Alumni serving as faculty relive their days as monarchs

Curran Nielsen, Editor-in-Chief

Courtesy 1990 CROWN Yearbook
FLASHBACK TO THE PAST: Past Mater Dei students pose in the area that is in front of the little theatre and the 300 wing.

There are more than 30 members of the faculty that are Mater Dei alumni who work as teachers, in advancement, attendance, and other parts of the school. The alumni working at the school range from attending in the 1970s to the 2000s.

With this broad spectrum of years, the faculty has seen the many changes that have occurred in the school and, according to their students, are more able to relate to today’s Monarchs on a more personal level.

“I think that administrators and faculty working at Mater Dei who are past alumni have a good knowledge on how the school runs and what the policies are because they’ve been through everything that we have,” freshman Alexander Calabrese said. “They have a very good grip on

what is expected.”

Since first opening in the 1950s, the school has undergone many changes to the campus. The

Courtesy 1988 CROWN Yearbook
FROM DIRT TO TURF: Before Mater Dei’s all-weathered track it was a dirt track in the 1980s.

construction of the Grotto in the early 90s, and the Meruelo Athletic Center and the LeVecke Center in the early ’00s are all new additions that have deeply impacted the school community.

“When I started [high school], the Grotto wasn’t even green, the hills weren’t here, it was still all concrete, asphalt and [the statue] Mary was in a different location,” religious studies teacher Maurissa Talarico (‘93) said. “The physical buildings are completely different… The gym – the old gym, the Monarch Pavilion – not only was that our gym but the Little Theater was the main locker room, and to the left, you could walk through and it’s now the girls dance locker room, and the bookstore was the cafeteria, the Monarch Den.”

GO PAST THE POOL…: Students sit in the area where the pool currently is located, Campus Ministry is the building behind them. Circa 1993.

Some faculty who have graduated in more recent years are working with some of their past teachers. English teacher, Maddie Seidner (‘09) is one of the faculty members who gets to experience working with her former teachers.

“It was a definitely weird transition but it’s been really fun to see a different side of the people who were authority figures to me and who you looked up to, and now to work alongside them is a really interesting and fun experience,” Seidner said.

There are still many shocks when entering the campus for the teachers, even after working at the school for years. The new and old buildings as well as rallies and MD traditions help create a nostalgia not only to the teachers but also to alumni visiting the school.

“When you were a freshman, the big joke that seniors would tell you when you tried to find your classes was, ‘oh well turn right at the elevator and go past the pool and you’ll find it next to….’ and that was the big joke because we never actually thought that it would become a reality,” Talarico said. “The physical environment is a complete 180. It is totally different than anything that I knew as a student here, yet I’m still impressed. Students respect the grounds, there’s a great love of the school. It’s 10 p.m. and … there’s still people doing things here and that’s the thing that’s always been Mater Dei. The campus never closed when I was a student and it never closes now.”