Lisle High School
Class of 1965
Originally posted on Facebook May 18, 2017
One of the Great Influences in My Life and In the Life of LCHS (Lisle Community High School)
This post is occasioned by my upcoming attendance at a play I discussed with Mr. Rapp many times c. 1964-65, but have never seen performed. I have wanted to write about Mr. Rapp for some time. I am doubtless among many who look back on their times with Mr. Rapp with great affection. He is remembered for many things, as a fine teacher, mentor, baseball coach, and, of course, Theater and Drama Teacher par excellence. His name is synonymous with LCHS Drama in its early years.
I knew Mr. Rapp from the time I was about ten, in the mid-1950s. The first play at LCHS (1957-58) was “Life with Father,” with John Siebert in a wonderful lead role in a terrific play. The play caused a minor stir because John said “Damn!” a few times. Otherwise, all of LCHS for many years, as all of life, was entirely G-rated, which I for one am glad of. I recall attending every play every year and loving them, as I watched my older brothers and their friends in them. For those of us who saw these, who can forget “The Inner Willy,” “The Red House Mystery,” or, especially, “You Can’t Take it with You,” among others? I couldn’t wait to get to high school myself to share in these things.
George & Rosemary Rap
Mr. Rapp came to Schiesher Junior High when we were in 8th grade, to speak to the class before we came to LCHS. An advance welcome. He met Paul Havenar then and told him that he would remember his name the next year, which he did.
There was never an ounce of phoniness or insincerity in the man. He was a joy to be with in class, at rehearsal, and in life. Once when I was acting a fool at rehearsal, and obviously giving him fits, he stopped everything and told me, “OK, Richard, let us do this scene with you doing everything you can to be funny,” which completely flummoxed me.
The auditorium at the old LCHS school, now the Junior High, was appropriately named after Mr. Rapp in 1984. As I wrote at the time: “While Mr. Rapp was doubtless not perfect in his life.…Nevertheless to me and my friends, and many hundreds of others, he was well-nigh the perfect teacher. I could write for hours about this talented, kind, wonderful man. But I won’t. He’s just the one human I’ve ever met who comes closest to fulfilling what Will Rogers said of himself: to my knowledge, George Rapp has never met a man he didn’t like. In the language of the 1980s, of course, this is understood to apply to all persons.”
And the play I referred to at the outset? Eugene O’Neill’s “Ah, Wilderness!” I had read it for some reason and kept asking Mr. Rapp to have us perform it. Every time I asked, he said no, because it was too risqué for the times. We never did it and I’ve never seen it performed. I am to finally see it this weekend!
I loved the man.