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Benjamin Epstein

Parents Get a Salute at Military Ball

January 28, 1986|Benjamin Epstein

Parochial schools are fairly common in Southern California; military schools less so, but not unheard of. Far more rare than either is a school that is both.

St. Catherine's Military School, located for nearly a century on the same site in downtown Anaheim, is possibly the only elementary school of its kind west of the Rockies. Saturday night at the Anaheim Hilton and Towers, representatives of each of the five armed forces, dozens of cadets and more than 300 friends of St. Catherine's gathered at the academy's 20th annual Military Ball.

According to Bernard Rumps, honored at the ball for 25 years of teaching, the special quality of St. Catherine's derives from the Dominican Sisters, who, he says, temper military discipline with Christian love.

"Most people have difficulty realizing that while it is a military school, St. Catherine's is primarily a Catholic school staffed by the sisters," Rumps explained during the cocktail reception. "Whatever military severity there may be is offset to a great extent by their tremendous affection--their love permeates everything that's done at St. Catherine's. The men of the military, even the commandant, is subject to the administrator, Sister Regina Marie."

Rumps then turned to proudly introduce his own children with a long wave of his hand.

"This isn't all of them, of course," he said. "We have 17." Rumps and his wife, Carmen, will be married 30 years next October; their children range in age from 5 to 28, and none attend St. Catherine's. "I'm not crazy about teaching my own children," he explained.

Also honored at the ball were county Supervisor and retired Marine Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Riley; longtime St. Catherine's supporters Paul and Betty Hughes and Mary Kretschmar and her family.

Dennis Sellers, president of the Parents' Guild, is sending his second son through St. Catherine's. He shared his reasons: "They teach them to be good gentlemen. And because of the promotions the students can get, the bars and medals, they strive more. . . . Most become high achievers."

Thank Contributors

Sellers said the purpose of the ball is to thank parents for contributions amounting to approximately $50,000 this year; the event also supports a retirement plan for military and lay personnel at the school.

According to Sister Regina Marie, a fund-raising campaign and development program has been initiated in anticipation of the academy's 100th anniversary in 1989. She set the campaign goal at "$1 million in three years."

Uniformed cadets were stationed at regular intervals along the foyer leading to the ballroom. At one end was 11-year-old Inocencio Espinosa, who said he likes the English classes at St. Catherine's best.

As it turns out, Espinosa, who hails from Colima, Mexico, is one of 35 cadets who study English as a second language. Also enrolled in the program is Kenji Delgado, 14, from Peru.

"You should see Kenji play football," noted Bill Vincent of Newport Beach, whose 13-year-old son, John Robertson, is one of Kenji's fellow residents. "That boy can run better than anyone on the Rams."

Major Advantage Seen

Vincent's four other sons attend Newport Harbor High School, Corona del Mar High School, Carden Hall and a special center for autistic children in Scottsdale, Ariz. He sees one major advantage to St. Catherine's.

"Gooooood supervision," Vincent said.

Introduced before dinner were representatives of the five branches of the armed forces: Coast Guard Rear Adm. A. Bruce Beran, Air Force Capt. John Sarakatsannis, Navy Capt. Kevin Healy, Marine Lt. Col. Cary Kelly, Army Lt. Col. Richard Wandke and Army Capt. William Onstott.

Commanding the cadets' Honor Guard was Army Reserve Lt. Col. Allen Baumann. Steve Lewis directed the Cadet Band. Master of ceremonies was Marine Brig. Gen. William Bloomer, assisted by Neil Le Vecke. Maria Hoffman and Francesca Adams served as ball committee co-chairpersons.

Fresh on the heels of his Masters Tournament win, Ivan Lendl, the world's top-ranked tennis player, came to the John Wayne Tennis Club in Newport Beach on Thursday to raise money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Orange County.

The event, which realized $4,000 for the organization, began with a Little Brother/Little Sister tennis clinic and ended with a cocktail reception for 150. The afternoon also included two hours of tennis; Lendl adjusted his level of play to that of his opponents, each of whom had donated $100 for three minutes on the court with the champion.

To the delight of spectators--possibly in answer to Wimbledon Champion Boris Becker's on-court displays of soccer prowess--Lendl's good-natured antics included returning lobs with his head.

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