School Names Reflect Appreciation

Article excerpt

Byline: Rachel Baruch Yackley Daily Herald Correspondent

This is the second of two stories on the names and history of St. Charles schools.

The closest most kids get to meeting the person their school was named after is a history book or an old photo hanging in the lobby.

The students at Wredling Middle School are lucky. Their school's namesake still lives in town and can provide a living example of why he was chosen for such an honor.

John Wredling is a former superintendent of St. Charles schools and worked for 19 years in the school system before retiring in 1984. The school was named for him in the spring of 1995, and it opened the following fall. He is still in awe of the honor.

"I still haven't gotten accustomed to it and don't know if I ever will," he said.

Wredling attends a few events each year at the school, which he says has "sort of adopted me."

Wredling attends graduation, an awards assembly and was at this year's Veterans Day assembly, said Wredling Principal Bob Lindahl.

"There's a good deal of warmth between the kids and Mr. Wredling," he said.

He added, "Looking back, it's an added feature of their middle school years that they know the person the building was named after."

Wredling is active in several community groups, such as the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Court Appointed Special Advocates and a township senior services committee.

"I just try to keep as busy as I can," he said.

One of Wredling's acts as superintendent was to spur the passage of tax increases for building additions to Munhall, Anderson, Richmond and Davis schools. And he was greatly involved in the start of Wild Rose School.

Davis Elementary School opened in 1956 and was named in honor of Alice Davis, who attended old West Side School and St. Charles High School. She worked as a teacher and a principal in the district for 36 years.

Davis attended the DeKalb Teachers College. She then taught fourth grade at the old West Side School for two years, and after further training, began teaching seventh and eighth grades at Haines School in 1919. Davis also served as principal from the mid-1920s on, until her retirement in 1950.

Davis, like many teachers, was a dedicated volunteer in her community. She worked with the Women's Business and Professional Club, volunteered at the historical society and was an active member of the Congregational Church.

Besides teaching, Davis also wrote a history of St. Charles that has been used in several classrooms throughout the district.

Munhall School was so named in 1959 to honor two sisters, Helen Munhall and Mae Munhall Driscoll. Together they gave more than 80 years to the district as teachers and administrators. Their name was given to the school as an "expression of gratitude and appreciation."

Both of these women began their teaching careers in the late 1910s. Munhall taught seventh- and eighth-graders in old Haines School, which stood on East Main Street. Her classroom, large by today's standards, usually numbered 35 students.

In 1921, Driscoll, who was single at the time, began teaching in the former St. Charles School District 87. This original district was separate from the St. Charles High School District 150, until they later combined into the current District 303.

Driscoll taught sixth grade at the former Shelby School and later at Lincoln School until her marriage in 1929 to James Driscoll. As was the way in those times, female teachers were not allowed to marry, so this dedicated teacher had to resign from her teaching job.

Her husband unfortunately died young of tuberculosis. The widowed Driscoll resumee her position, and soon after became principal of Lincoln School in 1944. She later transferred to Munhall School in 1958, where she served as principal.

Richmond School was named after Harriet Richmond, and was among three St. …