When, on June 13th, the school bell rings for the last time this year, the young ladies of the near-century-old John W. Hallahan High (originally christened simply Catholic Girls’ High School, the country’s first all-girls Catholic institution) will be taking their annual romp en masse and in uniform in the chilly, shallow waters of nearby Logan Circle’s Swann Memorial Fountain — a 50-year tradition that seems to amuse everyone but school officials, who curtly refuse to acknowledge the off-campus high jinks as a Hallahan hallmark. Though passers-by might surmise that these Hallahan girls gone wild are the free-at-last grads celebrating a major milestone, in fact, tradition dictates it’s the freshmen, sophomores and juniors who take the ritual dip, thereby joyously and officially kicking off the start of their summer — and ours. God bless ’em.
Pulse: Philadelphicon: The Hallahan Splash
Originally published in Philadelphia Magazine, June 2008