Here at Msgr. Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School the word “tradition” is not just a vocabulary word but something that we live out every day. Many of our students have parents and grandparents who themselves went to Bonner or Prendie. They are proud to be the second or third generation in the family to be wearing a patch on their uniform that says “APHS” or “Purity, Integrity, Loyalty”.
This year, we mark another milestone in the tradition of Bonner & Prendie as we celebrate 60 years of Catholic education of high school students on this campus. Just yesterday, I was looking through a collection of the original school newspapers from the fall of 1953 when the freshman class of boys of the new Archbishop Prendergast High School first came on campus. Even 60 years later I could feel the energy and excitement that existed on this campus as it sprung to life engaging in the mission of Catholic Education.
Just as the students of 60 years ago were conscious of the fact that they were beginning something new on this campus, so to our students today are aware of the fact that they are inheriting a great tradition and at the same time are forming new traditions for the generations that will follow them. Our students today are still very proud of their Augustinian heritage and their devotion to the Blessed Mother. Many of our girls will be joining the alumnae at the annual Christmas Music on the Stairs. While the Bonner Breakfast Club no longer meets at 6:15 AM in the monastery, our students frequently come to Mass at 7:00 AM every morning in the school chapel and actively participate in our ministry program.
Whether it is rowing crew, running track, playing football or basketball, many of our students play on the same teams as their parents and grandparents did, with the Friar and the Panda cheering them on! I sit in the audience with parents and grandparents during the school play as they watch their children and grandchildren take the same stage that they did as high school students. Occasionally, we are visited by one of the former orphans who lived here when it was St. Vincent Orphanage and they too are delighted to meet the current occupants of our campus.
In the weeks to come, we have an opportunity for anyone associated with Bonner & Prendie to pause and give thanks for the blessing of sixty years of quality education and the bright promise of many more years ahead. Of course, the living tradition at Bonner & Prendie is dependent on you in two ways; we inherited a great legacy from our alumni and with your help, we will carry it forward to the next generation. Please, consider giving to Bonner & Prendie through the Annual Appeal this year and ensure that the Bonner & Prendergast traditions will continue to live in us!
Father James Olson