By Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (April 27, 2022) – St. Ann School memories will live on in a clever, portable way at St. Ann Catholic Church as a result of local resident Lou Gray’s Eagle Scout project.
Together with a small team of supporters, Gray helped construct a wooden kiosk with wheels, upon which class photos of St. Ann graduates have been placed for public viewing.
“The idea really came from when we found out the school was being closed, and my mom was really sad about it,” Gray said. “Everything in the school was just going to get thrown out. … Together we came up with the idea of doing this, to really keep the community together.”
The original thought, the 17-year-old explained, was to frame photos on the wall of the St. Ann Church entranceway, but the amount of class photos meant some would be so far from the viewer that they’d be difficult to see.
“There are 70 photos,” Gray said, “So we decided just to make it a lot easier just having this rotating thing. … It’s a lot more versatile than taking up a whole wall.”
“This is just a way to preserve the history, because most people [attending St. Ann Church] are alumni of St. Ann, so coming here to see their class photos preserved is a piece of history to remember the school,” Gray said.
Gray will need to finish a few more merit badges and appear before a board of review before his Eagle Scout bid is made official.
Currently, the kiosk is missing graduating class photos from the following years: 1991, 2005, and 2006. Community members willing to donate their photos from those years or have them scanned are invited to contact St. Ann Church. Additionally, some of the class photos are in poor condition, and could be replaced with better-maintained copies.
- St. Ann School community says goodbye after 70 years (June 5, 2021)
- St. Ann Parish to join with St. James and St. John as one parish (March 18, 2021)
- Little Free Libraries and outdoor concert part of Lansing teen’s Eagle Scout project (February 22, 2021)