Alumna of Notre Dame High School in St. Louis turned 100

Notre Dame High School in St. Louis is known as one of the top private Catholic High Schools. School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) teachers have built a legacy of education and this has been passed down through generations. Considered one of the oldest alumna of Notre Dame High School in St. Louis, Verna Schnurbush Buchheit turned 100 on June 3, 2019. Verna attended the high school from 1938-1942.

Verna came from Apple Creek, Missouri, a little German town founded by her ancestor, Joseph Schnurbusch, in 1828. When living out in the country, many did not make it to high school or complete their education. However, Verna’s father wanted her to have an education. Luckily, Notre Dame High School was actively trying to fill the school with lay students and because Verna showed educational promise, they invited her to attend. Verna received a grant and worked in the kitchen to pay for tuition.

Verna Buchheit is one of the oldest alumna of Notre Dame High School in St. Louis. She turned 100 on June 3, 2019.

“The Notre Dame Sisters were a great influence to me. I loved my time at the high school and really appreciate my education,” said Verna. Her favorite subject in school was Latin. Verna’s daughter, Kathy Buchheit, a Franciscan Sister of Mary, says, “I still hear her spelling words in Latin correctly and catching parts of speech. She knew some German, so language came easy for her.”

After graduation, Verna went to work for Curtiss-Wright Corporation in a confidential area during the war. She then became a stay-at-home mom to raise her family. After everyone was off to school, she went to work in human resources at St. Mary’s Hospital in St. Louis. Verna and her husband retired in the early 1980’s and moved to Perryville, Missouri. Verna wanted to be a volunteer at the local hospital, but she was told the volunteer department was no longer in operation. Verna, having a strong sense of leadership and purpose, resurrected the volunteer department and eventually, became the volunteer director and a member of the auxiliary board for over 15 years. As Verna aged, she moved back to St. Louis to be closer to family.

Verna has stayed connected to Notre Dame High School over the years. Her family has attended regular Christmas concerts and she was invited back to see renovations throughout the years. “She recognized many areas of the school and shared many stories,” says Sister Kathy.

As Verna’s family celebrated her 100th birthday, they wanted Notre Dame High School and the School Sisters of Notre Dame to know how much the sisters and her education meant to Verna and their family. “I’m proud that my mother is a graduate of Notre Dame,” said Verna’s daughter, Sister Kathy. They shared her story in hopes to let everyone know how important Catholic education is and how it can truly impact a family for generations.

Find out more about Notre Dame High School in St. Louis.

Reconnect with a former teacher.

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