Chicago Holy Family Academy "Angels"

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CLOSED HSs CHICAGO

Holy Family Academy
holyfamilyacademydav.jpg
Courtesy of "A History of Offices, Agencies, & Institutions in the Archdiocese of Chicago"

                            The History of Chicago Holy Family Academy
 
Chicago (population: 2.8 million) is located along the shores of Lake Michigan in northeastern Illinois. From its early days as a Potawatomie settlement, then as the site of Fort Dearborn in 1803, which led up to the formation of the city and its incorporation in 1833 and 1837, respectively, the "City of Big Shoulders" became a major location in the US for various reasons. Railroads and water transportation were two reasons why Chicago was one of the fastest growing cities in the country during the 19th Century.

Today, numerous railroads and highways of interstate, US, state, and local designations bring people together in the city on a daily basis, as does air traffic at O'Hare and Midway Airports. Chicago is a melting pot of people from many nationalities, making it ethnically diverse, and thus is referred to as "the financial, economic, and cultural capital of the Midwest (according to Wikipedia)."   

Holy Family Academy was founded by Mother Mary Frances Siedliska of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth order in 1887, as two buildings were purchased for a school and convent. The school served not only high school-aged girls, but grade schoolers as well.
 
Evening classes were also held during the early years, with sewing, embroidering, and music were some of the courses offered for those attending. The school also accepted day and boarding students, with a new building erected in 1892.
 
The high school section became a four-year institution in 1902, which saw an increase in enrollment. By 1908, Holy Family Academy had to be remodeled on account of those additional students. Later in 1927, a newer building was built to add classrooms.
 
Even as World War II was coming to a close in 1945, there was still a need for more classroom space that led to the ending of accepting boarding students at Holy Family. Grade school students were no longer accepted after 1964 to accomodate the "baby boomers" at the high school level.
 
The school remained open until it closed its doors in the spring of 1988. Mark Figueroa tells is that the Holy Family High School building is still standing and is used by the Near North Montessori School (http://www.nnms.org/). 

FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO HOLY FAMILY ACADEMY
 
Year opened:                                  1887
Year 4-yr high school opened:        1902
New building opened:                     1927
Boarding stopped:                           1945
End of grade school students:         1964
Closed for good:                              1988
School colors:                                 Blue & Gold
School nickname:                           the "Angels"
School song:                                  "We're Loyal to You HFA"
Courtesy of Loretta Josefowski--sung to the tune of "We're Loyal to You, Illinois"

Alma Mater (courtesy of Mary Yager, class of 1970)

We'll cheer and faithful stay

To our own H.F.A.
And as our colors fly
Above them all on high
Let ring the echo loud
With heart so loyal bowed.

(Chorus)
We'll always boosters be Alma Mater we cheer
In act, in word and song, ever now and long,
While cheering, leading ever strongly, thus succeeding more and more,
We will do our mighty best, and we will meet the hardest test.
Ever now and long, while cheering, leading ever strongly, thus succeeding more and more,
We will do our mighty best, and we will meet the hardest test.

(additional verse)
And always giving aid,
Ours are the best that ever played,
Our are the strongest over all
So mighty towering tall.
So let us cheer our own
In universal tone. (back to chorus)

 
ATHLETICS AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES 
 
It is possible that Holy Family could have offered interscholastic activities to its young ladies, especially when the IHSA began offering state tournaments in a number of sports during the early and mid-1970's. We would like to find out more about the athletic and extra-curricular activities that the school could have offered while its' doors were open. Please contact us at the addresses below.
 
**From Kathleen:
 
"I graduated from HFA in 1961. There was an intra-mural basketball competiton with an academy in Momence, Illinois during the 4 years I attended."
 
MEMORIES
 
**From Soltrini Ramirez:
 
"The school mascot was the Angel. I also know the words to the school song. I have fondest memory of my high school. Holy Family Academy years were the best years of my life!"
 
**From an Anonymous Alum:
 
"I will always remember Sr. Gamma, my Geometry teacher at Holy Family Academy 1960-1964. She was my inspiration for majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science and making my science-based career choices in my later years. Thank you, Sr. Gamma!"

From Madelyn Malinowski (1949-1957)

"I attended HFA Grade School from first-eighth grade. It was a wonderful experience. I remember so many wonderful events.

"In first grade I recall being honored to be a leader for the First Communicants and later receiving my First Communion in that wonderful chapel. I also remember making visits in the Little Chapel where there was a small statue of Jesus with resplendent clothes.

"I studied dance with Miss Layla in addition to learning how to do the Krakowiak for the Christmas program. The sisters who taught me were wonderful people. They encouraged us to stretch and be creative. The students made substantial accomplishments for their age groups.

"My favorite remembrance is when the weather would get nicer that we would have gym class in the swimming pool. What a treat! I still remember the sign on the door to the pool --Natatorium.

"What a great school that grounded me in my life. Thank you for keeping the memeories of HFA alive."

**From Denise Moran:

"Attached (below) is a picture of the dance card my mother used during the Holy Family Academy Senior Promenade at the Crystal Ballroom at the Shoreland Hotel in Chicago in 1949."

Chicago Holy Family Academy Dance Card 1949
chicagoholyfamilyacademydancecard1949dav.jpg
Submitted by Denise Moran

From Mary Yager (class of 1970):

I graduated in 1970 and this was our school song:

"We'll cheer and faithful stay
To our own H.F.A.
And as our colors fly
Above them all on high
Let ring the echo loud
With heart so loyal bowed."

(chorus) "We'll always boosters be Alma Mater we cheer
In act, in word and song, ever now and long
While cheering, leading ever strongly, thus succeeding more and more,
We will do our mighty best, and we will meet the hardest test.
Ever now and long
While cheering, leading ever strongly, thus succeeding more and more,
We will do our mighty best, and we will meet the hardest test.

In a "Homecoming" book from 1976, there is an additional verse which our 1967-70 years never sang. It says:

"And always giving aid,
Ours are the best that ever played,
Ours are the strongest over all
So mighty towering tall,
So let us cheer our own
In universal tone." (back to chorus)

This booklet also noted "Music by Guido Mattei, Orchestra and Band Director 1931. Words by Sophia Gudyka, Class of '31.

From Rosemarie Nero (class of 1983):

Hi! I just noticed the Holy Family Academy website and wanted to share this 1940s video from the Chicago Film Archives I discovered a few years ago. Please share!!



IF YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT HOLY FAMILY ACADEMY...
 
then now is your chance to share the information that we need. Items such as words to the school song, any proof of athletic teams, and even a photo of the school buildings is greatly appreciated. Please email us with your information at dr.veeman@gmail.com or by clicking on this CONTACT US link. You can also send items thru the mail at the following address:
 
Illinois High School Glory Days
6439 North Neva
Chicago, IL  60631

Holy Family Academy
holyfamilyacad.jpg
Credit: Lake County Discovery Museum/Curt Teich Postcard Archives