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Learn More About Becoming Irish For Life

Living Our Tradition of Faith, Knowledge, Service

We use the word "Tradition" often at Father Ryan, and our motto, A Tradition of Faith, Knowledge, Service, is incorporated into all things we do.

Since 1925, Father Ryan has stayed true to its mission, to be an experience of the living Gospel while challenging students to reach their spiritual, academic, and personal potential.

Our traditions have served as important markers in our school's history as we continue to respond to the needs of the era.

By staying true to our Catholic tradition, we are able to continue evolving to meet the needs of our community in the years to come. Today's student life traditions are built to create a strong culture of belonging on campus and pay tribute to those who have come before us.

Answering the Call

  • 1925 - Bishop Smith saw the need for an all-boys Catholic school and created the Nashville Catholic High School for Boys.

  • 1944 - Students and alumni volunteered to serve during World War II.

  • 1954 - Father Ryan was the first Tennessee school to integrate.

  • 1970 - Father Ryan opened its doors to girls to become co-educational.
  • 1991 - After moving to Norwood Drive, Father Ryan expanded the Arts, Athletics, and Academics through new facilities and programs.
  • 2020 - Father Ryan introduced the House System to help the large school feel smaller and create a stronger community on campus.

Student Life Traditions


Before each home game, our athletic players place their hands on the Touchstone before running onto the field to honor those who have gone before them and for good luck.


Ryan Man

Since 1969, Ryan Man, a senior with his own homemade Irish costume, has been seen on the sidelines cheering on Father Ryan and leading the Jungle, our faithful student section.


The Jungle

The Father Ryan Student Section, also known as the Jungle, can be seen and heard at every athletic event. With weekly costume themes and loud chants, the Jungle brings the Irish spirit.



Every Friday night before kickoff you can hear the sounds of a bagpipe coming from Julian Gomez '86 at the 50-yard-line, dressed in the purple Double Davidson kilt, one-of-a-kind in honor of Kevin Davis '09.


Crossing the Bridge

Before each Football game and Pep Rally, the Father Ryan Marching Band leads the Jungle across the bridge.


House Shirt Fridays

School uniforms look a little different on Fridays as oxfords are replaced by House Shirts so students can help their House earn points towards the Irish Cup. 



"It's Moina Day!" is a familiar sound around campus as students distribute the monthly school newspaper. A long-standing tradition, students have looked forward to reading the writing of their peers since 1927.


9/11 Workout

Every year, our Head Strength & Conditioning Coordinator creates a workout for our students to teach them about 9/11 and honor those who lost their lives on that day.



Since 1927, the Yearbook class has worked hard to create a comprehensive publication and archive of the entire school year. From the first edition named The Emerald to now, students look forward to receiving their copy!


Catholic Schools Week

Every year we reflect on the blessing of Catholic education by showing appreciation for our faculty and staff, students, parents, faith, and nation. With thank you videos made by our students for their parents, donuts and out-of-uniform days for our students, faculty and staff lunches, All-School Mass, and presentations on our community's dedication to service, it is a week filled with gratitude and celebration! 


Christmas Sweater Day

In December, our students, faculty, and staff always look forward to wearing their favorite Christmas sweater to school to get in the holiday spirit before exams and Christmas Break.


Pep Rallies

With performances by our Cheer Teams, Dance Team, and Marching Band, Class competitions, and Coach Kent '74 getting the students "Keyed Up" for the game, Pep Rallies set the tone for our big athletic events throughout the year.


Senior Traditions

Senior Crowns

On the first day of school, Seniors arrive dressed in their handmade Senior Crowns to celebrate their final year at Father Ryan.


Senior Backpacks

Throughout Senior year, you can find students wearing their favorite childhood backpacks to class.


Senior Polos

Seniors are easy to spot on campus as they exchange their white oxford shirts for purple polos.


Senior Patio

The Senior Patio is the perfect location for our upperclassmen to enjoy time outside during Break and Lunch.


Senior Shirt Signing

As the school year comes to a close, Seniors come together to create a memento by signing each other's uniform shirts.


Senior Week

In the spring, Seniors are celebrated during Senior Week as they dress in themes ranging from Senior Citizen Day to College Shirt Day.