Saint Ignatius High School

80 Years of the Scholarship Drive

As we prepare to kick off the 80th Annual Scholarship Drive on Friday, January 26, we offer a look into the history of the drive. From its humble beginnings to last year's record totals, the drive has remained a fixture of the Saint Ignatius High School calendar.
Dating back to the spring of 1939, the Saint Ignatius High School Scholarship Drive has been a fixture of the school calendar. While it has taken many different forms, it has always depended on students, parents, alumni and the community of Greater Cleveland to reach its success.

The Scholarship Drive first began as an effort by our Fathers' Club. The club first sponsored a Bingo Night in 1938. At this event, a ten-cent raffle offering a $1,000 prize succeeded beyond expectations. As a means to help students pay tuition at the end of the Great Depression, the Board of Directors discussed the option of expanding the raffle into its own event. By 1940, this became the biggest moneymaker of all Fathers' Club events. The drive lasted for eight to nine weeks and ended in the beginning of May.

As is the reality today, a Saint Ignatius High School tuition did not reflect the full cost to educate a student as illustrated from the following figures from 1949:
Year Tuition Actual Cost
1941-42 $100 $157
1945-46 $110 $151
1948-49 $135 $203

In response to these pressues, the Fathers' Club stepped up its fundraising efforts. By 1946, the drive was netting more than $25,000.

Prizes after World War II also reflected a dramatic shift in culture. As soldiers came home, prizes for the raffle reflected the demand for consumer goods. In 1946, the grand prize was a Ford Sedan. Other prizes ranged from a General Electric refrigerator to an electric roaster. In 1947, a "New Modern Home" at 20691 Stanford Avenue in Fairview, Ohio took its place as the grand prize. Tickets became fifty cents each, or a book of fifteen for six dollars.

Today, you can join by purchasing a $5 ticket for your chance to win the grand prize of $50,000. 

The 79th Annual Scholarship Drive brought in a total of $559,000 towards tuition assistance.

Special Events Director Melissa Murphy has been running the Scholarship Drive since 2004. "In a lot of ways, the drive has remained the same," Murphy says. "We're still using the same hopper to mix up the tickets as we did in the 50s!" And the goal of the drive remains the same: to support tuition assistance making it possible for students of all financial backgrounds to attend Saint Ignatius High School.

Students are gearing up to sell and have the chance of being a top seller to earn more prizes. Richie Santiago '19 was the 2017 Scholarship Drive Top Seller with a total 1,729 tickets sold. Read more about Richie and last year's drive results.

*Historical excerpt taken from the Scholarship Drive Handbook and Manual written by history teacher Dan Hess '88 in 2004.