WASHINGTON (CNS) — Royal wedding fever has caught on in many places, but it has a particular soft spot at Immaculate Heart Middle School and High School outside Los Angeles, the school Meghan Markle attended from seventh to 12th grade.
The school is located more than 5,000 miles from St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in England, where Markle and Prince Harry’s May 19 wedding is taking place, but the California school bridged this gap during an outdoor pre-wedding celebration May 15.
Students waved British and American flags, toasted their famous alumna with glasses of lemonade, listened to student speeches and did a group dance all while local and international TV and print reporters mingled among them.
The students at the all-girls school were thrilled for the 1999 graduate’s big day but they were also proud of the humanitarian and activist work the actress has already done.
“I know that I’m not going to marry a prince … but it makes me feel like, as a woman, I can do anything, and I can be empowered by Meghan,” seventh-grader Amina Brenlini told Reuters during the event, adding that Markle is her “biggest inspiration.”
In a speech during the celebration, Mia Speier, the high school student body president, praised Markle for her dedication to service.
“The idea that someone like her, who has had an upbringing so similar to ours, will now be able to voice her concerns on a global platform as an internationally recognized figure is a story that impacts so many young women, especially the young women at our school,” said Speier.
Stella Lissak, middle school student body president said Markle’s humanitarian work showed that “we at Immaculate Heart truly are women of great heart.” Highlights of the speeches were posted on the school’s website.
The school, founded in 1906 by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, has mission-style terra cotta roofs and is located just a few miles from the landmark Hollywood sign.
Many of the 674 students have been pretty excited to say the least about the royal wedding since the engagement was announced last November. At the time, the communication director for the school, Callie Webb, told Catholic News Service that some of the students had never heard of Markle and others knew every detail about her 15-month romance with Prince Harry, her engagement, her TV career, activism and now- discontinued lifestyle blog, The Tig.
Early on, the school tried to put the engagement news in perspective, announcing when the news first broke in a Nov. 27 tweet: “Over 10,000 women of great heart and right conscience have graduated from Immaculate Heart, and we are proud to count actress and humanitarian” Markle among them.
It posted a similar message that day on its Facebook account but added that as a global ambassador for World Vision Canada, Markle campaigned for clean, safe drinking water. And as a U.N. Women’s Advocate, she has spoken up for women’s rights and gender equality.
In other words, the school had already been proud of its graduate for a long time.
But they also are fully embracing Markle’s upcoming role as Duchess of Sussex.To demonstrate their dedication, and also witness history, some students, alumnae and families will attend a wedding viewing party May 19 at the school that will start at the wee hour of 3 a.m. (PDT).
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Wenders ‘so excited’ when pope was chosen, took the name Francis
NEXT: Religious leaders urge appointment of new envoy on anti-Semitism
Share this story