Meet brother and sister, Mary Ann (Mecklenburg) Grove and Dave Mecklenburg. Mary Ann (class of 1971) and Dave (class of 1978) and attended St. Lawrence grade school before matriculating to Central Catholic. After graduating from CC, Mary Ann earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Purdue University. She started teaching at St. Lawrence in 1975 and previously taught 3rd and 4th grade, while she now teaches 2nd grade. “My favorite grade is 2nd as I am honored to prepare the students for the sacraments.”
Mary Ann met her husband Chuck in 1982. Mary Ann has two step-daughters, Kelly and Kim. Mary Ann also has a daughter, Beth, and a son, Christopher, both of whom live in Lafayette. The Grove family is rounded out with 3 grandsons and a granddaughter.
After graduating from CC, Dave attended Ivy Tech and earned an associates degree in HVAC. In 2004, Dave opened his own business – Mecko’s Heating and Cooling.
Dave is married to his wife Tammy, and they have three daughters, Jessica, Megan and Erin, and two granddaughters and a grandson. Dave has also stayed involved and supportive of the Lafayette Catholic Schools throughout the years.
One way that Dave and Mary Ann celebrate during the Christmas season is by dressing up as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Dave started dressing up as Santa while he was a senior at CC for a school project to visit the nursing homes. “I was the one nominated to be Santa because I was jovial. My mom bought me a suit after high school. She saw the fun I had being Santa and enjoyed watching me dress up as Santa,” said Dave.
While the family discussed having Mary Ann dress up as Mrs. Claus for many years, it wasn’t until recently she started to do so. “I enjoy the Christmas season and saw the fun Dave had and the joy it brought into his life and wanted that same joy,” said Mary Ann.
Dave and Mary Ann dress up for many different types of parties and gatherings including the Lafayette Christmas parade, schools, family parties, non-profit organizations and many other types of events. They both love seeing the smiling faces of the children and the excitement and joy they bring to the children when dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus. “We get to interact with the kids and have so much fun,” said Mary Ann.
How did your education at LCSS prepare you for college and your career?
Mary Ann: I believe that my Catholic Education prepared me by providing quality educational programs and opportunities. Our classes were taught by quality teachers that expected much from their students. We were held to a high academic standard. That high academic standard helped me fit into my college career. I felt very prepared for college and was able to test out of some courses.
I enjoyed having priests and nuns as teachers. They gave a different perspective to topics. In grade school, one of the nuns saw qualities in me that I didn’t know existed at that time. She asked me to help teach Latin to the servers during my recess. I believe that was the start of my teaching experience. From that point on, I thought about becoming a teacher. My Catholic education is something my parents wanted for me as their faith was important to them.
Dave: My Catholic education prepared me to be a better person, husband, and father. My experiences in high school started me on the path of helping those in need and giving back to the community. I saw the good that comes from those things, and it set me into a pattern to follow as I became an adult. It made me a better Christian, and the values learned at Central Catholic have followed me my whole life.
What did you like most about your experience at LCSS?
Mary Ann: There were many things I liked about my Catholic experience, but one was the small school atmosphere. As you walked down the halls, you knew people. There was always someone to help or listen. The faculty was there for the students. Another thing I enjoyed was the groups we could get involved with. The one I remember the most was the block section. We had practice after school and attended all the games. We wore gloves and had motions to the cheers. That was so much fun.
Dave: The things that I liked most about my LCSS education was the closeness and relationships that I made and have lasted a lifetime.
What is your favorite memory from your years at LCSS?
Mary Ann: One of my favorite memories was the walk out. John Eberle was the basketball coach, and the school decided to let him go. Everyone liked Mr. Eberle and the students wanted a reason as to why they fired him and wanted him to be reinstated. Students went to the administration, but we were told they didn’t have to give us a reason. So, the students decided there would be a peaceful walk out. We would sit on the lawn of Central Catholic and let our voices be heard. TV reporters showed up to cover the walk out. I, of course, had talked about it at the supper table for a few nights telling my parents I would walk out in support of Mr. Eberle if there were a walk out. Well, I did and my mom heard about the walkout and came to CC. She gave me the choice of coming home or staying at school. I chose to stay at school. It was reported that a mother came to escort her daughter back in school. The walkout didn’t accomplish what we wanted, but we felt the student body had their voices heard.
I believe my Catholic Education has helped mold me into the adult that I have become today. I wouldn’t trade my educational experience for anything.
Dave: My fondest memories are the YCS group with Fr. Loner and all the trips we took on Green Shawn. Also, I remember Fr. Bach greeting us in the hallway every day and the many closed-door meetings with the principal, Fr. Vernon.