Faith and virtue on and off the field

By Brian Ross
Lumen Christi High School principal

“The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.”

This quote from Saint Gregory the Great adorns the main hallway at Lumen Christi Catholic High School in Anchorage, where reproductions of the “Virtue Series” by Giotto di Bondone surround Lumen students as they walk to and from class. According to Father Tom Lilly, “We want beautiful Catholic art to inspire our students to live a virtuous day!”

Lumen students are exposed to the cardinal and theological virtues in the Hall of Virtues each day, but also in classrooms and on the court and athletic field as well. Since 2018, Lumen Christi has partnered with SportsLeaderTM, a nationally recognized Catholic, virtue-based formation program used by over 100 Catholic schools and dioceses around the country. Each week, Lumen coaches and teachers emphasize a Virtue of the Week using videos, stories, songs, quotes, and Scripture verses that reinforce the virtue.

In addition to developing virtue, our students are expected to practice their faith as athletes. Our athletes pray together before and after each game and practice and often pray with other teams after a hard-fought competition. Our sports teams often celebrate Mass together before games here in Anchorage and while traveling through Alaska.

This emphasis on faith and virtue builds on a proud 25-year tradition of Lumen athletics, starting with the school’s founding in 1996.

Since 2006, the school has been blessed with a beautiful gymnasium, complete with an NBA-regulation-sized basketball court newly renovated in 2020. Over the years, Lumen has fielded competitive high school co-ed soccer, girls volleyball, and boys and girls basketball teams. Individual athletes have competed in track and cross country as well. Riflery is a new addition since 2019 and boasts over a dozen student-athletes who shoot and compete in online virtual matches against teams from across the country.

Before COVID, the Lumen Christi boys basketball team, coached by former college basketball player Adam Trombley, was poised to head to the 2020 State Championships. This year, both the boys and girls teams swept the Peninsula Conference regional championship–the first time in the school’s history–and will be competing in the 2021 1A Alaska March Madness Basketball State Championships.

In addition to combining sports with faith and virtue, there are other benefits of playing sports in a small school like Lumen. One is the opportunity to travel all across Alaska and compete against teams from Ninilchik, Nikolaevsk, Point Hope, Bethel, Aniak, and all points in between.

Another is the fact that every eligible student who wants to play makes the team, regardless of skill level. Lumen is proud of the dozens of students with little to no experience over the years who were able to play competitive varsity high school sports.

Unfortunately, as a small school, Lumen is unable to field every sport. In these cases, thanks to an exclusive cooperative sports agreement with the Anchorage School District signed last year, Lumen students can play on local public school teams. This year, Lumen students have participated in baseball, football, hockey, cross country, and swimming teams. These students benefit from both a solid Catholic education at Lumen during the school day and the opportunity to play their sport of choice after school.

Lumen Christi is currently enrolling students for fall 2021 and we are expecting record enrollment in 2021-2022. In addition to rigorous academics, Lumen students have a unique opportunity to live their faith and be reminded that “Virtue Equals Strength” both on and off the field. We hope you will consider joining our family!

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