COLORADO SPRINGS. When Michelle (Polliard) Quaney last walked the halls of Corpus Christi Catholic School as a student in 1976, the United States was celebrating its bicentennial and “Silly Love Songs” by Wings filled the airways. Yet when she returned to the Colorado Springs campus as a teacher six years ago, the feeling invoked by the building was the same.
“It was surreal,” Quaney said. “The people were different but the atmosphere was the same. The building smells the same, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I was using Sister Agnes’ desk or one that Sister Ruth used.”
Over the last 100 years, Corpus Christi Catholic School has provided a faith foundation and tight-knit community for its families. As Corpus Christi Catholic School marks its 100 years of service to the local Catholic community, they invite everyone to join in celebration at their 2022 annual Gala. The event, which will be held on Feb. 26 at the Antlers Hotel beginning at 6 p.m., will include dinner, dancing and an auction.
Diane Crumb, who graduated from Corpus Christi School in 1988 and whose son, Brennan is currently an eighth-grader there, feels that what the school provides for its families goes beyond academics.
“The friends I made at Corpus are still my friends,” she said. “When I was here, we were a tight-knit group. Our families socialized together and watched out for each other. If my mom was late picking me up, I knew which family I was supposed to go home with without any special arrangement needed.”
As Crumb sat in Quaney’s third-grade classroom, she recounted where she sat and which friends surrounded her when she studied French in that classroom during her middle school years. Attending games in the school’s gym is like stepping into a time machine, she said.
“It’s like stepping back in time,” Crumb said. “I have a friend who comes to the games now and he looks so much like his dad that when he steps into the gym it just takes me back.”
Of course, many things have changed since Quaney and Crumb attended Corpus Christi as students. One difference is that the faculty is no longer made up of religious sisters who lived in the convent across the street. Another is that the school janitor doesn’t reside in the building. Crumb said when she attended, the janitor and his family lived in the basement and one of his children attended the school.
“We were all jealous that he got to ride his Big Wheel down the halls and he had the whole gym to himself any time he wanted,” she said, laughing. “Those are the kinds of things that kids think about.”
Ronald Dellacroce’s time at Corpus Christi pre-date’s Crumb’s by 40 years. Attending in the 1940s and 1950s, Dellacroce’s father would pay the school’s tuition for him and his sisters with coal that he received for work in the Pike View Mines. But like both Quaney and Crumb, he remembers the caring faculty who helped him build a solid foundation of faith and knowledge.
“Everytime I write my name, I think that Sister Emaculate, my penmanship teacher, would be proud of me,” Dellacroe said.
Quaney and Crumb both feel that their Corpus Christi education had a part in every aspect of their faith formation. From the example of the sisters who lived out their faith in their vocations to the families being so close-knit, both women said that learning to live their lives as Catholics was a daily lesson.
“Our faith was foundational because we were, and still are, living out our faith together,” Crumb said. “Our families had the same base faith beliefs and had the same goals for their children. We learned to live together in preschool or early elementary through high school and that’s why we’re still friends today.”
Crumb said, in her mind, Catholic education was a must for her son. And while her husband grew up in Peyton attending public schools, what he has seen of Crumb’s friendships with classmates from Catholic schools made the decision an easy one for him, too.
Returning to Corpus Christi hadn’t been a part of Quaney’s plan, but she now feels it was part of God’s plan for her. She had applied for a job at St. Paul School after retiring from 33 years of teaching in public schools. When she received word that she didn’t get that job, she soon got a call asking if she would be interested in working for another school in the diocese. After learning it would be a classroom job, Quaney finally asked the name of the school.
“‘It’s an elementary school near the hospital called Corpus Christi,’” she was told. “I immediately felt that returning was part of God’s plan for me and it’s been one of the biggest blessings of my life. It’s hard to part with something that’s so good.”