Loyola High School of Los Angeles, celebrating its 150th anniversary as the oldest continually operated educational institution in Southern California, will hold an historic community service initiative with more than 1,000 participants at 100 sites on April 11. Loyola High students, parents, faculty, and alumni as well as students and teachers from area Catholic high schools will fan out across Los Angeles to work on service projects as a thank you to the Jesuit high school’s service partners that span the city. Volunteers will gather at 7:30 a.m. at the 1901 Venice Blvd. campus for registration and the commissioning ceremony. Departure is at 8:30 a.m. to service sites.
“Community service has long been a hallmark of a Loyola education as we educate Men for Others in this great city. Los Angeles has helped mold our students, encouraging them to learn the lessons necessary to become tomorrow’s compassionate leaders,” said Loyola President Fr. Gregory Goethals, SJ, ’73. “From Long Beach to East L.A. to our own Pico Union neighborhood, the Sesquicentennial Day of Service is our heartfelt thank you to the City of Angels as we celebrate all that is Loyola High School.”
Based on the Corporal Works of Mercy (feed, clothe, shelter, counsel, and teach), the Day of Service is far-reaching in its scope and range. Service projects will include area Catholic schools and shelters, public schools, hospitals, homes for battered women, veterans’ centers, Skid Row missions, and Hollywood youth centers. Volunteers will work in tandem with Habitat for Humanity, Big Sunday, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the Southern California Special Olympics. Responsibilities will include food service, building repair, painting, care package preparation, landscaping, and general spring cleaning.
“As we charted the events for the Sesquicentennial, community service jumped to the forefront as a pivotal part of the yearlong celebration and outreach. The Day of Service became the capstone to bring the Loyola community together in gratitude for lessons learned,” said Loyola High School 150th Committee Chair Jack Girardi ’65. “Though we still have seven more months of academic and service initiatives, the Day of Service will be the pinnacle of this landmark year.”
Other Catholic high school students and teachers will be joining forces with Loyola students, parents, staff, and alumni for the Sesquicentennial Day of Service. These schools include Verbum Dei High School, St. Mary’s Academy, Notre Dame Academy, and Immaculate Heart of Mary High School.
Loyola sports teams, including current and alumni players, coaches, and team parents, have signed up en masse for the Sesquicentennial Day of Service. The football team will report to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank in Vernon, the baseball team will help out at Homeboy Industries near Chinatown, and both the baseball and volleyball teams will work at the Homeboy Carwash near Venice Beach.
“The Day of Service is a way for the Loyola community to express their gratitude to the people of the metropolitan area for how much they have given Loyola over 150 years,” said Tom Zeko, Loyola director of Community Service. “In December, we hosted the Father-Son Day of Service, which was an overwhelming success with more than 200 dads and sons reaching out to area organizations. We’re using this amazingly energized day as our blueprint for our April 11th Day of Service.”
Founded as St. Vincent’s College at the Lugo House at the old downtown Plaza in 1865, Loyola is the oldest continually operated educational institution in Southern California. The establishment of St. Vincent’s, which in today’s terms was founded primarily as both a high school and a college, would become a turning point in the civic development of Los Angeles. From the Plaza, St. Vincent’s moved to South Hill Street, then to Washington and Grand Avenue. In 1911, members of the Society of Jesus took over the reins, and, in 1915, the state charter, from the Vincentians and the school was relocated to Highland Park. In 1917, St. Vincent’s moved to 1901 Venice Blvd. and was rechristened Loyola College in 1918. In 1926, Loyola University and Loyola Law School moved off campus. Loyola High School of Los Angeles has remained in Pico Union to this day.
Celebrating its 150th anniversary as the oldest continually operated educational institution in Southern California, Loyola High School of Los Angeles launched a year-long, event- and initiative-driven commemoration of its past, present and future starting on November 16, 2014. The academically rigorous Jesuit college preparatory is located just west of downtown Los Angeles and counts more than 14,000 alumni. Ninety-nine percent of Loyola graduates go on to college or university. Loyola’s student body of 1,255 young men represents a remarkable geographic diversity, drawing on 220 zip codes from throughout and beyond Los Angeles County. The school is also ethnically diverse with 48 percent of the student body of Latino, Asian-Pacific or African-American descent. To enable students to achieve the goal of being “men for others,” Loyola students must complete at least 150 hours of community service work before graduation. Over the past two decades, Loyola students have donated more than 1.3 million hours of community service, primarily to inner-city schools, neighborhoods and agencies.