Christmas at St. Joe

2019 juniors showing their appreciation on Giving Tuesday

St. Joseph’s Academy is starting off the chilly month of December with holiday cheer and spirited attitudes. The Christmas season is a busy time for students as they finish the semester strong and rely on one another to stay balanced. To keep Angel attitudes high, several student organizations have stepped up to offer holiday-spirited activities in the midst of hectic projects and finals. Bundled up in their winter coats, the girls are embracing their academic endeavors and school involvement.

Remembering the motto “Not I, But We,” St. Joe has joined with the annual global movement to celebrate the gift of giving during the holidays. On Giving Tuesday, parents and alumnae showed their appreciation for the school by donating to the Annual Giving Campaign. In showing support for the school, students can partake in an academically-challenging environment with lots of new installations and perks. On December 4th, parents and alumnae were also encouraged to gather together for “Parents in Prayer.” Through a virtual rosary, they prayed for the intentions of our school community, especially for people who are struggling with uncertain outcomes of the pandemic.

Singing with angelic voices, SJA’s choir presents their Christmas With the Angels Student Concert every winter. The event features performances by the hard-working Freshman Chorus, Advanced Chorus, and the Frontenac Voices. To increase the entertainment factor, the angels team up with professional orchestra instrumentalists in an assortment of Christmas selections. This year, however, the lively melodies will be sung via video to the audience. To embrace community, chorus alumnae are invited to join them on stage in a musical rendition. Prior to the concert, it is tradition for St. Joe students to showcase their artistic talents in the Virtual Art show. This year, the exhibit will be held online due to COVID-19 concerns.

Members of the senior class who signed up for Kairos #53 experienced the religious retreat program from December 8th to the 10th. At the Pallottine Renewal Center, the girls bonded as both a class and a Christian community through speeches, discussions, and exercises. Since prayer and the gift of sacraments are an integral part of the retreat, St. Joe students are able to go into the Christmas season with a Christian mentality and remember what the holiday is really about. When they get back, a virtual pep rally will be held on December 11th to increase motivation in students before their final exams.
Ms. Meersman, who is both a math teacher and the Spirit Club coordinator, gave an insight to what we can expect this holiday season.

“Spirit Club hosted two dress down days to advocate for Giving Tuesday and to make sure everyone was in the spirit of giving,” said Ms. Meersman. “We will also be playing Christmas music in the hallway between classes to keep everyone upbeat.”

On top of all these jolly events, Campus Ministry is hosting a holiday scavenger hunt throughout the school, similar to Finding Francis. The girls are encouraged to look for hidden candle flames on their way to classes, which may result in prizes. As students walk down the first floor hallway, they can’t miss the paper Advent wreath mural plastered outside of Campus Ministry. Students can share Glimpses of God (GOG) they’ve encountered over December by writing them down on a colorful leaf and taping the insight on the wall.

Don’t be a scrooge and make sure to attend St. Joe’s winter play. On December 14th, the girls will perform an adaptation of the well-known winter favorite, “A Christmas Carol.” Students have worked extensively to make this play a reality as they participate through acting, set design, and graphic design.

Taylor Polcyn is a senior at St. Joe who will be playing the roles of Belle and Mrs. Cratchit in the winter play. Sophie Gloriod has adapted the character of Scrooge as the lead. The two have bonded through theatre, and Taylor emphasizes how much of an inspiration Sophie is to her.

“I’m having so much fun with the girls so far,” said Taylor. “They are each so talented – especially Sophie Gloriod who puts her all into everything she does. I can’t wait for y’all to see the show!”

Ms. Janine Albes, Director of Theatre Productions, includes an insight into how the winter play is going.

“The overall message of the story ‘A Christmas Carol’ is that humans have the opportunity and the obligation to behave in kindness towards one another,” Ms. Albes said.

The countdown to December 22, the start of Christmas Break, is marked on almost every student’s calendar as they efficiently count down the days. St. Joe aims to give their students a comfortable atmosphere in a rather chaotic time. These student-centered events allow the girls to display their talents in a cheerful way and take everyone’s mind off the stress that comes with assignments. Like elves on Christmas, each student is scrambling to finish every last project and embrace the New Year!