Proclamations, commendations, and, of course, scrumptious cake for the students all were a part of Jesuit High School's 120th birthday celebration on Wednesday (Sept. 11) morning at Convocation in the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
Founded on Sept. 11, 1899 in downtown Tampa by Jesuit missionaries from Europe, Jesuit High School – then known as Sacred Heart College - began with just six students in the sacristy of St. Louis Church, a modest wooden structure.
At Wednesday morning's Convocation celebration, Jesuit president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. took the students and special guests, including retired longtime Jesuit High School educators Ernie Charette '63 and Joe Sabin '66, through a timeline of highlights in the school's development, from those humble beginnings 120 years ago to Jesuit's generational foundation as a pillar of the community forming thousands of "Men for Others."
Jesuit High School relocated to the majestic new Sacred Heart Church in 1905, became Tampa College in 1929, and finally settled on the name Jesuit High School before the 1939-40 school year. The school also had a different nickname, the "Purple Hurricanes," prior to its adoption of the iconic "Tigers" in the 1930s. In February 1956, Jesuit relocated to its current home on Himes Ave. Today, 800+ young men attend Convocation every morning in Holy Cross Chapel, and the student body excels in academics, service, and extracurricular activities for the greater glory of God – AMDG.
Fr. Hermes then introduced two special guests. First, Joseph Citro of the Tampa City Council read a proclamation from Tampa mayor Jane Castor declaring Sept. 11, 2019 as Jesuit High School Day. Citro also read a commendation from the City Council that read in part, "Their commitment to educate young boys ... molded many upstanding citizens in our community. The growth over the years has been remarkable ... It is our pleasure to congratulate the Jesuit High School administration, its students, families, and community on this grand anniversary."
Della Curry, legislative aide to County Commissioner Sandra Murman, then spoke on behalf of Murman and the County Commission, issuing a commendation that read in part, "The Board of County Commissioners of Hillsborough County, Florida does hereby commend Jesuit High School as it celebrates 120 years of empowering young men to be come responsible and ethical leaders in the community." Jesuit also received a letter commemorating the occasion from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
During Convocation, members of the Jesuit Mothers' Club were staging outside the chapel, and the students capped off the birthday celebration with cake and milk served up by the moms in Oliva Courtyard.
See below a video from Wednesday's 120th birthday celebration, and below that is a photo slideshow.