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St. Charles Catholic continues senior traditions with a twist

LAPLACE–St. Charles Catholic High School is an institution of tradition. Over the 65-year history of the school, many poignant and much-anticipated traditions have developed, including the Senior Retreat, Senior Mass, the Senior Parade on their last day of school, and the Super Senior Week where the students dress up and enjoy special privileges on campus.

While the Stay at Home Order and other social distancing protocols kept the students from their classrooms and campus life, nothing could keep down the Comet Spirit. With some creativity and extra work, the SCC faculty and staff were able to give the students their traditions with a twist.

SCC held their Senior Retreat on May 20 both online and on the football field at Thomas Dupuy Stadium. The event began online with Mrs. Raleigh Poche, SCC’s Campus Minister, leading a Google Hangout during which she played a special video for the seniors created by their teachers and coaches. Nearly 100 participants watched as the SCC faculty & staff wished the seniors luck, shared scripture passages and prayers, and expressed appreciation for this wonderful class.

Following the video messages, two guest speakers led the students through encouragement and prayer. Mike Patin, the Catholic Cajun, spoke first with bright words of conviction about the importance and power of faith. Stephanie Davis spoke second, leading the students in an extended ExamenPrayer which is based in Ignatian Spirituality.

Raleigh Poche, SCC’s Campus Minister said of the event, “At first, planning a virtual retreat was a very intimidating undertaking. My initial thought was, ‘how in the world is this going to work?!’ But like all things at SCC it came together beautifully in the end! The SCC community really rallied behind these seniors to make this retreat as special as possible. There were so many people who helped to make this event happen. I want to especially thank the senior class ‘mom’ Tricia Lowry!”

Tricia Lowry taught the Class of 2020 for Senior Religion, and she worked alongside Mrs. Poche and many members of the Comet family to create an unforgettable evening for the Comets. Students arrived to a balloon arch of blue and gold and greeted by teachers, administrators, coaches, and the school’s chaplain, Fr. David Ducote, who led a virtual prayer service from the SCC Chapel for the Class of 2020.

In their drive through the parking lot, students received a bag of letters from loved ones and friends, a special class t-shirt, candy bags, prayer bracelets, and more. A sunset picnic on the football field finished the evening along with an awesome “Attitude Check,” a school tradition where a member of the senior class yells “Attitude Check” and students respond, “Love isn’t love ‘til you give it away, Hey!”

Also on May 20, the social media accounts for the Comets blew up with special graphics designed in honor of the Personality Awards, a tradition that honors those members of the senior class with the prettiest smile, most courteous attitude, best leadership qualities, among other categories. Class favorites were also announced, with this year’s winners splitting a three way tie between Vladimir Fiffie, Justin Dumas, & Anna Guidry. Finally, Mr. SCC & Miss SCC were announced. This young man and young woman are selected by vote by the student body. Recipients for 2020 were Justin Dumas and Kirstin Wilson.

As a twist on Super Senior Week, the social media accounts for SCC have been featuring the class of 2020 with Senior Spotlights, special posts that feature individual graduates and give the community a chance to learn about each student and celebrate them online.

Carly Flynn, a teacher at SCC, said of the Senior Spotlights, “We always try to make each student feel seen and appreciated at SCC, but I think this new Senior Spotlight idea allows us to invite the families and friends of SCC to celebrate the students with us not just as a class but how we knew them, as individuals. I was glad to see so much love for them online.”

Students were also surprised with special personalized yard signs delivered to their homes that announced each student as a graduate of SCC for 2020. Teachers and staff members traveled all throughout the region to place yard signs and keep connected with the Comets.

On May 23, the Class of 2020 was celebrated by St. John Parish, further allowing the seniors to get a sense of celebration surrounding this normally festive week of the school year. The parade held by the parish outside of New Wine Christian Fellowship offered the students snowballs, cotton candy, and other goodies while they enjoyed a slideshow of their classmates and special recognition from their administrators and parish officials.

To see the SCC Senior Slideshow teaser video, visit stcharlescatholic.org and scroll to the bottom of the home page. This video is a glimpse at the longer slideshow of memories created by Senior Class President Gregory Bergeron and Senior Class Vice President Zahria Phillip. In addition to this twist, students are still able to look forward to their vanity slideshow in which baby pictures are placed beside current photos of the students for the Comet family to guess at and applaud for the young people that make up the Class of 2020.

As the originally designated graduation date passes, SCC’s seniors look ahead to a new graduation date: June 19, 2020. On this day, the Comet family will gather in Thomas J. Dupuy stadium at SCC to confer diplomas, hear commencement addresses, and celebrate the Class of 2020 one last time all together.

The day before graduation, June 18, students will enjoy their final tradition with a twist: the final Senior Mass and Senior Crawfish boil. On their last day of high school, Comets normally arrive in style, parading onto campus in their golf carts and convertibles, before celebrating Mass together and enjoying a crawfish boil out on the grounds. Though it may be about a month behind schedule, the 2020 seniors can still count on all those traditions taking place. There will be chairs placed six feet apart. There will be no other students on campus.

There will be something not quite normal about it all, but this class has never gotten comfortable with normality. They’ve always proved themselves to be extraordinary, and their farewell to SCC will surely be the same.

As Dr. Millet, the school principal, stated in her most recent letter to our Seniors, “This year—YOUR year—we bear the cross of the Covid-19 pandemic together​. ​We will show the world that there is a light that will overcome the darkness, and there is no darkness, and no virus, that can overcome the light that is inside each of you. Your light will shine in each of these opportunities to celebrate the class of 2020! Fly high and shine bright!”