Cathedral gears up for annual Winterfest

Catholic schools will be celebrated; leprechauns to be named


Megaphone file photo

Traditionally, the Golden Paddle finalists compete for the title at the Winterfest assembly, as will be the case this year.

Nicholas Rodecap, Co-Editor-in-Chief

For many students on the Hill, the highlight of the beginning of the second semester is the action-packed Winterfest, which coincides with National Catholic Schools Week. While it is a tight contest between the former, college decision deadlines and looming spring break plans, the first week of February decisively triumphs. 

As part of the Homecoming-esque festivities, each day during the week will have a different dress-up theme. Student Council moderator Mrs. Kim Jamell enumerated the Holy Cross-focused dress-up days as follows: 

Monday, Jan. 31: More Sleep Monday (Holy Cross value: hope)

Tuesday, Feb. 1: Twinning Tuesday (family)

Wednesday, Feb. 2: Anything But a Backpack (integrity)

Thursday, Feb. 3: Catholic Schools Gear (educating hearts and minds)

Friday, Feb. 4: Class Lanyard Color (zeal)

As part of the week’s festivities, members of the Holy Cross Council will hand out donut holes and hot chocolate during a passing period on Wednesday. Holy Cross Council members will also lead morning prayer throughout the week. 

To wrap up winter’s marquee event, affectionately termed “W.A.C.S.” (Winterfest and Catholic Schools Week), the Winterfest assembly will take place on Friday, Feb. 4, in the Welch Activity Center. This year’s assembly will begin with prayer and feature the cheerleaders, winter sports updates, senior winter athletes, the class-versus-class lip-sync battle, and of course, the winner-take-all Golden Paddle match. 

This year marks the 14th iteration of the ping-pong tournament, played for the first time back in 2009. Last year’s tournament saw Andrew Davey ‘21 defeat current senior Christian Lo in a tightly contested match, with the former Irish second baseman claiming the trophy.

This year’s Golden Paddle final will be a welcome change compared to its 2021 counterpart. With the coronavirus running rampant in January 2021, the final match between Davey and Lo took place in the Shiel Student Life Center, and no students were looking on. This year’s competition between two yet-to-be-determined students of great ping-pong prowess will take place under the lights of the WAC under the watchful eyes of over a thousand students. 

“(Covid-19) has not ended the Golden Paddle,” director of student activities Mr. Anthony Ernst said. The pandemic-affected 2021 tournament had just 30 students vying for the Golden Paddle, and this year has seen a resurgence in the number of competitors, with nearly twice as many students entering the tournament.

While the number of competitors has not quite risen to pre-pandemic levels, Ernst said things are looking up for the future of table tennis on East 56th Street. “I’m looking forward to the excitement being built back up,” he said. “We’re going to have a great time with it,” he said.  

Another source of excitement is the ever-present speculation of who the successor to the current leprechaun (or, in this case, leprechauns) may be. In years past, this announcement was made at the Irish 500 in May. However, due to current leprechauns Will Mayer and Ethan Pac being spring athletes, the decision was made to announce their successor(s?) at the Winterfest assembly. 

“(We have) thought of doing (this) before, (but this year we thought) it would be useful for (Mayer and Pac) to have some help this spring,” Jamell said. 

With the last two years both being landmark moments in leprechaun history, only time will tell who from the Class of 2023 will lead the student section during the 2022-23 school year. The stage is set for an action-packed W.A.C.S, and it will hopefully end with a packed WAC.