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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!


As a postscript to our recent items about the last night of the California Summer Program and this morning’s farewells, we present the California Summer Program Video, which had students laughing and crying at last night’s gala:

The California program has come to an end, but the good times are not over! The New England program begins tomorrow morning — keep following thomasaquinas.edu/summerblog for photos and updates!


Three students

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

An amazing last day of the program was capped off with a spectacular last night at Friday’s Farewell Banquet. To start the evening, the gentlemen picked up the ladies at St. Monica’s Hall, then escorted them to dinner in St. Joseph Commons:

  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
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    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner
  • HSSP19 -- Banquet
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet dinner

Then students prayed their final Rosary together in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel:

Students praying the Rosary

The the group next made its way over to St. Cecilia Hall for the entertainment portion of the evening, which consisted of various skits and musical performances:

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

Finally the students gathered in the plaza of St. Gladys Hall, where they danced until nearly midnight:

  • HSSP19 -- Dance
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
  • HSSP19 -- Dance
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
  • HSSP19 -- Dance
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
  • HSSP19 -- Dance
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
  • HSSP19 -- Dance
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
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    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
  • HSSP19 -- Dance
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
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    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
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    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
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    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
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    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
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    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
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    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
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    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
  • HSSP19 -- Dance
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
  • HSSP19 -- Dance
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
  • HSSP19 -- Dance
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet Dance
  • HSSP19 -- Dance
    Slideshow: Farewell Banquet 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 4:00 a.m., and the last scheduled to depart just after noon.

From the pre-Socratics to Euclid, from Sophocles to O’Connor; from playing volleyball to diving on the slip-n-slide; praying at the Stations, at Mass, and in Adoration; going to the Getty, the beach, Santa Barbara, and the Hollywood Bowl — 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 this group. 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 depatures before too long, so be sure to check the blog again later!


July 27,
2019

Goodbyes

Never mind that they stayed up late for last night’s dance, most of the High School Summer Program students were up early this morning to bid their friends a fond farewell. The vans and buses began leaving the campus as early as 4:00 a.m. With tears, hugs, and promises to meet again, the students said goodbye.

https://thomasaquinas.edu/summerblog/last-night-santa-paula-2019

Goodbyes

Goodbyes

Goodbyes

And some girls left this sweet message behind in their residence hall:

Goodbyes

The feeling is mutual! The Admissions Staff looks forward to welcoming many of these students back to campus in the coming months. May God bless you!


students

With the completion of today’s classes (and the surprise visit of Sir Anthony Hopkins), we have just about reached the end of the 2019 High School Summer Program!

This morning students met for their last class on Euclid, where — having grown confident over the last few days — they handily demonstrated Book I, Propositions 1629, and 32 for their classmates.  After Mass and lunch, they went to their last class, during which they discussed Flannery O’Connor’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge.” When they arrived, 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.

  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts
  • HSSP19 -- t-shirts
    Slideshow: Students get their T-Shirts

Then, after class, they received one more gift — a Thomas Aquinas College t-shirt, presented by prefects just outside St. Joseph Commons. Students began saying some preliminary farewells — and, according to one prefect, some tears were shed.

But there’s no need to get too weepy just yet! There’s still a banquet and dance to enjoy tonight. Check in Saturday for photos from the gala and the morning departures.


Chapel and academic quadrangle

We have reached the point in the High School Summer Program when people begin to speak of the “lasts.” On Thursday night we had the last study hall and the last coffee shop; today we have the last class, the last lunch, the last nighttime consecration.

Yet no one is getting too wistful just yet. At the conclusion of Thursday afternoon’s classes, a group of some 50 ladies ventured into Santa Paula, where they scoured the thrift stores for clothes to wear to Friday night’s soiree, then paid a visit to a local coffee shop. “There was lots of chatter and laughter, good finds, and good deals,” a prefect reports. They got back to campus jusrt in time for the last dance class:

  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class
  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class
  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class
  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class
  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class
  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class
  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class
  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class
  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class
  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class
  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class
  • HSSP19 -- 3rd Dance Class
    Slideshow: Final Dance Class

Students then took to the athletic fields for a fierce soccer tournament versus the prefects. The prefects jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead, but in the second half, the tide began to turn. Without any substitutes, the prefects began to grow tired, and the students, it turns out, were saving their best for last: Diego from Argentina made a late entry into the game, and the prefects could not contain him. Powered by their secret weapon, the students forced a sudden-death overtime, which Peter from Kansas brought to a dramatic conclusion with the game-winning goal. Final score: Students: 4, Prefects: 3 — a sweet bit of revenge after Monday night’s basketball games!

  • HSSP19 -- Soccer Tournament
    Slideshow: Soccer Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Soccer Tournament
    Slideshow: Soccer Tournament
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    Slideshow: Soccer Tournament
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    Slideshow: Soccer Tournament
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    Slideshow: Soccer Tournament
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    Slideshow: Soccer Tournament
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    Slideshow: Soccer Tournament
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    Slideshow: Soccer Tournament
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    Slideshow: Soccer Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Soccer Tournament
    Slideshow: Soccer Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Soccer Tournament
    Slideshow: Soccer Tournament

Then it was time for a meatloaf and mashed-potatoes dinner, followed by study hall. For the first half, students read Flannery O’Connor’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge” in preparation for this afternoon’s class. Then they went to classrooms to practice their last Euclidean propositions — Book I, numbers 162932.

After the evening Rosary came iced-coffee drinks in the last campus coffee shop …

  • HSSP19 -- Last Coffee Shop
    Slideshow: Final Coffee Day
  • HSSP19 -- Last Coffee Shop
    Slideshow: Final Coffee Day
  • HSSP19 -- Last Coffee Shop
    Slideshow: Final Coffee Day
  • HSSP19 -- Last Coffee Shop
    Slideshow: Final Coffee Day
  • HSSP19 -- Last Coffee Shop
    Slideshow: Final Coffee Day
  • HSSP19 -- Last Coffee Shop
    Slideshow: Final Coffee Day
  • HSSP19 -- Last Coffee Shop
    Slideshow: Final Coffee Day
  • HSSP19 -- Last Coffee Shop
    Slideshow: Final Coffee Day
  • HSSP19 -- Last Coffee Shop
    Slideshow: Final Coffee Day

… and at 10:30 p.m., students returned to their residence halls for curfew — but the night was not over just yet. Back in St. Monica’s Hall, the ladies were just settling down when they heard a clamor outside. Looking  out their windows, they saw the men of Saints Peter and Paul, walking two by two and dressed in their Sunday best. The gentlemen  proceeded to serenade the ladies by singing “Red is the Rose,” “L-O-V-E,”and “Good Night Ladies.”

The Wooing

The men also presented the women with candy and carnations — which many wore in their hair this morning! — before returning to Saints Peter and Paul.

Happy women after the wooing

We now enter the last day of the program, with classes on Euclid and O’Connor, and still look forward to one last lunch, recreation period, and Rosary — as well as the farewell banquet and dance tonight. The Admissions crew is already busily sorting students’ certificates and parting gifts:

Prefects prepare farewell gifts

How could two weeks go by so fast?

 

July 26,
2019

Sir Anthony Hopkins with College officials and Summer Program prefects in St. Cecilia Hall Sir Anthony Hopkins with College officials and Summer Program prefects in St. Cecilia Hall | Photo: @Juanmiguel_co

While the California Summer Program students were in their class this morning, Sir Anthony Hopkins paid his second impromptu visit to campus. As in 2012 he was driving along California Highway 150 when the dome and bell tower of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel caught his eye. So he decided to stop by once again. College officials showed him the campus’ newest building, St. Cecilia Hall, and he played a few pieces, among them his own compositions, on two of its pianos:

Some students caught a glimpse of the legendary actor after class got out, and his presence created quite a stir!


Volleyball

All of the regular afternoon activities — volleyball, basketball, tennis, and more — took place during Wednesday’s recreation period, plus the addition of a Summer Program favorite: watermelon water polo, in which teams of women, and then men, attempt to bring a greased watermelon across the pond and to the opposing team’s goal.

  • HSSP19 -- Watermelon Water Polo
    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
  • HSSP19 -- Watermelon Water Polo
    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
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    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
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    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
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    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
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    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
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    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
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    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
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    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
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    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
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    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
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    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
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    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
  • HSSP19 -- Watermelon Water Polo
    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
  • HSSP19 -- Watermelon Water Polo
    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
  • HSSP19 -- Watermelon Water Polo
    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo
  • HSSP19 -- Watermelon Water Polo
    Slideshow: Watermelon Water Polo

“Both games were intense,” one prefect reports, “and Seamus O’Brien was an animal.” The boys, in particular, worked themselves into a competitive frenzy. At first they smeared the Crisco that’s used to grease the watermelon on to their bodies, ostensibly to make themselves more slippery in the pond. Then, for good measure, they put the vegetable oil-based shortening into their hair, too — for reasons undetermined. But they looked fierce and had a great time!

This exhausting and hilarious activity was followed by a hearty enchilada dinner, then a study period in the library and classrooms. Students once more practiced their Euclidean propositions with the help of the prefects, and they also prepared for today’s last class on Boethius.

Student in study hall

Study hall was abbreviated, however, so as to make time for a special treat: a musical oratory in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, courtesy of the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School, which visited the campus as part of its tour of the Western United States. The oratory consisted of meditations and hymns about Our Lady, the Blessed Sacrament, and penitence and redemption, as well as a sung compline. The Chapel was near full capacity, with many local friends and alumni of the College joining the Summer Program students for this blessed experience. “The music was so beautiful, it gave me goosebumps,” one student declared, echoing a sentiment shared by all present.

Schola in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel

An evening coffee shop followed, and a good number of students took the opportunity to practice their dance moves in preparation for Friday’s farewell gala. Rosary took place after curfew in the residence halls, with a few students staying up late to practice their Euclidean propositions.

It’s hard to believe, but the program is nearing the end!


Students pose before departing for hike

Although Tuesday’s recreation period began with the quad run, it certainly didn’t end there! As soon as the races concluded, a group of about 40 students hiked up to the Punch Bowls, a collection of spring-fed, natural pools about two miles above the campus. Others made their way to the athletic field for a friendly game of softball and a mid-day snack of cotton candy, spun by prefect Maggie Dillon:

  • HSSP19 -- softball
    Slideshow: Softball Game
  • HSSP19 -- softball
    Slideshow: Softball Game
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    Slideshow: Softball Game
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    Slideshow: Softball Game
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    Slideshow: Softball Game
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    Slideshow: Softball Game
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    Slideshow: Softball Game
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    Slideshow: Softball Game
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    Slideshow: Softball Game
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    Slideshow: Softball Game
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    Slideshow: Softball Game
  • HSSP19 -- softball
    Slideshow: Softball Game
  • HSSP19 -- softball
    Slideshow: Softball Game

Meanwhile, others still took a dip in the campus ponds:

  • HSSP19 -- ponds
    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds
  • HSSP19 -- ponds
    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds
  • HSSP19 -- ponds
    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds
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    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds
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    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds
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    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds
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    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds
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    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds
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    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds
  • HSSP19 -- ponds
    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds
  • HSSP19 -- ponds
    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds
  • HSSP19 -- ponds
    Slideshow: Swimming in the Ponds

After a dinner of chicken and pasta with broccoli and cauliflower, students met up with in various classroom for study hall, where prefects helped them practice demonstrating Euclidean propositions. Then there was the nightly Rosary in the Chapel and a presentation in St. Cecilia Hall about the New England campus, followed by the highlight of the evening: Theology on Float.

Fr. Sebastian speaks to the students

Meeting in the St. Gladys Plaza, overlooking the campus athletic fields, Summer Program Chaplain Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem., answered previously submitted questions about a wide range of topics. There were more than 100 questions in all, covering a wide range of categories such as Scripture, the liturgy, morality, and theology. Questions ranged from the role of Mary, to intercessory prayer, to vocations. A regular guest on the Catholic Answers Live radio show, Fr. Sebastian was in his element. When discussing popular challenges to the Church’s teaching on marriage and sexual morality, for example, he offered the pithy and memorable response: “Your eyes are for seeing, your ears are for hearing, and — surprise, surprise! — your reproductive organs are for reproduction!”

The conversation continued long past curfew, with the boys asking Father more questions in their residence hall’s courtyard. Meanwhile, in the girls’ residence hall, there was a fierce, student-requested game of dodgeball! (Alas, no pictures were taken.)

Fr. Sebastian speaks with students in the men's residence hall courtyard


Students at study hall

Following Monday’s classes most students spent the afternoon recreation period on the College basketball courts, preparing for that night’s basketball tournament:

Then came dinner, followed by an informational Admissions meeting in St. Cecilia Hall, where Director Jon Daly took questions from students about Thomas Aquinas College and its application process. There was particular interest in the College’s soon-to-be-opened New England campus — which still has a few spots open in its High School Summer Program, starting next week. So if you are a rising high school senior reading this post, wishing you had come to the Summer Program, it’s not too late!

Next up was a special 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.”

Student demonstrates a Euclidean proposition

When Dan was finished with the presentation, students headed off for various classrooms around campus, where prefects gave them more personalized preparation on the chalkboards. One student was overheard asking his peers, “Are we doing this to learn logical argumentation or something?” — prompting some knowing smiles from the prefects.

The final event of the evening was a set of basketball games pitting the prefects against the students. Both the women’s and the men’s games were energetic, hard-fought nail-biters. In the women’s game — hardly the stomping that some had feared — the prefects took the lead early and held on to it for most of the game, until the students grabbed the lead late with a late 10-0 run. But the prefects regained their composure and eked out a narrow win in the end.

  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament
  • HSSP19 -- Basketball Tournament
    Slideshow: Basketball Tournament

The men’s game also had its shares of runs and lead changes. After jumping to an 8-0 lead to start the game, the students saw the prefects regain control and take the lead by halftime. The last few minutes of the game — during which the students wowed spectators with their three-point shooting — was a constant back-and-forth struggle. With less than 10 seconds to go, Thomas C. of Minnesota took the ball coast-to-coast for what looked like the game-winning layup, putting the students ahead by 1 point with just 4 seconds to go. But against all odds, the prefects inbounded the ball to half-court, whereupon George Stypa dished it off to Fr. Sebastian, standing just inside the three-point arc, and the Padre nailed an off-balance, fade-away, buzzer-beating jumper — with a defender in his face — for the win.

Although disappointed, the students took the loss quite graciously, congratulating Father for his heroics. They then returned to the residence halls where, after consecration, many were seen practicing their props well into the night — and early this morning, too!

Students in the men's residence hall