One of the best ways to understand the history and significance of St. Angela is through the stories of alumni. The history of St. Angela is a history of faculty and staff who provide a loving and nurturing environment, preparing students to thrive in the world and eventually return to support their alma mater. The proof of St. Angela School’s positive impact on the world can be seen through the huge network of alumni who stay connected to the school due to their warm memories of life at St. Angela.
The Jordan Family name has now become a part of St. Angela School itself, with the newly renovated gym named after Jack Jordan. Jack Jordan graduated from St. Angela School in 1938, and after later marrying and moving back to his childhood home, he sent all 10 of his children to St. Angela. Their graduation dates range from 1964 to 1979.
Jack Jordan was a star basketball player, and in the mid 1900’s there was a Catholic basketball league specifically for boys under 5-feet, 9-inches. Jordan attended high school at St. Philip’s High School on the West Side, where he played in that league. Jordan remained involved with St. Angela School, and in the 1960’s when he noticed the lack of athletic programs at the school, he got involved and organized football and basketball teams. Jordan served as the volunteer athletic director at St. Angela for close to 15 years between the late sixties and early eighties.
Jack Jordan worked tirelessly to raise money for the St. Angela athletic program, ensuring that there was adequate funding for uniforms and equipment, along with trophies, awards and end-of-season banquets.
According to Dan Jordan, one of Jack Jordan’s seven sons, his father was a kind of legendary figure at St. Angela School.
“He was a surrogate father for literally thousands of boys that went through that school over the years,” Dan said.
While Jack Jordan passed away 25 years ago, his legacy lives on, and the newly renovated gymnasium was named the Jack Jordan Gym in his honor.
The Jordan family has stayed intimately involved with St. Angela School throughout the years, and Dan Jordan serves on the Patrons Board. According to Dan, the family’s continued involvement can be attributed to his father, who worked tirelessly to make St. Angela the school that it is.
“For me personally, it’s just a natural extension of what my dad did and what my brother did,” Dan said.
Dan’s brother Marty Jordan, who organized St. Angela’s yearly Bowling Bash for charity, died 10 years ago. His legacy lives on through the continued Marty Jordan Bowling Bash. The school currently provides the Jack and Marty Jordan fund, which primarily supports the athletic programs at St. Angela.
Dan also attributes his continued involvement in St. Angela to a larger pattern of alumni staying in close contact with the school.
“All the families that were there in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s moved out. And yet, the camaraderie, friendship and closeness of many of the classes has stayed extremely strong. All of us have kids now, and our kids roll their eyes because everywhere we go, we run into someone who has a connection with St. Angela,” he said.
Joan Gibbons graduated from St. Angela School in 1943, and she attributes her career in the Foreign Service to her time at the school.
“The Providence Nuns had hospitals and schools in China and frequently referred to their mission there, especially rescuing abandoned girl babies. This stimulated my curiosity about the rest of the world outside of North Austin and resulted in my joining the U.S. Foreign Service in my early twenties,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons was accepted into the Foreign Service in 1952, where she served in Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Egypt, and Hungary. She was also assigned to U.S. Consulates in South Africa, Indonesia, and Senegal, among others.
Gibbons eventually returned to the United States, where she currently lives. And in 2012, she volunteered as a teacher’s aide in a first-grade class at St. Angela.
Tom Gull graduated from St. Angela in 1974 and remains involved with the community as an alumni and donor. The youngest of seven, all the Gull children attended St. Angela School, starting with his eldest sister in 1950.
He calls his entire eight-year education at St. Angela School impactful. The presence of the Sisters of Providence, who taught his mother when she was in high school, made a particular impact on Gull.
“Their life of faith and service was evident to us. As I continued to attend Mass through high school, it was nice to continue to see my teachers at Sunday Mass,” he said.
Gull went on to attend Holy Cross High School in River Grove and earned his MBA from Dominican University.
According to Gull, he would recommend a Catholic education to anyone:
“Catholic education is incomparable. In a Catholic school, the teachers and administration are able to teach the children in ways that public schools cannot: teaching through faith. As Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, founder of the Sisters of Providence who staffed the school said, “Love the children first, and then teach them.”
—LUCIA WHALEN, Contributing Reporter
Follow these links to all of the individual stories in the St. Angela School special section: