Saint Ignatius High School

What We'll Remember from 2020

It was an unforgettable year in so many ways. And while most people are eagerly awaiting whatever 2021 has to bring, we've spent the last 10 days of 2020 highlighting 20 top moments, chronologically, from the year gone by. Each day is linked to Instagram photos from the event.

January 17: We start with our annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prayer service, which brought the entire school together to pray for peace and an end to injustice.

January 29: The brainchild of English teacher and former principal Dan Bradesca '88, this all-school assembly celebrated student achievement outside of athletics. With performances, games and chants of "FREE DAY," students were rewarded for doing the magis.

March 2: Theology Department Chair and former Campus Minister Anthony Fior '02, Ed.D. is named the 19th principal of Saint Ignatius High School. Fior, who received his doctorate in Catholic School Leadership from St. Louis University, took up his post on July 1.

March 12: Midway through the semester, the coronavirus forced an abrupt change of plans as the entire school shifted to remote learning in following the governor's directive. Teachers got acquainted with Zoom, students picked up necessary supplies and lessons were filmed all with hope that the distance learning protocol would be temporary.

March 12: It was a practice they’ll never forget. With Varsity Hockey in the State Final Four, the shift to remote learning meant a pause on all athletics. With uncertainty of if they could compete for a fifth-straight state title, Coach O’Rourke’s players spent one final afternoon together on the ice.

May 15: Fine Arts Week has become one of the signature celebratory weeks on the school calendar, with performances and student artwork on display. An incredible online gallery made viewing student artwork accessible to all, in lieu of the traditional in-person event. Link HERE (Note: Best viewed on a computer.)

May 24: This was the day set for graduation, but with the postponement of that time-honored celebration a new one was invented. The first-ever Senior Parade featured students, their families and decorated vehicles cruising past campus, cheered on by teachers and given a blessing by the Jesuits.

June & July: The Summer Enrichment Program, Arrupe Summer Program and summer sports camps all continued in innovative ways this year. With abbreviated schedules and new protocols, middle school students from throughout Northeast Ohio found ways to safely make friends and learn from Saint Ignatius students, teachers and coaches.

June 25: A message of lamentation, healing and unity was shared at a Unity Prayer Vigil held on Wasmer Field. Organized by Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Dr. Richardson-Phillips, Assistant Director of DEI Mr. Sanders, students, staff and Jesuits, the service acknowledged the sins of structural and systemic racism and was a faith-filled effort to engage in prayer, dialogue and action.

July 16-17: Nearly eight months after preparations began for the spring musical, and after two re-schedules, the spring-turned-summer musical of “Mamma Mia!” happened in the Breen Center parking lot. The marvelous work of students, teachers and staff made it all safely happen.

July 31: On the Feast Day of St. Ignatius Loyola, the Class of 2020 finally had their graduation ceremony, outdoors on a sunny and warm Wasmer Field. With limited capacity, seniors and their parents participated in the carefully planned program, which was also streamed online.

September: This year, 29 Saint Ignatius seniors were recognized as National Merit Scholars through the College Board National Recognition Program. In October, these young men were feted with a dinner at school and speech by Dr. Metin Eren '01, archaeology professor at Kent State University and a recipient of the 2020 Ig Nobel Prize in Material Science.

September 4: This year, four different Masses of the Holy Spirit were held, one for each class, so that all students could safely be spaced out in Sullivan Gym. Freshmen had their own procession, led by a bagpiping Jim Brennan '85 through the Mall while they were applauded by the Senior class.

October 5-9: In order to liven up a stressful year, Saint Ignatius held a Spirit Week in October. With relaxed dress code themes (including the famed jersey + hoodie combo), games, prizes, food trucks and other surprises, Assistant Principal for Student Life Brian Martin '94 and others raised everyone's spirits.

October 7: Now in its second year, The Welsh Academy moved into its new home this fall. The former Foursquare Church on the corner of West 32nd Street and Carroll Ave, was beautifully renovated into a state-of-the-art middle school building. Students, families, neighbors, staff and dignitaries came to campus for the dedication and blessing.

October 25: The Golf Cats wrapped up a school record-smashing season with a state runner-up finish at the OHSAA Tournament. After breaking school records for months, the Wildcats notched the third-best team score in OHSAA history; the runner-up finish was the third in program history and first since 2010.

November 14: With a young and hungry squad, the Soccer Cats put forth a dominant season, going undefeated en route to another OHSAA State Championship. They beat New Albany 4-1 in the state final to finish the season 21-0. Their success resulted in a second consecutive national championship banner.

December 13: The 36th annual Christmas Concert was a homegrown masterpiece, taking place virtually this year with performances from students, staff, alumni and Jesuits. Although the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus at Severance Hall were missed, this year's show highlighted the many musical gifts of our community.

December 19: The REACHing MAGIS program held its 2nd annual 8th grade graduation ceremony online, recognizing its 30 boys who had completed the course of study. Led by Christian Sanders ’10, MAGIS also welcomed 19 young men into the LeCharles V. Bentley '95 5th Grade Leadership Academy.

December 19: Improbably, the Rini Family Christmas Food Drive and Patel Toy Drive still occurred this year, delivering 700 food and toy boxes to families around Cleveland. Students, families and alumni made deliveries after six weeks of creativity, work and faith formation by a core team of 100 students.