by Cori Hilsgen
Excitement was in the air as students, faculty and staff at St. Joseph Catholic School celebrated Catholic Schools Week Jan. 26-31 with a variety of activities.
Once, again, the theme this year was “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.”
The week included themed days, fun activities, prayer and a service project. Fourth-grade teacher Theresa Fleege coordinated the week’s activities.
The week began with a Sunday Mass at the Church of St. Joseph followed by a book fair and an open house in the music room.
Monday was Wacky Day and gave students and staff a chance to dress in a wacky way.
Tuesday was Pajama Day and students were able to wear pajamas and bring in a stuffed animal that fit in their backpack.
It was also a day to Drop Everything and Pray. At 10:05 a.m., Principal Karl Terhaar announced it was time to Drop Everything and Pray. Teachers decided what this would involve for their students. Some options might have included reading from the Bible or other religious books, drawing pictures on a cross and writing a letter to God.
Wednesday was Workout and Whiteout Day and students were able to wear workout or white clothing, go sledding in the afternoon and enjoy some popcorn and hot chocolate snacks.
Thursday was Hawaiian Cruise Day and students could wear sunglasses, shorts and other warm-weather clothing.
Students were able to eat lunch on their beach towels on the main deck (the lunchroom). The boarding pass for the event was a nonperishable food item or $1. The collection was the school’s service project to collect items for the St. Joseph Community Food Shelf.
A mixed grade morning prayer service was led by the sixth-graders. Each sixth-grader acted as a train engine that went around to pick up their group of pre-K to fifth-grade students. The sixth-graders then gathered their group of students in a circle and instructed an activity of brainstorming how God is present when we learn, serve, lead and succeed.
This information was written down on a heart with a word on it. The hearts are displayed throughout the school. At the end, students put their trains together and dropped off their students by their classroom teachers.
Teachers and sixth-graders competed in a beach volleyball game held in the upper deck (gym) with the pre-K through fifth-graders cheering on the teams. The teachers won the game.
Friday was Spirit Day and students wore their favorite sports team or school colors. The day also included a talent show in the afternoon. Talents that students shared included magic tricks, dancing, gymnastics, playing the piano, singing, jumping rope, karate skills, joke-telling and a video of derby car racing.
The week ended with a dance and more book fair time.
“Catholic Schools Week is always a fun, community-building week,” Fleege said. “This year I enjoyed watching the students in grades kindergarten through six while sledding at the park. It was a nice way to spend a beautiful winter afternoon. I enjoyed watching the sixth-graders take ownership and guide the younger students during the prayer service. And, watching the variety of talent during the talent show was a nice way to end the week.”
Various people commented about the week.
“Along with the rigorous academics at St. Joseph Catholic School, the students still have time to have a lot of fun,” said parent and staff member Sarah Mattson.
“I love the community-building that happens through all the activities,” said parent and staff member Janelle Loehlein.
“My favorite things about this week were the talent show, the Hawaiian-themed day, and the dance,” said fifth-grader Amber Pankratz.
“I had crazy hair on Wacky Day,” said preschooler Arie Geir. “I like(d) the hot cocoa and popcorn on White Out Day. We got to have a short nap on Spirit Day.”
“I liked Hawaiian Cruise Day,” said preschooler Kaydn Davidson. “I got to wear shorts and a T-shirt and eat on my towel. We got to wear our pajamas all day on Pajama Day.”
“My favorite part of Catholic Schools week is Wacky Day,” said sixth-grader Saima Velline. “It is so much fun to see everyone dressed all different and wacky.”
“My favorite part was Hawaiian Cruise Day when we did the train with all of the little kids,” said sixth-grader Grace Nicoll. “I also liked Pajama Day. We get to bring a blanket and stuffed animal.”
“My favorite part of Catholic Schools Week was the sixth-grade vs. teachers volleyball game,” said sixth-grader Aquiliana Wolf. “It was so much fun with all of the kids screaming/chanting.”
“I love the activities especially the dance,” said sixth-grader Cecelia Weldon.
Author: Cori Hilsgen
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people’s stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.