St. Aloysius Academy Traditions

Even though no one knows which class began this tradition, rain or shine, eighth graders run down the hill to the statue of St. Aloysius and "gift" him with their ties upon graduation. Eighth graders present these striped ties to rising 6th graders to replace the navy ties they have worn in the primary and intermediate grades, a symbol of passing forward the responsibilites and leadership role of an StAA Middle School leader.

Traditions help to define an institution and its community from generation to generation. For over 120 years, St. Aloysius Academy has developed traditions that are near and dear to the heart of students, families and alumni. The following events and activities highlight the vibrant legacy of the St. Aloysius Academy experience.

Ash Wednesday Service Day - In a prayerful setting on Ash Wednesday, each grade shares what the focus of their service mission has been for the current year with the St. Aloysius Academy community.

Awards Assembly - This all-Academy assembly celebrates the academic, athletic and music accomplishments of students at the end of the academic year.

Back-to-School Night - September marks a Back-to-School Night for parents to meet their son's teachers for a projection of the goals for the year. In addition, informational presentations are shared by the Administration and the Parent Association.

Back to School Picnic - During the first week of school in September, students are treated to a barbeque outdoor lunch and play time. It is a great way to celebrate the start of the new academic year in Wildcat Nation.

Book Fair - Scholastic Book Fair is a time for all to stock up on new books.

Bucketball Tournament - Running in tandem with the NCAA Tournament, 6th-8th graders compete in a single elimination basketball tournament. On the day of the Final Four, 2nd graders put on a dunking exhibition. This fun raiser is a winter highlight and often includes a school-wide outreach.

Christmas Reflection - Primary and intermediate students portray the birth of Jesus on the closing of the Academy for Christmas break. The choir and student musicians are also featured.

Fall Fashion Show - This is an event sponsored by the Parent Association which is always a time of fellowship and fun for the mothers and other family members and friends.

Family Charism Mass - As Catholic School Week begins, the Academy joins with the Villa Maria Academy community, our sister school, for Mass and a social to celebrate our common heritage of the IHM Charism of love, creative hope and fidelity. This yearly event takes place in Sacred Heart Chapel at the IHM Sisters Motherhouse in Immaculata, PA.

Father-Son Communion Breakfast -- Academy dads and sons gather annually to celebrate the special bond of father and son. Mass is celebrated followed by a delicious buffet breakfast. A guest speaker accents the gathering.

Field Day - On a day in May, Blue team members compete against White teams in friendly games of skill to capture the honor of Field Day Survivors. Wildcat spirit motivates the fun of this event.

First Friday Liturgy - The Montessori students and staff gather with the Academy students and staff for First Friday liturgies which are prepared by one grade level each month. The students lead by sharing the readings and intercessions and bringing up the Offertory gifts. Musicians from the Senior Band accompany the 3rd and 4th grade choir or the Middle School Choir. Middle School students serve as altar servers. Families and friends of the Academy are invited to attend and help celebrate this special time together.

Food for Friends - St. Aloysius Academy has a special relationship with a parish in South Philadelphia staffed with IHM Sisters, St. Gabriel Parish. Older students partner with younger students to put together fresh meals that are then frozen and delivered to the parish for distribution to people who need help with supplementing their food intake. The Academy is grateful to families who help with the food preparation. Families can also take home trays to fill and freeze. Collections are on a monthly basis.

GALA - The GALA is the Parent Association sponsored major fund raising event of the year which is held in the spring. A silent and oral auction, dinner and dancing are featured. It is a very special evening for all in attendance.
Grandparents and Special Friends Day - Students welcome their grandparents and others that are close to their hearts for a bite to eat and a glimpse into what they are learning.

Homecoming - On a very special weekend in October, staff and students participate in a very spirited pep rally in anticipation of Homecoming Saturday. Students, families, alumni and friends gather to celebrate the St. Aloysius Academy community. Junior Varsity and Varsity soccer and football games are cheered on. This day long gathering features an alumni special event, games for children and refreshments for all, but most importantly, camaraderie among the entire St. Aloysius community.

IHM Founder's Day - Faculty and students celebrate each November 10th to acknowledge the founding of the IHM Sisters. Reverend Louis Gillet, Mother Teresa Maxis and the first Sisters began the IHM story on November 10, 1845 in Monroe, Michigan.

Leadership Council -  Candidates for the Academy's Leadership Council address the student body with their leadership thoughts and inspirations for the academic year. 7th and 8th grade officers, along with homeroom representatives from 5th-8th grades plan and execute service and community projects and activities throughout the year.

Live Nativity - Students play the roles of Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds in Gonzaga Courtyard. This also features Academy choir members and live animals. Hot chocolate and luminaries enhance this beautiful night that commemorates the birth of Jesus.

Magis - In the tradition of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, the Academy's patron, students participate in a passing on of school leadership called the Magis which is a Jesuit term for "above and beyond". All students embrace "being a man for others". Grade 7 students receive the symbols of leadership from Grade 8 students in a prayerful setting.    

"To me, the word Magis means to be strong when others are weak. It means to stand up for what is right, even if you are standing alone. It means to live greater."  Joe Koslosky, Class of 2018

May Crowning - With song, prayer and procession, the Academy holds a very special celebration honoring the Blessed Mother that takes place in May.

New Parents Welcome -- A reception hosted by the Parent Association at the IHM Conference Center welcomes new families to the St. Aloysius community before the beginning of the school year.

New Students Wildcat Welcome - New students have their own afternoon on campus meeting their teachers and getting the lay of the land before the beginning of the school year.

PAWS - Peace, Awareness, Witness, Service is a program that permeates the halls of the Academy. Students begin every morning by reciting the PAWS pledge in Katharine Drexel Hall in which they "promise to recognize and enjoy each others' differences and talents and to seek out the good qualities in my fellow students with whom I work study, play and pray." The PAWS pin, worn on the students' lapels, is a constant reminder of the daily morning's pledge. Monthly, PAWS Leaders, students who promote the Magis and have assumed the role of Christian leadership and service in the tradition of the IHM charism of love, creative hope and fidelity, are acknowledged publicly.

Pizza Bingo - The Parent Association hosts this annual family-friendly evening for students and parents.

Quizzo Night - The Parent Association hosts this friendly competitive challenge that seeks to see if our parents and teachers are smarter than a 5th grader.

Rosary Walk -- In honor of Mary, our Mother, the entire Academy and Montessori process to the grotto of Mary and Bernadette while reciting the decades of the rosary during the month of October.

Sacraments -- Second grade students prepare to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the spring and third grade students prepare to receive First Holy Communion around Thanksgiving time. Both of these special events take place at the IHM Conference Center's chapel. Sixth grade students receive sacramental instruction at the Academy for their Confirmation at their parish.

Santa's Workshop - The Parent Association hosts this student friendly sale of items they can purchase for Christmas gifts for their family, as well as books that fit their interests.

Student and Parent Ambassadors - 7th and 8th grade students apply to become an Academy Student Ambassador. They are the voice of the Academy by guiding prospective families on tours, sharing their Wildcat experience. Parents can volunteer to become a Parent Ambassador who join with Student Ambassadors welcoming prospective families at Open House events.
Weekly Focus -- This is the Academy's Principal's weekly communication with parents and the community informing all of special events and reminders for the current and soon-to-come weeks. It can be found under the Parents Tab on the Academy's website.
21st Century eNewsletter - This monthly eNewletter showcases the academic accomplishments of our students and also takes a peak into the classrooms to share what students are achieving and exploring. The eNewsletter is found under the Parents tab on the Academy's website.

8th Grade Graduation - This evening showcases the achievements of the graduating 8th grade class in June. After a Mass and formal ceremony, graduates race down the hill and place their ties on the statue of St. Aloysius in front of the Wootton Mansion as a final memorable event.


St. Aloysius Academy | 401 S. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 | Phone: 610-525-1670