Tague knew from his first shadow day that the Prep was the right place for him. “There was something unique about it,” he remembers. “Everyone comes from all over: South Jersey, Northeast Philly, as far as Doylestown and Wilmington. There is an eclectic mix of people. That was awesome for me.”
That unique Prep experience is still exciting to him, 11 years after graduation. “For a kid who grew up on the Main Line, going to St. Katharine’s in Radnor, a lot of my friends were going to Radnor HS, the Haverford School, or Malvern,” he says. “The Prep was different than all of those places. You can’t get the same experience at any of the other schools my friends attended.”
As the oldest child with three younger sisters, the Prep’s brotherhood was also appealing to him. “Going to all-boys school down in the city was really fun,” he says.
Through his four years at the Prep, Tague was drawn to the school’s Jesuit ideals. He was a freshman retreat leader, attended Kairos, and did a summer service trip to the Dominican Republic with Sra Ligia Baland and Rev. Bruce Maivelett, SJ. “That trip was such a cool experience.”
Those experiences led him to continue on with Jesuit education and attend Boston College, where he got immersed in service. After graduation, he thought he might want to be an attorney but summer work at his family’s lumber yard led him into that industry, first with International Forest Corporation (Interfor) in Portland, Ore., and then back to Tague Lumber, where he is general manager of the company’s Philadelphia location in Germantown, which was founded in 1908.
“The summer after my junior year, I came back to work with the family business and that’s when I fell in love with Tague Lumber,” he says. “Working at the Philadelphia location, I loved the fast-paced, gritty, exciting, problem solving nature of the construction business in Philadelphia.”
Since returning back to Philadelphia, Tague has gotten very active with his alma mater, serving as a class rep and a member of the Young Alumni Leadership Council. He also recently helped a Prep graduate with an internship at Tague Lumber, allowing Joe Lilley ’20, who ironically is a student at Boston College, to gain experience in Information Technology and Accounting.
“I think it was a good experience for Joe because he got to learn the guts of how a small business really operates and real-world experience that is tough to learn in business school,” he said. “It’s also a benefit to our employees, many of whom are in their 50s and 60s and know a lot about building materials but maybe not about internet security or something like that. Having a younger person who is learning new things is a good opportunity for us too.”
Tague has nothing but good things to say about the Prep students who have worked at Tague Lumber over the years. “All of the Prep kids who come and work for us get glowing reviews from our people,” he says. “By and large, they are hard working, polite, and curious. A blue-collar job in a lumber yard can be tough but they work hard.”
Tague says that he and his friends may value the Prep now more than when they were students. “One of the things that sticks out to me is the value of a Catholic, Jesuit education,” he says. “It is super important to me and it certainly wasn’t in the front of my mind when I was an 8th grader or a junior or senior in HS. There is something to be said for the school’s mission and trying to preserve that place and make sure it exists for the future. You can’t be lackadaisical. It is important that I support the Prep because I would hate to see it go by the wayside.”