Highlights from

The Herald Democrat

50 Years Ago

Unique Student Exchange in Effect at

St. Mary’s School

November 10, 1970


A private student exchange is being established by the Wurts family of La Ceiba, Mexico and the Wurts family of Colorado.

This year’s family celebrity is 12-year-old Billy Wurts, a sixth-grade student at St. Mary’s School. Billy is a popular student at St. Mary’s with both instructors and the student body.

The sixth-grader has been making his home with Betty and Bill Wurts since July of this year. His mother wants him to stay only through the school year and then return to Mexico. His return will allow for younger members of his family to get a taste of American education in which his mother Gloria (Mrs. William Wurts) believes strongly gives the children a well-rounded education.

It is going to be a struggle of emotions for Billy to return home. He likes his new environment and his foster parents, and is becoming more attached to them each day.

Billy’s mother Gloria came here a week ago to see how Billy was getting along and also to go on a shopping spree. The small town of La Ceiba lacks shopping facilities, and the busy life of the family does not allow time to go to Mexico City to make purchases.

For not speaking the American language, Gloria had a wonderful time shopping in the company of her cousin, Zora Wurts McMahon.

Young Billy began to learn the English language in July under a special tutoring by Sister John Vianney. He is doing quite well. A PTA meeting was part of Gloria Wurts’ experience while in Leadville—which incidentally she considers a big city and likes very well—and this also gave her the opportunity to hear her son perform in the band. He plays drums.

By the time Gloria arrived in October, Billy’s four months of tutoring and schooling allowed him to act as interpreter. Gloria has in mind the same type of education for his three younger brothers at home, Eric, Archie and Allen. Twin sisters were tragically killed by an auto backing into them a few years ago.

This Wurts-Wurts exchange program all started because Vincent McMorrow and his wife took a trip to Old Mexico a few years ago. Vincent stopped at an ice plant for some ice. When the fellow handling the ice said his name was Wurts, Vince wondered if there were a Leadville connection. The young fellow did not know.

When Vince returned to Leadville, he told Zora McMahon of his discovery and the town where he made it.

Zora smelled the possibility of McMorrow having discovered her long-lost relatives, for she knew her uncle Archibald Wurts had gone to Mexico years ago, married there and then continued to live there.

The correspondence linked the chain of events. The young man who had waited on the McMorrows was the son of Archibald, and he had a brother living in the same town.

So it was that the Leadville Wurts family learned of the whereabouts of their cousins Jimmy and William, who live next door to one another in La Ceiba.

Archibald Wurts was also the father of a daughter in addition to the two sons.

A niece of Zora and of her sisters and brothers residing in Leadville was the first to take into her home two of the daughters of Jimmy Wurts of La Ceiba. She has had them two years in a row, and for the third year the exchange program came to Leadville with Billy, the first member of his family to start studying in the U. S.

Mrs. William (Gloria) Wurts is more anxious than ever to send her other three boys here to study since Linda Wurts, one of her nieces who went to school in Rifle and then returned to school in Mexico, graduated this year with a record of straight As.

Mrs. Zora McMahon had an enjoyable trip to Mexico this summer when her niece, Charlotte Jean Crook, her daughter Judy, and Mrs. Rosemary Arhle and Susan of Rifle drove to Mexico to return two of the girls to their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jim Wurts. They brought Billy back with them. The U. S. Wurtses enjoyed the hospitality and friendliness of the Mexican people as much or more than members of the Mexican Wurts family who have been to Colorado.

Jim Wurts took his relatives to Mexico City where they spent a few days. There they met Marge Keller, sister of Jim and Bill Wurts.

Archibald Wurts is now 78 and enjoying good health which he attributes to drinking tea made from lemon leaves.

The international Wurtses are having a great time educationally and socially just because Vincent McMorrow made a trip to Mexico with an inquiring mind.



Inflation hits you smack between the eyes when you try to buy a new house today for what it cost only a few years ago. A new spread that was tagged at $20,000 five years ago is unavailable today for less than $30,000.

This jump is a good reason for all you homeowners to check your homeowners’ insurance policies. If you bought your property say for $20,000 and took out a policy that insured it for 80 per cent of its value, or $16,000, you better hurry to your agent and get him to update it so in case of disaster you will be closer to reality in replacement costs.


Benjamin Franklin said this many years ago: If all printers were determined not to print anything until they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.

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