New this year, freshmen were introduced to the House Model—an organization of small groups, or teams, of peers with which students shared their orientation experience and will continue to share the next four years together. The seven houses are named for Jesuit saints and blesseds: St. John de Brebeuf, SJ; St. Peter Claver, SJ; St. Alberto Hurtado, SJ; Blessed Miguel Pro, SJ; Blessed Matteo Ricci, SJ; St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ; and St. Francis Xavier, SJ.
Students sat in their houses at a welcome Mass on the afternoon of Sunday, August 20, which kicked off the orientation programming. Loyola Academy President Rev. Patrick E. McGrath, SJ, presided over Mass and delivered a homily in which he encouraged the Class of 2021 to take risks, to always be themselves and to try new things at Loyola.
During a special moment at Mass, Fr. McGrath led the missioning of students—a call and response exercise wherein incoming freshmen pledged to demonstrate leadership and to pursue excellence in the Jesuit tradition—and called upon parents and faculty to extend a blessing on the freshmen. Then, new students received their class pins to mark their entry into academic life at Loyola Academy, and together the group recited St. Ignatius’s Prayer for Generosity.
Following Mass, students took part in Navigation 101—which gave them the opportunity to get to know the building, meet new classmates and find their lockers for the first time—while parents enjoyed special question-and-answer sessions with panelists from the Loyola community including faculty members, students, current parents and alumni.
A barbeque on Hoerster Field closed the evening with a special appearance from Loyola Academy’s drumline. Led by Performing Arts Chair Mr. Daniel Briggs, freshmen were taught Loyola’s fight song.
With help from upperclassmen, on Monday and Tuesday freshmen learned about Loyola Academy’s guiding mission, St. Ignatius, the Daily Examen of Consciousness and the values behind the graduate at graduation descriptors known at Loyola as RIPLOC: religious, intellectually competent, physically fit, loving, open to growth and committed to doing justice.
Everything came together as students walked through an abbreviated class scheduled to meet their teachers and master the layout of the building before learning how to integrate iPads into their studies.
The orientation experience ended with a celebratory Freshman Field Day, including a number of team-building challenges between the Houses such as tug-of-war and steal the bacon. Over the course of the three-day orientation, new friendships were formed and Loyola’s newest Ramblers emerged with a sense of confidence, ready to begin the next four years.