Recording Elder’s History: Duwel and Langen Bring Their High School to the Community
Story and photos by M.D. Pitman
Elder is not just a high school for Adam Duwel and Jack Langen. For them – and the current student body and thousands of graduates of the near-century-old Cincinnati Westside institution – it’s a way of life. Elder is a place with which both fell almost instantly in love and they call “a second home.”
Duwel, a junior, and Langen, a senior, help lead the group of students at the Elder News Network, which, among other things, broadcasts sports on Elder’s sports website, ehsports.com. According to the students, people from more than 20 countries have viewed Elder football games and other activities.
The duo, who work with a team of other students, say that adds to the significance of their volunteer work and how they serve the Elder community.
That service includes telling Elder’s continuing history, whether it’s music teacher Dave Allen’s 50th anniversary at the school, traveling to Columbus for the Elder bowling team’s state tournament berth, or telling the story of the Mark Klusman House.
“I think a lot of the things that we’re doing within the community, as far as like going out for some of the service opportunity…helped me grow closer to Elder,” said Langen.
There are some 800 students currently enrolled at Elder, which was Cincinnati’s first diocesan Catholic high school, founded in 1922. Since that time, more than 20,000 graduates have walked the halls of 3900 Vincent Avenue.
Many of those graduates can’t attend an Elder football game – which is practically a religion in itself – but can watch or listen via the Elder News Network, said Duwel.
“If I can be that vessel between the product on the field and their home, I want to be that,” said Duwel, who mainly videos game action. “It’s cool to hear stories from people who say that, ‘My dad can’t come to the games anymore. He watches or listens to you.’ It’s something bigger than yourself.”
The Elder News Network is a new venture for the school, only a few years old, and Langen said they try to cover a variety of things beyond sports.
“We go around at certain events at Elder and try to get film of that, and try to understand what the scoop is,” said Langen, who handles a lot of the production.
Seeing the Elder community through the eye of a camera lens has given Duwel and Langen a unique perspective, which has cemented their passion for their high school.
“Elder is a special place,” said Duwel, a Lawrenceburg, IN native. “I didn’t go to a grade school where Elder is a place that’s looked at very much. I knew likely I was going to go to Elder just because my dad went there … but that first day when I shadowed, I knew I was home.”
It’s also strengthened their spiritual faith, said Langen.
“I think [Elder has] really prepared me of what’s to come in terms of development as a man,” said Langen. “It’s provided me the moral guidance for an aim for a life – where I want to be in life and what I should be doing as a Catholic.”
Elder Principal Kurt Ruffing said Duwel and Langen are involved in many activities that include helping and serving others, something summed up at Elder in one Latin word: Altiora, which means to strive for the higher things.
Ruffing said he and his wife attended the state bowling tournament last year to watch the Elder team, “And who’s in Columbus? These two guys. They weren’t told to go … they drove up by themselves. But that’s the kind of guys that they are.”
Ruffing said what they do “reflects our mission here at Elder, which is to lead young men to serve God and others according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. These two guys epitomize that.”