Father Moran and the St. Helen Unicycle Team
brought so many together
"For the Honor and Glory of God"

( Please share your memories by filling out the form on the home page of this website
or contact Bob Borlin 440-343-4308 /
All submittals will be posted to this Team Memories page. Thank you! )



The Chicken Barbecues:
The Parish Dad’s working in the barbecue pits flipping the large metal screens and smoke billowing off the chicken as they are brushed with savory barbecue sauce and then cooled down with sprayed water to keep them from burning…..Delicious!  

Daily Morning Mass: Who can forget ?......Father Moran reading the names on the lunch bags he found in the garbage the day before that still had a half a sandwich or an apple left….

The Ladies in the Kitchen:  Almost everybody's Mom helped out in the kitchen for one event or another.  Great food, great friends and lasting memories.

Setting up for Bingo:  Every Wednesday after lunch, the 7th & 8th grade boys would set up the tables and chairs for Wednesday night bingo.   Who remembers the metal ashtrays?

Report Cards:  This was scary stuff!  Here’s what you had to do to get your report card:  Once your name was called and you walked up to the front of the classroom, you had to look Father Moran in the eye, reach out with your left hand and hold the report card, and then with your right hand, shake Father’s hand.  If you did not firmly shake Father’s hand or you mixed up your right hand for your left, Father would NOT release the card!   Some kids went home without their report cards.

Winter Sports:  After lunch we would sneak into the boiler room, find cardboard and sled down the big hill.  When Father Moran got the first Ski-Doo snowmobile, we would ride that around too!!!! Either way, we would happily sit in our wet clothes in class, all afternoon.

The Unicycle Team: Father Moran put Newbury, Ohio on the map. Who remembers Father taking us out for ice cream after the parades…...He would get off the bus, and with several rolls of dimes, hand us money to buy an ice cream cone. Remember when Father would drive the bus?   At the time, I really didn't think a bus could pass three cars at once going up a hill…... Father was equally impressive behind the wheel of his Ford Galaxy 500!  Mario Andretti had nothing on Father Moran!  Thank you Jesus for riding with us!!!!!!

Gym Night, Knute Rockney All American movie, Sister Mary Harold’s clicker, the loose change in Father Moran’s pockets, sliding down the stair rails, sitting on the radiators, Church Picnics, Parades, Trips & Performances, Coaches & Teachers, the monkey bars, getting paddled, the boiler room…...


I remember WANTING to be picked to lay down (for the ramp) and let you guys jump over us! Who does that? We were crazy! Not to mention hanging upside down ten feet in the air. I had a lot of trust in you Rick (Butcher)! Looking forward to seeing you again!


My father, Andy Fecko, used to run a lot of errands for Father Moran in Cleveland because he worked at 40th & Perkins in downtown Cleveland.   One day he asked my father to pick up a "unicycle" at a store (I think it may  have been on his way home or something like that).   My father  asked, "What's a unicycle?".  So Father Moran told him what it was and  how much it was going to cost and what he was going to do with it.  My  father picked it up and paid for it and brought it to Father Moran.  Of course, he wouldn't take any money for it.  And that is how the first  unicycle came to St Helen's.

I don't recall how Father eventually got involved with Goodyear (who I believe supplied the tires at no cost but used them for publicity purposes) as St. Helen's was put on the map because of the Unicycle Team.


My family moved to Newbury in 1975 and we enrolled at St. Helen’s that year after leaving Chesterland behind. I didn’t know a lot about St. Helen’s or the unicycle team at that time, but I had the opportunity to see them earlier that year at our Cub Scout pack’s Blue and Gold dinner, where they put on a spectacular performance and even helped us try to ride at the end. I was the new kid at St. Helen’s but still remember that first week and how almost everyone was so nice and friendly. One person in particular, Nick Zsebedics friended me and asked if I wanted to join the Unicycle team. At the time I didn’t realize the impact on my future this invitation would mean. I remember my first parade, we went to Southgate’s Christmas Parade and everyone knows that when you start, you’re a clown or elf or something like that, mostly because of your inexperience and it looks funny too. I was freezing and awkward during the ride, but I can’t remember anything better than representing this school and its unicycle team. My fondest childhood memories are of all the excellent riders, coaches, leaders and parades & performances that I was a part of for seven years. The history of this team before my time and the legacy they left for this community continue even today.

It is a different time today and I do hold my memories as cherished as anyone can. The future is unknown but the leaders of this parish, especially Father Jay, Sister Christin, their staff and all the wonderful people that represent all the ministries that are offered here, truly have God and the angels on their side. I can honestly say that I am blessed to be a part of it.

I want to thank Sue Wojtowicz for putting this reunion idea in my head and to all the committee members and friends who have stepped up to help put it together. My wife for indulging me, (sorry Hunny, the picture just doesn’t exist), and the time I’ve spent with this event and to all the people and their stories that they related to me, none of this could be possible without your efforts too.  I hope everyone enjoys this day.


For 5 years, (1972—1977) I was an assistant coach with Mrs. Butcher as the head coach.

Here are some of the notable happenings:

Being invited to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl Parade after Christmas. The weather turned really cold and we had to pull our New Year’s baby (Davey Butcher) off the Parade route so he wouldn’t turn blue.

 Invited to the Florida Orange Bowl’s halftime show. We had practiced our routine for weeks only to find out that our routine would not be allowed. They said they would handle it and tell us what to do. 

Going to the Buffalo Bills halftime performance and during the practice session all the Cyclists came down like dominoes. Why? Something new (astro-turf) was on the playing field. The team had to ride in a straight line as turning was impossible. Good thing we had a practice session first.

We were invited to Washington DC for Richard Nixon’s Inaugural Parade.

Canton Hall of Fame and on to the Crosier House in Indiana. What a good time for all as they took great care of us and the kids. 

The not so good events:

Something had caused a stomach virus and most of the kids got off the bus and got sick.

A tire on the bus blew out, and as we waited Rita Holland led us in the saying of the Rosary until a tow truck came to fix it.

While driving the Unicycle truck to Florida, I noticed it was starting to shake badly. I stopped the truck and noticed that only one lug nut was left on the wheel. In the truck I has Mrs. Charlton and Helen, Luckily, Jack Charlton and Jim Holland removed one lug nut from each of the other three wheels and we were on our way.

On a trip to Virginia Beach, Mrs. Butcher and I were traveling at night to get there after work. A trucker on the CB radio (no GPS’s at that time) took us 100 miles out of our way ( ba****d). When we got there, I got sick and went to the hospital. They gave me a sedative and I missed the whole parade.

There was a time when Mr. Gordon lost the brakes on the bus on the way to Painesville parade, but he was able to get us there and back safely.

Another incident occurred while driving the Unicycle truck to Florida, as we had a gas leak onto a hot manifold. Luckily, it was caught in time. This could have been a disaster.


My daughter, Cherie Gordon fell at Apple Valley due to a chain malfunction. She fell and broke her arm, but continued and finished the parade. Jack Charleton took her to the hospital after the parade was over.

Funny and Good Memories:

Soggy French toast, frozen bologna sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly surprise, Sister Harold’s cinnamon donuts and  always stopping at McDonald’s on trips.

Dick Butcher, being the first to ride the 23 ft. unicycle at the Great Lakes Mall. He mounted it from the second story, Larry Evans Jr. also riding the 23 footer.

Kids teaching Helen Charlton to talk.

There are so many wonderful memories, too numerous to mention, but I’d like to Thank all the coaches and parents who took part in this wonderful experience.


I graduated from St. Helen in 1974. Wow was that a long time ago. When I went to St. Helen there was only fourth through eighth grade and Sister Mary Harold was the principal and Father Moran was the Pastor.

I was very shy and quiet, I was not a unicyclists but I was able to ride one of the small unicycles once around the gym only because it was a requirement that everyone had to be able to ride around the gym. Those were the days; I was always amazed at how some of the students could ride those very tall unicycles and do some crazy stunts too. Those kids were very talented. Another memory that comes to mind is Sister Mary Harold coming down the hall with her clicker yelling here, here, and chasing after the girls. Also, Father Moran keeping all the boys in line, those were the days when children could be disciplined in school.                                 

Going to St. Helen was very memorable, with a great Catholic education and I will always cherish those memories. In addition I was blessed with the opportunity to send my two children to St. Helen for a great Catholic education. Even though times have changed throughout the years, I believe that the education I received from going to St. Helen has helped me through my life and has helped me raise my two children. So here’s to the good old days.


As far back as I can remember there are so many great happy memories from the Presidential inauguration where I stayed awake for 100 hours, to The Great Geauga County Fair where I broke my wrist, to all the bowl parades, Worlds Fair, halftime shows & countless great festivals. What stays with me is the trips where host families took us in for sleepovers & opened their homes, and treated us like family. 

I also remember the stern teaching of Father Moran; to do our best, be respectful to people, smile, wave & look the person in the eyes. We were told we should do this for the honor & glory of God, not for ourselves.

What has moved me now, some 30 years later, is how we can come together, and share our memories, and catch up on what we have accomplished in our lives. This is because of Father Moran & his legacy. Somehow we can still pick up a unicycle, and have the drive to ride a parade.  This takes us back to that moment of happiness in our lives that we can share as team mates & true friends.

I also remember my parents and all the other parents who sacrificed their time and resources to make all this happen. As I grow older it makes me appreciate truly what they gave to make us successful.


 I was asked to write a paragraph or two about my experiences on the St. Helen’s Unicycle Drill Team. Summing it up in a few words is difficult. But here it goes.

First and foremost Father Moran, They don't make um like that anymore. The strong work ethic, do it right or get punched in the arm. I bet the boys will remember that the most. And of course our fearless leaders, Mr. & Mrs. Butcher and  Mr. & Mrs. Evans.

The freezing temperatures at President Carter’s Parade, Studio

See, Real People, sleeping next to graveyards,( girls on one side boys on the other), singing on the bus while Jerry Butcher played his guitar, House of the Rising Sun. And Oh yes, Noel Milner breaking my hip. Thanks Noel!!! I was up and riding 2 months later. Those are some of my memories. I hope some remember the same. I would never trade that part of my life for anything. We were not just a team, we were a family!!                


My favorite times were TV show tapings including Real People, Big Blue Marble, PM Magazine, Studio See, Good Morning America, On the Road with Charles Kuralt, Kids World, To Tell the Truth and ASAHI Japanese TV. Watching the children being real Pros, working hard together as a team, helping each other so everyone looked good. Getting praises from the director and camera people on a good job and not wasting time. Then seeing them on TV so everyone knew how good our children really are. THEY ARE THE BEST!

Working with the children and getting to know them is what I liked the most. On days that I was down and everything was going wrong, the children always had a way to bring my spirits back up. They would color me pictures and write me a note to say, "Smile we luv you". Then making the best of the day or trip and having another good parade to make us so proud to be part of the St. Helen Unicycle Drill Team. My 25 years with the team was very happy and I felt Blessed to be with so many wonderful children, now adults with their own children who are now riding unicycles.

The team had numerous “Best of Parades” including but not limited to the Florida Orange Bowl and the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  Highlights included President Nixon giving the children a standing ovation and also receiving the Presidential Flag at the Washington D.C. Parade and having lunch with Mayor Daley at the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade. A few more memorable parades included Macy ‘s Thanksgiving Day; Cotton Bowl; Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day; Cleveland Christmas; World's Fair Knoxville, Tennessee; Cleveland Browns; Cleveland Indians and so many more with the great work of Agnes Waltman. Really, all are the best in their own way, the children brought home trophy after trophy because they have such great talent. We did not have the room to display all of their trophies and that was a real shame, mostly for the St. Helen school children (not on the team) and the Parish Families.

We also had fun at all the team dinners and parties, putting together events every six months. The 250 member club truly held us together as a family. Having Fr. Moran teach the children to ride and knowing the children would if he said they should, Fr. Moran would buy all of us an ice cream cone after every parade. One day after work I went to get Larry at school as he was trying to ride a unicycle. Fr. Moran told me Larry had 2 left feet and since he tried so hard for months to ride and could not, he would excuse him from riding. However, Larry did not give up and rode all sizes of unicycles, even the 23 ft. unicycle on Real People. Just like all the children, they didn't give up and worked hard to reach their goal. Although unicycling was not as easy for Debbie as it was for her sisters and brother, she always worked hard. Debbie was so scared on the 8 ft. unicycle, but she knew I needed her there and she rode for the team and like most of the children for the Honor and Glory of God. With Chris in a full leg brace, they told me it was not possible for him to ride a unicycle because of the balance.  No one told  Chris, so he rode and had a great time. After several months the doctor took the brace off and said the unicycle is doing the job. Chris rode for over 11 years on all sizes of unicycles including playing football on the 12-1/2 ft. unicycle.

The most scary performance was when we were on a stage, it was dark and the children did not have very much room. The audience was 6 feet below, the children were riding 3 ft., 5 ft., 7 ft., and 8 ft. unicycles. They did the drills with perfection then off stage they went and the 10 ft. and 12 ft. unicycles came on to do football—not a miss. It was over, the children were shaking all over and the audience would not stop clapping so the bar girls went on again. It was great! The parents and I were crying because they were so great. I asked later how did you do it, why didn't anyone fall and they all said WE WERE TOO SCARED, but we loved it and it was fun. Great children, YOU BET!

The team was asked to perform during half time at a Cleveland Force soccer game. We went on the field before hand to practice the drills that we had been working on for 2 months. Everyone was falling all over the place, nothing was working. We had to get off the field, so we went out back and I talked to the children and we changed it all. The promoter came up to me and said, “Do you still want to go on?".  “Why not", I said. He gave me a dumbfounded look. We went on, the children drilled like they never drilled before. No one fell and the audience was standing just watching, not even going on break. It was the greatest half time show they ever saw. The promoter was so stunned and happy that he started hugging everyone.


St. Helen School was a blessing in my life.  I hold so many wonderful memories and feel truly blessed to have spent some of my grade school years there.  Sister Harold’s “clicker” and Father Moran’s pop quizzes kept you on your toes.  The foundation of family and the values that were not just taught but shown through the lives of the St. Helen’s family.

When I think back to unicycle performances that made an impact on me, I remember Camp Ho Mita Koda (the diabetes camp for children) and the home for the mentally disabled (the name of the home I can’t remember.)  When you hear the impact it had on the kids, especially that seeing us made someone smile when a caregiver had never seen them smile before, it warms your soul.

I have fond memories of the gym floors we slept on……waking up because some early risers had started playing basketball and the ball bounced on me in the sleeping bag…..or waking up to the National Anthem in Chicago near the Navy Pier.

I remember Father Moran’s words:  “If you are not here for the honor and glory of God and St. Helen….then get off this bus!”


My fondest memories of Fr. Moran were when we had practice at St. Helen's and he would shuffle around telling us what to do on the unicycles. He expected great things from us and pushed us to get better. Often times I thought what he asked was too hard at the time, but the pushing helped us learn. He knew we could do it because, the kids he taught earlier, all knew how to master the skills.