Campus News

Centennial Moment | On This Day One Hundred Years Ago (June 1, 1920)

The Au Revoir Banquet
By Dr. Stephen J. Ochs, Lawler Chair of History

During the final week of the 1919-1920 academic year, May Devotions and the Novena to St. Aloysius concluded in the midst of final monthly examinations. Six Prep students - Kean McNally, Frederick Hamilton, Francis Echeverria, Ward Lawton, Edward Beary, and Cuthbert Sheldon - also received the sacrament of Confirmation from Archbishop John Bonzano, the Apostolic Delegate, at his residence in Washington, D.C.

On the morning of June 1, students took written examinations: Latin for 1st Years and Arithmetic for Junior Preps. The boys were then free to enjoy the afternoon, and a number of them went swimming at a nearby quarry, probably the Riggs Granite Quarry in what is now the Ken-Gar Recreation Area. Following the last study period of the year for the final written exam in Catechism the next morning, students streamed into the dining room at 5:45 p.m. A decorating committee had transformed the refectory with banners, pennants, and lanterns for the "Au Revoir Banquet."

There they enjoyed an "excellent meal" and "more excellent entertainment." Between courses, they were entertained by an impromptu quintet consisting of Robert Ehrman, George Towle, Alejandro Angel, Charles Dean, and Henry Naylon. According to the Newprep News, they "made the rafters ring in such way as to bring forth the tumultuous applause of the banqueters." Extemporaneous speeches followed as "many old scores were paid off and witticisms delivered." Before the festivities concluded, Fr. John B. Creeden, S.J, President/Rector of Georgetown University, and thus of Georgetown Prep, made an appearance and complimented the students on the success that had crowned their efforts during the year. Loud applause greeted his humorous reference to Alejandro Angel's victory over upperclassmen in the elocution contest held earlier in the month at Georgetown University. It was followed by three boisterous cheers for the faculty as the banquet ended.

The next morning, after the conclusion of the Catechism exam, a mass exodus of students began. The House Diarist wrote that he thought "the boys were very contented with the treatment they received during the year." In looking back at the year just ended, a Newprep News column marveled that it had passed so quickly, but avowed that the time had not been too short "for many firm friendships to be established, nor for laying the foundations of lasting traditions or many worthwhile customs for the Newpreps to build upon." The writer asserted that it was a year of which all could be proud. One "filled with active progress, with difficulties met and manfully overcome – with struggles against odds, carried to successful completion..." He concluded, "[W]e look forward to the coming year." So also did the Jesuits and lay faculty who began efforts almost immediately to use the summer to prepare for it.

Prep Sodality members on May 31, 1920 wearing medals they received at the conclusion of a month of May Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

1920 End of Year Awards

Alejandro Angel Escobar
- New Prep Elocution Medal
- Gold Medal, Georgetown University Preparatory School Competition
- Prize for 1st in Class Standing
- Prize for 1st in Algebra

Ernest W. Doegler
- Prize for 2nd in Class Standing
- Prize for 3rd in Algebra

Ashton J. Deveraux
- 2nd Place in Field Day Competition
- Prize for 2nd in Algebra
- Prize for 3rd in Class Standing

Albert Molina
- Prize for Essay in Christian Doctrine

George J. Towle
- Silver Cup Winner in Field Day Competition

King Stack
- Prize for Excellence in Debate