ST. MARYS – Thursday was a very special day for Alice Wortman Magistrelli. The former Rock Street resident not only marked her 100th birthday, but also received a visit at Elk Haven Nursing Home from representatives of the Elk County Catholic High School Alumni Association, of which she is the oldest member.
The lucky lady, a 1929 graduate of St. Marys Central Catholic High School, was the recipient of balloons and birthday greeting posters signed and decorated by Elk County Catholic School System students and teachers in grades K-12. The balloons, posters and a special certificate were presented to the newly minted centenarian by Paula Fritz Eddy, outgoing ECCHS Alumni Association president, Class of 1975; Dawn Salter, incoming ECCHS Alumni Association president, Class of 1990; Midge Herbstritt Lenze, alumni association member and St. Marys Central Catholic High School alumna, Class of 1947; Lindsey Straub, director of communications for the Elk County Catholic School System Advancement Office, Class of 2002; Madelyn O’Leary, president of ECCHS Class of 2012; and Ryan Jacobs, ECCHS Student Council president, Class of 2012.
"I'm a centenarian now, so I feel good," Wortman said. "I can't believe it."
“It’s just kind of unique. We have just a few years over a hundred years of Catholic education in our community and it’s so strong, and it’s really cool that we have this lady who’s turning 100 years old who has been a part of that,” said Fritz Eddy.
“I’m a member of the Golden Grads, and I’ve been there since the Golden Grads started in 1931, and when we started that program, all of these older folks like Alice Magistrelli were right there, waiting for a party. She’s a beautiful lady,” said Lenze.
Wortman and the group chatted about her days at St. Marys Central Catholic High School.
"I loved it there," Wortman said, recollecting how her teachers were all Benedictine sisters and that her principal was Sr. Edith. At that time, graduates received pennants, and Wortman described how hers was rose and silver, the 1929 class colors. She also recited the class motto, “The night brings out the stars.”
Wortman said she learned a lot at Central and then proceeded to prove it by reciting the alphabet backwards, a skill she demonstrated so aptly that all of her visitors quickly declined to give it a try themselves.
When asked if she was ever part of the school choir, Wortman said, "I loved dancing. I was never a good singer."
As much as Wortman seemed to enjoy her company, they seemed just as excited to be there.
“I just feel like Catholic education in our community, it shows how strong and how prominent it is. These people here, and how long it’s been going on, I think it’s just almost like a big family, that all of us come together. I think it’s cool that we are able to be a part of it,” said O’Leary. “I think this Catholic education will always be part of my life. I’ll always have it in my background and it will always be something I remember that made us who we are.”
Pick up a copy of the Saturday, June 2, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.