By Logan Puissegur, Holy Cross, Clarion Herald contributing writer
The Holy Cross senior class held a “meet and greet” at Tiger Prep Day Aug. 10 for the new middle school and high school Tigers. The day spotlighted fifth graders and seniors, as they paired up and became big and little brothers for this school year.
The program has taken many directions over the years, varying in grades and activities done with the students, but the senior class of 2019 wanted more for the young Tigers on Paris Avenue.
“Our campus is filled with tradition and legacy,” senior Shawn Howell said. “It feels only right if we (seniors) teach (the fifth graders) what it means to be a part of the Holy Cross family. I started in fifth grade and looked up to the guys in white shirts. Now, it’s time I return the favor.”
Senior Antonio Rivera considers Holy Cross more than a school.
“It’s a way of life,” he said. “We develop our minds, hearts, bodies and souls to become a better man when our time is up. The young guys on campus are at the beginning of their journey and need the most guidance. We must welcome and help them in any way possible. After all, they are our brothers.”
The Boys to Men program has held four events so far: Tiger Prep Day, two Formation Periods and a Mass.
Formation Period is a new, 45-minute period added this year to the schedule every Tuesday and Thursday. Its intent is to connect students to the school’s mission.
“While I’ve only been on the big campus for a few days now, Holy Cross is truly a family,” fifth-grader Mike Taylor said. “I’ve gotten to know my big brother as well as my fifth-grade brothers very well. Formation Period has helped me make these connections. We’ve had discussions, played dodgeball, listened to music and have grown in our faith.”
Each pair of brothers picked up a “middle brother” for Mass. Students from the current eighth-grade class (’23) were assigned to join one of these pairs. They then participated together at Mass, which was highly appreciated by the faculty and staff trying to carry out the school’s mission.
“One of my favorite parts about our mission of educating the whole man is watching our young boys grow into the men that God has called them to be,” said Juliane Watson, middle school English teacher and daughter of a Holy Cross alum. “Teaching our 12th-grade students to pass on the traditions and mission of Father Moreau to their younger brothers is at the core of educating hearts and souls.”
The blue and gold at Holy Cross today connects to the first students in 1849. It’s a family that seniors will never feel detached from because the mission and legacy will continue. Already, the Boys to Men program has been a huge success this year by helping fifth graders to feel more comfortable, eighth graders to grow from “Boys to Men” and seniors to enjoy their final ride as role models.
Logan Puissegur is a senior student council member at Holy Cross School in New Orleans.