Success with the Holy Cross Moot Court Team at Nationals!

During winter break, instead of skiing or playing videogames, the Holy Cross Moot Court Team headed to the American Moot Court Association’s national tournament in Baton Rouge, Lousiana!

Arriving in Lousiana several days before the tournament I, as well as the seven other students who earned national bids, practiced our oral arguments in the southern warmth and humidity – a pleasing change from the harsh arctic weather that plagues the North East in the winter months!

Continuing Our Pursuit of Rigorous Education and Cultural Awareness 

Despite the intense focus on practice and preparation for competing on the top stage in undergraduate moot court, the team approached the location of the tournament as an opportunity to further educate themselves. Seeking to always maintain the Holy Cross commitment to cultural awareness and rigorous dedication, we ate authentic food such as cajun fish dishes and jambalaya, visited historic monuments, and toured the national WWII museum!

A Review of the National Competition

After the first day of the national competition, Holy Cross advanced half of their teams to the second day of oral arguments – an impressive feat when competing against the best programs in the entire nation!

At the end of the competition, Holy Cross pulled off the fantastic feat of having three students receive top orator awards.  Amber Jon ranked in at first place for the top orator competition! Further, William Hamilton also placed fourth in the top orator rankings! Also, Willem Mcgee also received a top orator award!

Reflection 

Although I personally failed to advance to the second day of competition, I viewed the tournament as an experience that will make me a better moot-courter for the next two years! I cannot wait to hit the ground running for next year’s competition, where I hope to make it to nationals again!

 

The eight members of the Holy Cross Moot Court Team who all earned bids to the national tournament by winning at regional tournaments.

Christmas on the Hill!

Christmastime at Holy Cross is one of the best times to be a part of the campus community. From dorm halls holding door decorating contests to the chaplain’s office and school groups offering services for students who celebrate Hannukah and Kwanza, there is something to do for students from all sorts of different backgrounds.

As students engage in spreading Christmas cheer by decorating their dorm rooms the school puts on major events that the whole community takes part of. First, there is the annual Christmas tree lighting where students partake in Christma carols, hot cocoa, cookies, and pictures with Santa Clause during the celebration of lighting the campus Christmas tree in front of the historic O’Kane Hall! Then there is the “Festival of Lessons and Carols” where the whole community squeezes into Saint Joseph’s Chapel to sing Christmas songs deep into the night!

Despite the deep connection of Christianity to the celebration of Christmas, one does not have to be a practicing Christian to be part of the campus cheer during the season. Whether Jewish, Muslim, or non-practicing, the true essence of Christmastime at Holy Cross rests in everyone’s love and respect for each other. We come together as a community to celebrate every unique individual that makes Holy Cross such an amazing place for college.

Saint Joseph’s Chapel where the popular Festival of Lessons and Carols is held.
The clock tower of O’Kane hall sporting festive snow and icicles
The Nativity Scene set up before the entrance to the historic O’Kane Hall.

Going International with Holy Cross!

Who would’ve thought that their undergrad would send them on an all-expense-paid trip that wasn’t part of a study abroad program? Well, that’s just what Holy Cross did! As a member of the Holy Cross moot court team, I was sent to the Fredricton, New Brunswick Moot Court Regional!

Now, I know Canada isn’t the first image that comes to one’s mind when we hear the word “international,” but it was still an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade away for anything. The bus ride up with my fellow mooters talking about our semester and future career plans is a memory that I will cherish forever.

Arriving in Canada, the team was treated to the luxurious Lord Beaverbrook Crown Plaza hotel. Upon entry, we were created with beautiful marble staircases and an elegant pool that we were certain to put to use. Waking up after our late arrival, the school treated us to an all-expense paid breakfast at the hotel that made sure we were ready to compete later that day.

The Moot Court Regional Competition was held at Saint Thomas University, a liberal arts school in Canada. As this was the last competition of the season where a team could snag a bid to nationals, there were tons of teams from powerhouse moot court programs such as Yale University, Saint Thomas University, Patrick Henry College, Liberty University, and of course yours truly, College of the Holy Cross.

The competition was fierce, with only two out of five Holy Cross teams making it to day two of the competition. After one of my teammates was knocked out in the first round of day two by Yale University, my partner and I were all that remained of Holy Cross. Our match in the Sweet Sixteen was intense, the three-judge panel was fierce in their questioning, and our opponents, a top Saint Thomas team, were just as good if not better than us; we edged them out winning the round 2-1.

In the round of the Elite Eight, we faced off against a very talented duo from Liberty University. As the entire Holy Cross congregation sat in the back watching the back and forth from the two teams in front of a five-judge panel no one could tell who would come out on top. Even after giving what I believe to be the best rebuttal of my moot court career I was still incredibly nervous about the results. As the entire team sat in the auditorium for the results I was so nervous I was shaking. Then all of a sudden the head of the competition announced that we had won 3-2, moving on to the next round — We had qualified for the National Tournament in New Orleans.

I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe that we had made a run through what was most likely the fiercest regional tournament of the year. I was so grateful for my coaches and teammates who had helped me reach this point. There was no way I would’ve achieved this feat without all their help and support. There’s only one thing left to say: Go Crusaders!!!

My semi-finalist award that signifies my qualification to nationals that I will cherish forever.

 

The elegant Crowne Plaza Hotel that Holy Cross sent the moot court team to.
The beautiful capital building of New Brunswick.
A close-up of the New Brunswick capital building right across the street from our hotel.

 

 

Thanksgiving at the Cross!

It’s that time on campus! The brisk Worcester winter has settled on campus as we all crank up the heat in our dorm rooms and trade out the sweatshirts for our heavier winter jackets, hats, and gloves. Switching out or ice coffees and teas for hot coffee and chocolate from Cool Beans and Cafe Babel, the winter spirit really is flourishing on campus!

A staple of wintertime on the Hill is our annual Thanksgiving dinner at Kimball Dining Hall! This year’s meal included turkey (of course), mash potatoes, gravy, squash, cranberry sauce, rolls, salad, corn, apple cider, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and vanilla ice cream! As I had moot court practice later that night that our captain decided that we would all have a team Thanksgiving dinner before we headed off to practice our oral arguments.

Due to Kimball Thanksgiving Dinner being so popular, the moot court team arrived 15 minutes before dinner began to get to the front of the line. As we waited for dining services to put all the food out a line began to form behind us that looped all the way around the entire dining room! Filling our plates up with a variety of traditional Thanksgiving food we quickly hurried off to our 18 person table where we all feasted, stuffing ourselves with food till we could barely move.  Eating and laughing about funny moments between the team members, time quickly flew by, forcing us to hurry to our practice with pumpkin and apple pies with ice cream on our plates. Our coaches met us laughing, asking us why none of us brought a pie for themselves. Just as the Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated the friendship and community between the two peoples at the first Thanksgiving, the student body celebrates the friendship and community that permeates throughout the Holy Cross campus.

Kimball Dining Hall where the majority of campus gathers to eat meals.
A picture of the pumpkin pie Holy Cross students were treated to at Thanksgiving Dinner.

What Am I Thankful For?

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have decided that it would be a fruitful exercise for myself, as well as any prospective students, to discuss why I am so thankful for my Holy Cross education.

At the expense of sounding cliche, I am so thankful for all the friends I have made so far at my time on the Hill. I could have never imagined the amount and quality of friends I find myself having now during my studies. Actually, being unable to make any friends at college was one of my biggest, if not the biggest, fears I had the summer before I came to campus for the first time. However, such fears of mine were greatly misplaced. I first met my two closest friends during Fall Orientation, and we have stuck together ever since. Furthermore, through my classes, living situation, extra-curricular activities, and a plethora of social events, I have made more friends than I could have ever imagined.

These people I have become friends with over the past year and a half have greatly contributed to the improvement of my self-character, something that I will be forever thankful for. All the memories and life lessons we have taught each other, or have received together, will never leave me.  As I toured, researched, and considered the College of the Holy Cross as a destination for my undergraduate studies I had constantly heard everyone talk about how the Holy Cross community was so friendly and caring; thinking that much of that could be chalked up to marketing. However, I can testify that such language is not marketing, but simply the truth. Administrators, students, professors, and even maintenance workers all hold relationships that lead to a loving, caring, and joyful community on the Hill that is a once in a lifetime experience.

I am so thankful that I am surrounded by such a great community that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  If making friends or having a great community around you is a must for your undergraduate experience, I highly suggest becoming a part of the Holy Cross Family.

A Group of Friends that Will Never Break Up

 

A First Year in Review

With the year winding down (or maybe not in the case of final papers and exams) I have decided to reflect on all of the contents of my first year as a crusader.

Starting out the year with knowing absolutely no one on campus I had no clue how my first year at college was going to be. Would I make friends? Would I enjoy my classes? Would I stay at Holy Cross after my first year was over? If I could travel back in time I would tell past-me that the answer to all of those questions was a resounding yes.

Some of my best friends are those who I first met during fall orientation.  As I discussed with our friend group last night, while we’ve only known each other since last August, it feels as though I’ve shared a lifetime with them already. Through classes and extra-curricular activities such as mock trial and moot court, I made friends that have impacted me in ways that I never thought were imaginable. When people claim that the Holy Cross community is like a family, they aren’t just saying that to sound cute, they really mean it.

College classes were my second biggest concern. Looking back at all my courses, I can say that I enjoyed every single one so far. All of my professors were dedicated to seeing their students succeed in their classes. And while the course work at Holy Cross is very rigorous, with the right amount of dedication and effort anything is manageable.  The class content has always been interesting and engaging, and I can say that because of my first year of Holy Cross education I have become both a better student and citizen.

I almost laugh at myself when I think back to the time when I thought there might be a chance that I would transfer from Holy Cross at the end of my first year. I wouldn’t trade away any part of my first year at Holy Cross for anything in the world, even those stressful nights studying for exams or writing papers. The friends, the memories I’ve made with those friends, and everything else I experienced during my first year has made a lasting impact on me.

My experiences at Holy Cross have changed me for the better; I wouldn’t trade that away for anything.

My first-year home, Hanselman Hall.

A Campus Away From Campus

While Holy Cross has a wonderful campus with essentially unlimited extracurricular opportunities, I do have to admit that sometimes you develop that need to get away from campus for a few hours. Thankfully, the college has its very own retreat center less than 25 minutes away!

Holy Cross’s retreat center, the Joyce Contemplative Center, presents students with an amazing opportunity to get away from what can sometimes be a busy campus and simply slow things down to reflect on life. Located on a hilltop that overlooks gorgeous hills and a waterway, the JCC always offers an amazing sunset for students to look at! Most of the college’s retreats are held at the JCC. There are retreats for first-year students, the LGBTQ+ community, as well as a variety of other retreats that offer amazing opportunities. I definitely recommend trying to get to the JCC at least once during your first year at Holy Cross!

On a snowy day in February, I and my Montserrat classmates piled into school vans at Hogan to make the journey to the JCC. While pulling up the driveway our gaze was met with a beautiful contemporary building that just screamed: “forget about all your classes for an hour and just relax!” In the snow and cold, we all dashed to the entrance where we were greeted by a cozy crackling fireplace and a spacious dining room. On the left side of the building, there were hotel rooms for overnight retreats and there was a beautiful fully glass contemplation room that overlooks the surrounding nature located in the back of the building where we ended up performing our group presentations.

The main attraction for students is not just the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the escape from coursework. No, what do college students love almost more than anything else? FOOD of course! The JCC is renowned for dishing out some of the tastiest meals every single crusader has ever experienced in their lives. My meal was no different. With chicken parm as the main course with fresh veggies, salad, pasta, and garlic bread as sides I was stuffed. Oh wait, did I forget to mention that they also have freshly baked cookies for dessert?

Whether it’s for the retreat, the beautiful building, the serene campus, or the food; I can’t recommend going to the JCC at least once during your freshmen year!

An aerial shot of the Joyce Contemplative Center during the fall
A view of the deck of the JCC that overlooks the surrounding nature
Take a virtual tour of the JCC!