Ireton Celebrates Golden Anniversary

From the Office of Communications

As we continue in our theme of Discover Catholic Schools Week, today we’re sharing a significant achievement for Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria – the 50th anniversary of the school’s dedication – covered by the Arlington Catholic Herald.

By: Dave Borowski, Catholic Herald

In 1964, Richmond Bishop John J. Russell came to Alexandria to bless and dedicate a new diocesan high school. The school was founded by the Oblates of St. Francis DeSales and named to honor Richmond Bishop Peter L. Ireton, who served the Richmond Diocese from 1945 to 1958.

The 50th anniversary of that dedication was held Oct. 10 with Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde coming to the school for the annual welcome Mass and staying to bless the Alexandria school.

The bishop said that he looks forward to the annual opening Masses at all the diocesan high schools, but this one was special, because of the yearlong celebration of the school’s golden jubilee.

IretonBishop Loverde’s homily was on the Gospel of Matthew and the eight beatitudes. He said the beatitudes don’t fit in with contemporary culture and lifestyles. These are revolutionary concepts, he said. For example, in the first beatitude, Jesus is asking us to become beggars before God. This sounds strange, he said, but this is what we are being asked.

After Mass, the bishop told the Ireton community that not long after his installation in Arlington he came to the school and was made an honorary alumnus.

“I have a special bond,” he said.

The bishop held up his hand and said that he wore his high school ring from LaSalle Academy in Providence R.I., for this day. He said this was another common link he shared with the school — he was taught by the Salesians.

“It’s almost like a homecoming,” he said.

At the ceremony after Mass, the Y.E.S. Award — Youth Exemplifying Service — was given by the Catholic Business Network of Northern Virginia to Ireton senior Brigid Hoagland, a member of the National Honor Society. Hoagland also is active in the Ireton Pro-Life Club. She’s the recipient of the National Presidential Award for Service and was added to the Susan B. Anthony List of Young Leaders.

Teachers celebrating milestone anniversaries also were honored, and a special presentation was made to Sister Elizabeth Rossetti who has taught for 60 years. Sister Elizabeth received a bouquet of six roses, a rose for each decade of teaching.

A special book of prayer from students and faculty was presented to Bishop Loverde.

In the spirit of celebration, the bishop asked the school administration to give the students a day off in the future to honor the school’s jubilee. The request elicited a roar of applause from the student body.

After the Mass and awards, the bishop went outside and blessed the school building and the cornerstone, recreating the moment 50 years ago when Bishop Russell opened the school.

Head of School Thomas J. Curry said he was excited about the Mass and the gala Oct. 11 that would bring alumni, parents and friends together to celebrate the school’s golden jubilee.

When planning for the gala started last year, Curry told the committee, “Let’s shoot for 400.” Nearly 800 people attended the celebration.

Curry talked about future plans for the school, including underground parking, a new cafeteria and science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM labs to insure a rigorous academic program and to meet future challenges.

This column originally appeared in the Arlington Catholic Herald.

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