Junior Aquinas Week

Since 2018, every new school year at St. Thomas begins with Aquinas Week, which is a week’s worth of games, activities, and college visits held at St. Thomas and Camp Aquinas. Aquinas Week is a great way for the students at St. Thomas to spend some time with each other outside of the classroom to bond and grow relationships with one another. During Aquinas Week, most of the student body goes to Camp Aquinas to have fun, compete, and meet new people. The rest of the students stay on campus to participate in various activities that the school organizes.
This year, most of the senior class, along with the entire freshman and sophomore class, spent Aquinas Week at Camp Aquinas, while the junior class remained on campus engaging in college tours, museum visits, and a day of unique classes to teach students new things outside of the common subjects. Although junior Aquinas Week was successful, I believe that St. Thomas can introduce new, different activities that could make the week more exciting, help students strengthen their relationships with their classmates, and prepare them for our future.
The first major change concerns the day where students engaged in classes like bookbinding, paper rocket building, and letter writing. Instead of offering these classes, St. Thomas should offer a practice ACT, similar to how they offer a practice SAT in October.
“While the activities that the junior class participated in on the first day of Aquinas Week were constructive, a practice ACT would be very valuable for our students in their preparation for college,” said Ms. Dunford, a college counselor at St. Thomas.
Giving a practice ACT to the junior class would give them much-needed practice for the real test, show them what they need to improve on, and inform them on whether they think the SAT or ACT is the most optimal test for them.

On the following day, students participated in service projects and college tours. Many juniors thoroughly enjoyed helping out in the community and touring prestigious universities. The only suggestion they had was to offer more college visit opportunities, as not every student received the chance to tour.
“These visits are an invaluable experience because it helps us decide where we will spend the next chapter of our lives,” junior Anthony Equale said, “I just wish they could have been offered to more students.”
Many others echoed the same message, as they all want to make the most informed decision on which university they will attend in the near future.
On the final two days of Aquinas Week, juniors visited Space Center Houston and the Holocaust Museum. Even though students found these trips interesting and informative, they truly believe that team-building activities and competitions like what they experienced during their freshman year of Aquinas Week would be more worthwhile. When interviewing the junior class about what activities they would like to see in next year’s junior Aquinas Week, many suggested house tournaments and competitions.
“A house tournament for the junior class rather than trips to various museums would boost house spirit, prevent busing fees, and strengthen the bonds of friendship with my classmates,” said juniors Max Dagley and Oni Mouton.
In fact, an overwhelming majority of the junior class agreed that they would most like to see a house tournament in next year’s junior Aquinas Week.

“It is absolutely something we could try next year, the bonds that could be formed through a class tournament would be a great way for the juniors to kick off the school year,” said House System Coordinator Dr. Green when asked about the idea of a house tournament.
Aquinas Week is a truly phenomenal and unique experience that no other school in Houston offers. It is something to look forward to as summer dwindles to a close and it can become even greater if it incorporates some ideas from the students into the schedule.

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