Saint Ignatius' itch

Saint Ignatius High School (Cleveland)

Saint Ignatius High School is a private Roman Catholic Jesuit high school for young men located in Cleveland, Ohio. The school is renowned for its high standards of academic excellence, athletic program and its performing arts programs. Each year, nearly 100% of graduates go on to colleges and universities within one year of graduation.


Founded in 1886 by a group of German Jesuits from Buffalo, New York on the invitation of Bishop Richard Gilmour, the school was originally a six-year secondary school based on the German Gymnasium that was to be attended after the completion of six years of grammar school. Separate four-year high school and college programs were formed in 1902, with the college changing its name to John Carroll University in 1923 and moving out of the Cleveland location to neighboring University Heights, Ohio in 1935.


Saint Ignatius High School remains at its original location at 1911 West 30th Street to this day. The campus includes the original structure, now known as the Main Building, which was completed in 1891 and is now a designated Cleveland Historic Landmark. On January 21, 1974, Saint Ignatius was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Other buildings are Loyola Hall (originally St. Mary of the Assumption Elementary School), Clavius Science Center, Saint Mary of the Assumption Chapel (named after a church that once was located on the current campus), Father Sullivan, S.J. Gymnasium, Carroll Gymnasium, Murphy Field House, Kyle Field, and the O'Donnell Athletic Complex, which houses Wasmer Field and Dale Gabor Track, and the Xavier Center, which is currently used by the band program. In addition, a $10.2 Million state-of-the-art Performing Arts Center will replace the Xavier Center to house all Performing Arts. Construction began in April 2008 and is expected to be completed in August 2009. A new $3.3 million state-of-the-art Cafeteria has replaced the former Student Center, stage, senior lounge, and cooking areas. The food services opened in August 2006, and in August 2007 phase two of the project was completed with a renovated student center and a cafeteria with a broader selection than many college cafeterias. It was renamed the Rade Dining Hall. Both the St. Mary of the Assumption Chapel and the Murphy Field House projects were funded and overseen by Murlan J. Murphy, who headed the Murphy-Phoenix Company, producers of Murphy Oil Soap, until the company's acquisition by Colgate-Palmolive in 1991.


The school shares its motto "Men for Others" (attributed to Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J.) with nearly every other Jesuit school, and challenges its students to be "open to growth, intellectually competent, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice" in accordance with the expectations set forth by the school's "Graduate at Graduation" ("Grad at Grad") document.

The school is located in the heart of the Ohio City neighborhood on the Near West Side of Cleveland, which it provides support to through community involvement programs like the Arrupe Neighborhood Partnership Program and the Saint Benedict Joseph Labre Ministry (a program in which faculty and students build relationships with the homeless through weekly visitation). The high school was the first in the country to institute a for-credit compulsory service called "Sophomore Service". It also houses the St. Joseph of Arimethea Pallbearers Society, which sends upperclassmen to funerals of families who are unable to provide their own pallbearers.

Fine arts program

In 1990, a fine arts program was added to the school's curriculum. This program is growing, and includes an award-winning chorus and a recently-formed a cappella singing group, the "Cat-o'-tonics". The chorus has received awards in competitions, and the "Cat-o'-tonics" were awarded National Runner-up in the 2006 National Championship of High School A Cappella. There are many musical opportunities including Pep Band, Stage Band, Ignatius Brass, Jazz Band, Liturgical Musicians, and others. The marching band has performed the Script Cats Show for 20 consecutive years, and has won many awards and honors at music festivals abroad.

Alma mater

The alma maters of St. Ignatius and another Jesuit high school, St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, are identical except for the last three lines, which refer to the school name and colors. The alma mater was composed in 1937 by the St. Ignatius High School band director, Jack Hearns Sr. St. Xavier High School received permission to use the version modified for their school in 1958.

Our famed alma mater graces
Every shrine within our hearts
With her unforgotten faces
And the faith that she imparts
Years in passing cannot sever
Ties of new days from the old
We're Ignatius men forever
As we hail the blue and gold.

St. Ignatius Fight Song

On Ignatius with your gold and blue
You're the best team that we ever knew
You've got what it takes to win this game
Honor to your name (RAH RAH RAH)
Fight you Wildcats of Ignatius High
(Opponent's name)'s team can bid this game goodbye
On the old beam now
You blue and gold team now
And fight to victory!

Notable alumni

See List of Alumni of Saint Ignatius High School (Cleveland, Ohio)

OHSAA Division I State Championships

Saint Ignatius High School's sports teams have won Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) Division I State Championships in:

Other athletic achievements

  • Crew - Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championship - 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 />National Championships - Gold in Men's Junior 4+ 2004, Silver in Men's Lightweight 8+ in 2006
  • St. Ignatius Wildcats named “High School Team of the 90s” by Student Sport Magazine.
  • Appeared in the very first high school football game televised on ESPN.
  • Featured on the Team Cheerios box along with Saint Xavier High School.
  • Saint Ignatius appeared on the USA Today Super 25 rankings list for best high school football programs 8 times through 2002, tying them for second place for the most number of appearances.
  • Ranked #18 in "The Best High School Athletic Programs" in the U.S. by Sports Illustrated.
  • Saint Ignatius has won a title in a record 9 different Boys' sports offered by the OHSAA, out of a possible 11. They have not won a title in Swimming (state runner-up twice), and Bowling (tournament just started in 2007).

The Holy War

A strong rivalry exists between St. Edward High School and St. Ignatius High School. The two schools are quite similar in that both are Catholic, college prep, all-boys schools on the west side of the Cleveland area. The schools are separated by only six miles. One of the main reasons for the rivalry is that the schools draw from the same student pool (e.g., boys from west side Catholic grade schools.) Because of this, when the students face-off in direct competition, they commonly are up against former grade school friends.

The schools both produce high quality athletic teams, combining for over 50 state titles in the last 30 years. While the schools compete in virtually all sports annually, the main event is the football match up that draws upward of 13,000 fans. In addition, basketball games between the two schools (commonly twice a year) sell out at the hosting school's gymnasium.

Several key games live in the lore of Cleveland high school sports. In 1993, the regular season football match-up was regarded as one of the greatest Cleveland football games, resulting in a 35-34 3OT win for St. Ignatius. While the schools are only six miles apart, in 1998 basketball regional lines were drawn along the Cleveland/Lakewood border and the two teams met in the Division I state championship, won by St. Edward. This occurred again in 2008 when St. Edward defeated St. Ignatius 6-2 in the Division 1 Baseball State championship game.

Other extracurricular achievements

  • Ohio High School Speech League State Champions in Policy Debate 2001, 2004, 2006
  • In 2005 the Cleveland chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network awarded its annual Activist Organization award to the student group UMOJA (United Men of Just Actions)
  • In 2008 the Model United Nations team was awarded Top Overall Delegation at the 2008 Carnegie Mellon Model United Nations Conference. On an individual level, St. Ignatius student Matt Manuszak was named "Most Outstanding Speaker" in the SPECPOL committee.


External links

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