Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 10, 2007
St. Francis Xavier High students walk their patron's path
Staff and pupils honour their namesake with a day of festivities, charity
By ALICIA AMBROSIO
- WCR photo by Alicia Ambrosio
Former student Darrin Bauer, now a teacher, returns to carve turkey.
Staff members would each take a turkey home the night before and bring it back cooked and ready to slice, hopefully, the morning of St. FX Day.
This part of the tradition has survived, although after some snags along the way, the turkeys now go home with "foolproof instructions, including phone numbers to call for help," said Eugenia Chisotti, religion department head at the school.
The potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and salad are now prepared, from scratch, by the foods class. Previously "The senior football team would spend an afternoon peeling potatoes, then they'd take them over to the Grey Nuns Centre and they'd cook them for us," said Stephney.
Various prominent members of the community would, and still do, come to help serve the meal and mix with the students and staff. While in the past, MLAs, priests, school board trustees and the like have helped serve, this year former teachers came back to take part in the event.
Ten years ago, the school decided to hold a basketball tournament to kick off the basketball season. It was named the Mike Dea Basketball Tournament in honour of a much-loved religion department head and football coach, now retired.
Dea led the football team to several championships and, as a statement on the school website says, "embodies everything that is St. FX."
While the school community can't express enough their appreciation for Dea, he himself doesn't see what all the fuss is about.
"They also named the gym after him. It took a long time for him to come to accept that," his wife Diane Dea told the WCR.
"All the leftovers from the turkey dinner will be taken to the Youth Emergency Shelter."
- Eugenia Chisotti
The staff eventually decided to hold the tournament to coincide with St. FX Day, thus adding to the already full day of celebrations. As a result, the other teams participating in the tournament join the students and staff of St. Francis Xavier in celebrating Mass on the morning of St. FX Day. Visiting teams also take part in the turkey dinner.
"You'll see our girls team play Jasper Place, the school next-door, and then sit down together to eat lunch," said Chisotti.
The day isn't all about fun, games, and basketball, though.
"Because St. Francis took care of the sick and the poor, we pick a different charity to work with each year," Chisotti said.
Students pay two dollars to participate in the turkey dinner, as well as admission to see the entertainer brought in for the morning. "That money will go to Sign of Hope this year, and all the leftovers from the turkey dinner will be taken to the Youth Emergency Shelter."
Chisotti said the day serves as a good way to "take a step back" and understand whom their patron saint was, and what he did.
Joanne Stephney, head of the math department said, "It's our gift to our students."
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