Saint Ignatius High School

Ten from '20: Top Stories from the Year

No doubt, 2020 was a year to remember. Although the year presented challenges beyond most people's imaginations, there are stories from Saint Ignatius High School that are moving, inspiring, uplifting and fun. Once every day, we will revisit one story from 2020 that is worth rereading.

There’s a book of history about Saint Ignatius High School called Years in Passing, which was written for the school’s centennial celebration in 1986. It details the stories of our famed Alma Mater, tied in with the local and national context of the times. Perhaps in another 16 years as we prepare for the school’s 150th birthday, someone will write some new chapters about the past 50 years; 2020 alone might require its own special section.
We know that within each year, though, is more than just the highlights—the marquee moments that forevermore remain marking points: the appointment of a new principal, a national championship, the opening of a middle school, and of course a pandemic that forces a near-reinvention of how we ‘do’ school.
So as we reflect on this incredible year—and really, one year ago, would half of what’s happened this year have seemed credible?—we wanted to look back on some stories that we’ll remember. They’re stories you may have missed, or forgotten, or hopefully just want to revisit. Hardly a representative selection, perhaps they might become the anecdotes that the lucky author of the next iteration of Years in Passing will choose from when telling the story of the year that has passed.
Here are 10 stories from Saint Ignatius High School in the year 2020 that we'll long remember:

Walk the Walk with the Welsh Academy

Website story, November 2020
This is the type of story that would make Fr. Welsh smile: a Saint Ignatius student and big brother to a Welsh Academy student using his talents to support the new middle school. He said, “I feel like I finally have the opportunity to fulfill my role in helping solve the issue of social injustice.”


Connection in Isolation

Website story, June 2020
Junior retreats are one of the milestones for students at Saint Ignatius, providing a formative and memorable time to dig deeper into one’s faith. Undeterred by remote learning, the Campus Ministry team found a way to make a successful online retreat happen during a time when connection and hope were needed most.

The Story of Labre No. 900

Website Story, March 2020
The first Sunday after all learning and student activities transitioned to online was the 900th consecutive weekly outing for the Saint Benedict Joseph Labre Ministry to the Homeless. Forced to adapt in a matter of days, here is how the ministry continued its important work that Sunday, laying the groundwork for the months to follow.

Through My Eyes

Website Story, March 2020
Saint Ignatius Hockey may never have had a bigger fan than Jack O’Rourke ’20. Son of Head Coach Pat O’Rourke, he’s been around the team his whole life; he also broadcasted and covered the Ice Cats nonstop for four years. His moving tribute to the 2020 team and the journey they went on together measures success in relationships—not records.

The Leon Legacy

Website story, June 2020
In all his life’s roles, Wayne Leon ’86 was a Man for Others. He loved the school and the foundation it provided for him and his career as a Cleveland police officer, and for his sons who eventually graduated as Wildcats. Twenty years after his life was tragically cut short, Wayne Leon’s legacy endures.

A Master Class

Website story, June 2020.
440. That’s the combined number of years that retiring teachers and staff gave to Saint Ignatius High School through their remarkable careers. We celebrate this incredible class of talented and dedicated men and women whose impact on our famed Alma Mater is lasting.


A Celebration of Academic Excellence

Website story, October 2020
This year’s 29 National Merit Scholars were honored at a dinner ceremony in October. There, they heard from Dr. Metin Eren ’01, an archaeology professor at Kent State who has racked up numerous achievements in his young career. That evening, Eren told the seniors, “Life is resilient, and as Ignatius men, so are we.”

The Secret Ingredients

Saint Ignatius Magazine, Winter 2020
What’s more universal to students’ experiences of high school than lunch? That was the inspiration behind this cover story, which dove into the evolution of school lunch at Saint Ignatius and the lasting memories our alumni have from the food, faces and fascinating stories they fondly recall.

Sunset Spectacle

Website story, Fall 2020
How did it happen? The Saint Ignatius spring musical “Mamma Mia!” was twice delayed and nearly cancelled altogether, after the coronavirus pandemic interrupted classes and activities in March. But a determined director, cast and crew, along with scores of other key personnel, decided that dropping the curtain on the performance would be a last resort.

What is Essential

Saint Ignatius Magazine, Spring 2020
To understand the work of Saint Ignatius High School during the pandemic, this is the story to read. While detailing all of the changes and adjustments that needed to be made to finish spring semester, it most importantly focuses on the motives and values that drove all decision-making. The mission of the school continued. It was essential.