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Summer Program Blog

Summer Program Blog

Jake Schmiedicke (’09), who produced the fabulous recap video for the New England High School Summer Program, has now created its worthy counterpart — the above recap video from the California program. (You may recall Jake also made a quick video during the program, with highlights from the hike and volleyball tournament, which should not be missed!)

A videographer and editor at Ice Pictures Productions, Jake is working on some new promotional videos for Thomas Aquinas College. After watching these great initial works, we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. Thank you, Jake!


Students say goodbye

Never mind that they stayed up late for last night’s banquet and dance, most of the High School Summer Program students woke up early this morning to bid their friends a fond farewell. The vans began leaving the campus as early as 4:30 a.m. Some students departed later, staying for the 9:00 a.m. Mass in the temporary chapel:

Mass

At one point, the goodbyes even took a musical turn:

Eventually, with tears, hugs, and promises to meet again, all said goodbye.

Students say goodbye

Students say goodbye

Before this blog signs off, however, we must make sure to salute the entire Summer Program crew — the prefects, the Admissions team, the faculty, staff, and summer student workers. Congratulations and thank you! What an amazing way to commence the life of this new campus!


Two boys show off their Summer Program certificates

The 2019 New England High School Summer Program has come to an end!

After the last day of classes came the final recreation period — an all-campus game of Capture the Flag. Given the breadth of the campus, there was a lot of running involved!

Capture the Flag

The Summer Program was then capped off with a spectacular Farewell Banquet in Gould Hall. The evening began with some remarks from Admissions Director Jon Daly and Program Director Stephen Shivone, who presented students with their program certificates.

  • HSSP19-NE Banquet
    Slideshow: The Banquet
  • HSSP19-NE Banquet
    Slideshow: The Banquet
  • HSSP19-NE Banquet
    Slideshow: The Banquet
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    Slideshow: The Banquet
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    Slideshow: The Banquet
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    Slideshow: The Banquet
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    Slideshow: The Banquet
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    Slideshow: The Banquet
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    Slideshow: The Banquet
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    Slideshow: The Banquet
  • HSSP19-NE Banquet
    Slideshow: The Banquet

Next came the entertainment portion of the event, which consisted of various musical performances and skits — including a comedic portrayal of the story behind Sunday night’s campus-wide Clue game.

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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
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    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
  • HSSP19-NE Entertainment
    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment
  • HSSP19-NE Entertainment
    Slideshow: Banquet Entertainment

Finally the students danced until nearly midnight:

Students dance

After much hugging and bidding adieu, all turned in to the residence halls and prepared for their journeys back home, with the first van leaving around 4:30 a.m., and the last scheduled to depart just after noon.

From the pre-Socratics to Euclid, from Sophocles to O’Connor; from playing ultimate Frisbee to diving on the slip-n-slide; praying at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy, at Mass, and in Adoration; going to Boston, the Connecticut River, the BBQ at the Gardners, and Tanglewood — it has been a truly blessed two weeks. The prefects have marveled, throughout, at the thoughtfulness, the responsibility, the faith, the spiritedness, and the joy of the “Bosco Boys” and the “Goliath Girls” who have set Thomas Aquinas College, New England, off to such a glorious start.

Thanks be to God!

We hope to see a good many of these students again as members of the Thomas Aquinas College Class of 2024!

We should have some photos from this morning’s departures before too long, so be sure to check the blog again later!


Students give Meg a group hug

With the completion of today’s classes, we have just about reached the end of the 2019 New England High School Summer Program! As you can see from the photo above, the goodbyes began last night. During study hall Maggie Dillon announced throughout the library that her friend and fellow prefect Meg Murphy would soon be leaving. “Come say goodbye!” Students quickly came from all corners. “The first tears were shed,” reports Admissions Director Jon Daly, “even by Sweet Meg.”

There are many more tears still to be shed, but those will likely come tonight and tomorrow. Meanwhile, the students had one more day to complete. This morning’s class was the last on Euclid. Having grown confident over the last few days, the students handily demonstrated Book I, Propositions 1629, and 32 for their classmates.

morning class

Then, in his homily at the midday Mass, Chaplain Rev. Greg Markey spoke of St. Edith Stein, whose feast we celebrate today, as a model of love for the truth. “Fr. Markey’s homily was so powerful,” one student reflects, “a great overview of a beautiful soul.”

Gifst on the classroom table

After lunch, when students arrived at their second and final class, they found — waiting for them by their spots at the table — some gifts from the Summer Program staff: a TAC book bag, pen, and water bottle; photos of their sections and the whole Summer Program student body; and a giftwrapped copy of C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. They then discussed Flannery O’Connor’s Everything That Rises Must Converge, focusing on how well one’s subjective view of the world matches with objective reality. When it does not, how can we be shaken from that view? What does it take to change?

This afternoon students have been busy with more fun on the slip-n-slide, a campus-wide game of Capture the Flag, and preparing for tonight’s farewell gala. Be sure to check in tomorrow for photos from the dance … as well as Saturday morning’s early goodbyes.

Student demonstrates prop on the whiteboard


Students at quad run

Somehow it has happened. Somehow, two weeks that seem to have only just begun are drawing to an end. On Thursday night the 2019 New England High School Summer Program students took part in their last dance class and attended their last study hall. Today they will have their last class, last lunch, and last night (for now) on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College, New England. (Make sure to see the Program recap video if you haven’t already!)

  • HSSP19-NE -- Quad Run
    Slideshow: Quad Run
  • HSSP19-NE -- Quad Run
    Slideshow: Quad Run
  • HSSP19-NE -- Quad Run
    Slideshow: Quad Run
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    Slideshow: Quad Run
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    Slideshow: Quad Run
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    Slideshow: Quad Run
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    Slideshow: Quad Run
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    Slideshow: Quad Run
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    Slideshow: Quad Run
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    Slideshow: Quad Run
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    Slideshow: Quad Run
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    Slideshow: Quad Run
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    Slideshow: Quad Run
  • HSSP19-NE -- Quad Run
    Slideshow: Quad Run
  • HSSP19-NE -- Quad Run
    Slideshow: Quad Run

Yet no one has time to get wistful. The program may be nearing completion, but that doesn’t mean it’s slowing down — the days are just as packed as ever! After Thursday’s classes, prefects gave students the Summer Program t-shirts they are seen wearing in the above photo— after which it was time for the first-ever TAC, New England, Flagpole Race!

A variation on a new but already beloved tradition on the California campus, the Flagpole Race (or Quad Run, as it’s called out West) was inspired by a classic scene from Chariots of Fire, in which Harold Abrahams successfully completes Cambridge University’s Trinity Great Court Run before the King’s Gate Clock strikes 12. On Thursday afternoon, some 24 Summer Program students sprinted, in trios, from Gould Hall to the campus flagpole, 300 meters away.

On the men’s side, the top runner was Martin O., who completed the course in 35.04 seconds, just barely beating Thomas R. (35.22) and John-Henry E. (35.37). On the women’s side, Lucy blew away all competitors, finishing with a time of 42.85 seconds. As participants in the inaugural event, the two winners have set the initial course records. We will have to wait until next year’s program to see how their times hold up!

For the remainder of the recreation period, prefects set up a giant slip-n-slide outside Meany Gymnasium, which provided a fun way for students to beat the heat:

  • HSSP19-NE -- Slip n Slide
    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide
  • HSSP19-NE -- Slip n Slide
    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide
  • HSSP19-NE -- Slip n Slide
    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide
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    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide
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    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide
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    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide
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    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide
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    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide
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    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide
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    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide
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    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide
  • HSSP19-NE -- Slip n Slide
    Slideshow: Slip-n-Slide

Then it was time for dinner, study hall, Rosary, and one last dance review in Gould Hall:

  • HSSP19-NE -- Dance Review
    Slideshow: Dance Review
  • HSSP19-NE -- Dance Review
    Slideshow: Dance Review
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    Slideshow: Dance Review
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    Slideshow: Dance Review
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    Slideshow: Dance Review
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    Slideshow: Dance Review
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    Slideshow: Dance Review
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    Slideshow: Dance Review
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    Slideshow: Dance Review
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    Slideshow: Dance Review
  • HSSP19-NE -- Dance Review
    Slideshow: Dance Review
  • HSSP19-NE -- Dance Review
    Slideshow: Dance Review

Once back in their residence hall, the ladies of Merrill-Keep were getting ready for bed when they heard a clamor outside. When they looked out their windows, they saw the Bosco Boys of Wilson Hall, dressed in their Sunday best and bearing chocolates and flowers. The gentlemen then proceeded to serenade the ladies by singing “Build me up Buttercup,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and “Goodnight Ladies.”

  • HSSP19-NE -- Serenading
    Slideshow: Serenading
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    Slideshow: Serenading
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    Slideshow: Serenading
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    Slideshow: Serenading

We now enter the final day of the program, with classes on Euclid and O’Connor, plus one last lunch, recreation period, and Rosary — as well as the farewell banquet and dance — still to come. 


With the 2019 New England High School Summer Program drawing to an end, this is a good moment to reflect on all that students have done these last two weeks. To that end, please do yourself the favor of watching the above recap video, shot and produced by TAC alumnus Jake Schmiedicke (’09). Mr. Schmiedicke, a videographer and editor at Ice Pictures Productions, is working on some new promotional videos for the College and spent several days shooting on campus . The students recently watched his video, and it was a huge hit!

Meanwhile, our young geometricians are as focused and determined as ever! This morning’s session marked the fourth and penultimate class on Euclid’s Elements, and the students have become quite adept at demonstrating propositions. Today they confidently worked their way through Book I, Propositions 1113, and 15, amazed that something that seemed so foreign and complicated — only days ago — is now so familiar and comprehensible.  

At lunch students were still talking about last night’s Boston Symphony Orchestra concert at Tanglewood. They then went to the afternoon’s class, where they discussed Boethius’ treatment of the difference between chance and Providence, comparing it to Sophocles’ depiction of fate in Oedipus Rex. Alas, today’s class marks the end of the Boethius portion of this year’s program. In tomorrow’s afternoon session — the last class of summer 2019! — students will examine Flannery O’Connor’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge.”

Before then, though, there is still much fun to be had! This afternoon students will participate — for the first time in New England — in Thomas Aquinas College’s newest athletic tradition, the Chariots of Fire–inspired quad run! Come back tomorrow for pictures …


Tanglewood

As mentioned in our most recent post, after class and study period yesterday, the students of the 2019 New England High School Summer Program made an excursion to Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts. On their way, they paid a visit to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, where they prayed a Chaplet and perused the shrine’s extensive gift shop, picking up Rosary bracelets, Miraculous Medals, and other mementos — plus two large crucifixes for the men’s and women’s residence halls.

  • HSSP19-NE -- Shrine
    Slideshow: Shrine of the Divine Mercy
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    Slideshow: Shrine of the Divine Mercy
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    Slideshow: Shrine of the Divine Mercy
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    Slideshow: Shrine of the Divine Mercy
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    Slideshow: Shrine of the Divine Mercy
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    Slideshow: Shrine of the Divine Mercy
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    Slideshow: Shrine of the Divine Mercy
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    Slideshow: Shrine of the Divine Mercy
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    Slideshow: Shrine of the Divine Mercy
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    Slideshow: Shrine of the Divine Mercy
  • HSSP19-NE -- Shrine
    Slideshow: Shrine of the Divine Mercy

From there they made their way to Tanglewood, eating snacks of almond bars and string cheese en route. The highlight of the drive was a brief but massive storm that opened up before them, complete with dark, giant clouds, sheets of rain, and streaks of lightning. By the time the group arrived at Tanglewood, however, the storm had passed and the rain subsided. Prior to the concert, the TAC contingent stopped for dinner — which ranged from hamburgers to curry bowls — at Cindy’s Café, conveniently located on the Tanglewood grounds:

  • HSSP19-NE -- Dinner at Cindys
    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
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    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
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    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
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    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
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    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
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    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
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    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
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    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
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    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
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    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
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    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
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    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's
  • HSSP19-NE -- Dinner at Cindys
    Slideshow: Dinner at Cindy's

After dinner students made the short walk to Tanglewood’s Seiji Ozawa Hall, a 1,200-seat facility marked by its rich wood interior and surrounding balconies. The building, which conductors have ranked as among the top five concert halls in the United States, did not disappoint! Students sat directly above the orchestra and pianist Yefim Bronfman, who performed and all-Beethoven program.

  • HSSP19-NE -- Tanglewood
    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
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    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
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    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
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    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
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    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
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    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
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    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
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    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
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    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
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    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
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    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
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    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood
  • HSSP19-NE -- Tanglewood
    Slideshow: Beethoven at Tanglewood

“The concert hall made you feel like you were in the British Parliament or something, with people all around you at all levels,” says one prefect. “We were looking directly down at the pianist’s hands, which looked like crabs scurrying across the keys. They had a life of their own, and the students loved watching it.” Indeed, when the performance came to an end, the students helped lead a standing ovation, which the full audience quickly joined.

Students prayed the Rosary on the bus ride home, which arrived at campus late, close to midnight. Not surprisingly, they then went straight to bed, hoping to be refreshed and ready for the latest Euclidean propositions at this morning’s class!

The bus ride home from Tanglewood


Now on their third day of Euclid, the Summer Program students are becoming ever more comfortable with the “Father of Geometry.” At this morning’s class, they handily demonstrated the propositions that they studied last night — Nos. 4, 9, and 10 of Book I — bisecting angles and straight lines like seasoned pros. “The students questioned whether No. 4 can really count as a ‘proof,’ since it seems so self-evident,” one prefect reports. “They really seem to be enjoying Euclid!”

There was no afternoon class today, because after Mass and lunch (burgers), students loaded into the coach bus for the Berkshire Hills, home of Tanglewood, where the Boston Symphony Orchestra has held its summer concerts since 1937. There they will take in tonight’s all-Beethoven program featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman.

As of this writing, they are still on their way there — but en route the group stopped at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Please keep them in your prayers!

Shrine of the Divine Mercy


Students demonstrate propisitions

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s classes, students met up in Gould Hall, where prefect Dan Selmeczy led the third dance class in preparation for Friday’s farewell gala. As soon as the session ended, the group headed to the athletic field for a prefects vs. students soccer match. The prefects won 5-2 in a fun yet hard-fought battle.

For dinner the students were treated to pork and potatoes, after which they made their way to Dolben Library, where Admissions Director Jon Daly gave a presentation on how (and why!) students can apply to Thomas Aquinas College. At the ensuing study hall, students prepared for their next class on Boethius before, once again, venturing off to the classrooms to practice their Euclidean propositions with the prefects.

After Rosary in the temporary chapel came the highlight of the evening, “Theology on Float.” Prefects served root-beer floats to hungry students, who sat back and listened as Fr. Markey answered their anonymous, previously submitted questions about the Faith and the Church. Topics included the Blessed Sacrament, the role of women in the Mass, how to witness to friends who may be trapped in sin, achieving holiness, and the problem of suffering. The discussions on these and other subjects extended past curfew in the residence halls, all the way up until nightly consecration and lights out.

Due to technical difficulties, we don’t have photos to share from most of yesterday’s events, although we will try to post some later. In the meantime, though, enjoy these images of students practicing their propositions, taken at the last two nights’ study halls:

Students practice Euclidean propositions

Students practice Euclidean propositions

Students practice Euclidean propositions


Boys basketball

Lest parents have any worries about whether their children are eating well on the 2019 New England High School Summer  Program, none other than chaplain Rev. Greg Markey has stepped forward to vouch for the quality of the cuisine. “The ribs came right off the bone,” he says of Monday night’s entrée, which was accompanied by sides of potatoes and veggies. No doubt, the students needed a hearty meal after the afternoon’s jam-packed recreation period — to say nothing of the impending basketball tournament.

But first came study hall, beginning with a presentation from prefect Dan Selmeczy. Dan offered advice on how to demonstrate Euclidean propositions, which students would do at Tuesday morning’s class — a prospect that had some feeling somewhat intimidated. “Ask yourself, ‘What is the purpose of this part of the proposition?’” Dan advised. “That’s a good question to drive your understanding” — and understanding, he stressed, should be the goal, not memorization. When Dan was finished, students headed off for various classrooms around campus, where prefects gave them more personalized preparation on the chalkboards.

Only then came the Prefects vs. Students basketball tournament, which began with the women’s game. The prefects jumped out to an early lead, but the students — who called themselves the Goliath Girls — made things close for a while before ultimately getting bested by their seniors:

  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Girls Basketball
    Slideshow: Women's basketball game

The men’s game, alas, was not as competitive. The red-shirted prefects simply overwhelmed “Bosco’s Boiz,” named for the patron whom the high school men have recommended for their residential hall. Of course, the prefects had an unfair advantage,  with two powerful ringers — Fr. Markey and Admissions Director Jon Daly — on their squad.

  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game
  • HSSP-NE19 -- Boys Basketball
    Slideshow: Men's basketball game

Both games featured two celebrity referees: Assistant Dean Tom Kaiser and a fellow member of the New England teaching faculty, Dr. Stephen Shivone. And players and spectators alike were wowed by the halftime dance performance, choreographed by prefects Maggie Dillon and Meg Murphy.

The night ended back in the residence halls, with Rosary and consecration. Come later today for a report for how the students fared with their first Euclidean demonstrations at the blackboards!