St. Francis Xavier School is home to many rich traditions. Our eighth grade families have painstakingly preserved a number of these special rituals, taking special care to celebrate the culmination of their childrens’ eighth grade year.
Each year, a number of mothers of eighth grade students come together to plan and lead a year-long calendar of events leading up to graduation. Throughout the fall and early winter months, students endure the embarrassment and humor of eighth grade dance class, culminating in a special dinner-dance attended by the eight graders and their parents. During the holiday season, the eighth grade class hosts a Christmas Dance in the gym, which is transformed into a winter wonderland. Eighth graders from several local Catholic schools are invited to participate, and our SFX students make many new friends that they will see again in high school.
One of the students favorite activities is the annual Ski Trip held in January. Students and chaperones trek to Alpine Valley Ski Resort for a day of skiing, snowboarding, and, of course, quality time in the ski lodge. The parent-chaperones especially enjoy watching the expert skiers teach their inexperienced classmates how to negotiate the hills. St. Francis kids love to help each other out, and that exceptional camaraderie is definitely exhibited here.
Springtime in eighth grade means its time to plan and practice the well-loved eighth grade play. Under the guidance of talented SFX music teacher and thesbian, Jason Krumwiede, the class rehearses tirelessly for several months. St. Francis alumnae from many decades back still treasure memories of their eighth grade play, and this year’s group will be no different.
Graduation season kicks off with the traditional May Crowning Mass. Students process into the church and crown the statue of Mary with a wreath of beautiful flowers. To signify their gratitude for the gift of life and love that their own mothers gave to them, the eighth graders present each of their mothers with a rose. This is always an emotional moment for the entire school community. The celebration of our eighth grade mothers continues with a beautiful luncheon hosted by parents of the seventh grade class.
A few weeks prior to graduation, our students celebrate the completion of grade school–and the summer freedom to come–with an annual Cub’s Day fieldtrip.
Throughout the year, eighth graders participate in a number of service projects. Examples include visits to soup kitchens, work with food pantries, car washes and pancake breakfasts. These and other projects fulfill students’ rigorous Middle School Service Hours requirement, while also reinforcing St. Francis’s core value of service others. Students round out this experience working long hours at the Rummage Sale and by running the eighth grade pizza day program, which raises funds to support our many eighth grade activities.
The year comes to a close with a very special Mass, Graduation and Dinner-Dance, lovingly planned and staffed by our seventh grade families. SFX graduates spend a special evening with their parents in the beautifully decorated gym, and are treated to a viewing of their graduation DVD which is filled with photos of classmates dating back to their days in Kindergarten. The students also receive copies of a very special yearbook, featuring an artistic photo collage created by local photography studio, Classic Kids, along with a souvenir “SFX Class of 2013” t-shirt. Graduating SFX parents (parents who are celebrating the graduation of their last child at St. Francis) are honored meaningfully with a yellow rose, a graduation certificate, and a St. Francis Xavier Class charm. Students receive their diplomas and hear graduation speeches from their class’s Commissioner Generals. A reception is held immediately following the Mass. Our SFX graduates then gather one last time at a local venue, the week following graduation, for an elegant graduation dinner-dance.
We thank the SFX parents who have worked so hard over these many years to support and preserve these wonderful traditions, which greatly enrich the experience of each and every eighth grade student.