from the US. It begins in 1818 with an encounter between Fr. André Coindre, a young diocesan priest assigned to the parish of St. Nizier in Lyon, France, and
two abandoned young girls in the alcove at the front of the church. Fr. André Coindre could not turn away; he could not leave them there. Working with Claudine Thevenet, a woman in the parish, he would found a providence to provide a safe home and a refuge for the girls. André next directed his attention to the care of the young boys abandoned on the streets and placed in prison for “safekeeping.” André Coindre would inspire numerous men and women, lay people and religious alike, to take his mission to heart. He preached throughout the city, rallying others to help ease the plight of the poor and abandoned young. By late 1818, with the help of his father and many donations, the Pieux – Secours (the Pious Help) opened and began teaching boys the local trade of silk
Building upon the education of the educational
weaving. By 1821, André realized that continuing his work would
committed to the same shared vision, of a school for the young men
require a religious community of brothers. He first asked the
of this region. It was possible then, and it is certainly possible now
teachers in the refuge and then found others who were interested.
that together this vision will continue to grow in service to the next
On September 30, 1821, ten men formed the first group of Brothers of the Sacred Heart.
generation. Today the BG community continues to echo those first founding
Even though André Coindre would die unexpectedly in 1826, the community grew
moments — a deep sense of compassion, a passionate belief in the mission, a
and spread. In 1847, the Brothers left France for their first missionary task – an
call to action, a deep care for young people of all backgrounds, and the willing
orphanage in Mobile, Alabama. Later they would spread to wherever there was
effort to prepare them to be contributors to their society. The beginning of the
need and today live and minister in more than 34 countries. Wherever they would
Brothers’ Rule describes it this
go, they brought the same focus to their mission.
the young from ignorance,
From its very beginnings in Lyon, this ministry was a cooperative one – from the Brothers who led the enterprise to the local people, parents and families, and the businesses and parishes of the region. It never happened alone. It was an invitation of Father Millett of St. Louis Parish that brought the Brothers here to Nashua in 1891. A further invitation of Bishop Ernest Primeau to build and form the community of BG came in 1963. Brothers and lay people alike, were
to prepare them for life and to give them a knowledge and love of religion, Father André Coindre founded the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in 1821.”
tradition of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart
way: “To rescue
o, as we celebrate this fiftieth anniver-
It was a massive undertaking to begin a school in
sary year, it’s with fond memories that
what was a condemned orphanage and to try to
I remember that first class coming
convert enough space so that we could do what we
into the orphanage on Main Street on
had to do as far as the academics. It was very simple
September 4, 1963. I especially remember, the leap
circumstances, but we found that the dedication, the
of faith that the hundred-plus boys made in opting for a Catholic
support, the faith, and the enthusiasm of that first class actually
education: a boy’s Catholic school, in the greater Nashua area.
continued after we came to the new Bishop Guertin High School
But it was also a leap of faith for their parents, who supported
on Lund Road. That first class, as pioneers of the school for four
that decision, and obviously for everyone involved — the staff and
years, set in my mind the tone that has carried on through these
support staff — who got the whole thing off the ground.
first fifty years of the school’s existence.
You were fine examples to us, the class of 1967, and I
adventures in the classroom, on the sports field,
can’t say that I can remember people who were
whether it was at Atherton, or if it was at Fair-
disappointed with what they received or what they
grounds Junior High, or the local fields around
were asked to do. It was a common sharing, a common
here, or as our field developed.
growing together into a new entity. There was no Bishop Guertin until you came. There was no tradition. There was
As the years went on, I could see that what we had planted as just
nothing there except what we chose to bring. And I can honestly
a tiny seed back in September 1963 at the old orphanage, has
say that it’s with fond memories that I remember some of the
grown into a massive tree. A tree that nowadays brings life and shelter, growth and learning.”
— Br. Roy P inette SC
A Brief History
he date found on the school crest, 1963, signifies the year when the Brothers of the Sacred Heart welcomed the first class of Bishop Guertin students. However, the Brother’s presence in Nashua was established many years before this date. The Brothers first came to Nashua in 1891, responding to the need for education of millworker’s children in St. Louis parish. Many local people still refer to attending the Brother’s school on Vine Street. In 1958, Bishop Primeau approached the Brothers about establishing a high school for the young Catholic men of the region.
Establishing Bishop Guertin High School involved a mutual commitment
Faithful to the
to the project by the Brothers and the Bishop. With the agreement of the Bishop, land in Nashua was signed over to the Brothers. The dream of
Bishop Guertin High School moved from just a concept to a front page story in the Nashua Telegraph. The scene was then set for many more people to help make this dream a reality.
The local community then committed itself to raising some of the
of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.
money so that the project could move forward. The local parishes
Foster an environment of respect, compassion, and trust
would assist in the construction costs, but the Brothers would accept the debt. A door-to-door campaign began asking the people of Nashua, Pelham, Merrimack, Amherst, Hudson, and elsewhere to support this enterprise. Donors even put signs in their windows to proudly show that they had given. At the end of this effort, more than $750,000 was raised (which would amount to over $5.6 million today).
When Brother Euclid, BG’s first principal, realized that the land donated by the Diocese was insufficient for a high school’s needs, he approached the developer of Forest Park, Mr. Alfred Ouellette. Generously, the Ouellette family made more land available. Eventually about 19 acres on the corner of Lund and Almont Streets became the permanent home of Bishop Guertin High School.
With plans complete and construction underway, the formation of the community, the real heart of Bishop Guertin High School began. On September 4, 1963, the doors of the old St. Joseph Orphanage on Main Street opened as the temporary home of Bishop Guertin High School. Making do with what was there, the five brothers and more than 100 young men and their families would begin to shape the spirit of BG. Parents remained involved, forming the Men’s Club and the Mother’s Club.
in which young people can grow and develop.
For many years, they would raise the funds to support the entire athletics program and other school needs.
On September 9, 1964, the current building opened and has been serving the young people of the surrounding communities ever since. Seeing a growing population of more than 600 boys at one time, welcoming girls in 1992, and adding to the building in 2002, Bishop Guertin High School has remained a safe, nurturing environment for young people.
Built on a dream made real through the hard work and commitment of families, students and Brothers alike, Bishop Guertin was built to challenge and form young people, to prepare them for life. The values of academic excellence, athletic endeavor,
and hard work, melded with faith, compassion and commitment to others still echo through these halls. Our graduates now make significant contributions to the Nashua area and far beyond as leaders in their communities, parishes, and professions. It was a vision that became a reality because so many people saw and acted upon it, to ensure that generations of students would have access to greater opportunities.
In the pages to come, you will see examples of how Bishop Guertin High School has evolved as a school and community over the last 50 years. What is evident is that the core values of the BG education and experience have remained constant while the curriculum and programs that are built upon those values have adapted to maintain the schoolâ€™s tradition of academic excellence and formation of the young, in a community where every student is known, valued, and treasured.
The spirit of Bishop Guertin reminds us of its humble past, guides us in the present, and inspires us to ensure a continuing future. Nurturing this spirit of community, its values, and the necessary experience of Catholic education in Nashua is the goal for this generation and for those to come and it will take the hard work of us all, just as it always has, to achieve this goal.
The Bishop Guertin community will form the whole young person in our care.
hile educational theories and trends have come and gone, Bishop Guertin has consistently shown that its model is effective. The recipe is simple: a safe environment, a challenging curriculum, earnest students, compassionate teachers, and invested families.
BG has always focused on adopting proven methods, thus ensuring a consistent academic standard. A look inside the typical Bishop Guertin classroom reveals active teachers guiding students toward academic success with a range of academic resources, methods, and technologies.
Accept the challenge of educating young people
The teacher-student relationship at Bishop Guertin High School is truly the hallmark of the BG experience. Teacher availability, high standards, and a focus on meeting the students where they are, in order to elevate them to where they can be together, create the foundation for academic success.
Throughout the history of the school, students have enrolled at BG for various reasons, but the most constant reason is that they want to be best prepared for college and beyond. BG gives young people the opportunity to learn and grow alongside others with similar goals. The Bishop Guertin student is immersed in an
I came to Bishop Guertin in the 1992-1993 school year - the first year girls joined the BG community. A product of a Catholic education, I tho ught I knew what to expect . I was the youngest member of the BG faculty. As the “ne w guy” I floated between classrooms with giant teache rs’ editions in hand, often dra gging an overhead projector a pile of transparency sheets and with me. Eventually it bec am e easier to just go with cha and leave the projector beh lk ind. I brushed up on my gra mmar usage skills; familiarize myself with the philosophy d of the BG writing program, and set my mind to convincing students of the value in rea ding. My students, though often testing my limits and were nonetheless receptive. theirs, Many of them did much to support me as I tried to sup them. When times got tou port gh I, like my students, sought a BG faculty member for sup and advice. It was that spir port it of the BG learning commu nity, which helped me throug hardships of those first few h the years. I have been a part of this com munity for over twenty yea rs. Today I teach in an airconditioned classroom wit h an LCD projector. I tote a laptop from class to class work via a web-based learnin and assign g platform, which allows us to have school on snow day trappings have changed, but s. The that same spirit of cooperatio n and support among studen parents and teachers remain ts, s. Students and parents freq uently ask: “What year did graduate from BG?” I can you think of no higher complim ent. That question tells me have in some way absorbed that I and model what it is to be a member of this unique and community. My students, special my colleagues, and every me mber of the extended BG fam have made me the educato ily r I am. It’s hard to imagine teaching anywhere else. Dan Gurall
environment with other young people who will challenge them, encourage them, and achieve with them.
in a diverse and rapidly changing world.
A school with active and engaged students is a special place, and not one that can be easily manufactured or replicated. It requires the willingness of the teachers, administrators, parents, and students to be part of a community that promotes excellence, personal growth, achievement, and service to others.
he Bishop Guertin experience extends well beyond the confines of the classroom. For 50 years, students have attended BG for more than just an education; they have attended
Bishop Guertin for a formation. It has been BGâ€™s mission to create and support a school climate in which a young person may grow spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically.
The broadening of the student body has had a positive impact on our school community.
Foster an environment of respect, compassion and trust
Our clubs represent a diverse sense of identity and student interest. Today, BG supports over 60 clubs and activities that are active within our school community. BGâ€™s clubs have always been based on student interest and have continually followed the mission of the school, ensuring that the club or activity supports the students in their formation. So many students are eager to be involved in shaping our school culture and possess the initiative to lead their classmates in organizing a club around their common interests.
in which young people can grow and develop.
Moving forward into the next fifty years, Bishop Guertin will continue to explore ways to further develop the student life program to better prepare students for a rapidly changing world.
he field of athletics is a great proving ground for so many fundamental life-skills that it is no wonder BG athletics has so many success stories. For these past 50 years, Bishop Guertin has not only instructed
countless men and women, but has also coached them into becoming outstanding citizens, leaders, people of faith, spouses, and parents.
If you were to enter the Gymnasium or Fieldhouse today and look around, you would be reminded of those success stories which have graced the fields, tracks, pools and courts of the state for the last 50 years. To date, 95 banners are proudly displayed in the Collignon Gymnasium representing 23 sports.
Serve the people entrusted in our care.
The field house also displays 250 banners honoring
The athletics department consists of nearly 90
those individuals and teams who have garnered
coaches who work with our student-athletes,
state and New England accolades.
proving Bishop Guertin is truly a place for students of all interests and abilities.
Today, the tradition of athletic competition continues. The athletic program is perhaps one of the largest in the state sponsoring 34 different varsity teams.
As we celebrate the anniversary of the school, we pause to recognize those who made the athletic program what it is today.
Community Service at Bisho p Gu
ertin High School
By : Caroline Trickett '14
ampus Ministry is a program grounded in a â€œministry of presence.â€? Students can find rest and spiritual renewal in the Campus Ministry center. It is also a space where students, along with the
campus ministers, plan ways to nourish our community as a whole, so that every classroom, activity and school-related event is safe, supportive and faith-filled.
Morning prayer, daily mass, a beautiful chapel open all day, and
Campus Ministry has been a large part and the best par t of my high school experience. As a senior, I am a leader of the Cornerstone Committee a branch of Campus Ministry, which incorporates community ser vice and recognizes the spirituality involved in service. This year, some of the major community service projects that BG students got involved in include a Fairgr ounds Elementary and Midd le School Mentoring Program, a BG Night at the Nashua Soup Kitchen, and BG student involvement in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Program. In the fall, students came tog ether and spent about six hou rs raking leaves in the yards of the BG neighb ors. Students are always eag er to get involved in various service projects. The service projects help the community bond and strengthen spirituality. The popularity of communit y service and student involvement in the school community is just another example of the terrific character developed in the students during their years at Bishop Guertin. w
compassionate interactions foster the daily spiritual growth of both
A safe supportive, faith filled environment in
BG Every Day Spirituality Found at By : Alison Hoffer ‘14
ertin has enabled me d every day. Bishop Gu ection, and coman ch ea nd fou be y Spirituality at BG ma ects such as prayer, refl ay life is through iritualty in many asp to expand upon my sp in which spirituality is a part of our everyd ers and presents us way munity service One the students and teach to ble other ata rel is er ay pr someone new, help an Morning Prayer. Each als might be to meet us go lp he ese Th ers y. ay da pr e ese th unity. All of th mm with a challenge for co e th in es on ass ati M l-wide an organiz to God. Though schoo ty at Bishop student, or donate to ser clo be to es liv r ali s in ou the day-to-day spiritu to make small change important, I find that ly r person. me tte tre be ex a d are an ts r rea ste and ret r Campus Mini tte be a me co be to Guertin has helped me ifetime A Trip of a L rke-Pounder By Rachel Cla
students and staff. This daily nourishment is supplemented by liturgies and prayer services, some of which extend beyond the Catholic tradition. We also have the opportunity to celebrate God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation during special church seasons.
a was how happy the e trip to Zambia, Afric th m fro k a day, or one bath in too I ing th The one ey get one bite to eat th if ky luc are ren one shirt that ild children are. These ch r themselves extremely blessed if they have They don’t even t. ide fee ns co eir st of th two weeks. They of shoes that cover mo d happy people I have ever ir pa a or it in r tea a doesn’t have most grateful an um, but they are the . They did not take have the bare minim playing, and dancing , ing gh lau ngry right g, ilin sm s to myself, “I am not hu please k in th I met. They were alway ay yd er Ev . d d for granted eat. Thank you God an anything that they ha ll have something to ase help wi ple I d ry an ng u, hu yo k me an co Th be now and if I t shower today. ho a ve e little ha th ll wi for I l fu ry. ng me grate help those who are hu e.” It not only made on life ve my ha of to rt le pa ab e be on t e I don’t tak re. mo someone who will no ips sh on ati rel do I would it me value my ing in the world, and yth things, but also made an for p tri at th ge t chan for granted. I would no at. be art he a in ain ag all over
Students volunteer regularly at local agencies to serve the poor, the homeless, young people and the elderly.
which each person is known, valued and treasured
In the past few years, many students have participated in a service trip to New Orleans, where they helped to rebuild neighborhoods that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. This year, for the first time, a group of students will be traveling to a Navajo Reservation in Arizona. They will spend the week visiting with the
Life Changing Retreat
e SC By : Br. Roger Lemoyn r students, transformation of ou d an n tio ma for al tu iri In reflecting on the sp y for student retreats. luded the opportunit inc s ha ey rn jou e th for some ipeers about Christ’s inv s to reflect with their nt de stu ite inv ts rea These ret nts who at the number of stude ed az am ll sti am I el. sp tation to follow the Go most us. The phrase I hear reat experiences with ret eir th are sh to e continu eir g.” In the midst of th ve been “life-changin ha ts rea ret e th at th often is been chalus setting, they have mp -ca off an in s, ult ad e friends and supportiv s. These itted to Christian value mm co life a e liv to d pte lenged and have acce ds ssions with their frien ingful through discu an me re mo de ma are values and peers.
Navajo people, learning from them and helping them to rebuild their fences, repair their homes, feed their animals and tend to their crops.
Campus Ministry remains, at its heart, “a ministry of presence,” one that sends us out to serve the people in our community who are in need.
uring BGâ€™s first year at the St. Joseph Orphanage, the Brothers simply painted blackboard paint onto the plaster walls to create their classrooms. More than one teacher ended the year with a hole in the â€œboardâ€? from some
enthusiastic teaching. Those technologies, and those teaching spaces have been replaced by more modern materials over the years. At its heart, Bishop Guertin is still about the relationship between a teacher, a student, and a subject. Teaching at Bishop Guertin is about inspiring curiosity in the young and guiding them through the minefield of adolescence.
And yet, the face of education and its needs are changing at a startling rate. Now, access to technology and to the internet is simply assumed. As we become more reliant on technology,
we will need to make the effort to intentionally focus on the individual â€“ to develop the whole person - spirit, soul, mind, heart, and body.
What began with that first class in 1963, and served them so well, serves a new generation today. Each generation of BG students faces its own challenges, but each of those generations brings something new. Just as the current generation of students continues to stretch and extend the educational experience of BG, it will also be the challenge for a new generation of parents and alumni to make the BG experience possible for yet another generation of BG students. Yes, the torch is passed, each day, by each class, each year, to each generation. The BG of today is, at its heart, still the BG of yesteryear. The trimmings may have changed, but the heart and the challenge for us all has always been the same.
he Brothers’ Rule states that “Christian formation is not possible without the witness of a Christian community.” Bishop Guertin is the embodiment of this rule. What BG is today is not the bricks and mortar, as necessary as they may be, but the heartfelt commitment of so many that makes it that much more than a building, a name or a sports team.
In the early days of the school, it was the role of parents in the newly minted community to build the spirit which would inhabit these walls. Couples like Larry and Shirley Elliott, Al and Lorraine Beaudry, and many others, shared of their time, talents and the treasure they had to make a difference in this place. Even more, when a family didn’t have the money for tuition — $250 that first year — Br. Euclid would go into the community to ask for help to fund the tuition of a student. Br. Gerry Dube SC started Sunday night Bingo just to fund tuition — bingo still runs every Sunday night, even today.
The leadership of the Brothers was always matched by the involvement of so many. An entire community stepped forward to make Bishop Guertin High School possible and available to the young people of the Nashua area.
Today, it is not so different. Developments on campus continue to happen because of the generosity of families like the Roedels, the Bolands, the Morinâ€™s, the Conways and so many others. The landscaping, the field house, the chapel renovations, a new classroom block â€” no matter the change involved, it was made possible by the generous gifts of many. That commitment, generosity and heartfelt gratitude of the early generations of BG families made so much possible. It will take even more of that generosity and commitment to BG and its unique educational tradition to ensure it is vibrant and available for the next generation.
Bishop Guertin High School www.bghs.org