ST. CHARLES – As a sixth-grader, Brenna Paul hasn’t had much interaction with her school’s namesake, John Wredling.
But, the 11-year-old said, she’s heard a lot about him.
“He means something really big,” Brenna said.
She and other members of the Wredling Middle School student council are planning a birthday celebration for the World War II veteran. The assembly is an annual event at the St. Charles school, but this year’s hurrah is particularly special because Wredling will turn 100.
“We’re just honored to be able to celebrate with him,” said Katie Swenson, 14.
Set for next month, Wredling’s birthday celebration will feature traditional elements, including performances by the band, orchestra and choir; the singing of “Happy Birthday;” and cake for all – as well as a few surprises.
Annie Leppin – a language arts teacher and student council adviser – said Wredling’s birthday celebration is a unifying event the students can take pride in. Student council members Tuesday acknowledged that it’s unique to have their school namesake still be alive and engaged in their school.
Wredling, who served as school superintendent from 1958 to 1972, continues to greet the middle school students on the first day of school and participates in Veterans Day events.
“It’s really cool he’s still involved,” 14-year-old Anna Wright said. “It shows how much he cares for Wredling and the students.”
Leppin described him as a celebrity within the Wredling community.
“He’s a great role model for all of us,” said Megan Smith, 13.
• Note to readers – the online version of this story has been edited to correct an error.