Prep Talk

2023 in Review: An Unforgettable Year at St. Augustine Prep

Posted December 31st, 2023

As 2023 draws to a close, we reflect on another year brimming with incredible achievements, memorable events, and athletic excellence. This time of year allows us to honor the milestones that members of our community have reached and to look forward with hope and promise to the year ahead.

A Legendary Victory for Coach Paul Rodio and Hermits Basketball

As he has done throughout his illustrious career, Coach Paul Rodio ’70 P’09’11 set an impossible standard within the first month of 2023.  He began the year on a high note by achieving a monumental milestone we may never see matched – winning his 1,000th career game for Hermits Basketball. This remarkable accomplishment further cemented a legacy already held in high regard not only at the Prep but also in high school basketball history.  

Video by Vincent Campanaro ’23

Welcoming the Future: Accepted Students Night for the Classes of 2027 & 2028

In one of the most anticipated annual traditions of the school year, St. Augustine Prep welcomed the newly accepted students of the Classes of 2027 and 2028 during Accepted Students Night. This admissions event marks the beginning of a new journey for the latest additions to the Hermit Brotherhood. Joined by their families, rising 8th and 9th grade students experienced their first taste of life at the Prep and being part of the school’s supportive and enriching environment.

Photo by Luke Ward

A Show-Stopping Performance: Mamma Mia! at the Landis Theater

Led by Director, Mrs. Jodie Zielinski, students of the Performing Arts Department outdid themselves with a stellar presentation of the musical Mamma Mia! at the Landis Theater. Their passion, talent, and hard work paid off, leaving audiences mesmerized and showcasing the depth of artistic talent nurtured at St. Augustine Prep and Our Lady of Mercy Academy.  We look forward to another wonderful performance at this year’s play, Big Fish, scheduled for Feb. 1-3.  

Dominance in Athletics: Five State Championships


2023 was a year of unparalleled athletic achievement for Hermits Athletics, capturing five State Championships across various sports. The school’s swimming, hockey, Rugby 15s, and Rugby 7s teams rose to the occasion helping the Prep add to an already impressive trophy case. Additionally, Richie Grungo ’23 captured an individual wrestling state title in the 144-pound division placing himself amongst the greatest to ever don a Hermits Wrestling singlet.

A Showcase of Artistic Brilliance: Spring & Winter Celebrations of the Arts

The school’s Fine and Performing Arts Department wowed the community with its impressive display at the Spring and Winter Celebrations of the Arts. These events always highlight the diverse artistic and performing talents of the Hermit Brotherhood.  From visual arts to vocal and instrumental talents, these students continue to raise the standard, reaffirming the school’s commitment to fostering creativity and expression.

The Class of 2023: A Journey Completed

A significant highlight of the year was the graduation of the Class of 2023, a group of young men who made their mark at the Prep and showed a tangible arc of growth throughout their 4 years at the school. This momentous occasion marked the culmination of their of hard work and coming together as a band of brothers ready to leave as “men to serve!”

Brotherhood Ceremony: Embracing a New Beginning

The final stanza of the year began with the 2023 Brotherhood Ceremony, officially welcoming the Classes of 2027 and 2028. This ceremony symbolizes the spirit of unity, brotherhood, and community of the Prep helping to usher in a new era for our newest Hermits.  In addition, the moving ceremony serves as the official beginning of the new Academic Year.  

Middle School Night 2023

The third installment of Middle School Night, an annual affair that has become one of the most anticipated events of the year, brought students to the Prep from over 60 middle schools. Prospective students and their families were invited to spend an evening on campus for the chance to interact with current students, get introduced to the Richland Rowdies, and experience the excitement of a Hermits Football game. The evening included a memorable halftime wing-eating contest sponsored by Hank Sauce, an alumni-owned brand. Matt Pittaluga, Class of 2005 and co-founder of Hank Sauce, was present to oversee the fun-filled contest. This event has grown each year and has become another dynamic element of the school’s admissions process.  The night has offered prospective families another unique look at the vibrant community that is St. Augustine Prep.

Honoring Academic Excellence: Academic Honors Mass

A cornerstone of every academic year is the celebration of academic achievement at the Academic Honors Mass. On Wednesday, October 4, the Prep community honored students who attained Head of School’s Honors or Dean’s List Honors. Based on rigorous criteria involving GPAs and challenging course loads, the school’s academic honors system is a testament to the Hermit Brotherhood’s dedication, love of learning, and commitment to the school’s mission. Surrounded by their peers, administrators, and teachers, these academic standouts were celebrated for their outstanding academic achievements.

Unveiling the E.L.I.T.E. Center

Another landmark event of 2023 was the opening of the school’s new E.L.I.T.E. Center (Experiential Learning, Innovative Teaching, and Entrepreneurship). This state-of-the-art facility marks a significant stride in enhancing the learning experience at the Prep by fostering innovation and nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit of the student body.  The center continues to take shape and we look forward to its development in 2024 and beyond!

As we bid adieu to 2023, we stand proud of the accomplishments of the student body and the indelible mark they have left on the entire community. The year ahead holds the promise of new challenges, achievements, and the continued “passionate search of Truth, Unity, and Love.” Here’s to a new year filled with hope, growth, and the restless hearts of the Hermit Brotherhood.

Happy New Year from St. Augustine Prep!