ROCKFORD — Be on time. Be in uniform. Be respectful.

This succinct message to generations of students at Boylan Catholic High School came from Vince McGuire, who spent 45 years as a teacher, coach, dean of students, vice principal and, finally, principal.

“I’m very proud of the fact that I had a job that had to do with leadership for teachers and making students understand their responsibility to become leaders and to act in a certain way,” McGuire said. . “At school, you live to the rhythm of a chime and what’s so hard about going from class to class in six minutes? The uniform is a great equalizer. No one knows what kind of background you come from, and it takes all the questions of, ‘What am I going to wear every morning?’ out of the equation. It’s already decided. »

As McGuire, 85, retired from Boylan in 2008, his legacy remains fresh in the minds of current and former students and staff.

The school’s renovated and expanded auxiliary gymnasium was recently renamed the Vincent E. McGuire Performance Center.

The $1.8 million cost of the project was funded by donations.

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Vincent McGuire speaks during a ceremony Thursday, October 20, 2022 at Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford.

“I think one of the things he’s always impressed me with is that when you have to make decisions, you have to make those decisions that benefit what we stand for as a school,” said Jerry Kerrigan, who spent 44 years as a teacher, athletic director and assistant manager at Boylan until his retirement last spring. “I have always kept this in mind because, of course, running a school or being responsible for activities in a school, you are going to have difficult situations to manage.

These tough decisions usually involved determining the punishment for students who misbehaved.

According to McGuire, the secret to effective discipline is not to make enemies with the offender.

“I knew what the students were feeling or what they were thinking.” he said. “I even knew when they thought I was a bad SOB because I had to discipline them. If I chewed on their pussy and let them know they made a mistake, when it ended I would put my arm around of them and say, “What happened today is over and over.” I think that also challenges them to be a leader even in themselves. They can walk away and start over.

McGuire served as assistant principal at Boylan during Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley’s four years at the school, culminating in Hanley’s graduation in 1996.

“When he was sometimes gruff or had to be disciplinary, we always knew that it all really started with a love or respect for us and that was the basis of it all,” Hanley said. “I know I realized this when I was a student and I think my classmates did too.”

From left, Timmy McGuire, Michael McGuire, Kelly McGuire, Vincent McGuire, Conor McGuire and Shawn McGuire pose for a photo Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022 at Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford.

Hanley also credits McGuire and the Boylan administration for recognizing the importance of women’s athletics, a sentiment shared by Rockford Park District Operations Superintendent Danielle Potter, who played basketball and softball. at Boylan until graduating in 1991.

“I had good experiences at Boylan,” Potter said. “He (McGuire) was super funny, laid back and easy to talk to. I felt supported as a student and athlete.

McGuire and his wife, Eunice, were married for 61 years before his death in 2018. The couple’s six boys and one daughter are all Boylan graduates.

“I loved my job, I loved the kids and the atmosphere at school,” McGuire said. “We had faith, we had education, we had discipline, and we had fun. You can cram all of that into a Boylan student and that’s what we’ve tried to do.

Ken DeCoster covers business news and features. Reach him at 815-987-1391, [email protected] or @DeCosterKen.