“Jude’s Dudes” advance to CYO state tournament

As the sound of the final horn echoed through the Blessed Sacrament gym last Wednesday night, every fan was either storming the court with the excitement and anticipation that comes with a nail biting championship victory or still trying to pry their eyes off the scoreboard in utter disbelief of what just happened. St. Jude’s knocked off the regular season champions, St. James, who happened to employ the biggest lineup in the league. They carried three players over 6’3″, as well as a college football prospect, and a former Cathedral Prep starter. They also held the reputation of being the most feared team that CYO in this area has seen in a long time. It came down to the wire and then it finally happened; David took down Goliath. St. Jude’s narrowly escaped with a 58-57 victory and a chance at the state title.

St. Jude’s, or the self proclaimed “Jude’s Dudes”, managed to clinch a first round bye in this year’s playoffs due to the underwhelming play and late season collapses of the field down the stretch. Many fans were unconvinced of their potential. Doubts began to reemerge pertaining to the loss of star guard Matt Fessler (torn ACL) for the season (which plagued them during initial league rankings) and who would step up and match his production. Well, no one did. As defeating as that sounds, it proved not to be the downfall of Jude’s Dudes. A complete team effort joined together to replace Fessler, not just one single individual. A junior laden team led by Tommy Agresti, James Proper and Sean McEnery paired with only one significant senior, IUP baseball commit, Colin Williams, formed one of the most memorable teams in recent memory.

St. James had itself one heck of a year also. Led by three Cathedral Prep students along with help from some Harborcreek Huskies and Iroquis Braves, they were a force to be reckoned with. They are built around do-it-all big man and Mercyhurst University baseball recruit Nick Hess. Joe Campbell also proved to be a large factor along with Allegheny destined Kyle Mitchell and Harborcreek native, Adam Zielinski, who down some monster dunks this year that ignited the crowd on multiple occasions. Led by a steady coach and a culture that preached defense, rebounding and hustle, St. James looked absolutely unstoppable for stretches. They breezed through the regular season with no clear completion and were heading to the playoffs with what seemed to be a clear road to States.

St. Jude’s went on an absolute tear during the postseason tournament, edging out St. James to play them once more for a trip to Allentown (where the state tournament is being held this year). Coming into the championship game, St. James had a significant advantage on the extremely undersized Jude’s Dudes. St. Jude’s starting forward James Proper said before the game, “They’re big and strong, but we play with more heart than any other team in this league.”

With tensions high and adrenaline even higher, the two battled it out on the court. It was a back and forth affair the entire game with neither side holding a safe, secure lead. Joe Campbell, who finished with 18 points, led the way with Nick Hess, who was one rebound shy of a double-double (18 points, 9 rebounds), as St. James held the slight edge coming out of the half. James Proper (18 PPG in last two contests) got off to a slow start, Collin Williams (who has been the focal point of the offense the whole year) struggled shooting the ball, and Tommy Agresti was continually getting keyed in on by the strong interior St. James defense. Instead, it was the likes of Sean McEnery who kept the Dudes in the game on both sides of the ball paired with sophomore Jared Heidt, (7 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals) who plays with the hustle and tenacity that coaches covet. McEnery came up with some big defensive stops early on that kept the game within reach.

St. James came out of the half with a head of steam, with Campbell and Zielinski beginning to run the floor and take advantage of the undersized St. Jude’s defense. As the 4th quarter began, it started to look like St. James wasn’t going to be stopped and began to resemble their dominant regular season selves. But bounce back second half efforts from Agresti (16 points, 4 assists, 2 steals) and Proper (10 points, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block) made it interesting again. Williams recorded a game high 4 steals and contributed heavily on defense. It was a complete rebounding effort from the Dudes, with 4 players hauling in 4 rebounds or more (highlighted by Agresti’s 8 and Proper’s 7). It was a 3-point barrage as both teams shot extremely well from the 3-point line in the 4th quarter as well, headlined by Zielinski’s shot late in the game to put St. James up 1. Out of the Jude’s Dudes’ timeout,  Hess secured the rebound off the missed shot. Disappointed facial expressions could be seen of the St. Jude’s bench, assuming that the end to their season was imminent as the clock was winding down. That was before Sean McEnery came out of nowhere to intercept Hess’s pass and finish on the other end in the closing seconds to secure the win. The crowd roared in excitement and many students in attendance stormed the court to congratulate Jude’s Dudes.

In the aftermath of it all, Junior swingman Sean McEnery spoke on the experience, “Being the first year with Jude’s Dudes it’s really great. [We] started out as the 5 seed. No one believed in us, [but we] pushed all the way through and took down the best team in the league 3 times. And to beat them 3 straight times for a championship, it’s great. We’re going to Allentown.” He finished with 16 points while adding 3 steals and 2 blocks to his stat line. St. James senior Kyle Mitchell also reflected on the season saying, “Makes me wanna take a lot of different opportunities to do things differently, take things more seriously, just prepare a lot better for teams than we did.” When asked if he believed the season was still a success, Mitchell added, “I thought we definitely were a success. The last few years, St. James basketball has been down and we finally brought it back to the championship.”

With first-year coach Matt Squeglia at the helm, he’s taken St. Jude’s to the promised land in only his first year of work with many key players returning. The future is bright and Proper had this to say of the season in summary. “Getting here was a full team effort. Without Collin’s senior leadership, Agresti’s tenacity on the boards, Sean’s silky 3-ball, and most of all our coach that shows us what it means to be a true man and the way he inspires us before every game, we never could have made it this far.”

It was a picture perfect ending to a roller coaster season for Jude’s Dudes. They accomplished the seemingly impossible by beating the most feared team in the league three times in a row despite losing perhaps the best returning overall player in the league. They did this all while having a ton of fun and building many friendships. It was a special year for the Jude’s Dudes and all who got a chance to witness it.

Students honored for academic success at 2nd quarter sessions ceremony

The second quarter sessions of the 2016-2017 school year took place on Feb. 1. Quarter sessions is the time of the year when the students are recognized and rewarded for their acts in the classroom. The opportunity to get a first honors card or a second honors card is a great deal because this is a college preparatory school. It prepares students for the future of their lives. Students are called up by their class (freshmen through seniors) based on whether they earned first honors or second honors.

Freshmen were awarded a total of 29 first honor cards (11 more than last quarter) and 45 second honor cards (6 more than last quarter) for a total of 74 and a class percentage of 53.26 percent.

The sophomores were awarded a total of 18 first honor cards (5 more than last quarter) and 64 second honor cards (3 more than last quarter) for a total of 82 and a class percentage of 58.57 percent. Once again the sophomore class achieved the highest percentage of students with honor cards this past quarter.

The juniors were awarded a total of 12 first honor cards (5 more than last quarter) and 59 second honor cards (6 less than last quarter) for a total of 61 and a class percentage of 51.45 percent.

Now for the senior class. They were awarded a total of 6 first honor cards (the same as last quarter) and 37 second honor cards (2 less than last quarter) for a total of 43 honor cards and a class percentage of 36.44 percent.

Every quarter sessions, there is an award given to one student of each class that best describes the realization of being a Man of Prep. The second quarter sessions Man of Prep awards went to:

  • Freshman – Jack Oedekoven
  • Sophomore – Evan Selker
  • Junior – Ethan Rys
  • Senior – Lucian Cuzzola

As always, there are a list of students from each class that are recognized for the highest QPA. For the second quarter sessions, the highest QPA awards go to:

  • Freshmen – Jacob Clark, Roman Miksa, Mark Miller, Luke Misko, Michael Oblich, Quentin Santillan, Tyler Wiseman
  • Sophomores – Jared Heidt, Alex Kolodychak, Conor McEnery, Ryan Sweny
  • Juniors – John Hagerty, Chris Parks
  • Senior – Doug Spirzany

The guest speakers for the second quarter sessions were Aaron Hertel (’97) and Michael Brown (’95). Aaron Hertel graduated from Cathedral Prep in 1997 while getting his Master of Physical Therapy from Gannon University in 2003. After working as a facility director in outpatient physical therapy for three years, he co-founded Hertel & Brown Physical Therapy.

Michael Brown graduated from Cathedral Prep in 1995. He earned a Master of Physical Therapy from Gannon University in 2003. He began his career as a therapist in an inpatient physical therapy facility and then spent two and a half years as an outpatient facility center manager before founding Hertel & Brown Physical & Aquatic Therapy in 2007.

Besides the laughter and jokes that Hertel and Brown entertained the Cathedral Prep crowd with, they often spoke of continuing our future and following our dreams. They had an admirable amount of inspiration to add to their speeches from what happened in their life. Cathedral Prep thanks them for providing their time for this event.

Lady Gaga performs halftime show at Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events of the year for some people. While some enjoy the thrill of two fantastic football teams going head to head, others simply love the funny commercials and the halftime show. Every year there is a musician or group chosen to perform during the Super Bowl halftime performance. In the past couple of years the featured performers have included some big names such as Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Beyoncé, and the Black Eyed Peas. This year Lady Gaga was chosen and really embraced it.

Although she was pretty flashy, she wasn’t nearly as flashy as she has been before. This time around, instead of wearing a meat suit, she was wearing a sparkly one piece. Also, after the election, many people thought that the halftime show would have a political message. In a refreshing way, it didn’t have too strong of a political message.

She started off her performance on the roof by singing “This Land is Your Land” and “God Bless America.” Then she said part of the Pledge of Allegiance before launching herself off the roof of the stadium. Then she sang many of her hit songs such as “Poker Face”, “Just Dance”, “Bad Romance”, “Telephone”, and “Born This Way”. Although many people did not catch this she really emphasized the LGBTQ rights through singing her song “Born This Way”, which may have been influenced by the fact that Vice President Mike Pence was in the audience.

All in all, it was a very good halftime performance put on by Lady Gaga. She didn’t overdo anything politically, which many people were scared of. Her music was great and as it always does, many people caught themselves singing along. It was flashy and perfect for the Super Bowl.

The Week in Review: Three Big Winners of the Grammys

Last Sunday, Feb. 12. the greatest artists and musical groups came together to celebrate a huge year in music. Many awards were given out, including the Record of the Year, Album of the Year, New Artist of the Year, and many more. Here are those artists who had a great 2017 Grammys and dominated the spotlight last Sunday night.

She was the queen of these Grammy awards, winning five Grammys, Record of the Year, Best Pop Solo Proformance and Song of the Year for her hit single “Hello” as well as Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for the album 25, which includes many Billboard Top 100 hits like “Hello”, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”, and “Water Under the Bridge”. While accepting her Album of the Year Grammy, Adele said that she couldn’t accept this because she believed that Beyoncé’s album Lemonade should’ve received the award, so Adele broke her Grammy in half and gave it to Beyoncé for her album. Adele also performed a beautiful tribute to George Michael, where she actually messed up and restarted because she wanted to “get it right” for Michael who died this past Christmas. The tribute turned out to be a hit though because it showed her humility and urge to give a great tribute to a revolutionary artist.

Chance the Rapper
Chance the Rapper made history at the Grammys becoming the first independent artist to win Best New Artist. Along with Best New Artist, Chance also won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance for “No Problem” and Best Rap Album for Coloring Book. Chance the Rapper gave hope to those independent artists who want to make it big some day and he mentioned in his accepting speech that he wants this to be hope for those who are trying to make it big.

While only winning 1 1/2 Grammys (thanks to Adele) for Best Music Video (“Formation”) and Album of the Year (Lemonade) Beyoncé killed her performance of two songs off her highly political album Lemonade, “Sandcastles” and “Love Drought”. What made her performance special was the aspect that she is pregnant with twins. While it was difficult for her to walk around and actually perform, she performed sitting down in a chair that moved around and tilted, which for those who watched was absolutely stunning. Queen Bey shared the spotlight with the Queen of the Grammys, Adele, as the two biggest winners for their awards and performances during this year’s show.

Other “Winners”: David Bowie, The Chainsmokers, Drake

Simpson’s strong second half helps Prep basketball defeat McDowell

The Prep-McDowell rivalry is like no other. The student sections go crazy. Emotions run high on the court. And students exchange comments Twitter. No matter what side of the rivalry you are on, it’s hard to deny it is as fierce as any in Erie.

“It has been a great four years playing against them because these games really bring out everyone’s full potential” said senior Jaryn Simpson.

After Prep won the first game at PVEC 55-49, the rematch was bound to be a showdown at McDowell. McDowell started off the game with a quick 9-0 run, but Prep did not back down. Simpson started the Ramblers off with a 3, and Adam Upperman followed that with two more 3s. By this time the cheering section was alive. Starting off the game off with five 3-pointers had the crowd buzzing. From there on it was a back and forth affair. Prep had the lead for the majority of the game, but it was never a comfortable lead.

Bruce Fagan dominated down low for the Ramblers, blocking many shots and putting the ball into the hoop when he got the chance. Fagen said, “Playing against McDowell is one of the greatest experiences in Erie. Both student bodies are in full force and the atmosphere is crazy.”

During the game the McDowell cheering section and players thought that it would be a good idea to try to get into Simpson’s head by chanting, “overrated” and “you are not that good.” The Trojan players were talking trash to him as well. Rambler nation knew that McDowell was wrong, and that it wasn’t a good idea. So, after scoring only 3 points in the first half, Simpson went off for 18 points in the second half, hitting several clutch shots. His performance made the whole Prep student section go crazy and made McDowell pay for their chants towards him.

“McDowell players on the court trash talking and getting in my face, I just laughed and my attack mode turned on,” Simpson said. “I told my coach that they really had messed up by doing this because they woke me up.”

The 3rd and 4th quarter still went back and forth, with Prep holding a lead for about 80 percent of the half. The Trojans were able to stay in the game due to their 3-point shooting, but it wasn’t enough. The Ramblers were able to keep the lead and hit many clutch free throws at the end of the game to seal the win. For the seniors it was very emotional because this was their last game/section against McDowell. “It is honestly very sad to say this was my last game against our rival McDowell,” Simpson said.

All in all, emotions were high and bragging rights were at stake for the last game in this rivalry. At the end of the game Prep was going crazy as the Trojans were hanging their heads. The “sixth man” ran onto the court and “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond started to play. It seemed that the McDowell side thought the Prep students were going to say something other than “Let’s go Prep” as they cut the music right before that part. But the Ramblers just kept singing and living in the moment.

“My  favorite part of the game was immediately after beating them on their home court,” Simpson said. “Our sixth man greeted us on the court in a congratulations. Jumping and celebrating a win with my fellow brothers is a moment I can’t forget.”

All of the Prep seniors played well in their final contest against McDowell. Bruce Fagan had many blocks, key rebounds, and some key free throws. The rally crew was also very emotional as this would be their last section against McDowell.

“It was nice to be able to see my brother Jaryn play as well as he did to get the last win against McDowell,” said senior rally crew member Lucian Cuzzola.

I, Trey Deitrick, am very happy that the seniors were able to take the lead in this last game. Bruce, Mark, and Jaryn all played great games. Also Adam Upperman is going to be a very key player next year as he already is this year. But I would like to take my time to thank Jaryn for “balling out” and making my senior year that much better. Jaryn and I have been best friends since 3rd grade and have always had each other’s backs. It was amazing to see him drop 21 points, especially after all of the overrated talk. It was a great win for the Ramblers, and I don’t think anyone would accuse Jaryn of being overrated now.

2017 NBA All-Star Weekend Preview

NBA All-Star Weekend showcases professional basketball players’ skills. This year’s All-Star Weekend will be held in New Orleans, La., from February 17-19. This gives the NBA players a little bit of a break from their 82 game season. It is a fun-filled, entertaining event.

The events begin on Friday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. with the Celebrity All-Star Game. This year, Michael Smith and Jemele Hill, co-hosts of SportsCenter’s 6 p.m. show, will serve as the guest coaches for the West and East teams.

Michael Smith’s West Team will feature Miles Brown (actor), Tom Cavanagh (actor), Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks owner), Baron Davis (NBA legend), Andy Grammer (recording artist), Jiang Jinfu (actor, model), Anthony Mackie (actor), Romeo Miller (actor, recording artist), Hasan Minhaj (actor, comedian), Master P (actor, recording artist), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), and Aarón Sánchez (celebrity chef).

Jemele Hill’s East Team will feature Brandon Armstrong (former NBA D-League player and social media star), Win Butler (musician), Nick Cannon (actor, recording artist), Rachel DeMita (NBA2K TV personality), Ansel Elgort (actor, recording artist), Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks owner), Caleb McLaughlin (actor), Peter Rosenberg (media personality), Oscar Schmidt (Basketball legend), Lindsay Whalen (WNBA player), Jason Williams (NBA legend), Kris Wu (recording artist).

The Rising Stars Challenge will follow the Celebrity Game at 9 p.m. For the third consecutive year, the league’s annual showcase of young players will be a set of 10 first and second year U.S. NBA players against 10 first and second year players from around the world.

The U.S. Team includes Devin Booker (Suns), Malcolm Brogdon (Bucks), Marquese Chriss (Suns), Brandon Ingram (Lakers), Frank Kaminsky (Hornets), Jahlil Okafor (76ers), D’Angelo Russell (Lakers), Jonathon Simmons (Spurs), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), and Myles Turner (Pacers).

The World Team includes Joel Embiid (76ers),Danté Exum (Jazz), Buddy Hield (Pelicans), Nikola Jokic (Nuggets), Trey Lyles (Jazz), Emmanuel Mudiay (Knicks), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks), Domantas Sabonis (Thunder), and Dario Saric (76ers).

The following night, Saturday, Feb. 18, is one of the most watched set of events in the whole weekend. State Farm All-Star Saturday Night begins with the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. This event typically features the top guards showcasing their ball handling, passing skills, and scoring. Although, some centers do volunteer to get in. Last year, Karl Anthony-Towns won this skills challenge in an upset.

The 2017 Taco Bell Skills Challenge Participants are Devin Booker (Suns), DeMarcus Cousins (Kings), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Joel Embiid (76ers), Gordon Hayward (Jazz), Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks), Isaiah Thomas (Celtics), and John Wall (Wizards).

The second event is the JBL 3-Point Contest. Klay Thompson was the 2016 winner. He will try to defend his title against the following participants: Eric Gordon (Rockets), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Kyle Lowry (Raptors), Wes Matthews (Mavericks), CJ McCollum (Blazers), Kemba Walker (Hornets), and Nick Young (Lakers).

The very last event that will conclude the night is the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest. Everyone was tuned into the dunk contest last year because history was made. Aaron Gordon and Zach Lavine went at it aggressively with numerous perfect scores back and forth. That all ended when Lavine did a between the legs dunk from the free throw line. Zach Lavine has won the title the last two years, but he got injured and cannot compete this year. A new face has shown up though. Derrick Jones has been selected to compete in this year’s dunk contest. During the 2015-2016 season, the Cathedral Prep basketball team made it to the final four and played against Jones. He had multiple dunks and blocks so stay tuned in to see the show this young player will put on.

The 2017 Verizon Slam Dunk Participants are Aaron Gordon (Magic), DeAndre Jordan (Clippers), Glenn Robinson III (Pacers), and Derrick Jones Jr. (Suns).

The showcase event to close out the weekend is the 66th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday at 8 p.m. The all-stars are players selected by players, coaches, and fans on a voting scale. At least watch the ending when they just go for stylish dunks to wow the crowd.

To say the least, this will be a special weekend. You don’t want to miss any of the action in case something legendary happens.

The Week in Review: The Patriots are kings again

This 2016-2017 NFL football season came to an end in dramatic fashion last weekend in Houston with the New England Patriots winning a thriller in overtime 34-28 against the Atlanta Falcons. Super Bowl LI was unlike any others because it was the first Super Bowl to go into overtime, and Tom Brady became the first quarterback to win five Super Bowl championships. Overall this Super Bowl from beginning to end was an unforgettable thrill ride that any football fan could enjoy.

This game was the definition of a tale of two halves. The Falcons started the game out strong, while neither team scored until the second quarter. The NFC Champion Falcons looked to be in control of the game. Finally, a score came in the second quarter by the Falcons who gained the momentum that they had for the rest of the first half. With a touchdown run by Devonte Freeman and a touchdown pass by Matt Ryan to Austin Hooper, the Atlanta offense was on fire, but it was the defense that gave them their biggest lead when Robert Alford snagged an 82-yard interception for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 21-0 lead. Before the half, Stephen Gostkowski stopped the bleeding with a 41-yard field goal. The halftime score was 21-3 in favor of the Falcons.

The second half started and the same results happened. Matt Ryan threw his second touchdown pass this time to Tevin Coleman, making it 28-3, the last points the Falcons would score the rest of the game. Then the Patriots gained some life with 2 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter the Patriots mounted a drive inside the Falcons 10-yard line, where the golden boy, Tom Brady threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to James White starting their scoring run, making it 28-9 because of a missed PAT.

When the 4th quarter came around, the Patriots truly started to take over with another field goal by Gostkowski, a Danny Amendola touchdown grab, and a converted 2-point try. The Patriots made it a one possession game, 28-20 with 5:50 to go. This is where the Falcons stepped it up, gaining key first downs and possibly the catch of the year by Julio Jones. The Dirty Birds marched it deep into New England territory. All they needed to do was to run some clock and kick a field goal, but the Falcons decided to throw, which proved to be a costly decision due to a sack and a holding call. Atlanta was forced to punt and give the ball back to Brady with 3 p.m. to go and an 8-point deficit to beat.

The Pats’ final drive was magical with an insane catch by Julian Edelman that no one knew how he caught it. The Patriots went to the 1-yard line when James White ran it in to make it 28-26. Tom Brady added to the magic when he delivered a bullet to Amendola to tie it up 28-28, completing a huge comeback and sending the Super Bowl into overtime for the first time in history.

The overtime coin toss was won by New England, who chose to receive. They ended the game quickly after 4 minutes of driving down the field. The Patriots took it all the way to the 2-yard line where James White barreled his way into the end zone to seal the deal and earn New England their 5th Super Bowl title. It was a crazy ending for a crazy game that was an emotional roller coaster ride. From the high flying Falcons offense in the first half to the complete take over of Tom Brady and the New England offense in the second half, this Super Bowl was truly one to remember.

SNL spoofs Trump, Spicer

For the past year, the hit comedy television show Saturday Night Live has been making fun of President Donald Trump. The February 4th episode was arguably the funniest of them all.

The show, which has a longstanding history of political satire dating back to its origins 40 years ago, started off with Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and the Grim Reaper as Steve Bannon. It started off with Trump calling different countries such as Australia, Mexico, and Germany. All of the recent controversy between these countries, such as the immigrants from Australia, and the wall being built and payed for by Mexico, were all promoted on Saturday’s show.

President Donald Trump has still yet to comment on this episode, but he has commented in the past. However, his Press Secretary, Sean Spicer commented. Spicer was also imitated on the show by Melissa McCarthy Saturday night. Spicer said “It was cute. It’s funny,” in response to the imitation of him done by McCarthy.

It’s nice to see somebody that is working with President Trump notice the humor and freedom of our country. Our country isn’t a censored country that blocks certain news, drama shows, or the press. Donald Trump, however, needs to realize that part of his cabinet, Sean Spicer, found humor in the skit that was an imitation of himself.

Saturday Night Live has been around for approximately 42 years.  Making fun of many of the country’s issues, Saturday Night Live carries a good, strong reputation of promoting comedy on a weekly basis. The continual skits of President Trump and his cabinet continue to make the American people chuckle, and this past weekend’s episode with millions of viewers all across the world was one for the books.

Students sick at Prep

While it may not be the Black Plague, it might as well feel like it. Seemingly no one was spared this past month as students, faculty, and staff all took a blow (sometimes into a tissue) and experienced the lasting punch in the gut of those pesky little bacteria that, even though we cannot see, can hit harder than Connor McGregor.

It was very apparent that something was running through the halls of Prep, and students and teachers alike were taking notice. “There’s something about constant kids coughing, sneezing, and practically dying right next to you, that can distract you from your school work,” said junior Nathan Shookalook.

This became very clear as attendance at Prep began to decline rapidly. If it wasn’t you, it was a classmate as the classrooms looked like abandoned California gold rush boom towns. “Teaching through this was a struggle,” said Spanish teacher Ms. McElhinny. “I have guys making up tests and turning in homework sometimes as much as two weeks late.”

Even gym classes felt the butt of the blow. “Handball teams were torn apart, and we would spend almost a third of our class time trying to reassemble them. It was as frustrating for me as it was for the students,” commented Coach G on the illness running rampant through the halls of Prep.

Head swimming coach Mike Doyle was not happy with vital pieces of his team missing. In two home meets at the aquatics center he had to change the lineup over three times as his swimmers were not able to compete.

The days seemed darker, and at one point it seemed like it was only a matter of time before the inevitable happened. No amount of hand washing, vitamins, and hydration could save us. I myself got sick with the flu, even though I was vaccinated. I was able to talk with Steve Ferretti who works at UMPC Hamot and he didn’t have a whole lot of good news to share with me. “It’s been a rough year for everyone. We have been seeing a lot more patients than we normally do. There are a lot of nasty bugs going around this year, mostly attacking the respiratory system and shutting people down,” he said.

Northwestern Pennsylvania, which is used to experiencing longer, dryer, and colder winters have helped subdue the micro-organisms that make us sick but the short spans of cold air, and uncharacteristic warm temperatures have allowed them to thrive.

In the past week it seems like the worst is behind us, as more and more consistent, fuller classrooms and hallways are a clear indication that sunnier days are ahead. Many teachers are scrambling to resupply after this. Tissue boxes and GermX were on short supply after the last month of wheezing and sneezing. Mr. Baltzer proudly displayed his “DoomsDay” supply of tissue boxes that still towered in the back of his 2nd floor classroom. “Last Christmas I had students bring in tissue boxes for bonus points. I ended up getting a lot more than expected,” he said.  With this years flu season still in full swing, make sure to stay healthy and wash your hands.

Prep celebrates Catholic Schools Week

Attending a Catholic High School is something many Prep students take for granted. It has become routine, mainly because many of the students have attended diocesan grade schools since their early youth. It’s the only thing they know. Many of us do not take time to appreciate what we have at our Catholic School, but once a year we take a week, “Catholic Schools Week,” to celebrate our unique education.

Senior Gavin Griffiths-Eisert loading up his tray on $1 pizza day

The first day of Catholic Schools Week, Monday, was Teacher Appreciation Day. To celebrate the teachers of the school, students served the teachers a free lunch of salad, lasagna, and a cookie. Hopefully most of the students refrained from any shenanigans that would give their teachers a hard time.

The second day of Catholic School’s Week, Tuesday, was Student Appreciation Day. Fr. Jason and Campus Ministry provided all the students with some free Dairy Queen, which was quite yummy and appreciated. Also, head chef James Wrigley introduced Prep to “$1 Pizza Day,” where students could buy pizza at a dollar a slice. Some students got as many as five pieces! Students were also permitted to buy a dress down pass and a cell phone pass for $2 each, which was nice. However, some controversy arose when many Prep students who take classes at Gannon ran into some of the Villa students, who were also dressed down. The problem was that Villa did not have to pay for their dress down. It later came out that they had two dress downs this week, and both of them were free. This seems like inequality.

The third day of Catholic Schools Week, Wednesday, was a half day that included Quarter Sessions. Mr. Hertel and Mr. Brown, of Hertel and Brown Physical Therapy, were the alumni who spoke to the students this time. Many students received first and second honors cards as recognition for their academic achievements.

Mark Leone sports a polo on Jersey Day, which was an alternative option to a jersey

The fourth day of Catholic School’s Week, Thursday, was Blazer Day and Silly Tie Day. Some students wore blazers and silly ties.

Emilio Filippi giving a massage to fellow senior Trey Deitrick, while Peter Bloomstine is hard at work on Jersey Day

The fifth and final day of Catholic School’s Week, Friday, was Jersey Day. Students were permitted to wear their school pants and a polo shirt with a jersey of their favorite team over it. The vast majority of the student body partook in this dress down. Friday was also Service Day, which consisted of all theology classes doing a service project in their period. The senior class wrote letters to soldiers. The highlight of the day, however, was the fettuccine eating contests during all three lunches. “Fetta Friday” has long been a tradition at Cathedral Prep, and cheering on one’s classmates to inhale as much as they can in the given amount of time turns out to be a really good time. Senior Josh Wolf finished six bowls.

Overall, Catholic Schools Week was a nice change of pace for Prep students and faculty. The various events really made school a tad more enjoyable. Hopefully we all appreciate our unique education a little bit more now.