Behind the Scenes at Battle of the Blocks

Clare Ravizza, Staff Writer


Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Fall Fest Week.

At Notre Dame Academy, during mid-October when the air has that crisp chill and routines have finally settled in, Fall Fest Week provides a thrilling break for the otherwise typical school normality.

Throughout the week, various themed dress days and other activities all seem to lead up to two things: the Fall Fest Dance on Saturday night and Battle of the Blocks.

On Friday afternoon, for two hours, the entire school gathers for Battle of the Blocks (BOTB.)

Every year, a theme is chosen by the BOTB committee, but it remains a secret to the rest of the school until BOTB commences with the opening act.

From there, three games begin: The Battle of Wits, the Battle of Skill, and the Battle of Creativity. Representatives from each homeroom block duke it out to claim the victory for their block.

Almost all Notre Dame Academy students know the basics of Battle of the Blocks, but how many know how it all began?

Many years ago, in her Star Wars-decorated room located in the very corner of the priory, German teacher Frau Laaksonen had an idea.

Battle of the Classes, an event that pitted all four classes against each other. Although it was predominantlypredominately Senior-dominated, the game became a fun, thrilling fixture of Fall Fest Week.

So much so, in fact, that Frau realized she could no longer organize all of it on her own. She welcomed aboard Señora Dory, a Notre Dame Academy Spanish teacher, and the two became a Dynamic Duo.

A few years later, the homeroom program was implemented, and Battle of the Classes became bigger and better. Battle of the Blocks was born.

In Battle of the Classes, ten lucky participants were chosen from each grade level, with forty students total competing for the title. However, in BOTB, almost 90 students participate from the eleven homeroom blocks.

BOTB has now become such an undertaking that Frau and Señora Dory have also brought on two additional Notre Dame Academy staff members onto the team. Ms. Strong and Señora VandenWyngaard both help with one game.

Four faculty members, however dedicated and hardworking they may be, cannot run BOTB alone.

“Our ideas, games, and theme ideas come from the dedicated group of students that work countless hours and meet several times with us in the weeks leading up to Fall Fest,” Señora Dory explained.

The student crew begin to meet at the very start of the school year, and in addition to planning the games and theme, they film videos, choreograph the dance, and work backstage to help BOTB run smoothly.

In fact, Señora Dory admits, “We could not do [Battle of the Blocks] without those students!”

Although the student committee behind BOTB includes volunteers from all four grade levels, it is typically spearheaded by seniors.

Frau even brought to light one senior in particular: Corrie Campion. A St. Matthew School graduate, Corrie works dedicatedly to make Battle of the Blocks a success, along with the other hard-working students, Frau said.

In years past, the student crew has brought forth themes such as The Hunger Games, Twilight, The Sound of Music, and even Star Wars.

Although many have speculated, this year’s theme is yet to be revealed. Frau and Señora Dory said they are are sure everyone will enjoy it.