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A Guide to Mission Week

One of the hallmark weeks of the Rockhurst school calendar is underway. We have a complete rundown of what’s already transpired and what’s still to come.
Scott Hopke
Senior class president Colin Komenda talks about the Carmalite Convent in San Andres Itzapa in Guatemala during the Mission Week kickoff assembly on Feb. 23, 2024. The convent is where senior class donations will go to during Mission Week. Many members of the senior class stayed at the convent during their senior service projects in Guatemala, which is why they wanted to support the group.

With the end of the third quarter quickly approaching, some might be excited for spring sports, warmer weather, spring break, and many other fun spring activities. However, here at Rockhurst, all eyes are towards Rockhurst’s annual Mission Week. 

Stretching from Feb. 26 to Mar. 1, Mission Week is a time for the Rockhurst to come together, while at the same time helping great causes. Each grade level has a different organization that their donations, which are gathered through a variety of different ways, are going to.

For the juniors and seniors, most are already quite familiar  with their organizations. The seniors’ organization is the Carmelite Sisters. Located in Guatemala, the Carmelite Sisters housed current seniors who did their senior service projects in San Andres Itzapa.

The juniors’ funds are going towards Habitat for Humanity Appalachia, located in Robbins, Tenn. Many juniors and seniors are familiar with this organization from their Total Ignatius Experience (TIE) Appalachia trips. 

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The sophomores and freshmen may be less familiar with their organizations. The sophomore class will be raising money for the Ronald McDonald House International. This organization is aimed towards helping support families with sick children in their times of need. The freshmen are raising money for Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS). JRS works to aid refugees and others in need to rebuild and restart their lives. 

The most direct way money is donated during Mission Week is through the daily homeroom money collections. Each morning during the week, homeroom teachers will pass around an envelope that the students are able to put money in to benefit their grade’s charity. 

Another, similarly direct, way money is collected is through Penny Wars. Over the course of Mission Week, a table is located in the Barry Commons where students have the opportunity to put their spare change into different jugs of coins. Each grade level has two jugs: one for pennies and the other for “silvers” (silver coins). Pennies add to the grade level’s total raised while “silvers” subtract from it. At the end of the week, the coins are counted and added to each grade’s total donation count.

Events for Mission Week began even before Feb. 26. The first event was the Sophomore Dodgeball Tournament on Feb. 13. Exclusive to the sophomore class, sophomores were able to register for just $5 and compete in teams of up to five members in a cutthroat tournament. Winners received Chick-Fil-A gift cards as their reward. All proceeds went to the Ronald McDonald House, giving the sophomores an early start on their donation efforts. 

Starting Feb. 21, students were able to purchase dress down wristbands for $10. This wristband allows them dress down for the whole of Mission Week. Each day, there is a different theme that students can dress to. These themes include PJs, jersey day, middle school, hoodie, and “class choice.” Not only do students get to dress down, but the money raised from purchasing the wristbands goes towards each grade’s respective organizations.

Money raised from the next event did not go to one specific organization. The Orange Chicken Taste Contest, hosted by the Ni Hao Club, took place immediately following school Feb. 22. This event is a Mission Week staple and a favorite of some students.

“It’s a great way for people to enjoy orange chicken and our community, while also donating to a good cause,” said junior member of the Ni Hao Club Sam Reintjes.

While Mission Week did not officially start until Feb. 26, the Friday before was the real launch for the event. On Feb. 23, students attended the Mission Week kickoff pep rally. Also on this day, classes made their the Mission Week prelections, and seniors gave their senior service presentations. Capping off the day, the Album Club hosted a revival of the long-time Mission Week staple, the Battle of the Bands.

The Battle of the Bands disappeared from the Mission Week calendar more than a decade ago. The event was halted due to its increasingly diminishing attendance, and general lack of interest. In this “reunion tour” of sorts, five different bands, all including at least one Rockhurst student, competed against each other. The winning band, Decisive Drama, earned the opportunity to record two songs at a professional studio. The event as a whole raised almost $900 for Mission Week causes.

The first events of the official Mission Week take place on Tuesday, Feb. 27, both located in Main Gym. During an end-of-the-day assembly, Rockhurst students will be able to see the exciting battle between students and staff in the annual Faculty/Student Basketball Game.

“I always enjoy the game,” said junior Truman Lawhead. “It’s a great opportunity for the students to bond over wanting to beat the teachers.”

Later that same day, students from Saint Teresa’s Academy, Notre Dame de Sion and Rockhurst will all be able to attend the annual Volleyball Night. Players from STA and Sion will have their shot at beating Rockhurst players. Buckets will be placed at admissions where students from all schools can donate to the Mission Week causes.

Wednesday, Feb. 28, Rockhurst will host a Casino Night for students. Taking place in the dining commons, students can try their hands at gambling (legally, of course). Volunteer students will be the dealers, and anyone can attend for a small admission fee, with 20 chips costing $1. Chips are counted at the end of the night to determine the winner.

Thursday, Feb. 29, the Scholar Bowl Team will host Trivia Night. On top of this, the first showing of The Drowsy Chaperone will take place in the Rose Theater.

Finishing off Mission Week, the final event, the Mission Week Board Game, will take place Friday, March. 1. This event is a Rockhurst student favorite and an iconic tradition. All four grades compete against each other in various small competitions. In prior years, these competitions have included dodgeball, an eating contest, and trivia. The winner of each competition gets to move their grade’s game piece–a student dressed in a unique costume–up spaces on the massive makeshift game board. The amount of spaces they move up is determined by a roll of a huge die.

“The board game was my favorite pep rally last year. I’m so excited for it,” said sophomore Ryne Hallier.

While Mission Week is always a fun event for students and faculty alike, the larger purpose it serves is embedded in many of the daily practices. From the saying of the Prayer of Generosity to reminders of the organization each grade level is supporting, the mission of giving back is never far from the consciousness of any member of the Rockhurst community.


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About the Contributor
Charlie Porto
Charlie Porto, Staff Reporter
My name is Charlie Porto. I am a junior, and this is my first year on the newspaper staff. English has always been my favorite subject at Rockhurst, so writing for the newspaper has always been an enticing idea. Newspaper has also been interesting to me as a way to further dive into the Rockhurst community. I have never had the opportunity to interview people, so I’m looking forward to the chance. Outside of newspaper, I am on the cross country and tennis teams. In addition, I am involved with the Ignatian Leadership Program, and I am a candidate for NHS. This year I hope to have successful sports seasons and get more involved with the Rockhurst community. I also hope to further improve my writing abilities, and my ability to perform interviews and edit stories. I’m looking forward to building connections with the newspaper staff and helping spread stories across Rockhurst. Beyond high school, I’m not sure what I would like to pursue in college and later on in a career, but a career involving English has always interested me.
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