Freshmen Experience Welcome Week Traditions


Margie Edwards

Freshmen Avery LeClair, Savannah Stumpf, and senior STUCO representative Lucie McMillen display their freshmen hats during Community Time.

Bella Elpers, Sports Editor

During the second week of school in August, St. Joseph’s Academy students celebrated Welcome Week, a tradition meant to welcome the freshmen students into the sisterhood of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet. 

This year, Welcome Week started with a kickoff assembly led by the Student Council Executive Team. Student council co-presidents Natalie Mcatee and Erin Voigt led the student body through a presentation announcing the special events and dress-out themes throughout the week. They then had the privilege of revealing what everyone had been waiting for– the 2022 freshman hats. As music blasted through the speakers, student council representatives from each grade level sprinted out from backstage carrying arms full of the freshman hats, which were metallic pink visors. Student council representatives ran up and down the aisles of the theater distributing the hats to each of the 170 new freshmen. 

St. Joseph’s Academy art teacher and alum Mrs. Amy Madej ‘99 recalled her own Welcome Week as a freshman.

“Welcome Week was really fun and exciting. Each grade level of Stuco class officers came out and did a funny skit and made it really fun and lighthearted. Then they brought out the hats sort of in the same tradition that we do here now,” Mrs. Madej said.

On Tuesday, students were invited to dress up as different generations and enjoyed a sweet ice cream treat at lunch sponsored by the student council. Wednesday, students wore costumes representing each decade from the 1970s to the 2000s. On Thursday, St. Joseph’s Academy was joined by Fr. Oscar Vasquez for a Welcome Week mass. It was also “Anything but a Backpack Day.” Students were seen walking down the halls carrying their books in a variety of household items such as laundry baskets, suitcases, and coolers. 

Friday was St. Joe Day– an early dismissal day filled with fun. Students started the day in their LACE. groups where they were treated to donuts by Campus Ministry. The student body then gathered together in the gym for a Fall Sports pep rally. Each team, led by their senior captains, sprinted through the doors of the gym. Each athlete’s name was announced to the cheering crowd. The seniors then paraded around the gym displaying their colorful handmade “senior capes.”  A long-standing tradition at St. Joseph’s Academy, during Welcome Week seniors are invited to design and create a unique cape that they wear on St. Joe Day and other events throughout the year. 

After the seniors’ brief fashion show, it was time for the ‘Rock the Bob’ ceremony, yet another tradition at St. Joseph’s Academy. Every other year the school partners with Children With Hair Loss, a nonprofit organization that aids children and teens suffering from hair loss due to medical reasons. Together, 32 Angels donated more than 260 inches of hair.

Sophomore students (left to right) smile before beginning St. Joe Day. Sophomores Jacqueline Jun, Bella Elpers, Elizabeth Kirsch, Carolyn Mueller, Addison Bub, Lydia Wiley, and Lilly Kilcullen. (Katie Kilcullen)

Students were then sent to stations around the school for a field day.. Some popular stations included tug-of-war, a bounce obstacle course, and the egg toss. The field day also featured a fire truck where students received plastic fire hats and enjoyed cooling off in water from the fire hose. 

Sophomore Jacqueline Jun said enjoyed the different events. 

“My favorite part of St. Joe Day was either the firetruck or the bounce obstacle course where I got to race against my friends,” Jacqueline said.

St. Joe Day ended with the seniors participating in a pie eating contest. Names were drawn out of a hat to decide the participants and then the competition began. In the outdoor theater, students cheered the seniors on as they raced to be the first to finish their pie of chocolate pudding and whipped cream. 

After participating in Welcome Week, the freshmen are beginning to adjust to their new environment. Welcome Week activities encouraged freshmen students to form connections that will remain throughout their next four years and above all, helped show them what it means to be a St. Joseph’s Academy Angel.