Cor Jesu’s detention was called Penance Hall.

crusader archives penance hall

Penance Hall on Elysian Fields

Another quick one from the archives. This is the Student Handbook for Cor Jesu High School, the predecessor school to Brother Martin High School on Elysian Fields. It’s a full rulebook, a breakdown of expectations the school had for students. Every school has one, including St. Aloysius and BMHS.

A quick flip through this handbook confirmed that it was indeed your basic set of rules. Then I came across Penance Hall:

Students who violate school regulations are usually assigned to Penance Hall, which begins at ten minutes after dismissal bell.

crusader archives penance hall

Section of the Cor Jesu Student Handbook on “Penance Hall”

Nothing says “Catholic School” quite like institutions like “Penance Hall.” Let’s face it, other schools have detention. “The Breakfast Club” is an entire movie set during a weekend detention session. But penance is so wonderfully Catholic.

I did find a St. Aloysius student handbook, but a quick glance of that booklet didn’t list a detention/penance hall setup. I’ll put it to you Crimson-and-White Crusaders. What did y’all call it?

Evolution to BMHS

The Cor Jesu Penance Hall continued into Brother Martin, but not by that name. It was simply “detention,” when I got there in the fall of 1971. Mr. Louis Levy was Vice Principal and Disciplinarian. Now, even though I never received official school detention, we usually held practice for the Debate team in the “old” hallway, the original Cor Jesu building. That’s also where Mr. Levy held detention. So, we learned the details of the process.

Mr. Levy came in the room (and mind you, I’m paraphrasing) and explained how the hour worked. “Gentlemen, you are going to learn to dance. You will dance by my numbers and by my steps…”

Naturally, detention period became known as “Mr. Levy’s Ninth Period Dance Class.”

I’m not sure what sort of busy work Dance Class attendees did during ninth period. I encourage any alums of Dance Class to share some details!

Archives Update

This booklet is typical of a lot of the things I’ve found in only two weeks of digging in the archival storage rooms. So far, it’s been a blast. I found this first copy in with a bunch of Cor Jesu football programs. Since that first copy, I’ve turned up two more. I took quick photos of the cover and Penance Hall with the phone. By tomorrow, we should have the workspace set up with laptop and scanner, to make full copies of these memories.

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