July 23 – Happy Birthday Mary Anne Velz

missvelzSt. Mary’s Institute is one of the oldest and most productive institutions in the history of Amsterdam, NY. First opening its doors in 1880, many of this town’s most successful residents were educated in its classrooms. As you might expect, the school that opened one hundred thirty five years ago was quite different than the one still functioning today up on Kopernik Blvd. For one thing, back then, all the teachers were nuns and priests.

But as time went on that of course changed. Through its history, more and more outstanding layperson educators have dedicated large parts of their lives to ensure that generations of SMI students have been challenged, inspired and instilled with the knowledge and study skills necessary to achieve success in the next phases of their lives. No St. Mary’s lay teacher epitomized this classroom skill and dedication to students more than the late Mary Anne Velz.

Today’s Amsterdam Birthday celebrant was born in Berlin Germany on July 23, 1936 and grew up in Hudson, NY. Her father, Roland Velz was an executive with the Woolworth Store Chain and in the late 1920’s and early 30’s he was responsible for opening new Woolworth stores in the biggest cities in Germany. With Hitler rising to power, the pre-WWII era was a dangerous time to be living in Germany as Mary Anne’s father found out. In 1933, while walking innocently down the street of the German city of Dusseldorf with his wife, Roland Velz was struck…

You can read the rest of my story about this former Amsterdam educator in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

2 thoughts on “July 23 – Happy Birthday Mary Anne Velz

  1. My wife Marilyn taught for ten years with Mary Anne Velz . She was a great teacher and her close personal friend . One of the finest people I ever knew .
    Mike Van Allen


    1. I had the pleasure of working with Ms. Velz for five years! Such a great educator! This is a wonderful tribute to her!


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