Unveiling the History of Our Alma Mater: A Tune Rooted in Tradition

Graphic created to depict a photo of the original Colonie High School Alma Mater printed in the 1956 yearbook alongside the yearbook photos of Patrick Longo, and Judy Hoffman. The Proudly Colonie 75th anniversary logo appears in the top right corner.
Patrick Longo (Top Left) and Judy Hoffman (Bottom Right): co-creators of the Colonie Central High School Alma Mater (Far Left)

In the heart of our school district’s rich history lies a story of creativity. Our Alma Mater, a symbol of pride and unity, was born in 1956 through the collaboration of two talented students, senior Patrick Longo and junior Judy Hoffman. Set to the timeless melody of “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley, the Alma Mater has become an enduring emblem of our district.

But did you know that the melody itself carries a history that predates the Alma Mater’s creation? “Love Me Tender” may have been popularized by Elvis in ’56, but its roots trace back to the Civil War Era. The original tune, known as “Aura Lee,” was written by William Whiteman Fosdick, and composed by George Rodway Poulton. This remarkable connection between our Alma Mater and this Civil War-era folk song adds a unique layer to our district’s legacy.

The Alma Mater holds a special place in our hearts and is a testament to the enduring spirit of our students and their dedication to participating in the preservation of our legacy. It is a song that resonates with generations of alumni and current students alike. At significant events such as Graduation and pep rallies, the Alma Mater comes to life through the performances put on by our high school Chamber Singers. Their renditions evoke a sense of unity and nostalgia, reminding us of the bonds that tie our school community together.

As we continue to celebrate our district’s history and the legacy of our Alma Mater, let us remember the creativity of Patrick Longo and Judy Hoffman, who penned its heartfelt lyrics. Their contributions have left an indelible mark on our district, serving as a testament to the talent and dedication of our students over the years. Our Alma Mater remains a cherished tradition, a song that echoes through the halls of our schools, connecting past, present, and future generations.

The Colonie alma mater as written and published in the 1955 Rougetor reads:

“Gathered round, our banner bright,

Our hearty cheers we’ll raise.

Alma Mater we will sing,

United in our praise.


Solemnly, reverently, praises do we sing. 

Truth and goodness gave thou us, 

Our loyalty give we.

Quickly though the years pass by

And when at last we leave thee,

Colonie we’ll ne’er forget

The joys we’ve shared with thee.”