SPORTS FOR YOUNG LADIES:
Athletics in St. Genevieve of the Pines
by Patricia Anderson
When St. Genevieve opened on Victoria Road in 1910, the Sisters were able to offer physical education classes. Two basketball courts, two tennis courts, and a playground on the property in addition to a gym in the lower level of the Victoria building offered the opportunity to add an athletic program to the curriculum. The young and enthusiastic Mother Regina Stelling began the team competitions that included tennis and softball in the fall as well as volleyball, basketball and teniquoit in the winter. Shuffleboard, ping pong and badminton tournaments offered individual competitions. Spring days were devoted to preparing for the annual Field Day.
In the spring of 1916, the St. Genevieve high school girls participated in the first recorded Field Day at the school; the students formed four teams – Red, Green, Yellow, Blue. They attached ribbons of their team’s colors to their gym uniforms. In later years, the Prep began its own Field Day; the “Yellow” team became “Gold” to add a sense of elegance and girls began to festoon the fence with background decorations displaying their theme for the year. In the Prep, Field Day scores were based on entertaining entrance, background decoration, organization as well as for scores in relays and games.
An occasional feature of Field Day was a softball game between faculty and the winning team. Mother Potts writes, “The Sisters would pin up their long black skirts. Several Sisters were great hitters that brought in home runs.”
MARGUERITE KIMBERLY CARTER
Through the years, a number of educators led the youngsters of St. Genevieve and Gibbons Hall to develop skills, sportsmanship, and a healthy sense of competition. In 1947 Marguerite Kimberly Carter began a long tenure as physical education instructor and athletic director for sports for the entire school. With enthusiasm, originality, and vitality, she taught physical education as well as folk dancing and gymnastics in the academy and the grammar school. She called square dances and sponsored festivals, inviting parents to watch their children perform. The playground adjacent to Pinto Hall was named in her honor. After her retirement, Mrs. Carter continued to teach St. Genevieve/Gibbons Hall students to square dance.
The athletic program was a basic part of the education offered by the Academy, balancing the emphasis on scholastics. Instruction concentrated not only on physical training but particularly on character formation and sportsmanship. The goal was to teach the students to be strong both mentally and physically, an extraordinary achievement in the years before athletic competition among girls was promoted nationwide.