Academy memories preserved by Sister Lillian in archives

Academy memories preserved by Sister Lillian in archives

Alex Diaz, Achona Staff

Sister Lillian Schneider shares AHN traditions in an interview.

Mikela Mollanazar, Achona Staff

The history of Academy of  the Holy Names proves to be long, fascinating, and spiritual. Here on Bayshore, Academy’s history is being preserved by the person who knows all – Sister Lillian Schneider.

Sister Lillian has been at Academy since 1976, and she has served as a former teacher but now works the School Store in second floor foyer, mandates the Archives and manages over sees affairs. Academy dates back so far that it helped establish the city of Tampa. As Sister Lillian would describe it “we’re that old.”

One of the most important parts in Academy’s history is tradition. Traditions such as silver coffee, mother-daughter luncheons, the dancerettes and the alumni banquet, which dates back to 1932,  are just some of the events that make up Academy’s history.

A main tradition kept here at Academy is the Junior Ring Ceremony held this past week. “The Academy ring means so much to the graduates” as Sister would describe. Sister Lillian has heard a story of a grandmother who has kept the ring in the same box she received it in, and treats it as a “shrine.”

Throughout the years the ring ceremony has evolved into something more special. Originally it was a small gathering. “It didn’t used to have all this flair, but it was still special.”

Part of what makes the ring ceremony so special is the ring itself. Throughout all its years the ring’s crest has never changed, except during times of war the rings were made of  silver instead of gold. Recently Sister received a donation for the Archives – a ring from the year 1937, an important piece of Academy history.

Sister Lillian finds fun in anything that students, faculty, and family do together.One of Sister Lillian’s favorite activities from the past were  games that  featured faculty vs students, including sports such as volleyball, basketball, and free- throw competitions.  The Dads Club would host barbecues and picnics at which everyone was welcomed!

A major event coming up in Tampa this weekend is Gasparilla, which has changed since years past. Originally it took place on Franklin Street and not on Bayshore. Gasparilla was always a family event. Families would take their blankets, and chairs onto the curb and admire all the floats pass by. The floats were all nice companies and they were not “gaudy”as they are today according to Sister Lillian. Also, Gasparilla used to never have beads either. Basically the parade used to be more of a family event.  Today Gasparilla does not “identify Tampa history as it used to do.”

Today Sister Lillian’s role at Academy is different than it used to be when she was a teacher.  Today she works the school store and archives. “It’s different because I’m not teaching but I enjoy doing what I’m doing.”  Student and teacher interaction is what makes her job so special. Students come in to the bookstore to pay money for clubs and supplies, teachers come in to deposit cash and check out supplies, and even the elementary students get to come in and browse. “One of the most interesting things about Academy is that students  never forget us and the history.”

The archives also allow Sister Lillian to do what she love best, “history.”In the archives people come to learn about history, help and donate things from their families.

Sister Lillian, the person who knows all, sums up Academy best when she says, “Once you are here, it’s not going to change. You know if you see an alumni from 1937, you can be comfortable talking with them and that’s important.”