Gonzaga Preparatory School

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Looking Back @ 2nd Semester

But that was just the beginning of a visible shift as the community and school started to emerge from the pandemic. Suddenly there were sports—a dozen of them—that had all three seasons packed into just three months. Clubs met. Students gathered for retreats. Spirit week spanned two weeks. And yes, thankfully, in-person Baccalaureate and Graduation took place on our home turf of Bullpup Stadium.
After a semester of hybrid, cohorted half-days, school leadership determined it was time to kick the Digital Learning Dial up a notch and welcome students back to full days of classes. Synchronous teaching kept the cohorts of students connected and Prep continued to navigate creative ways to engage students, teachers, and staff. “After making the best of every stage of the pandemic, we were finally able to move to our ultimate goal in the fourth quarter when we were able to welcome all students back. Instantly life came back fully to campus.” said Vice Principal of Academics Derek Duchesne.
The pandemic turned high school sports upside down. Although traditional fall, winter, and spring sports leapfrogged and overlapped, dozens of student-athletes were
simply grateful to compete. Students played football in February snow, wrestled in Bullpup Stadium in May, and seniors finished school
before basketball wrapped up. Their dedication yielded 32 all-GSL first and second team honors, including football offensive MVP for junior Ryan
McKenna and Coach of the Year for his dad, Dave McKenna `88. Brian Munhall and Dennis Dougherty also earned Coach of the Year honors, and
Bob Cassano `82 was named Assistant Football Coach of the Year.
Pictured individually at top: Jaden Ortega `21 football, Campbell Seibold `21 girls soccer, Alaina O'Connell `21 girls soccer, Kyah Le `21 girls soccer, Jonah Brown `21 boys soccer, Matthew Kuester `21 boys tennis, Kate Palelek `23 girls tennis, Makenzie Kalua `21 girls golf, Turk Riggan `22 baseball, Brian Munhall, baseball coach of the year, Dennis Dougherty, boys golf coach of the year. Bottom Row: David McKenna 88, football coach of the year, Bob Cassano `82, assistant football coach of the year, Isaac Muniz `23 wrestling, Q'Veli Quintanilla `23 outstanding wrestler of the year, Josh Neiwart `23 wrestling. 2nd Row: Jake McIntyre `21 cross country/track & field, Emma VanGemert `22 track & field, Erin Ewers `22 girls soccer, Carly Walton `23 girls tennis, Juliet McFarland `23 girls tennis. Matthew Durkin `22 boys golf MVP. 3rd Row: Brock Molenda `21 baseball, Garrett Gores `21 baseball MVP, Zach Denker `21 baseball, Luciano Reynolds `22 baseball, Mike Cunneely `22 baseball, Tommy Kimmell `21 boys golf, Alex Cooke `23 boys golf. Back Row: Ephriam Watkins `22 football, Ryan McKenna `22 football offensive MVP, Jacyn Bamis `21 volleyball, James Franz `21 football, Liam Arnold `21 football, Daniel McKeirnan `21 football, Bailey Benson `22 fastpitch softball.
To pull off three successful seasons in the span of one was part adaptability, part miracle. Paul Manfred, Vice Principal for Athletics and Facilities was the busiest man on campus, arranging the ever-changing schedules and COVID testing protocols to keep coaches and students competing and safe. The WIAA recognized Manfred’s efforts by awarding him District 8 Athletic Director of the Year.
Bringing students back for full days was about far more than academics. Recognizing the need for students to connect while on campus was hugely important. “We worked to create fun, informative, spiritual and formational activities to promote social and emotional development of our students,” said outgoing Dean of students Peg Haun-McEwen. And so the last period of each day became time for line dancing, Spirit Olympics, spike ball, hula, courageous conversations, ASB campaigning, student Masses, club meetings, sports celebrations, and quiet study time.
Both before and after spectators were allowed to attend games, Gonzaga Prep’s Advancement Department put two-dimensional fandom on display with cutouts of all shapes and sizes. More than 200 cutouts hung out in the bleachers of Bullpup Stadium and in Scarpelli Gym. A few flat fans found their way into classrooms. The dogs were wildly popular. Huge thanks to all the alumni, families, and friends of Prep everywhere who stepped up to support Bullpups all in this fun, new way.
A shining example of logistics rolled out with full-day classes: Lunchtime. In February, students ate lunch in classrooms and the kitchen staff ramped up their operations, providing for-purchase sack lunches. And in the fourth quarter when all students were welcomed back to school full-time, the reach of campus became one of our greatest assets. Seniors, juniors, and sophomores ate lunch in Bullpup Stadium, and freshman gathered on the quad outside the Student Center. With the exception of just a handful of days, Mother Nature gave all of it her blessing.
Season 3 sports—basketball and wrestling—faced greater challenges because of the nature of indoor high-contact. To meet those challenges, Gonzaga Prep obtained a Department of Health waiver that permitted the school to become a COVID test site. Beginning in May, rapid tests administered by specially trained staff ensured the safety of student-athletes, coaches, and support staff. The tests also kept students from having to quarantine unnecessarily. No sports were paused nor games, meets or matches canceled due to COVID protocols in Prep’s sports programs, Manfred said.
From the outset, the Dean, ASB moderators, and officers knew there would be no way to contain Spirit Week styled as an Olympics to just one week. In April, Spirit Week celebrated two weeks of collaboration and competition. The seniors claimed the coveted Paddle, and on the way, they continued the tradition of school spirit at Prep.
Continued restrictions changed just about everything about Prep’s retreat programs. “We were grateful to have found creative ways to shine Christ’s light in the midst of the pandemic darkness and offer retreats on campus based on what we were permitted to do by the Regional Health District,” said Director of Campus Ministry Vanessa Mudd. The Search experience was postponed for 3 consecutive quarters, but as COVID restrictions eased, Campus ministry focused on reimagining this seminal experience for juniors and held three Searches in various locations around campus in February, March, and April.
OMNIA The 4th Annual Omnia Art Showcase again went digital, showcasing more than 100 submissions in black and white, color, photography, multimedia and 3D. Earning golds in each category: Hailey Landkammer `21, Anastasia Wagner `23, Andrew Nordhagen `21, and Erin Dougherty `21. Some of the original art is on display in the Murphy Library display cases.
CHOIR Choral music has been among the most challenging pandemic pursuits for students, yet Choral Music Director Keith Whitlock has led classes outside, in studio, and finally in front of a small audience. Jazz choir performed for family members at the annual Pops Concerts at the end of May.
BAND was the first musical pursuit to emerge for performances. Pep Band represented school spirit in a big way at football and basketball games when spectators were limited.
Led by Christian Service Director Elizabeth SlamkowskiDiTommasso, students had the opportunity several times during second semester to gather in small and large groups to engage in dialogue about how current issues are experienced within the Prep community. "Courageous Conversations" is part of an initiative across the Jesuit Schools Network that aims to provide resources that help students understand ways to become more inclusive.
The corner of Nevada and North Foothills began to change dramatically when Catholic Charities blessed and broke ground for the Gonzaga Family Haven in early February. The first-of-its kind project for Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington is a partnership with Gonzaga University, St. Al’s, and Gonzaga Prep. A total of 73 families experiencing homelessness will make it their permanent home by the end of the year.
Bullpup Stadium has played host to Masses in the past, and it did once again when the Gonzaga Prep community gathered on a windy but sunny May morning to honor all mothers in the traditional Marian
Mass. Fr. JK Adams S.J. presided and Prep mom Angie Feryn offered a reflection on motherhood — especially in the past year — that returned time and again to the reassuring words “be not afraid.”
In February, Gonzaga Prep began hosting Thursday free food distribution from Second Harvest. Knights and Ancilla stepped up to fill trunks and cars with food for families heavily impacted by the pandemic. The service groups also filled appointments for another successful Spring Blood Drive off campus at St. Al’s in O’Malley Hall.
PAT SEGADELLI authored and published a children’s book on the basics of economics, Gio and Banks. KAREN ROUND `91 organized meal delivery and routes for Garry
Middle School students, JENNIFER CHRISTOPHER led online women’s seminars with the Camino Institute. MACLEAN ANDREWS `08 coached two debate teams (seniors SHOBHIN LOGANI and CARTER DOMINGUEZ,
and sophomores SOPHIA MCFARLAND and GRIFFIN SATTERFIELD) to qualify for Virtual Nationals, which were held at the end of May.
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