Reunion Weekend is Almost Here

Join us Friday, May 31 – Saturday, June 1! Events are open to all alumni and celebrating milestone anniversaries for classes ending in 4 & 9.

Saint Ignatius High School

Farewell from Garen Distelhorst '96

After more than 8 years at his Alma Mater, Garen Distelhorst ’96 of the Advancement team has accepted a new position as the Director of Philanthropy and Engagement at Elyria Catholic High School. Distelhorst has served several roles in Advancement, most recently as Director of Alumni Relations and Planned Giving. Read his farewell message to the Saint Ignatius community.

It is with both a full and heavy heart that I announce my departure from Saint Ignatius High School. I’ll be leaving my Alma Mater for my wife Katie’s, Elyria Catholic High School, to lead their development efforts. It has been an absolute honor and privilege to work on behalf of our amazing alumni in service of our famed Alma Mater these past 8 years. 

Thirty-one years ago a juvenile obsession with the then obscure sport of lacrosse, along with my parents being wowed by Fr. Welsh ’54 and Karl Ertle ’79, led me to West 30th and Lorain and it was that same sport that brought me back in 2011. I’ll forever be indebted to my friend, classmate, high school teammate, and then varsity lacrosse coach, Pat McManamon ’96 for entrusting me with the freshman lacrosse team. It was on the practice fields working with our talented and driven student athletes that a love of education was born. Serving as head coach of all 3 teams at various times over the past 12 years has been a thrill. Helping the program return to the heights it reached in the 90s and then ultimately surpassing them has been humbling. My coaching career culminated with what will forever be the greatest week of my life. Leading, along with an amazing coaching staff, the #6 seed in our region all the way to double overtime of the state championship game. That same week, on a day we were not scheduled to play (divine intervention) my son, Teddy ’35, was born. Shuttling from the hospital to practice to the Final Four Game, having our amazing parents chanting “Teddy, Teddy, Teddy” from the stands as we knocked off the #1 team in the state, and then driving back to the hospital to be with my wife and infant son brings tears to my eyes even today. The shrine within my heart begins and ends with Wildcat Lacrosse and it always will. 

It was also Pat McManamon ’96 who convinced a skeptical Advancement Department that one of his coaches was at least worth a token interview when a job in the department had opened up. A token interview has turned into a career in development and commitment to Catholic education. My sincere gratitude goes out to John Morabeto and Jeff McCormick ’83 for taking a risk on me and for providing me with the opportunity to continually learn, grow and advance within our department. 

To my friends and colleagues in the Advancement Department, I love each and every one of you. Saint Ignatius is fortunate to have such capable and talented men and women working on its behalf. To have been part of the team that helped to bring the Marian Mall, Carfagna Family Magis Athletic Center, Coach Kyle’s final home game here on campus, and so many other awesome events and campus improvements has been a thrill. I’m sad I won’t be on your team as you all bring the dream of Vision ’30 to reality. It is your faces that will go unforgotten when I think of my time at Wildcat High.  

Thank you to all the other friends that I have made amongst the faculty and staff. There are so many of you that I now consider to be lifelong friends. Please stay in touch and keep doing the amazing work you do. It is you all and the faith you impart on our students that allows Advancement to do what we do. Remember that. 

Thank you also to the countless benefactors and Alumni Council members I’ve come to know so well during my time at Saint Ignatius. The thank-you notes you’ve received from me through the years have probably indicated this, but you all and your generosity is what drives me. Saint Ignatius is lucky to have such an engaged and generous community. You all have made work FUN! 

My time as a Saint Ignatius employee has come to an end for now, but I’ll hold on to the memories forever. Each of my 3 children (Garen ’33, Teddy ’35 & Annie) were born over the past 8 years and the support Katie and I have received from the institution has been immeasurable. Years in passing will never sever my bond with Saint Ignatius and as old days turn to new opportunities for me, know that I am an Ignatius man FOREVER, and will ALWAYS hail the blue and gold. 

Go Cats!