Christ is risen, indeed! PA enjoys a long Easter weekend

Easter is a time for reflection and celebration. After a likely grueling 40 days of giving up something you love, you are finally allowed to partake in that thing again, which could put a smile on anyone’s face. PA students, however, have an extra reason to celebrate: Easter Monday. While most students have to drag themselves back to school on Monday after eating too much chocolate and finding too many eggs, the students of PA get to stay home. But why don’t most schools give Easter Monday off? Should they?

The Tabernacle in the chapel is surrounded by Easter Lilies to commemorate the beautiful season.

Mrs. Jendro, middle and upper school religion teacher, enjoyed her Easter Monday this year. “I had a cinnamon roll, some extra chocolate, watched a show, cuddled with my dogs, and spent some extra time in prayer,” said Jendro. She also expressed her delight in PA’s tradition, exclaiming, “I’m glad we get both Easter Friday and Monday off to celebrate and enter into Holy Week. It gives you time to go to services and relax after the business of Sunday.”

Considering her appreciation for the time off, it should come as no surprise that she’s disappointed in the fact that most students don’t get Easter Monday off. “Easter Monday gives you the opportunity to go see family. It’s such a shame that most students need to go back to school right after Easter.” Jendro does recognize the potential problem this could cause, however. It could open up the discussion about which religious holidays get time off. Jendro also expresses her concern about how most schools seem to treat religion now. “It’s odd to me that Easter Break is now called Spring Break and Christmas Break is now called Winter Break. Why do people think we just get random days off in December and April?”

We speak of the Resurrection of Christ to all.

Evelyn Hemler ‘21 possesses a different kind of love for Easter Monday, stating, “It’s a day off of school. How could I not enjoy it?” Similar to Mrs. Jendro, Hemler spent her Easter Monday relaxing around the house. “I stayed at home and watched Shrek. It was great,” she exclaimed. Helmer also expresses confusion about why most schools don’t get Easter Monday off, saying, “You can’t really go anywhere if you have to go back to school on Monday. It would make it hard to celebrate Easter with family, which is what most people seem to want to do.” Overall, she believes that not having Easter Monday off prohibits people from celebrating Easter the way they want.

Gage Pietrini ‘22 has very different views. “I mean, it’s a day off of school, so I don’t want to complain, but I really don’t think Easter Monday is that big of a deal.” Pietrini never does anything special for Easter Monday, admitting, “My family doesn’t really even do anything on Easter Sunday. The whole weekend just goes normally.” He doesn’t believe that other schools should give Easter Monday off, saying, “I’m happy to have the day off at Providence, most religious holidays don’t warrant days off in a public school, and I don’t think Easter should get special treatment.”

The light is finally flowing back into the chapel and shines proudly over the newly uncovered Crucifix.

While the day itself is enjoyed differently, one thing about Easter Monday seems to be universal at PA: everyone loves having the day off. Whether you spend the weekend at home, with family, or not doing anything at all, people at PA are undoubtedly lucky to have an extra extra long weekend to begin the Easter season.   

Carnaval, One and All!

Mardi Gras: A celebration known for its big parades, vivid colors, and beads, beads, and more beads. At Providence Academy, most people refer to it as Fat Tuesday: the last day they can indulge themselves in whatever they’re giving up for Lent. PA is a Catholic school, so it should surprise no one that many of its students and teachers celebrate Lent. The celebration of Fat Tuesday, however, seems to be more varied.

Dr. Hippler, upper school religion and philosophy teacher, enjoys extra dessert and television on Fat Tuesday. “The tougher your Lent is, the more you’re going to enjoy Fat Tuesday,” he said. “It’s called Fat Tuesday because, in France, it was the last day you got to eat meat. That was a big deal, and it isn’t supposed to be easy.” Perhaps the most baffling thing to Hippler was the idea of taking part in the celebration of Fat Tuesday without actually giving anything up for Lent. “It’s silly,” he remarked. “At the point where you’re celebrating the festival without the sacrifice, the festival becomes empty.” Hippler continued emphatically with this train of thought, stating, “Fat Tuesday is about enjoying things, but saying goodbye to prepare for something better. If Fat Tuesday isn’t that, then it’s it’s nothing more than a big party with pretty beads.”

Mrs. Heitzmann, upper school French teacher, has a different way of celebrating. “I have participated in Fat Tuesday in the past, but I don’t think there’s much to do anymore,” she claims. “I might be on my phone a little longer, but other than that, it’s just like a normal day for me.” She mentioned that, although she likes the idea of people coming together and celebrating, she believes it’s gotten out of hand. “It should be family friendly,” she stated, laughingly. Similar to Hippler, Heitzmann didn’t understand people celebrating Mardi Gras without giving something up for Lent. “It sounds controversial,” she says. “I think if you participate, you should give something up or work on improving something. After all, it’s such a nice time to reflect.”

Heitzmann also celebrates with her French classes. “We talk about the significance of the Mardi Gras colors.” Green stands for faith, gold for power, and purple for justice. She said that sometimes her classes will celebrate with a King’s Cake, a multicolored crown-shaped cake. Whoever finds the bead in the cake is crowned king or queen, and must bring next year’s cake.

Mae Monnette ’21 said that her family normally celebrates Fat Tuesday. “We get extra dessert at dinner, and we get more time to ourselves so that we can do whatever we’re planning on giving up.” Monnette doesn’t think that Fat Tuesday is a huge deal, but definitely enjoys the break in routine.

Gage Petrini ’22 had an entirely different outlook on the holiday. “I don’t celebrate Fat Tuesday or Lent,” he admits. “I never really got the point of it. How is me eating a bunch of chocolate and then giving [it] up supposed to help anyone?” The idea of celebrating Mardi Gras without giving something up didn’t bother him either, claiming, “You do you. I don’t see why people can’t enjoy themselves without giving something up.” Petrini finds the holiday useless, but he can’t blame others for enjoying it.

People celebrate Mardi Gras very differently. Whether you’re out late partying in colorful, beaded outfits, or simply enjoying some extra dessert with your family, it’s hard to deny the appeal of the celebration.   

The Teacher’s Pet

Almost everyone has had a pet at some point in their life. Whether it’s a dog, cat, hamster, rabbit, or even a fish, animals fill the homes of people around the world, and for a good reason. According to WebMD, having a pet can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels, boost immunity, and lessen anxiety and depression. With all of the health benefits, it’s no surprise that many schools are beginning to introduce more pets into the classroom. According to several mental health surveys, students today are more anxious than any other generation. With anxiety up, the stress-relieving help of our furry friends has been implemented. This goes beyond even small classroom pets, and many colleges now have pet therapy programs which temporarily bring in animals for the sole purpose of helping students de-stress. Colleges with successful programs include Yale, Oberlin College, and Fordham University.   

Jenny Shamla, former student at the University of Minnesota and practicing DVM believes that, if used correctly, pets can have a huge impact on students. “Classroom pets have numerous benefits,” Shamla states. “Not only do they help in terms of responsibility, but they can also help develop and maintain proper social skills.”


Shamla did, however, have a few qualms with how pets are usually implemented. “I don’t think people understand how much time and care certain pets require,” she says. “It can be a huge hassle for the teacher, and there can be many questions that people ignore, such as what to do with the animal during the summer.”

On the use of larger therapy animals, Shamla stated, “While there is always the concern of allergies and people being afraid of the animals, I can definitely see a future in the use of therapy dogs for students.”

While Providence Academy has yet to allow pets beyond fish, many students agree that it could be extremely helpful. Lily Cadwallider ’21 said, “I know several people here who desperately need some sort of stress and anxiety relief, and I think a therapy animal is the best course of action. I know they have tried and failed to do other things, and there is no beating the comfort of an animal.”  

Gage Petrini ’22 said something similar. “This school is extremely stressful; there needs to be some way to de-stress and I can’t think of anyone who’d be against a therapy dog.”

Like it or hate it, the health benefits of animals can’t be ignored. With classroom pets becoming more popular and more colleges making use of therapy dogs, hopefully the large amounts of stress and anxiety in schools will begin to decrease, and students can live happier lives.

Every Body Tells a Story

Forensic pathology: sounds confusing, right? To those who attended Dr. Mitchel Morey’s speech last Friday here at PA, the subject makes a lot more sense. Dr. Morey is a forensic pathology specialist; in other words, he studies causes and effects of fatal diseases, as revealed in conducting an autopsy.

Friend of PA, father of Billy and Greg Morey (’12, ’13), and a forensic pathology specialist, Dr. Morey has come to speak to Elise Sheehan’s science students several times over the years, but this was the first time he came to the Medical Club students to discuss a career as a forensic pathologist.  Dr. Morey’s talk shed some light on a career that gets very little attention. “I am interested in spreading the word on career paths in pathology and forensic pathology,” he stated. “Pathology is a major course topic in medical school, yet the career in pathology was not discussed. I learned about it doing a research elective in medical school.”

Studying the cause of death may seem morbid to some, but Dr. Morey expresses his love of the field, saying, “I enjoy exploring the functional complexity of the human body, more so when it affords critical information that could explain a person’s death;” such closure can be comforting to families grappling with a tragic loss.  However, he also expressed his annoyance with the misconceptions of his career, stating, “We now live in an era where various media often provide misleading views of forensics. Although I appreciate the enthusiasm generated, I find it frustrating clarifying what we actually do.”

Students interested in this area of study may also like to know that offices train autopsy technicians to help in the morgue, without going through the additional years of academic formation required, even after medical school, to be a forensic or clinical pathologist.  Wanting more people to get involved with the career, Dr. Morey provided several sources for learning more about it. “For those who want real information regarding forensics, I would explore the websites of the National Association of Medical Examiners and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. They both have quality information for students.”

A Heart to Heart as the School Year Starts

Parent. Teacher. Conferences. Dreaded by many, loved by some; teachers and students alike seem to share a love-hate relationship with this week. It is perhaps the only time of year when all students can visibly see how much work it truly takes to be a teacher just by the way they carry themselves. However, similar to doing a big project on a topic that interests you, a lot of work can be exhausting but enjoyable.

Almost all teachers agree that, no matter how good or bad the conferences themselves go, the sheer amount of them makes the week exhausting. Dr. Keiser, Upper School History and Religion Teacher, noted, “I normally have about 65 meetings. It’s constant.” He went on to say, “It’s just plain exhausting, and it doesn’t help that teachers tend to be an introverted lot.”  There are many things he wished were different in terms of the structure of the day, a longer lunch break and not having to go straight from teaching to conferences, but he firmly stated that he in no way dislikes the semi-annual meetings.

Mrs. Bevington, Upper School Science teacher, has a similar viewpoint. “I have 54 meetings out of 5 classes,” recounted Bevington. She takes it upon herself to be as open as possible with parents. “Parents are advocates,” she said. “They want what’s best for their kids, and they don’t know what goes on at school unless I tell them what I see.”  Bevington expressed a love for talking to parents, especially the parents of seniors. However, she too gets exhausted by the long hours of socializing. “It takes a lot of energy,” Bevington states, “Conferences tend to be emotional for parents, and therefore, are emotional for me.”

Both Bevington and Keiser gave positive reflections on the benefits of conferences, “It’s always better than I expect; some conferences end up being very enriching,” Keiser remarked. He, like Bevington, particularly enjoys conversing with parents about how their kids normally act every day in class. Of course parents are concerned about grades, but Keiser hopes one take-away from conferences is that parents and students can “Stop worrying so much about grades, and start to take delight in the learning.”  

Despite the exhaustion it causes, teachers seem to hold a certain appreciation for parent-teacher conferences. While parents only see how their kids act at home, many teachers believe the classroom often brings out the best of their students. When two people who each only see one side of a person come together, they both get closer to seeing that whole person. There is perhaps no better place to meet than the place that forms us: school.