The grand marshal and honoree for this year’s South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade have been announced.
Local Catholic elementary school teachers will serve as the grand marshal, while the Tom Hopkins Foundation, named after a late Morgan Park resident, will be the honoree.
The two groups were formally introduced at St. Cajetan Elementary School on Tuesday, Feb. 11, after press time.
Principals from 16 South Side schools were set to be honored at the introduction, with Christ the King, Most Holy Redeemer, Queen of Martyrs, St. Barnabas, St. Bede the Venerable, St. Benedict, St. Cajetan, St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Christina, St. Ethelreda, St. Gerald, St. Germaine, St. John Fisher, St. Linus, St. Margaret of Scotland and St. Walter represented.
The Tom Hopkins Foundation is named after the man known as “Papa Hops” who was heavily involved in local youth athletics. Started by his children after he died of cancer in 2014, the foundation hosts an annual 16-inch softball tournament every summer that attracts thousands of people to local parks, with the championship at Kennedy Park.
The foundation donates proceeds to families battling cancer and the athletic departments of local Catholic schools. A scoreboard at Kennedy Park was purchased by the foundation.
The grand marshal and honoree will lead the parade when it steps off at noon on Sunday, March 15, at 103rd Street and Western Avenue.
The parade is operated by the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with over 100 volunteers.
More coverage of the introduction of the grand marshal and honoree will be available here and in next week's print edition.