by Connor Walters '09
The month of May is a wonderful one in Ohio City. Young leaves begin to emerge on all the trees, flowers are starting to peak bloom, and warm summer breezes make their appearance.
That combination, plus the approaching end of the school year, made for a perfect day for ReGrow Monroe, a tree-planting initiative in historic Monroe Cemetery, just a couple blocks south of the Saint Ignatius campus. The cemetery is one of the largest green spaces in Ohio City and has significance for students, teachers, and alumni alike.
Adam Saurwein ’95 used to drive past it on his way to school every day and now is a member of the Monroe Street Cemetery Foundation, a nonprofit dedicating to preserving enhancing the grounds, which have been used for burials since 1836. Together with Saint Ignatius teachers Guy Savastano, Terry McCafferty ’97, a dozen students, and other community members, they planted new trees under the guidance of arborists from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.
Savastano and McCafferty are the moderators of the school’s Green Team and Clean Team, as well as residents of the near west side, and so the partnership and project were a natural fit.
Yet it’s not just around campus that alumni have been actively engaged in service. Other initiatives throughout the past few months have seen Wildcats giving back.
On the final Saturday in April, the Saint Ignatius Alumni Association Service Committee ventured to Maple Heights to replace a lawn at a house given to a previously homeless individual through the City Mission. It was just the latest project conducted by the committee at this person’s home.
“The lucky recipient moved in the house three years and was given ownership two years ago through the Cleveland City Missions’ New Horizon Program,” says Pat Manning ’73. “Our committee helped renovate the interior three years ago.”
Under the direction of Tony Anselmo ’77 and heavy equipment owner Chris Taylor ’05 the crew of John Brady ’10, Sean Delay ’10, Sam Diaquila ’73, Kailum Ijaz ’10, and Patrick Manning ’73 tore out the existing lawn, tilled and re-graded the front and back yards, planted seed, and put on a protective straw covering.
The Alumni Service Committee has approximately 30 members and provides variety of services including mentoring, tutoring, driving Welsh Academy students, renovation projects and alumni reunion assistance.
Most recently, on the second weekend in June, members of the Class of 1970 gathered to celebrate their 50th reunion, postponed for two years due to the pandemic. As part of their weekend of events, 15 men headed to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to assist with packing and sorting of the thousands of critical food supplies that make their way through the nonprofit’s doors each day.
While many Saint Ignatius students are engaged with various service initiatives during their high school days, it’s clear that same spirit of selflessness endures long after they graduate.
To get involved in the Saint Ignatius Alumni Association Service Committee, visit our website or contact Director of Alumni Relations & Planned Giving Garen Distelhorst '96.