Roncalli Media

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Roncalli through a changing world

A look at how the school and the culture around it have evolved in the past 50 years

SAY CHEESE: Alumnus Chuck Kern and senior Maggie Schoening smile for their senior portraits.

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SAY CHEESE: Alumnus Chuck Kern and senior Maggie Schoening smile for their senior portraits.

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Generations apart, senior Maggie Schoening and alum Chuck Kern (R ‘71) grew up in polar opposite generations. Despite the age gap, both have one thing in common: graduating from Roncalli High School nearly fifty years apart. The cultures that Schoening and Kern were subjected to have a direct impact on their individual high school experiences.

It’s 1969: Woodstock takes place during the summer, a man lands on the moon, and the Beatles are all over the radio. Chuck Kern is a sophomore at Roncalli in its first year as a school after the merger between Chartrand and Kennedy. With all of the big things happening around him, Kern was prone to the influence of the society at that time.

“I was a junior in high school when I took Priscilla Smith (R ‘70) to see Led Zeppelin in the coliseum,” Kern said. “The funny thing was that we thought the music was terrible because it was nothing like the music we were used to hearing.”

Popular music was moving in every direction, and teens had different ideas about the evolving sound of the time.

“The Beatles were king at the time and the music was just different,” Kern said. “Zeppelin of course went on to be one of the most successful bands of all time but I didn’t personally enjoy it because of what I listened to being so polar opposite of this music.”      

Roncalli also gave Kern a very distinct experience. The school was a melting pot of students from the two Catholic Schools in the Indianapolis area, Kennedy and Chartrand. These two schools had previously been a part of one of the most heated rivalries in Indianapolis, and the merging of the two didn’t help the students to change their hard feelings towards one another.

“I was a part of the football team that year so I was required to practice and spend time with the kids from the other school,” Kern said.“This may have helped a little in easing the tension between the guys on the team, however, the school as a whole had very tense feeling at the beginning of the year.”

Roncalli has since then gotten through the pressures of the merger and has made many changes to the experience that students receive. Current seniors have a whole new set of challenges to face today, along with a number of opportunities. Culture has taken a complete 180 from Kern’s time as a senior.

“Pop and rap music are the most popular types of music,” Schoening said. “People like Drake, Cardi B, Maroon 5, and Post Malone are people I feel will be talked about for the next 50 years.”

This is far different than the culture run by rock and roll during the late 60’s. Music is not the only thing to have changed over the years. Roncalli has seen big as a school Schoening description of her time here was polar to that of Kern.

“We have gone to the one-to-one system with computers and we have started the construction of a new gym,” Schoening said. “A lot has changed here at RHS in the last four years and I know that there are a lot of changes coming in the near future.”

Schoening, along with the other students in the class of 2019, has seen a lot of controversy during the beginning of their senior year but the family aspect of Roncalli has not changed. Though the school began with hostile feelings between the two factions of people, the spirit and unity of Roncalli has only grown stronger and will continue to do so for generations to come.

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Roncalli through a changing world