And if you missed Edition #1 (2021) or Edition #2 (2022) scroll down this page to find those links!
On Saturday January 21, 2023, Union Catholic posthumously honored Kristin Kirchner '77 with the unveiling of an Olympic banner commemorating her selection to the 1980 USA Women's Olympic Basketball Team.
Kris was the first 1,000 point scorer in UC Girls Basketball history, and went on to become a Kodak All-American, Street & Smith All-American, AP All-American, and 1979 Women's Basketball World Champion; just a few of her many awards and accolades.
Kris passed away in 2018, but her sister Kendra, brother Keith, nephew Alex, and sister and brother-in-law Kim & John were all in attendance. Many of Kris’ former teammates, classmates, and other alumnae of the UC Girls Basketball program were also there to honor Kris.
The ceremony took place at halftime of the UC Girls basketball game versus Scotch Plains-Fanwood. The emcee was Nancy Foulks ’76, UC Alumni Director; also a teammate and friend of Kris. Retired UC Girls Basketball Coach Kathy Matthews provided insight about Kris’s athletic accomplishments. Pam Holmes Kirkland ’80 reflected on Kris as a teammate, and Kendra Kirchner King spoke on behalf of the Kirchner family.
Kris’ family all participated in the physical unveiling of the banner, as did Principal Sister Percylee Hart and Athletic Director Dave Luciano. The banner hangs to the left of the main scoreboard, near the two Olympic banners honoring Sydney McLaughlin ’17.
Kris’ actual senior year basketball jersey is part of the UC archives. Replica t-shirts were worn that day by every member of the UC Girls Varsity and JV basketball teams and coaching staff, Kris’ family, and all who spoke during the ceremony.
No doubt Kris was there in spirit, as UC Girls delivered a win in overtime; an exciting day all around!
To watch the banner unveiling, click the link to UC Livestream for the UC girls’ basketball game; the banner ceremony took place at half time.
To watch a video with images of Kris playing basketball, some statistics, news articles, and quotes from classmates, click this link or scan the QR code. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JMoK6z07UcWzo8xc4TAIygvMqprLnbFm/view?usp=sharing
“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”
That is why the annual Legacy Breakfast is so important to UC – a school of faith with an emphasis on character. That legacy brings an extra level of connectedness in a school already brimming with a sense of belonging. The breakfast is an opportunity for current students whose parents/guardians are UC graduates, to come together to share UC memories and to make some new ones. This school year, there are 49 legacy students representing 45 families. Within those numbers, we have five families where both parents are UC graduates. Further, we have 2 third generation UC legacy families. It is fitting that the breakfast takes place in the UC Library, which is located in the “Tradition Meets Tomorrow” hallway.
On Sunday, October 23, UC legend Bette Schnitzer was memorialized by her family, her friends and her beloved UC community. If you did not personally know “S,” here’s a little background:
In more than 60 years of Union Catholic history, there are but a handful of people who can be considered UC legends. Mrs. Bette Schnitzer is unquestionably one of those. Her legendary persona developed much as her name and her hairstyles evolved over time. She arrived at Union Catholic as Mrs. Elizabeth Schnitzer, but became better known as Mrs. Bette Schnitzer. A decade or so later, she was lovingly referred to by the students as “Mrs. S.” By the time she retired in June of 1998, she had achieved rock-star status and was identified by just a single letter – “S”.
The name progression was representative of her ability to move with the times and to adapt to changes. “S” was the first lay teacher hired by Union Catholic Girls High School. She accepted a position as Physical Education teacher in a school building that did not yet have a gymnasium. The first physical education classes were held in Room 110, where the girls learned dances like the polka and the tarantella. The outdoor exercise regime consisted of running up and down the piles of construction dirt. “S” managed to borrow equipment from local schools so that the girls could learn gymnastics. To quote an article in the June 1966 edition of the girls’ school newspaper, The Spirit, “obstacles were the elements upon which she thrived.”
As the school grew, so too did the athletic offerings and the athletic successes. While her myriad of professional accomplishments are laudable, “S” is best remembered for her engaging personality and her love of the students. She was always their biggest cheerleader. In the course of her illustrious 35 year career, she attended incalculable UC games, both home and away. You knew when “S” was in the stands, as she energetically sounded words of encouragement. She found you afterwards to pat you on the back for a win, or to lift your spirits following a loss. In a personal chat with “S” she shared that “If you got through to one kid it was worth it; you had made a difference. “
The Celebration of Life was attended by more than 100 people, including guests who travelled from all corners of the USA – California, New Hampshire, South Carolina – to pay tribute to “S.” Her children - Kris, Ray, Beth, Steven, Jaimie - all shared remembrances, as did her grandchildren Justin and Lexi. UC colleagues – Jim Goddard, Myrna McManus, Jim Reagan, Sr., Kathy Matthews, and Joan O’Donnell - helped everyone “take a stroll down memory lane,” and Fanwood Mayor Colleen Yewasis Mahr ’84, read a proclamation about Bette. The room was filled with over-sized photos from various decades, awards Bette had received, memory boards filled with heart-warming moments, and fun videos. Combined with much impromptu storytelling, it all made for a true celebration of a loving, giving, kind spirit who touched the lives of thousands of UC students.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VmQIquAR8_TfFFfUWPIS_SgTa8vOEchL/view?usp=sharing
The annual UC Legacy Breakfast, hosted by the Alumni Office, was celebrated on Sunday November 8, 2020. The Legacy Breakfast honors UC alumni and their son/daughter currently enrolled at UC. For the 2020-2021 school year, Union Catholic boasts of 45 Legacy families, representing 51 UC students. Four of those families can claim both parents as UC alumni. This year we also have three third generation families!
Traditionally held in the school library, this year the event was hosted via Zoom. Prior to the event, each family received a Legacy Brunch Box filled with breakfast snacks and drinks to enjoy during the call. Additionally, each family received a card containing a conversation-prompting question. The parent and student introduced themselves and then each answered their unique UC question. There was much conversation around the favorite food in the cafeteria, various school trips, and favorite UC events. All four members of the UC Administration participated in the Legacy Brunch Zoom session - Sister Percylee Hart, RSM, Principal; Dr. Karen Piasecki ’88, Associate Principal; Mrs. Noreen Korner Andrews, Assistant Principal; Dr. James Reagan ’96, Assistant Principal - to offer their thanks and appreciation for our UC Legacy families.
On Monday November 11, 2019, the student-led Hearts for Heroes Club hosted a Veteran’s Day Ceremony at school. The event is held annually and is open to anyone who feels patriotic and wants to celebrate America's veterans. The names of all 123 UC military alumni were included in the program and were displayed on a poster, which will be prominently located in the Main Lobby throughout the month of November. This year, we welcomed many UC Alumni Veterans home to their alma mater; it was a great day. The ceremony includes prayers and reflections about our service members. In addition, the wonderful voices of members of the UC Performing Arts Company led the attendees in a medley of the military anthems of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. If you were unable to attend the ceremony, it is available for viewing via UC Livestream on your computer or cell phone. https://livestream.com/unioncatholichs/events/8890943