Holy Thursday Footwashing Script Inspires Despite Snow Cancellation

Thanks to a snowstorm that caused school cancellations, the traditional Holy Thursday foot washing service did not occur this Holy Week 2016, but THE TRITONIAN thought you might appreciate the honesty and inspiration of the 12 participants in print.  Let us know if you do!


Jack Mickelson:  I am Jack Mickelson, and I transferred here this year, my junior year, from Shawano.  I represent all of us who have made that switch and walked into NDA knowing practically no one.  Transferring in the middle of your high school career is a major adjustment; friendship groups are already formed and people view you with skepticism.  WHY did this guy leave Shawano and come here??? However, I found that everyone at NDA was so welcoming and I am very happy to have met so many great people. In addition, NDA is a whole new culture of activities and demanding classes. I was happy to find so many amazing teachers, that were willing to work with me and get to know me better. Those of us who are new want to get involved, want to break into your circle of friends and contribute our talents to the school.  Will you wash our feet and take us into your lives?


Anabelle Xiong:  I know exactly what you’re talking about.  I am Anabelle Xiong, and I transferred to NDA last year as a sophomore.  You’re right, it is a very major shift in academic lifestyle!  It takes some time and a little patience, but the learning curve is tremendous.  You have to throw yourself into activities like you have done with theater and Destination Imagination and push yourself out of your comfort zone. And before you know it, you’re attached and linked into a new circle of friends.  You have to be a friend to have friends and I was impressed by your ability to adapt so quickly and put yourself out there. Even more important, you have evolved into a stronger, more confident person.  Thanks for joining our NDA community and bringing your talents to this school. I am so beyond happy to call you my friend and that you have transferred to NDA.  Yes, we will wash your feet.


Naira:  I am Naira Martin Gil, an international student from Spain.   I represent the students from all over the world who make Notre Dame their home for a year. . . or two. . . or three.  We will go back to our home countries having experienced your American culture, having learned to do things the way YOU do it and express ourselves the way YOU do. We have learned how American schools are more than classes and studying; you have a variety of activities–from music to sports to all kinds of clubs.  It is not easy being away from our families and friends back home, and, when we arrive here, many of you already have your circle of friends.  Most of us can not drive here in the U.S. and we depend on you for transportation as well as help with the language and cultural expectations.  We want to do things with you, be your friends, and miss you when we go back to our home countries.  We appreciate those of you who have invited us into your lives.  Will you wash our feet?


Anna Huntley:  I am Anna Huntley, one of your teammates in Destination Imagination.  In many ways I am like you because this is also my first year at Notre Dame.  However, I DO have some family connections here, not to mention living in America and speaking English since I was two years old:)  I admire all of you international students for being so brave, so willing to take the challenge of living and studying abroad.  We Americans need to be as accepting and helpful as you are brave and bold; we welcome you into our lives, into our homes, and we relish the opportunity to learn about your world and your culture. Thank you for joining our family!  Together, we will wash our feet.


Nick Haske:  I am Nick Haske, and I represent all the students whose limitation is visible.  After all, it’s rather obvious I have this “hearing machine” on the side of my head!  From being unusually tall or short to overweight to crippled to deaf–we are the kids who stand out, who appear “different.”  We are often self-conscious and realize we sometimes make YOU uncomfortable in our presence; we ache for support and understanding from our classmates and the staff.  How much we’d love to be “normal” like you!  The last thing we want is for our limitation or handicap to separate us from everyone else.  Too often, though, it does, and we travel through our days a little more lonely than we’d like to be.  Will you wash our feet?


Cassidy McGowan:  Nick Haske, you are an inspiration for us here at Notre Dame, as you have worked tirelessly to overcome challenges stemming from your hearing deficiency.  When I see you joyfully interacting with other students, when I see you teaching members of the Sign Language Club, which you started, and when I see how much self-confidence you have, I am amazed.  My job is to be a resource to students like yourself, but you have been a valuable resource to me.  Not only have you taught me Sign Language, but you have taught me how despite our visible differences, we are all deserving of respect.  Your strength and perseverance encourages us.  Together, let’s wash our feet.


Beaux Myers:  I am Beaux Myers, and I represent all of us who struggle with a limitation that others don’t see–a limitation that’s a handicap to our success and participation here at NDA.   Whether it’s a physical disorder like the hemophilia I have or a disorder like anxiety, autism, or dyslexia we often find ourselves struggling to keep up or having to limit our activities and involvement.  Sometimes our self-confidence is shaken because we can’t do those activities we’d really like to do, and others seem to be questioning why we don’t play sports, why we struggle in the classroom, or why we’re hesitant to do other activities, such as try out for the musical.  Basically, we have an invisible handicap that we don’t like to talk about or broadcast.  We ache for the support of friends, family, and teachers, and too often we don’t know where to turn when we don’t feel like we have it all together.  Will you wash our feet?


Maddie Halama:  I know what you’re talking about, Beaux.  I too have faced limitations–and have had to take a new approach to my love of sports. The number of times I told my story this basketball season is too high to count, and I often wished for a broken arm or a pair of crutches so my limitation was more obvious.  Thanks to all the concussions I’ve had, my participation in basketball and soccer has changed from being a player to being a manager and coach.  And even though I would love to be PLAYING, I’ve learned to appreciate the less public opportunities I’ve had, such as doing crazy handshakes with the starting line-up of the girls basketball team or coaching third-graders who think I’m a basketball.  From my limitations I’ve learned “little things DO matter” and the truth of that old saying:  “When God closes a door, He opens a window.” Together, Beaux, let’s wash our feet.


Sophie Harpt: I am Sophie Harpt and I speak for students with divorced parents. My parents got divorced when I was 4 years old. In a way, I am luckier than most in my situation because I was too young to understand what was going on at the time. My mom is now remarried, and my dad has a girlfriend he’s been with for several years. I have two half-siblings from my mom’s second marriage. Although I love the family I have gained from my parents’ second relationships, I sometimes find myself wishing my parents were still together. My older brother and I used to split our time between our mom’s and dad’s houses, but now I only see my dad a few times a month. Having divorced parents is not an easy thing to cope with, especially at a Catholic school. For years I’ve sat through theology classes where I learned that divorce is a serious sin. I am too scared and embarrassed to ask further about the Church’s teachings on these issues because of what my peers might think of my family. None of my friend’s parents are divorced, and I often feel like I have to deal with this alone. I wish I had someone to talk to who actually understood how difficult it is to grow up in a broken family. Will you wash our feet?


Dan Winkler:  Sophie, like you and so many others I am the product of a broken home.  In fact, my dad is totally out of my life and has been since I was a freshman in high school.  Unlike your situation of a blending of two families, mine is not such a happy re-establishment of “family.”  But, as the old saying goes, what doesn’t break you only makes you stronger.  We are the children with perseverance, who can learn from the tragedies in our lives and determine to make our own futures brighter, healthier ones.  Know that you are not alone, and always a part of the NDA family. Yes, we will wash your feet.


Madison Polack: I am Madison Polack, a sophomore who is glad to be at Notre Dame.  I represent all of us who are very involved, maybe even over extended, when it comes to athletics and extracurriculars.  Being an APP leader, a year-round soccer player, and an OCD kind of student–well, it all gets to me at times.  And yet, despite feeling all stressed out, I find myself signing up to be an IB diploma student!!   Why do I do this to myself?  Sometimes I wish I could relax and not feel so pressured. How do I handle this?  How do I balance academics and extracurriculars without going crazy?   Will you wash my feet?


Anne Fife:  I am Anne Fife, a senior who has learned the hard way that you can’t do everything you want to at NDA.  Ours is a high-pressured environment where it seems everyone is expected to make A’s, be involved in multiple activities, and always be happy.  It took me several years to realize I couldn’t be everything to everyone, and I urge you and others like you to prioritize your activities.  What is most important?  What is most important in shaping your future?   For me it meant sitting down and honestly thinking about what I wanted to do with my future. I knew if I wanted to get into a good school I would need to really focus on school and the clubs and activities that mattered to me, including soccer and student government among others. I had to realize that I couldn’t take part in every club that my friends were in or every after school event that they wanted me to join. It is hard, but once I was able to sort through what would limit me and what would help me reach my goals I was able to find my footing here in this competitive environment. I have worked hard at what I am involved in, and I am now going to a great school and playing soccer there. I trusted myself and that has made all the difference.  Yes, we will wash your feet.