St. Vincent Alumni Tag Day Legacy Continues with St. Patrick’s Day Event

St. Vincent Academy Alumni gather at the Catholic Center for the annual Tag Day scholarship fundraiser.

by Bernadette Cordaro Boyd, (SVA 1977)

If you have lived in Shreveport since the 1930s, you probably remember on or around St. Patrick’s Day seeing high school students dressed in blue uniforms offering shamrocks for a donation. For most St. Vincent’s graduates, this is a special time to reflect on this unique tradition that was such an instrumental part of our SVA life. The St. Vincent’s Tag Day Tradition was sponsored by the Mother’s Club in the mid 1930s, and records report that the first chair was the late Mrs. Kate Wolcott. Over the years, the funds collected have been used for child welfare work, school activities and educational programs. Back in the day, the shamrocks were pinned on, and later were offered as stickers. At Tag Day’s peak, over 25,000 shamrocks were distributed in the Shreveport Bossier area in just one day. The prime spots were usually downtown and were picked first by the seniors. I remember enthusiastically picking our coveted spots we wanted each year and looking forward to Tag Day. It was nice to have a day off of studies to share some Irish spirit with the community.

Some years Tag Day “Queens” were named and those were usually elected from the previous year’s top class donations. With the closing of St. Vincent’s Academy in 1988, Tag Day seemed to become a distant memory for many of us. My classmates just celebrated our 40th Reunion and many of us reminisced about our Tag Day memories… who we tagged with, where we ate lunch, our selected spots, holding our decorated shamrock cans, and, of course, having a day off from school. Many of us from SVA want to not only keep these memories alive, but also make a positive impact in our community, and in particular support Catholic education in our diocese.

A SVA Scholarship program started in 1995 when Loyola had the idea to create a scholarship fund and approached some of the St. Vincent’s alumnae to spearhead the project.  Loyola assisted in soliciting donations and invested them in the
St. Vincent’s Scholarship Fund, with the purpose to fund tuition expenses at Loyola for a child of a St. Vincent graduates, in order to perpetuate the memory of St. Vincent’s and to help keep Catholic education alive in Shreveport. A major fundraising effort was needed, so my sister, Rosie Cordaro Woodley (SVA 1979), had a great idea to start the popular “Tag Day” event to raise money for scholarships. The first Tag Day Scholarship Fundraiser was held on March 17, 2009, and 10 years later the history of Tag Day still lives on. Many SVA Alumnae have tirelessly worked over the years in making the the Tag Day event successful, and the great support from Bishop Duca and the Catholic Center has given us the right “home” for our alumnae, family and friends to come together. With the efforts of many, this event has provided funds to award hundreds of students assistance with their tuition needs at Loyola.

Camille Meehan (SVA 1967) and a faculty member at Loyola, has been the catalyst in making sure the funds are allocated as set forth by the scholarship guidelines. Along with wanting to increase the amount of money available for scholarships, a goal of the Tag Day event was to “help even more students” and to strive to “keep the spirit of our school alive in this new generation.” Scholarships are awarded to students who exhibit all-round good character in scholarship, citizenship and involvement with their church. Each recipient is recognized at the honors assembly at the end of the school year and is given a certificate. The top tier St. Vincent’s Scholars also have their names engraved on a plaque that hangs in the main office at Loyola.  By publicly recognizing these students, we are fulfilling the stated purpose of the scholarship program to perpetuate the memory of St. Vincent’s and to help keep Catholic education alive in Shreveport.

This year’s Silent Auction and Tag Day Celebration will be held on Thursday, March 15, at the Catholic Center at 3500 Fairfield Avenue, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Come renew old friendships, make new ones, and go home with a great auction item! Anyone 21 years and older is welcome to attend. Tickets are $25 per person and include great food, door prizes and lots of Irish fun. The Craig/Powers Duo will also provide wonderful music. Some auction items include LSU tickets, Strand tickets, your favorite restaurants, golf outings, beautiful painted furniture, unique paintings, jewelry and the popular “Make Italian Sausage with Bishop Duca!” Help support SVA make a difference in our diocese. Hope to see you there!  •

One Response to St. Vincent Alumni Tag Day Legacy Continues with St. Patrick’s Day Event

  1. Mary Salvail says:

    Thank you, Bernadette, for researching and sharing this information on the history of Tag Day. It was one of our great traditions at St. Vincent’s Academy and like you, I have great memories of those days.

    I encourage those of you who read this article and especially those who graduated from St. Vincent’s Academy, St. John’s High School, Jesuit High School or Loyola College Prep to attend this year’s Tag Day Scholarship Fundraiser and Silent Auction. Renew old friendships and make new ones.

    Tickets are available online at
    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sva-alumnae-association-tag-day-fundraiser-silent-auction-tickets-43679860639

    Hope to see you there!

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