Family album: Alumni share Villa Teresa memories

Alumni and others share memories of Villa Teresa School in Oklahoma City
BY CARLA HINTON chinton@opubco.com Modified: June 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm •  Published: June 15, 2013
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Sitting in the dining area of Villa Teresa Convent, Becky Roberson examined several vintage picture albums and memory books before she found one of her childhood drawings. Grinning, Roberson, 39, said she attended Villa Teresa School from 1978 through 1983 and met her best friend Jenni Touhey-McCreery there.

“With the school closing we wanted to see it again,” Touhey-McCreery, 38, said. “It's been a long time.”

Roberson said she particularly remembered the summers at the school and the swimming lessons she and her friend enjoyed.

“It was such a great school. I hated seeing it close, because there are so few small schools like that anymore,” she said.

Picture perfect

Michaela Harding reunited with Sister Marcianne Kappes, her first-grade teacher. Harding, 41, of Oklahoma City, said she attended Villa Teresa from preschool through first grade. She said she still has the rosary Kappes gave her. Harding said she searched for her first-grade class picture and had all but given up, but the night before the June 8 alumni event, she found it and brought it with her.

‘A special experience'

Doug Rixmann, of Newalla, brought his wife, Christy, and sons Zachary, 11, and Nathan, 8, to visit the school he attended from 1971 through 1975. He looked through numerous vintage photo albums and reminisced about going to the school with his brother and sister and being welcomed by the Catholic nuns even though their family was Episcopalian.

Rixmann, 47, he said he was grateful because his family, like some others, received a special rate for him and his siblings to attend the school because they could not have afforded it otherwise.

“It was a very, very special experience,” Rixmann said. “I can't say enough about the sisters. They were very good to us.”

Generational memories

Leslye Pratt, 67, of Oklahoma City, said her children and granddaughter attended Villa Teresa. She and her daughter Katie Brown, 35, and Brown's daughter Mali Smith, 12, visited with Sister Veronica Higgins, the school's beloved principal, to catch up on each others' lives.

“We spent a lot of our lives here,” Pratt said. “It was really hard when the kids left here, because it was like leaving home.”

Brown said she remembered the nuns being the “best teachers ever,” and she marveled that she and her daughter both had Higgins and another sister as teachers — a generation apart. She said she especially remembered reading amid fluffy pillows in a vintage bathtub one of the sisters had in her classroom.

Brown said she also remembered several sisters sewing Barbie doll clothes for the students while they napped or swam in the school's pool during the summer.

“Is that not the cutest thing?” she said, laughing.

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