Five Holy Cross high schools gathered together on the campus of St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas for the 2016 Holy Cross Conference for Student Leaders June 15-19. Forty students, including eight from Notre Dame High School, participated in the conference, sponsored by the Holy Cross Institute at St. Edward’s University.

Recognized for their leadership potential by their individual schools, the students were encouraged to build a community that went beyond their schools and learn what it means to be Holy Cross leaders. This was done through team-building activities, sharing school traditions, sightseeing, prayer, and socializing with members of the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Throughout the conference emphasis was placed on Blessed Fr. Basil Moreau’s vision of Holy Cross education. By visiting the campus of St. Edward’s University, the students gained a greater appreciation for the sacrifices made by members of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Meeting and talking with Holy Cross congregation members proved to be a highlight for both the students and adult chaperons.

According to the philosophy of Fr. Moreau, educating the hearts and minds of students is different in each individual community. An important aspect of the conference was gaining an appreciation of the traditions and activities of each school. Students from each school shared their best practices and traditions that made their school unique and each gained a greater appreciation for Holy Cross schools as a whole. The students agreed that they were able to take away valuable ideas that they could implement during the coming year. In the end the students agreed that although each school was distinct, they shared much in common and were proud of their collective Holy Cross Heritage.

While participating in the conference the students built a strong community through a variety of activities including a day of service in the Austin area, a banquet celebrating St. Andre Bessette, enjoying ice cream at Amy’s, bowling, masses, evening reflections, and the Holy Cross Olympics. The students quickly made friends and found it difficult to say goodbye when the weekend came to a close, but through a variety of social media they have been able to maintain those friendships further strengthening their Holy Cross bonds.

Kara Marshall, a senior at Archbishop Hoban in Akron, Ohio, said, “I loved getting to meet people from other Holy Cross schools. Forming small groups allowed us to mingle and share ideas about how to improve our individual schools. Even though we live all across the country, the tradition of Holy Cross makes us similar.”
Perhaps Katherine Flaherty from Holy Cross High School in Waterbury, Conn., summed it up best when she wrote, “This conference has been the most unique experience I have ever had. I learned much about Holy Cross, my faith and myself.”

The Holy Cross high schools participating were:

  • Holy Cross School, New Orleans, LA
  • Holy Cross of San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
  • Moreau Catholic High School, Hayward, CA
  • Notre Dame High School, Sherman Oaks, CA
  • Saint Francis High School, Mountain View, CA

Notre Dame High School students participating were Liam Gallagher, Andrea Garavaryan, Ally Kracoff, Erin Neil, Derek Ruedy, Kristin Siewert, Luke Thomas and Lauren Wilson.