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Home : Special Features : North Catholic High School
6/29/2010 3:36:00 PM
Closeness at North bonds sweeties for life
Forest and Kathy Honl now.
Forest and Kathy Honl now.
Forest and Kathy get ready for a North Catholic prom.
Forest and Kathy get ready for a North Catholic prom.
+ view more photos
An assembly.
North Catholic reunion set
A reunion for anyone associated with North Catholic High School in Portland is being planned for 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, July 10, to be held on the campus of De La Salle North Catholic High, North Lombard and Interstate.

North Catholic closed in 1970 after a devastating fire. The arsonist was never found.
Theme of reunion: Renew, Connect, Give Back.

Parents and teachers are invited to attend at no charge - compliments of North Catholic alumni.

For more information on the reunion, go to www.NorthCatholicReunion2010.com , e-mail NCHSReunion2010@gmail.com or call Willie Scheidt Mosbrucker at 503-421-4665.

Clarice Keating
Of the Catholic Sentinel

Michelle Sosinski and her husband Gary are high school sweethearts who are still happily married after 40 years. That’s a pretty rare and special occurrence.

But during a North Catholic High School reunion-planning meeting, Michelle began looking around and realized they weren’t alone. There were at least three other couples in the room that had been together since they were teens.

“It was a special school filled with good people and good families,” she said, adding that, in addition to the many longtime sweethearts, many students stayed connected and got together after graduation.

The school, open from 1958 until it burned down in 1970, was home to small classes of students that composed a tight-knit student body. It was also a break in tradition at the time to have boys and girls in a Catholic coeducational environment.

“It was like a big family,” said Von Wecker, who started dating his wife MaryHelen when they were juniors in 1966. “It was a pretty warm place to be.”

At the time Von went to class and studied and didn’t realize their experience was any different from friends in Portland’s public schools.

“But I can certainly look back and understand that we were lucky to have that kind of environment,” said Von, now of Salem.

Wecker’s parents moved to North Portland to work in the shipyards. His dad worked hard, even taking a job commuting to Kalama, Wash., to pay for his seven children to attend Catholic school. His mom took little side jobs selling toys, jewelry and Tupperware to help support the household.

Wecker wasn’t alone in his home life. With the blue-collar nature of the neighborhood, many students came from working class families.

“When I began to date MaryHelen my junior year, we had so much in common,” Wecker said. “We were from two big Catholic families.”

Kathy and Forest Honl of Portland have known each other since they were fifth-graders at St. Cecilia School.

When people find out the 1968 North Catholic graduates have been married since they were 18 and 19, respectively, Kathy said, they’re flabbergasted.

“We beat the odds,” she said.

The class of 1968 only had about 80 graduates, and all of the members of the class had been friends for years, going to the same parties.

“Our families were all the same kind of families,” Kathy said. “Each of us came from a family of six kids, and we weren’t even from large families. There were so many ties and our parents all knew each other and were involved in the school.”

Kathy’s sister Sue and Frank Preciso, classes of ’67 and ’66, were also high school sweethearts from North Catholic who are still married. They live in Tacoma, Wash.

By their senior year, Forest had dated several of Kathy’s good friends. But one night at a party, they were the only two left who hadn’t found someone to join on the dance floor. He asked her to dance, and they took a spin around the room to “Soul Inspiration” by the Righteous Brothers.

They waited one year out of high school and got married, while he was studying at Portland State University and she was working.

Willie and Gene Mosbrucker just celebrated their 45th anniversary. He was part of the first graduating class in 1962, and she graduated in 1964.

As a freshman, Willie had her eye on the older boy. He would come around to classrooms collecting tardy tickets. She made excuses to be in the hallway when she thought he might be passing by.

Finally, as a sophomore, she worked up the nerve to ask him to a Sadie Hawkins dance and soon after they began dating.

“It’s our belief that you get married and stay together and work it out,” Willie said. “You have good times and bad times and that’s life.”

It is also a shared belief in the teachings of the Catholic Church that has helped keep the Mosbrucker family close — they attend Mass together every Sunday at St. Therese Parish in Portland.  

Mike and Mimi Schaefer had their first class together when they were juniors, chemistry. Even though they didn’t have classes together until then, their families were connected. Their grandparents were friends through the local parishes.

Students at North weren’t technically allowed to “go steady,” but many did anyway.

Mike gave Mimi his football ring, which she wrapped in pink tape to make it fit on her finger.

After Mimi lost the ring, Father Maloney, who found it, called Mike into his office and asked him why the ring was covered in pink tape.

“Because I gave it to Mimi,” was the answer. So Father Maloney told him to tell Mimi to keep better track of the ring, but never scolded the students for dating.

Mike and Mimi worked on the Student Council together as seniors, and they both helped coordinate the 1966 dance, a Mardi Gras themed function.

They were from neighboring parishes — Mike went to Assumption Grade School and she attended Holy Cross.

“The continuation of relationships for all those years from the parishes also contributed to the closeness we had at North,” Mimi said. “Many of us had played each other on CYO teams in grade school and then got to stay together as we were growing up and into ourselves.”

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