By Art Thomas
Saint Ignatius High School recently transformed a gymnasium and athletic playing field into two swanky party venues to celebrate the institution’s 125th anniversary. Like most celebrations, this one was tied to a fundraiser. The purpose was to support the school’s MAGIS program, which identifies, develops and enrolls talented students from the city of Cleveland to attend the Cleveland school.
Guests started with a Mass in the school’s chapel. The “Alumni Chorus” was the choir for the Mass. Singers ranged from college students back to members of the class of 1944. Guests moved into a gymnasium where professional exhibits ringed the space. Enlargements of photos were everywhere. Three-dimensional items included artifacts from the past, such as desks, theatrical costumes and game-winning footballs to “living displays” of the school’s famed Circus Company members. All were brightly lit with theatrical lighting. In the center of the gym, a large bar ringed an elaborate ice sculpture.
The turfed football field was largely covered with a tent. At the start of the evening the school’s Jazz Ensemble entertained guests who moved through buffet lines of salads and Italian preparations. Those who wanted to dance did not have to wait long. Another alumus, Kyle Primous, and the Redline Band encouraged the guests to boogie and the guests responded. The atmospheric dinner lighting changed into dance club lighting and even this space had different “looks” through the night.
A small selection of silent auction items could be found and the night included a raffle for VIP treatment and transportation to the 2012 Masters Golf Tournamentin Augusta, Georgia. Saint Ignatius High School was founded 125 years ago as St. Ignatius College. When the college outgrew the building on West 30th Street, it moved to University Heights and became John Carroll University. Both institutions are celebrating 125 years of education this year.
(Editor’s note: Thomas is a teacher at St. Ignatius High School.)