Early-morning yoga. Spirited spikeball matches. A nail-biting basketball game between the school’s biggest rivals. After months of planning and preparation, StuCo has shown up and shown out with another exciting Mission Week energized by a charitable mindset.
“Mission week is all about a mission,” said Student Body Vice President Chandler Flowers. “And that mission is to help raise money for a charity or foundation organization. This year we decided to go with kids experiencing homelessness because I feel like that’s something we can relate to us. They’re around the same age group as us, and people really liked the idea of Covenant House. As students at SLUH, the majority of the kids that go here don’t really know what it's like to struggle but they would love to help give back to people who do struggle.”
Covenant House is an organization that primarily focuses on alleviating the struggles of youths who experience homelessness.
“I was a big advocate for Covenant House because I think it’s a great organization that brings Catholic faith, like walking with the excluded, and really targets our community,” said International Student Representative Chandler Brozovich. “This is a generation of people who are experiencing situations that some of us will never go through. We never hear stories of people going through those things. And I think it's important that we shed light on that and I think Covenant House just does a great job at helping those on the margin.”
The week has been dedicated to raising money through a variety of paid activities, starting at a basic level with paid dress down days and getting more elaborate with events like the Billy Bash held at the end of the week. Even with all of these activities, StuCo stresses the importance of mission.
“I think that sometimes the cause of Mission Week can get lost, even here,” said StuCo moderator Stephen Deves. “I think we’ve done a good job this year of really drawing it back to Covenant House. It’s not just giving money to a country across the world, but it’s people in our city, like you and I, that are struggling, and I think it helps a little bit.”
Monday kicked off the week early in the morning as StuCo and Blue Crew members brought some energy to the drop-off line. They gathered for the beginning of Mission Week in energetic fashion as every tired and groggy Jr. Bill was brought to life with the screams of rowdy StuCo members.
“With the Turnaround Turn Up, we wanted to get everyone excited and hyped up so that they would be more willing to donate and to be more charitable because it was our main focus this whole week, despite all the other fun we’ve had,” said Pastoral leader Anthony Fahim.
Mission Week’s first activity period began with an athletic boom as eager students flocked to the Field House to participate in and watch the final games of the Spikeball tournament, continuing from the previous week. Student Body President Patrick Mehan and fellow senior Drew Munsell took home the championship trophy with an intense final match.
Mehan was proud of his victory and saw many dimensions to his big win.
“I think something that’s so beautiful about the sport is it brings people together especially for me and my partner, Drew. We were competitive and respectful; it brings out a good side and a side of being a man for others. Spikeball was huge for us,” said Mehan.
Munsell, on the other hand, was only concerned with the result.
“There was never any doubt,” said Munsell.
On Tuesday, Randy Ribay, author of Patron Saints of Nothing, came to SLUH to give students a talk and open Q&A session. Patron Saints of Nothing was SLUH’s all school summer reading book for the 2022-2023 academic year. Ribay’s talk took place in the Si Commons and focused on love, and what it meant to love in a modern world corrupted by problems, especially the war on drugs in the Philippines. Students engaged in discussion with Ribay about all perspectives of his life, such as his origins in writing as well as his feelings and experiences with the war on drugs.
Students kicked off their Studium following Ribay’s talk with Ted Drewes ice cream along with other treats from the much-anticipated Switchbar.
“I think the Switchbar did a really good job of getting people excited, and every time I was there during the day a lot of people were there and everyone was excited,” said Mehan. “We were all playing music, and I feel like the Switchbar being there all day long helped people get in the mood.”
Wednesday presented perhaps the most anticipated event of the week: the annual Prep News vs. StuCo basketball game. Held in the Field House and open to the student body for spectating, the game pitted two of the most prominent student organizations against each other in friendly competition. In defense of the figurative trophy they claimed last year, the Prep News triumphantly conquered StuCo 34-22.
That evening following the excitement of the day, StuCo hosted a Sleep Out in solidarity with those served by Covenant House.
“I guess the cool thing that the StuCo guys were really excited about was this Sleep Out,” said Deves. “And the idea of it being a little bit of solidarity, of recognizing what it’s like to not necessarily have a warm bed to sleep in, etc. And so it's a cool way of being able to connect with the cause more than just raising money.”
“It definitely made me more appreciative of what I have,” said freshman Simon Apprill-Sokol, who attended the Sleep Out. “It also made me think about how at least we weren’t sleeping right next to a highway, or how we had the knowledge that this was only one night and we could go inside if we really needed to. Not everyone has those luxuries.”
Thursday morning began bright and early, despite the late start, with many students waking up at the school itself due to the Sleep Out, while others ventured to school earlier than usual to get in a morning session of yoga along with a hearty breakfast of Chris’s Cakes.
Yoga, instructed by Foreign Language Department Chair Kate Toussaint and Phys. Ed. teacher Patrick Zarrick, took place at 8:30 in the Danis Field House. It was a chance for students to take advantage of the late start and relieve some of their stress.
“Mission Week has been one of the most stressful weeks in my life and I’m sure other people’s lives,” said Mehan. “So finding the time to do this, and making myself do it, was really nice. Mrs. Toussaint and Mr. Zarrick do a really good job of making sure you’re getting something out of it.”
Following first period yesterday, juniors Billy Albus and Tim Browdy participated in the head-shaving fundraiser. In return for the school community hitting a certain dollar amount in fundraising, the pair of juniors committed to shaving their heads. Albus removed the entirety of his hair, while Browdy decided to sport a mullet, as his mother forbade him from shaving his entire head.
Today during Activity Period, StuCo will put on the Billy Bash, in which faculty and staff members alike bring their talent and entertainment to the student body in order to raise money.
“The idea is basically that faculty donate a talent or their time in some way to let students interact with them and have fun with them,” said Deves.
Among the many activities will be Chinese teacher Yude Huang playing eager students in table tennis and English teacher Jamie Cordia playing Mario Bros.
“(The Billy Bash) takes working with faculty and trying to find faculty who are willing to participate. It takes trying to get it all together in one Activity Period, which is going to be intense as well,” said Deves. “But if all goes well, it will be a real blast because any chance that (StuCo) can get students and faculty interacting in a fun, spirited way is a win for the school.”
The winners of the student raffle will also be announced today, revealing the lucky students who will have the opportunity to win off-campus events with faculty members ranging from a barbecue dinner at the Jesuit Residence, to a Blues game with theology teacher DickWehner, or to a Top Golf outing with English teacher Jamie Cordia and science teacher Chris Stahl.
“I’m just saying, there’s an obvious one that is the best, and it’s Top Golf,” said Cordia, purely objectively.
In the midst of all these fun activities, however, StuCo continues to emphasize the importance of keeping the mission in mind.
“At the end of the day, everything that we’ve done so far, and everything we will be doing is all for God's greater glory,” said Fahim. “We’re trying to get everybody included together, while at the same time raising money for a different group of people who weren’t as lucky to be in our positions. And I think a lot of people fail to notice that sometimes Mission Week isn’t just a fun week. It’s also a week where we need to be reflecting on our own things and be grateful and happy that we have this stuff. And because of that gratitude, we need to be charitable. That is a key part of Mission Week.”
Prep News – the weekly student-run newspaper of St. Louis U. High
Copyright ©2020 of St. Louis U. High's Prep News
No material may be reprinted without the permission of the editors and the moderator.