Meet Rob and Anjie (Wolford) Reuzenaar, both Central Catholic graduates from the Class of 1972! Anjie & Rob both went to kindergarten at Linwood Public Elementary School because the Lafayette Catholic Schools did not offer kindergarten in 1959. They both started 1st grade at St. Lawrence Elementary the next year. They received their First Holy Communion together in 2nd Grade at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, but neither have any recollection of that ‘meeting’, nor do they remember ever noticing the other in those first three years of school together, at the young ages of five, six, and seven. Anjie then moved with her family to Highland Park on the south side of Lafayette, switching to St. Mary Cathedral Elementary, while Rob remained at St. Lawrence for all 8 grades of elementary school.
What both of them do remember, however, is the first time they met in 6th grade. Anjie’s cousin, Dan “Boomer” McGuire (CC ’72) invited his best friend, Rob Reuzenaar, to come stay overnight at his house, while Anjie was also staying with her cousin’s family that weekend. The initial "noticing" of one another was that evening when Rob’s parents picked them up for the CC varsity football game, where Rob’s brother Jack Reuzenaar (CC ’67), soon-to-be brother Wayne Dienhart (CC '67), and Anjie’s brother, Kevin Wolford (CC ’69) were all on the team. The "spark" was certainly ignited in that meeting, even though Anjie & Rob would not see each other again until three years later.
Their “friendship/love story” began to unfold during the summer before their freshman year at Central Catholic. They both attended five “Incoming Freshman” events in the summer of 1968. The first one was held at the home of Mary Lee Shelton, a graduate of St. Mary Elementary. They both remember “seeing” one another there (they still recall the clothes they wore and the pigtails in Anjie’s hair! 😊 ). There was a school-sponsored dance in the CC cafeteria that summer too (but as was common for kids that age, the boys mostly stood and watched the girls dance). A third “Incoming Freshmen” party was hosted by Chico Hatke (CC ’72) and a fourth was hosted by Pat Metzger (CC ’72), who, at that time, lived across the street from the school. That gathering was where Rob asked his friend to ask Anjie’s friend to ask her if she would “go steady” with him, even though they had never spoken to one another. Anjie, obviously, said “yes”, telling her friend to tell his friend to tell Rob, adding “but I’ll have to break up with Dennis Conley (CC ’72) first!” 😊 There was one more “Incoming Freshman” Party to attend that summer, at Rob’s house, and at that point, they danced together for the first time, to the song “Mony Mony”, in the basement of his family home.
“We continued to ‘go steady’ all through high school, with multiple ‘break-ups’ when encouraged to do so, by Rob’s coaches and Anjie’s parents. We were told, repeatedly, that we needed to ‘keep our head in the game', rather than be distracted by our exciting newfound friendship with one another. But we always, rather quickly, returned to one another as our first choice of a companion on the journey,” said the Reuzenaars.
After high school, Anjie went on to attend a Jesuit College in Denver, Colorado, while Rob attended college in Indianapolis. That, of course, included a “pause” in the “steady” relationship. But, as soon as Anjie returned to Lafayette, and continued her education at Purdue University, the two of them reignited the relationship, and in the summer of 1975, they were engaged to be married, on the night of Anjie’s 21st Birthday. They were married in 1976 at St. Lawrence Catholic Church and just celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary this past July. Rob and Anjie had three CC ’72 classmates, Dan McGuire, Dave Minniear, and Ginger Stoughton as members of their wedding party, and they remained close friends with all of them until the passing of Ginger and Dave. The priest, who was the celebrant for the Sacrament of Matrimony, was Fr. Kent Hadjuk, St. Elizabeth Hospital Chaplain in 1976.
Living in the Lafayette area for their entire married life has given Rob and Anjie the opportunity to enjoy ongoing relationships with so many friends from their LCSS days. “There is a level of blessing, that is difficult to put into words, that comes with carrying on the life experience within LCSS, over the years. We both feel abundantly blessed while watching our children and grandchildren carry on the faith tradition while growing and developing in knowledge, character, and life skills,” said the Reuzenaars.
Rob and Anjie have four kids. Allison, married to Ryan Gastineau, is a kindergarten teacher at St. Lawrence. Allison is 40 years old and is the mother of four children who are all receiving their education in the LCSS system.
Amanda (CC ’02), married to Justin Gephart, is 38 years old, a stay-at-home mom, expecting her 5th child. She and her husband are living with their family on the north side of Indianapolis. They are parishioners of St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Westfield, and their four children attend the elementary school there.
Ben, their special son, is 36 years old. He contributes to the Lafayette community as a long-time employee of both Chick-fil-A and Culvers restaurants. Ben also assists on the high school football coaching staff at his alma mater, and he takes tickets at Purdue University home basketball games.
Annmarie (CC Jr High Grad) is married to TJ Schwarz. She is 34 years old, the mother of four children, living on the north side of Indianapolis. Annmarie and her family are also parishioners of St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church, where they are involved in many of the parish ministries. Annmarie is a stay-at-home mom and a pediatric occupational therapist.
How did your education at LCSS prepare you for college and your career?
Our LCSS education laid the foundation for our higher education success, evidenced by the fact that both of us are graduates of Purdue University. I also believe that our LCSS experience has contributed to the shaping of our daughters’ education, teaching, training, and demonstrating what excellence looks like. The faith-based education, along with instilling moral values, also inspires the determination to always strive to be the best version of ourselves. All three of our daughters have graduated from prestigious universities, two of them earning their master's degrees. I have no doubt that the LCSS experience was the springboard for all of our success, educationally, experientially, and spiritually, as we have lived beyond the walls of Central Catholic.
How did LCSS help to shape your faith?
We are both eternally grateful for our educational formation in Catholicism. It continues to serve us, daily, as the catechism, that we learned while in grades 1 – 12, still speaks to every decision that we make.
We continue to “shape our faith” with LCSS as a major contributor! We are now, frequently, attending all-school Masses at both St. Lawrence, and Central Catholic. We have been in tears as we have witnessed the faith of the students who now occupy our local Catholic Schools. The Masses, especially the LCSS all-system Masses, are beautiful, and extremely moving, as the students serve in a variety of ways. Our then 7th-grade grandson, Austin (CC ’27) played the piano at last year’s end-of-the-year LCSS Mass, while his then 4th-grade sister, Ryanna (CC ’30) sang in the choir. Their two younger brothers, Abram and Andrew, were on the bleachers, Andrew sitting with his kindergarten class, taught by our daughter, Allison, all at that particular Mass. Needless to say, these two CC ‘72er grandparents, sitting in the upper section of the bleachers, were elated and spiritually nourished as we watched, not only our own legacy of faith participating in worship together at this huge assembly, but the entire LCSS legacy of faith in action. Hundreds of young people were enthusiastically celebrating Our Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar, led by our bishop, and several priests. There were some young religious sisters in attendance as well. We were struck with the evidence, and the personal confidence, that no matter what else is going on in our world, Jesus is still building His Church, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18). What a gift and blessing!
What did you like most about your experience at LCSS?
Being young people, trying to figure out who we were, where we were headed, and in the search for significance, we were blessed to be in the right place, the Lafayette Catholic School System. To be candid here, as teenagers, I don’t believe that we were as spiritually developed as the current students seem to be. The world was very different, therefore, so were we. We did not wear uniforms. In fact, we didn’t have much of a dress code at all, by our senior year. This was the late 60s early 70s, when teen rebellion, nationwide, was at an all-time high. I believe that being in a school where religion was not only taught in the classroom but was also a place where we had priests and religious sisters modeling a life fully dedicated to knowing, loving, and serving God, was foundational. That was reason to stop and take notice of the bigger picture. There was also security in that strong foundation, in a world gone wild, no matter what else was going on, with our friends, or while experiencing life disappointments and challenges, we were always reminded by the curriculum and the living witness of the religious staff, that God had a bigger, better plan and purpose for us. A few of our favorite teacher role models were Msgr. Fred Potthoff, Fr. Philip Johnson, Fr. George Loner, Sr. Roselma, and Mrs. Catherine Mraz. Mrs. Mraz was someone to emulate. She was, truly, always smiling! And even though we certainly gave Fr. Don Vernon “a run for his money”, as principal of Central Catholic, he remained someone that we highly respected. We have spoken to several of our classmates about him, over the years, and we all tell stories, with a bit of embarrassment and regret, of the trouble we caused him. But it was all part of our “live and learn” story.
Describe one of your favorite memories of LCSS.
We share so many memories of those days, so we’d like to mention more than one favorite. Rob loved his participation in sports, particularly track where he held the record in the high hurdles until the event measured differently, from yards to meters. That was something that he was/is pretty proud of. However, playing football was his favorite sport. Anjie loved being a cheerleader. One highlighted memory, was when Anjie was holding the pep sign hoop, dressed in her “senior yellow corduroy” skirt and Rob came crashing through the sign, as team tri-captain, in his football uniform, before the senior night football game. What an exciting and thrilling moment for both of us!
The homecoming football game was a big night, too, one that Anjie likes to remember for many reasons. "One of the most special moments that evening was the fact that my cousin and classmate, Dan “Boomer” McGuire was my escort (since Rob was in the locker room with the team at halftime 😊). Having Boomer standing with me as my name was announced as Queen, is a moment I'll never forget," said Anjie. Of course, senior prom is also a highlight for both of us.
When we look at these photos, and our wedding photo, and the photos from all the years to follow, we are absolutely verklempt. It is amazing to see where God has taken us…from silly middle school kids to high school and college sweethearts, to husband and wife, mother and father of four, to present-day grandparents of 13…and He has done all of that in such a short period of time! 😉
Thank you, LCSS and the Catholic Church, (and our parents who sacrificed much to provide us with that heritage) for giving us the tools to navigate through all the ups and downs of life, keeping us anchored with the only Source that can get us safely to the other side.