– By Edwin Hearn, President, St. Augustine High School
Larry Manzer ‘53: Urges All Alums To Support Saints
Sometimes we meet people who change us. Larry Manzer, a member of the class of 1953 is that person for me. A Saintsman from the era right after World War II, Larry’s impressions of Saints are unique and farreaching as Saints moves towards the century mark in service to San Diego. This interview brings to light a school community that from its very origin has been shaped by the values of unitas, veritas and caritas. We are grateful that Larry has taken the time to sit down with us and share his stories and feeling about his high school.
What is your most memorable moment at Saints?
My freshman year finally arrived and now, I am now in high school. One of my most enjoyable moments was going to my first football game at Balboa Stadium. My good friend Keith Wilhite was a year ahead of me and a person I really respected. He had so much spirit and was a great leader.
Keith was in charge of getting the student-body fired up for the second half of the football game. At half time Keith decided to ride his horse bareback on the track in front of the stands dragging a dummy behind the horse dressed as a football player from the other team. As he approached the student section of the stands, with the students going nuts, the horse got excited and bucked Keith off. The fun really started as the horse took off running at break neck speed. This sudden acceleration knocked Keith off the horse as he hit the ground, with the wind knocked out of him. Meanwhile the horse was running wild on the football field.
Father Glenn, in charge of student discipline, was fuming mad and was yelling at Keith to get his horse off the field. Everyone in the stands was going crazy with laughter. It is a scene that is hard to believe. With Father Glenn screaming at Keith–with Keith trying to get up but can’t– the moment is reduced to total bedlam.
Finally Keith staggers to his feet only to see the horse running full speed right down the middle of the field. All of a sudden it stops on about the 50 yard line and takes the biggest dump I have ever seen. Father Glenn not believing what he is seeing turns to Keith and says, “Get that horse s_ _ _ off the field now!”
It is hard to believe what happened next. Keith looked around and had no way to remove the mess. As he looked around for some help, he knew Father Glenn was getting ready to commit murder. What to do? Keith runs to the mess……..an picks it up with his bare hands. Yes, bare hands! He runs off the field and has to make two additional trips before it is gone. Nice job Keith!
What is it that drives you to support Saints Today?
It has been almost 60 years since I graduated from Saints. Today more than ever, I realize more each day the importance of my time at St. Augustine’s. It was a pinnacle time in my life when all the major parts needed to come together just right. Saints gives its students all the things they need to move ahead and to make their mark in life.
There is no college without high school. Saints has all the tools to ready their students for the journey. Little changes after those four years. The seniors will know this as they move forward and realize just what happened to them during their time at Saints. Thank God that Saints exists!
If you had one word to describe Saints what would it be? Why?
I think the word “CATHOLIC” fully describes Saints. We need a movement to renew all that we are as Catholics. Ourbest chance to do this is at Saints. Our church is under pressureand we must stand together and be firm in our faith.
During my life, I have had issues like so many of us, but I have always come back to understand the teachings of the church are right on. It is perfect and has all the answers we need in order to achieve the fullness of life. We need to stay close to God and believe in our church.
How are you presently involved at Saints?
I am involved at Saints due to the leadership. I am very impressed with the example of Catholic teaching. I do not see another place which comes close to the quality of leadership in the classroom.
The programs for the future and what has taken place in recent years is outstanding. It is exciting and most rewarding to be part of Saints. We have the best young men any school could have. They perform at a high level and their achievements are impressive. It is always nice to be with a winning team.
Funds are needed and if all of us just did a little, the job will get done. I see so many people coming forward to help out. I am blessed to be asked to help and I find it not only rewarding, but a pleasure to do so.
In your view what is the relationship between an alum of Saints with the school?
The real work ahead revolves around bringing more alums into the Saints family. For my part I would like to see more senior alums finding their way back to the school. Saints is impressive and the only thing holding it back is lack of donations.
The school has been around for a long time and there is a large base of alumni. They need to experience the modern Saints. Once they see it, they will be motivated to assist the wonderful young men at Saints.
Saints is on a high note of success. More and more of us can see it and understand we need to be involved. Any alum coming forward will be rewarded beyond their wildest dreams. I am proud to be a small part of its past.