Come join us as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the St. Ignatius Loyola Academy at the 10:30 Mass.
St. Ignatius Loyola Academy Turns 25
by Fr. William Waters, S.J.
When I was installed as the new pastor of St. Ignatius Church in early November 1991, I spoke to the parishioners about looking into the possibility of opening a school for boys from low-income families in the annex building between the church and Center Stage which once housed the Jesuit faculty of Loyola College and High School (1855- 1941). The response to the idea brought positive reactions from the parishioners, several of whom eventually became members of a nine-month feasibility study, chaired by parishioner Dr. Thad MacKrell.
In late November 1992, Fr. Ed Glynn, SJ, the Maryland Jesuit Provincial, granted permission to found the school and pledged $150,000 from the Maryland Jesuits to renovate the annex facilities and operate the school. Bob Embry of the Abell Foundation committed a matching grant of $150,000 to the school.
The Academy opened its doors in August of 1993 and welcomed 20 sixth grade boys, four teachers, its headmaster, Fr. Leo Murray, SJ, a former pastor of the church during the late 1970s, and its counselor, Aurelia Burt, who 25 years later still works at the school. The school established offices and classrooms on the first and second floors and a play area in the court yard while conducting breakfast and lunch in Ignatian Hall. During the following two years, under headmaster Fr. Clay Railey and the expanding faculty of Brendan Sullivan, John Zic and others, the Academy grew to completely occupy the annex until it moved to its present location in Federal Hill in 2014.
While the parishioners and friends of St. Ignatius warmly welcomed the Academy, even sponsoring scholarships at $5,000 a boy per year over three years, I set up the Academy in the autumn of 1993 as a non-profit organization under a board of trustees so that it would be not only an independent institution but also no financial burden to the parish. Parishioners Earl Linehan and Margaret Armstrong became the first members of the board along with a host of other prominent Baltimoreans: Dorsey Brown, Mayor Tommy D’Alesandro, Grant Hathaway, Peter Martin and AC Hubbard who continues his 25 years of service on the board. Parishioner John Leahy, Jr. replaced Fr. Watters as board chair in 2004.
The Academy’s curriculum and daily order (school hours: 7:30 to 5:00, eleven months a year) reflected the demanding education of a traditional Jesuit school: English, math, science, history, the arts, religious studies and Latin along with after school athletic and service programs. There was also a three-week summer camp at the Jesuit retreat center in Blue Ridge Summit, PA. The first school year proved to be successful though challenging as it built a community and a culture of fellowship and discipline for our 20 young boys who hailed from 18 different elementary schools across the city of Baltimore. It took another several years, especially under the leadership of headmaster Jeff Sindler (1996-2006), for the Academy to craft a solid learning center for its fully enrolled student body of 60 boys.
Now, 25 years later, with the present enrollment of 112 boys at four grade levels and almost 500 graduates, the Academy–under the dedicated leadership of president John Ciccone and principal Teresa Scott, the hard work of its teachers and staff, and the on-going generous support of countless benefactors–stands tall as a grand work of God and of numerous volunteers and others. All these people have joined hearts and hands over the past quarter of a century to enable our students, along with help from their families, to achieve remarkable outcomes. Our boys have gone to distinguished high schools (Loyola Blakefield, Gilman, Calvert Hall, Georgetown Prep, Choate Rosemary Hall and many others) and have pursued a variety of careers (law, education, medicine, business, the military) after college. In every way, we remain grateful to them and their
benefactors who, with God’s inspiration, have made St. Ignatius Loyola Academy truly a school that breathes the time-honored Jesuit charism: “For the Greater Glory of God and the Good of Souls,” and lives the Ignatian motto: “Men For Others.”
Former President (1993-2004)