St. Philip High School’s centennial has inspired alumni to celebrate their history. But what about St. Philip’s future alumni?
“As adults, we’re all talking about this and celebrating it, but the kids who are here need to appreciate it,” Kyra Rabbitt, St. Philip history teacher, said.
The school hosted a centennial party for students on September 8th, which included a walking history tour led by Ms. Rabbitt. She based it on the tour BCACS historians Matt Davis, Class of 1979, and Sheri (Cobb) Robotham, Class of 2003 gave staff this summer.
Ms. Rabbitt took students to the front of the church, explaining that the small Catholic community purchased it from the Quakers in 1867 for $1,200. An elementary school followed in 1911, as well as a high school in 1917 – the very building current students still enter every day.
The tour continued to the school’s original front entrance on Cherry Street, where Ms. Rabbitt talked about the students gathering before class all the way up to 2010. As the tour wove into the Alumni Room, Ms. Rabbitt called attention to historical points of interest before letting students independently explore.
Decades of young faces from black and white photos smiled down on the young faces milling about the room. Students pointed to old band instruments, old football uniforms, even an old photo of English teacher Laura Miller using the school’s first computer.
The air buzzed because teenagers are rarely quiet – not 100 years ago and not now. They asked Ms. Rabbitt if they could paint a bus like the students did in 1995 or make class patches again.
Ms. Rabbitt encouraged them to find out.
At the end, students recorded their reflections for students 100 years from now. Many used the word “family”.
“St. Phil may not be large in numbers, but we are big in heart,” senior Maddy Haywood wrote. “It’s a family connection.”
Senior Trevor Fuller remarked on the many teachers who are St. Philip alumni. “It just shows how much of a sense of family we have here.”
Exchange student Ziije Dong wrote, “People in this school smile a lot. It feels great to study in the school. The building is old, but it’s beautiful.”
“I came here in 9th grade and couldn’t be happier,” senior Morgan Bohannon wrote. “We are one big, happy family!”
At lunchtime, that big, happy family convened on Cherry Street to share cupcakes, hot dogs, games, and the promise of next 100 years.