Rock Island High School, Class of '54
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55th Reunion
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Pat at the 60th Reunion

I just received emails from both Carmen Berchekas Campbell and Bill McCabe about the book, Rock Solid, telling the story of Rock Island High School from 1857-2016. I graduated in the class of 1954 and have many good memories of Rocky High. I was a flute player in the band all three years of high school and sat in the front row with Carmen Berchekas, Carol Johnson, Virginia Greer, and Linnea Soderberg. Being a very shy person during those years, "Daddy Ber" made each of us feel special and needed. We met the first hour of the morning. As a flute player, we automatically became the drum majorettes for football games. The flute players formed a bond because not only did we meet every morning for band rehearsal, but we also had to learn how to twirl the baton and lead the band, marching down the field. Band was not only a learning experience, but it provided character formation and close interactions with other classmates on common responsibilities. It brought self confidence to a teen with limited self esteem and probably more than any other activity, it made me the professional music leader I am.

RIHS was a good place to attend high school with the good leadership of Dean Wagner, Miss Libby, and Principal Charles Austin. As a young musician, I had many opportunities to perform which included playing the organ for assemblies, playing the piano for the National Honor Society induction, as well as many band concerts all three years. I became a professional musician, graduating from Augustana College, Rock Island, IL with a major in Music Education and a concentration in Organ. After teaching music for two years in public school in Deerfield, IL, I went on to Northwestern University, Evanston for a Master's degree in Organ and Church Music. I have been a professional organist all of my life and have taught both elementary music and college level. Those early roots with music experiences in high school are so important in shaping a person's life. I am very grateful for them.

Pat Schad Leege

Class of 1954

George and Cherry White

Dave Stephenson and Heidi's horrific accident, Picture below.


Here   is the graphic display of our car wreck last Sunday in New Mexico.  I   believe if it had not been for our car being a Subaru, we would be dead.    As it is, Heidi is severely injured and will be in a hospital for about six   months with multiple fractured vertebra and a broken leg.  I was able to   push the windshield and hood off of me and get out to try to help Heidi, who   was unconscious.  The EMTs and State police were there within five   minutes but it took an hour to get Heidi out.  My injuries are much less   severe, lots of stitches and cuts on face, broken nose, very lacerated hands   and arms, and every part of my body is now black and blue.  But I am   mobile.


What happened is that we had slowed for a major dust storm   debris crossing the highway and on entering the cloud, the visibility   immediately went to zero and within a fraction of a second we hit this f$#@&*g semi that had stopped in the driving   lane with no lights on.  Yes, I look forward to someday meeting this semi   driver face to face.  We were taken to a hospital in Deming, NM, and   within hours they decided they were not good enough to handle Heidi's   injuries.  So, they took her to  El Paso by ambulance as planes or   helicopters could not fly due to the weather. 


The next day, I   was discharged from Deming.  Daughter Maggie and her boyfriend (from   Denver) plus my sister and husband (from Santa Fe) picked me up and we all   went to El Paso to be with Heidi.  She will undergo operations on   Thursday and Friday to try to repair her bones.  Her head and neck will   be completely immobilized for about three months, after which rehab   begins.  Our plan is to bring her to a Denver area hospital within weeks   of her operations so we can more economically be with her at all times.    We tried to get her transferred to Denver for the operations but neuro   surgeons in both Denver and El Paso said it was too dangerous.   


I'm back home for two days to get many chores taken care of, but will   be back Saturday.  [It is a 10.5 hour drive each way.]  In the   meantime, daughters Laura and Maggie are with Heidi, and her brother and   another daughter (Kate) will drive back with me on Saturday.  Daughter   Jenny will be coming over soon from Phoenix.  Our plan is to have a   family member with her each day, whichever hospital. 


If there   was any blessing in this tragedy, my Blackberry got crushed in the wreck, so I   don't get emails unless at home, where I won't be for the next several   months.  So, should I not respond to any email or call to our home, that   is why.  Actually, as I think of it, there are two blessings:  we   are not following the political scene at all and barely following the news   that the Broncos got Payton. 


Drive carefully   everyone!!!




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