School of Character 1923 – 1948


1924

Basketball Team Crowned Southern Catholic Champions

After winning the Southern Catholic Conference, the SSC basketball team boarded a train to Chicago to play a 32-team national tournament. The Rock-A-Chaws lost in the finals to Marquette 25 to 19. They did walk away with the trophy for best sportsmanship. 


1924

First Football Homecoming Called Dads’ & Grads’ Day

St. Stanislaus celebrated its first Dads’ & Grads’ Day on November 23, 1924. According to the event brochure, it was a special time for grads to renew friendships with Brothers and classmates and to retell the escapades of their carefree days at St. Stanislaus. The day was also an opportunity for dads to meet with their sons’ teachers. More than 400 men rode a chartered train from New Orleans while others “motored” from surrounding states. The day’s events included a parade through town, a tour of the campus, a barbeque lunch, a football game, and an evening reception. 


1926 — 1948

Brother Peter Basso Tenure

Brother Peter Basso became President of St. Stanislaus College in 1926. He firmly established St. Stanislaus as a school of character and put it on the national map with his radio talks on the psychology of adolescent males. Invitations poured in from schools and civic clubs across the country for him to speak on what he called “boyology.” During his tenure, enrollment soared; a summer camp was started in 1928; a new chapel and residence for the Brothers were completed in 1930, and the athletic program produced national stars. 


SSC Produces Star Student-Athletes

Brother Peter Basso became President of St. Stanislaus College in 1926. He firmly established St. Stanislaus as a school of character and put it on the national map with his radio talks on the psychology of adolescent males. Invitations poured in from schools and civic clubs across the country for him to speak on what he called “boyology.” During his tenure, enrollment soared; a summer camp was started in 1928; a new chapel and residence for the Brothers were completed in 1930; and the athletic program produced national stars. 

Felix Blanchard, ’15, one of the first big names in athletics from SSC, after playing football for Tulane became a medical doctor and sent his son, ‘Doc’, to SSC. The 1917 class at SSC produced three student athletes of national fame. Edward Curtis, star of the mile run, represented the U.S. at the Olympics in Belgium. Sidney Wolfe played quarterback for LSU and went on to become president of the Research Corporation in New York City. Nathan Tycer won the national title for the 561-lb throw at the AAU in St. Louis in 1917 and finished third in the nation in all-around athletics. He went on to become a prominent district judge in Louisiana, and in 1976 SSC inducted him into its Hall of Fame. 

Among the famous football players were Johnny Soule, ’19,  who played at West Point; Coty Rosenblath, ’20, All-Southern at Centenary; Sam Cerniglia, ’22, all-star at Loyola; Bill Cassidy, ’25, who played for Knute Rockne at Notre Dame; Marchmont Schwartz, ’27, Notre Dame’s All-American back in 1930 and 1931 and member of the National Football Hall of Fame; Henry “Zeke” Bonura, ’27, stand-out at Loyola; Harry Glover, ’28,  who starred for Tulane in the 1930 Rose Bowl and later coached at SSC; and John Scafide, ’29, also a Tulane star. 

SSC produced two major league baseball players: Eddie Moore of the 1925 championship Pittsburgh Pirates team; and Zeke Bonura, who played with Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators, New York Giants, and Chicago Cubs. 

In track, Marion Wolfe ’23 starred at SSC and then Tulane before getting his medical degree and serving as SSC’s doctor. Brother Peter and Coach Forster Commagere worked with two javelin stars, Milton “Hippo” Phillips, ’21, and Zeke Bonura, ’27. The latter won the national AAU title in San Francisco while he was a sophomore at SSC, setting a new record of 213’ 10.5” in 1925. 


1930

Chapel, South Wing Dedicated

Brother Peter scheduled the dedication of the chapel building to coincide with Homecoming and Dads’ Day, November 2, 1930. The Brothers had issued 10-year mortgage bonds for $90,000 to finance the new building. The bottom floor housed a large senior study hall and fully equipped chemistry and physics lab. On the second floor was a spacious two-story chapel, with a high, vaulted ceiling and free of columns.


1932

The Rock-A-Chaw School Newspaper Published

On October 7, 1932, the students published the first issue of the school newspaper. The Rock-A-Chaw captured state and national awards. The 1935 and 1936 staff captured First Honors from the Catholic Press Association for its style, coverage, and originality.  In its first annual state survey in 1938, the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association awarded the The Rock-A-Chaw its highest rating, that of “Pace Setter,” naming it the best high school paper in the state.  


1932

Parents Take Active Role at SSC

During Brother William’s tenure as president, he organized a Parents’ Club in 1932, which developed into two Mothers’ Clubs, one local and one in New Orleans. During the spring of 1936, members of the newly formed Sidelines Club, organized by Coach Harry “Wop” Glover and Brother William, went to work on the stadium. Before long the Sidelines Club had secured new bleachers and a new scoreboard to achieve the club’s goal to make the SSC stadium second to none in the state. From 1937 to 1942 SSC hosted Sugar Bowl teams such as Santa Clara, Carnegie, Tulsa, Boston College, and Fordham as a practice facility. 


1935

Brother Romuald Builds the Band Program

Brother Romuald started a marching band in 1935 that performed at half-time shows of football games. Winning contests became commonplace for the SSC bands under Brother Romuald’s leadership. The 1956 SSC yearbook noted that since 1937 the band had amassed a total of sixteen plaques for first-place ratings and hundreds of medals earned by individual members. 

Brother Romuald Robitaille 


1937 — 1952

Boxing Teams Win 7 State Titles

Saint Stanislaus won its first state championship at the third annual State Boxing Tournament, which took place at Bay High in 1937. In 1939, the SSC team, then coached by Edmund Blaize, won its second state championship title. In the late forties and early fifties, SSC won the state title five more times, in 1946, 1948, 1949, 1950, and 1951. At the end of the 1951 season, the Mississippi State Athletic Association dropped boxing as an interscholastic sport. 


1945

SSC Grad Doc Blanchard WinS Heisman Trophy

Fullback Felix “Doc” Blanchard led the 1941 SSC football team to an undefeated regular season, the  Gulf Coast Championship, and an invitation to the  Toy Bowl. At the U.S. Military Academy where he was named an All-American in football three times, Doc led West Point to a 27-0-1 record between 1944-46. While still a junior in 1945, Doc won the coveted Heisman Trophy as well as the Maxwell Award as America’s outstanding football player. 

Doc Blanchard 


1955

Brothers’ Cemetery

Started in 1867 during the yellow fever epidemic, the Brothers’ cemetery on the SSC campus has always been a special place that Brothers have visited during their annual retreats to the Bay. Originally located on the site of the present tennis courts, the cemetery was moved in 1955 to the west side of Hancock Street. 


1942

“SSC Not for Softies” – Students Active in WW II 

In addition to curriculum changes to prepare graduates for immediate entry into the military, SSC sponsored a variety of programs to help its students fulfill their patriot duty. “St. Stanislaus is not for softies,” Brother Peter stressed in his president’s message to students in 1942. He demanded that every student devote himself to the School of Character, to be strong-willed and tough-minded in order to overcome a formidable enemy in a desperate war. Thirty-five of the 40 varsity football players from the 1942 SSC team entered some branch of the military after leaving school. 


1948

Brother Peter’s Death Marks End of an Era

In addition to curriculum changes to prepare graduates for immediate entry into the military, SSC sponsored a variety of programs to help its students fulfill their patriot duty. “St. Stanislaus is not for softies,” Brother Peter stressed in his president’s message to students in 1942. He demanded that every student devote himself to the School of Character, to be strong-willed and tough-minded in order to overcome a formidable enemy in a desperate war. Thirty-five of the 40 varsity football players from the 1942 SSC team entered some branch of the military after leaving school. 

Many a word has been written honoring Brother Peter as a nationally known educator and molder of character of students and athletes. The Boston Globe captured well Brother Peter’s interest in athletics, his loving care for others, his attention to detail, his strong sense of hospitality, and most of all, his indomitable spirit.   

In 1977 SSC dedicated a $600,000 gym with a 1,300 seating capacity to Brother Peter Basso.