At the start of every second week of school at St. Paul’s begins a unique experience for the seniors of the school known commonly as Senior Week. The week stretches from the first principal’s assembly on Tuesday morning all the way to Senior Ring Ceremony on Thursday night. The week is designed to bring the class closer together as well as provide lasting memories for the Class of 2017.
On Tuesday morning, Aug. 14, the entire student body filed into the newly constructed gym for the first principal’s assembly of the year. The assembly serves a unique purpose of recognizing student achievement in all areas of involvement from extracurricular activities to sports to out-of-school work in the community. The assembly begins when a junior student is called to light a candle in the center of the cavernous gym. The candle reminds the students, faculty, and staff that God is present in our lives in a very real way. After the lighting, the assembly continues on to acclaim the students of the school.
Later that very same day, the seniors gathered on campus to participate in a Senior Barbeque hosted by the Mothers Club. The event featured games and sports and, of course, fantastic food. As the Class of 2017 shared a meal and then competed in a variety of games, the sense of unity and brotherhood that is always shared at St. Paul’s was strengthened even more.
On Thursday, Senior Week came to its climax with four events packed into one all-day senior event. To start off the morning, the seniors marched through the metal arch that greets visitors as they drive up the curving founders drive. The march simulates the founding of the school by the Benedictine Fathers and Christian Brothers. Just as they once walked up the path to their newly founded school, so must the new senior class.
After the March Through the Arch, the class was treated to a breakfast along with their parents. After the conclusion of the meal, the seniors took a small break before filing into the theater for Senior Unity Day. The format of Unity Day is a simple yet powerful tradition that has been a fixture of the school for more than 37 years. The event is all student-lead, with students giving speeches and sharing their experiences at St. Paul’s with their fellow brothers. As each student stepped up to speak, they were immediately met with cheers and applause from their fellow brothers.
To close the day, the seniors and their parents gathered in the Briggs Assembly Center for the Senior Ring Ceremony. The evening event followed a Catholic Liturgy of the Word format with its many readings and traditional school songs. As the senior class received their rings, a sense of harmony and solidarity fell upon the seated 170 students. Though the week had come to a close, the bonds formed during it were still alive and well.