Our Crusader community has always used Homecoming Weekend as a time to have fun and celebrate. This year was no different.
Students danced the night away and made new memories at an all-school dance. They rallied together as a class during the spirit assembly. They took time out to reflect on the weekend, the school community and themselves at the Homecoming Liturgy. They closed out the weekend with pride as the varsity football team took home a win over Woodland Regional High School.
However, one thing emerged as the centerpiece of the weekend.
“We recently re-conceived what Homecoming was,” said Tommy Pompei, Principal. “We get to have fun, but we also want to give back as an expression of our gratitude.”
Thus, the Day of Service was born. It takes place in the middle of the weekend celebration. Students, faculty and staff work side by side in service projects both on and off campus.
Students took the lead in deciding which offsite organizations they wanted to work with. This year, Crusaders volunteered off-site at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Catholic Academy of Waterbury, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (OLMC), Town Plot Park, Chase Park House and Holy Land.
“The Day of Service brings to life the original intent of the Brothers of Holy Cross when they opened this school in 1968,” said Dr. Thomas C. Pellegrino, President. “The idea was that Holy Cross High School would be a neighborhood school and a part of the Greater Waterbury community. This day manifests that.”
Megan Dwyer ’05, Director of Student Life, sees this day as a time for the community to stop and think about how they can make a difference in other people’s lives. “Student Council, Athletic Council and Class Officers take an active role in planning out the entire Homecoming Weekend,” she said. “This has become one of the top things that they talk about.”
The commitment to service took on many forms throughout the day. On campus, Crusaders cleaned hallways, the backstage area in the auditorium and other places in the building. Some made crafts for Apple Rehab, friendship bracelets for children in hospitals and cards for veterans. Others mulched, gardened and beautified outside areas. Off site, students picked up litter at Town Plot Park, Chase Park Home and Holy Land. Another group read to the students of Catholic Academy of Waterbury and OLMC and led them through fun activities.
“We have been working with (Megan) for the last seven years,” said Fran Coronoa of OLMC. “It always works well when you have older kids paired up with our younger kids. Our students see them as role models and love being taught by them.”
“I am abundantly proud to be a part of this,” said Mr. Pompei. “We are in the business of learning and developing hearts and minds. Our actions are representative of what we are about.”
“We also have to acknowledge the families,” said Dr. Pellegrino. “The students learn these traits of generosity from them. This Day of Service gets the notoriety but, these are behaviors that happen all the time when no one is looking.”