St. Joseph’s Academy students and their dads gathered on campus October 6 for Father-Daughter Day 2019. The event is hosted each year by the SJA Dads’ Club. This year’s theme was The Best Kinds of Fathers Raise Academy Daughters. Freshman Maria Hargrave created the winning theme and t-shirt design.
The day began with a prayer service led by Michael Brice and his daughter, Mary Wells, in the Academy Student Center. Stevie Toups and daughter Shelby shared their perspectives on being a Redsticker and her dad. Ron McDaniel and his daughter, Sydnee, presented St. Joseph medals to the seniors.
Stevie Toups told the gathering that when his oldest daughter, 2012 graduate Stephanie Toups, moved to New York City to pursue a musical career, the first thing she did was find a church she loves and good friends. “No one forced her to do that,” Toups said. “That’s just something that was in her that she knew needed to happen. Those are the kind of things that you can get from the strong faith foundation at the Academy in addition to the academic excellence.”
Shelby advised the girls in attendance to take advantage of every opportunity the Academy affords. “Be it a project, studying abroad, a mission trip or even service hours that you’re unsure of, those are some of the best times you’ll have,” she said. “While the challenges may seem great right now academically, rest assured you will be ready for whatever you decide to do once you leave SJA.”
Fathers and daughters enjoyed lunch prepared by SAGE Dining Services, featuring pulled pork, barbecued chicken, broccoli, salad, potato salad, roll and cookies. Following lunch, dads and daughters teamed up for fun and games, including basketball, volleyball, cornhole, bocci ball, horseshoes, ladder toss, giant jenga, connect 4, tic-tac-toe and checkers.
Senior Allie Krousel said she enjoyed spending quality time with her mom’s boyfriend, with whom she has a special relationship. Krousel lost her dad three years ago. “I can never truly put into words how much Colby means to me,” she said. “No one could ever replace my father, but I trust Colby to be the male figure to guide me through life as my father figure. I love him more than words can describe, and I hope someday he will be willing to walk me down the aisle as my father.”
Krousel said the tradition of Father-Daughter Day is particularly meaningful to her. “I feel like sometimes as teenagers, we tend to forget how much our parents truly do for us,” she said. “We love them and appreciate them, but we only really focus on the big things they do for us instead of every single thing they do just to show us that they love us and want to be there. Every single moment with your parents matters because one day, you might not have that anymore. I hope that because of this tradition, everyone can seize the moment and spend as much time as they can with the people who love them the most in this world.”
Freshman Katie Rabalais enjoyed the day with her dad, Scott. “I really enjoyed the various activities we got to do with our dads such as basketball and frisbee,” she said. “I think Father-Daughter Day is important for SJA because you can never spend too much time with your dad.”
Freshman Emma Lanclos participated in Father-Daughter Day with her dad, Jason. “I enjoyed playing volleyball with my friends against my dad and a bunch of other dads,” she said. “I also enjoyed taking pictures at the photo booth with props and costume accessories. I think it is an important Academy tradition because it is fun to have times together and create stronger bonds together.”
Senior Victoria Sanchez-Galarza said she especially enjoyed the opportunity for her dad to meet her friends’ dads. “This day celebrates the relationship between fathers and daughters,” she said. “I also think that it is very important to keep this tradition because it provides an opportunity for people to meet other. I loved that my friends and our dads played volleyball for a few hours, and it was really fun.”
Freshman Alexia McNemar said she had a great time spending the day with her step-father, David Ford. “Getting your dad involved in things makes you and your dad happy,” she said. “Playing basketball with my step-dad was a really fun time because I don’t get to do that with him. Also, some months he’s out of town a lot for work. So seeing him play with me was fun.”
The Father-Daughter Day planning committee was chaired by Chip Magee. He was assisted by committee members Ron McDaniel, Brent Alonzo and Michael Brice. Meg Gerald is the Dads’ Club moderator.
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Meg Gerald