The mythical ‘W’: An interview with Father Storey

Fr. Storey, President-Principal of STH, delivers announcement of the total amount raised throughout the Round Up campaigned. Students raised over $520,000 breaking the previous years’ record beyond expectations. (Eagle Photo)

March 3 will be remembered as one of the greatest days in the history of St. Thomas High School. 

The resilience and resolve of the Class of 2017 put to rest the frustration of classes past and proved Round Up to be more powerful than ever before. The legend of Wednesday is now a reality. This gift should not be taken for granted, however.

I talked with Fr. Storey to find out exactly how we were able to finally get Wednesday and how the legend came to be.

The possibility of Wednesday this year was, quite literally, the perfect storm. Storey explains that while taking Wednesday off is usually within the realm of possibility every year, we usually do not have enough legal off days because the school usually has to cancel days due to weather. This year, however, was different.

“We have to have a certain number of legal days, and Mrs. Criaco figured out a way that legally, because we did not get any weather days this year, that we could make Wednesday work,” Storey says. “It meant that we had to be more focused on the weather and be sure to get every day in. Once that became a possibility, I knew this was going to be an incredible Round Up.”

Even though Wednesday was a distinct possibility, Father thought that we should earn it ourselves.

“I wanted to make a goal that was hard to obtain… I figured if they got $20,000 over the record, why not [give them Wednesday]?”

The promise fulfilled a long-standing, unintentionally empty claim from Fr. Storey. Little does the school know that Storey used to be the Round Up coordinator before his days in the administration.

He was, simply, the Mr. Johnson of his day. And his impassioned promise to the school during a rally one day in 2007 started the accidental legend of Round Up. “I did something really stupid. I said, ‘If you guys break the record by 25k, you deserve Wednesday.’ I meant that honestly and passionately,” Storey said.

That got the student body motivated and excited. However, the promise was impossible to fulfill.

“We broke the record that year by 28k, and there was a roar of ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday.’ I looked at Fr. Huber, and he looked at me, and he said, ‘We can’t do it.’ So it started with a heartfelt promise that I couldn’t back up… but I eventually did” Storey said.

10 years later, Storey is making good on that promise. And he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. “Mrs. Criaco deserves a lot of credit. I think she has figured out how we can do it every year as a reach goal. It would be great to offer it every year,” Storey said.

When Storey offered Wednesday, he didn’t know if it could be achieved. He did know one thing, however. “If we get Wednesday, I think this will be the greatest Round Up ever,” Storey said.

So, by proclamation of the president, this entire era of Eagles can take credit for the greatest success in the history of Round Up. Actually, no they can’t. Storey gives all of the credit to the seniors.

The senior Round Up board.
The senior Round Up board.

“I always say that it’s the senior class and the Round Up board that determines if it’s a success. We have had really outstanding senior classes that have consistently said, ‘We are not gonna let this ball drop,’” Storey said.

Throughout this Round Up season, the class of 2017 has been motivated by the fact that the past fourteen classes have consecutively broken the record. We did not want to be the first class in a decade and a half to come short.

Moreover, we saw the opportunity to make a lasting impact on the school by achieving Wednesday to be an indispensable way to improve the lives of future Eagles. Storey recognized this motivation in a poignant way.

“Where you were in June, and where you are today… are day and night. Your maturity level, your ownership, your ability to lead… has gone leaps and bounds. This class eight months ago does not break the record. Now, you guys have the leadership to get us there… I tip my hat off to you guys,” Storey said.

Ryan is the Student Body President of St. Thomas High School. Outside of Student Council, he is a state-champion speaker on the Speech and Debate team, an anchor for the Eagle Broadcast Network, and a well-below-average basketball player.