However, this quality Catholic Education is not the only tradition associated with Mount Carmel. There is probably tucked away in the minds of every Mount Carmel High School and Mount Carmel Elementary School graduate, the fond memory of Mount Carmel’s annual May Crowning.
The May Crowning has been a custom at Mount Carmel since the first class of graduates left Mount Carmel in May of 1885. The very first May Crowning took place at the site of the old Mount Carmel on West Vermilion Street.
A young elementary student would place a wreath of flowers on the statue of the Blessed Mother. Although Mount Carmel has made many changes, the traditional devotion to the Blessed Mother has not changed.
When the new Mount Carmel was built on the present site in 1953, a grotto was built on what is now the northeast corner of the Vermilion Catholic High School parking lot. The Blessed Mother was housed in this grotto, and the May Crowning took place there every May.
The ceremony changed a bit, with the outstanding senior boy and girl having the honor of crowning the Blessed Mother.
In 1967 when Vermilion Catholic was built, the grotto was removed. But, Mount Carmel’s devotion to Mary carried on. Since that time, the May crowning has taken place in the courtyard of Mount Carmel Elementary and more recently moved to the Mount Carmel Gym.
The entire student body, along with parents, grandparents, alumni and friends gather around the statue of the Blessed Mother. After the outstanding eighth grade boy and girl crown the Blessed Mother, a Rosary is recited by all.
New to the hundred year old tradition is the farewell song sung by the MCE Pre-School to the MCE eighth graders. These young students bid a fond farewell to the upper classmen who are moving onto high school.
This year the May crowning was held in the MCE gym on Wednesday May 11. Lilly Cao daughter of Christopher and Teri Cao and Tanner Choate son of Donnie and Jodi Choate were selected as the outstanding eighth grade girl and boy.
Lilly and Tanner were chosen because of their involvement in school activities, Christian maturity, scholarship, leadership and cooperation. The entire family of Mount Carmel extends sincere congratulations to these outstanding students and to their families.