Fall Fest Week: Twenty Years Old, Going Strong


Maureen Schick, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Fall Fest, developed by the administration as a replacement for homecoming, has a different meaning among most NDA students and staff than it would to any other school.

English teacher Carolyn Brown recalls how homecoming was first changed to Fall Fest when her first assignment at NDA was to “replace the idea of Homecoming.” That was 20 years ago.

According to Brown, homecoming for the students had “gotten completely out of control as far as out-of-school behavior,” and she was told by Principal Pat Clement to do anything she wanted to make the kids forget all about it.

That week, many new traditions were born at Notre Dame that have lasted for many years. Student Government planned something “fun” happen every day, and a lot of what they did then is still done today. For instance, they started with a prayer service on Monday with an outreach project, there were dress-down days, Mr. NDA, Powderpuff and Creative Dramatics shows (now Public Performance).

In addition, the entire school would go to the auditorium for half the day to have contests for the whole school. Mrs. Brown specifically remembers “Mrs. Hall being in charge of a contest where they ran down the auditorium steps and had to find something hidden in a bowl of pudding by plunging their faces into the bowl.”  This was a forerunner to today’s Battle of the Blocks where homeroom blocks compete against each other.

Most NDA students don’t seem to mind not having a homecoming, but rather, they embrace the idea of Fall Festival week. Senior Emma Neumeyer loves the idea of Fall Fest because it “really brings our school closer together as a community before we get to end the week with a great night.”

There is also plenty of student involvement that goes into the planning for the week. Student Government begins by tackling Fall Fest as a whole, but with so many different events to plan, they split into smaller groups. These include BOTB, planning the theme for the dance as well as the theme for the week, and the special days and events that go into the week.

Student Body President Josh Wiesner explains that “these are not limited to Student Government by any means. Many students get involved in one or more of the groups, and it’s amazing to see how much Fall Fest is the creation of the students.”

It goes without saying that this work is supervised by so many dedicated staff and faculty members at NDA who donate so much of their time to make it all happen. But, as Wiesner states, “Fall Fest is truly what the students want to make it.”

Wiesner explains that “Fallfest is so much more than a week with odd schedules, dress down days and a dance. This week is a chance for us all to come together as one Triton family and to not only have a good time, but to be part of something bigger than ourselves and help those in our community.”

Then the president added,  “It is events like these that truly set Notre Dame apart from other schools.”