By Skylar Dooley, Features Writer
W.J. Keenan and Eau Claire high schools have been at a now inactive rivalry for nearly 50 years.
“The Keenan and Eau Claire rivalry dates back to the late 70’s,” Mrs. Deidra Pompey, Keenan English teacher and graduate, said. “They were two urban schools in the district, and they were relatively close to each other.”
Alumni and employees of Keenan have experienced the rivalry at its peak.
“I was a student here in the 90’s, and the rivalry was pretty strong,” Ms. Mary Haile, English teacher and graduate, said. “I’m guessing it started in the early 80’s. Keenan wasn’t a high school until the 70’s, so it might have started around then.”
From then to now, things have surely changed.
“I don’t think its…well, the dynamics have changed,” Ms. Pamela James, media center instructional assistant and graduate, said. “Back in the day we didn’t have gang issues. Back then we really had school spirit. We could go from school to school with goals to just continue with the rivalry, but nowadays, students will go from school to school to fight and to shoot. We just wanted to show our school spirit.”
The rivalry not only affected schools but friendships also.
“I’ve always been a loyal Raider, so, of course, I hated anything shamrock,” James said. “I’m still that way. I have friends that went to Keenan that work at Eau Claire or have children that go to Eau Claire. I always tell them that they’re traitors.”
From the beginning of the rivalry history till now, things have changed. When Keenan first became a school, the rivalry was active at all times. Football games, track meets, even volleyball tournaments. Now, the rivalry is barely a whisper in the halls of Keenan and Eau Claire. It’s more than obvious that the rivalry isn’t as relevant to students now as it was then.