Armella Petersen, Class of 1925

IMG_0517Miss Petersen began her teaching career with the Ste. Genevieve School District in 1927, after graduating from Missouri State Teacher’s College. She was a teacher, administrator, and coach for 45 years in the school district. She began teaching at Brickey Hollow School in 1927, and rode the train daily from Ste. Genevieve to Brickey Hollow back and forth to work. Later, she became the principal of Ste. Genevieve Grade School before becoming a longtime English teacher and coach at Ste. Genevieve High School. “Miss Pete”, as she was affectionately known by all, was an accomplished athlete in high school in basketball and volleyball, and in college in tennis and swimming. Miss Petersen was a pioneer in women’s sports as an athlete and high school coach in an era when not many women participated in sports. After her retirement in 1972, the Armella Petersen Scholarship Fund was established. Miss Petersen is still remembered today as the Armella Petersen Award for the Outstanding Senior Girl Athlete is awarded annually at Ste. Genevieve High School. Miss Petersen was active in community service throughout her life, serving as President of the Ste. Genevieve Women’s Club, a member of the Foundation for Restoration of Ste. Genevieve, the Ste. Genevieve Women’s Golf Association, the Association of Retired School Teachers, the American Association of University Women, the Ste. Genevieve Hospital Auxiliary, a Girl Scout leader, a Sunday School teacher at the First Presbyterian Church of Ste. Genevieve, and a recipient of the Woman of the Year Award in Ste. Genevieve. Miss Petersen dedicated her life to the children of Ste. Genevieve County. She ran summer youth programs during World War II, and she frequently opened her home to children from out of town to have a place to stay at night, allowing them to participate in afterschool athletic events, school plays and dances, and other activities.