The Value of Freshmen Mission Week

By Traci Kaninberg, J1 student

Mission Week: the week-long break Assumption students take from their mundane daily routines each year during the second semester. However, Mission Week proves to be much more than a week-long suspension of classes for the students of Assumption High School.

Assumption students have been forced to memorize and recite a simple phrase time-and-time-again: “I am a valuable person, I have dignity and worth, and what I do makes a difference.” Outside of theology classrooms, this mantra is purposefully implemented into the planning of Mission Week, with each grade-level focusing on a different aspect of this phrase. The line “I am a valuable person” lays the groundwork for Freshman Mission Week, as students focus on the value of self.

Freshmen start off the week by traveling to various areas of the Louisville community with their homeroom on Tuesday. Mission Week coordinator Jody Schaefer shares her thought process within planning the field trip locations. “We wanted to go to places the kids didn’t frequent.” From NuLu to Old Louisville, each of the nine homerooms visit a small business, religious center and service organization, focusing in on the uniqueness of smaller communities within the greater Louisville area. Schaefer continues, “Everywhere you go, there is a need in a community; there are those same aspects of community in their city.” Freshmen fulfill these needs by collecting items for a local service organization in their homerooms prior to the trip and delivering these items personally during the trip.

Wednesday maintains an internal focus, as Freshmen hear from speakers within the halls of Assumption. Upperclass women grow ecstatic upon the mention of the name Angie Fenton- one of the key speakers on Wednesday. Erin Banzon ’22 shares how Angie’s message impacted her experience on Wednesday. “Going up and sharing my thoughts after Angie Fenton- I started crying. Angie was my favorite part- I liked her “I am enough” message.” Angie reminds Freshmen that despite labels other people may try to place on them, each individual is unique, beautiful, and important in their own way. Schaefer goes on to share her thoughts on Wednesday’s message, “I love that they learn about the self- they need to be kind to each other and enjoy life where they are.”

As Mission Week comes to a close on Thursday, students transition from taking in wisdom, to applying that wisdom within the Assumption community through class-wide collaborative projects. Mission Week coordinator Elizabeth Cassady explains that as the week goes on, the focus on value in both the self and the community collide. “We decided to add the projects because the Freshmen received good content through the week; we wanted to provide them with an opportunity to share what they’ve learned.” Freshmen use their musical, artistic, and visionary talents to create pieces reflecting what they’ve learned relative to value. This allows them the opportunity to get to know other students in their class, utilize what they’ve learned, and to truly come together for the first time as not just a class, but a family. Senior leader, Kylie Wulf ’19, chose to lead because she wanted to relive her Freshmen Mission Week experience from a different perspective. “My favorite part about Freshmen Mission Week was bonding with my small interest group and everyone coming together to showcase our talents at the end.”

The impact of Freshman Mission Week is certainly not limited to the span of a week. Cassady goes on to share her favorite aspect of Freshman Mission Week. “I love to see the growth that happens on Thursday- it awakens Freshmen to who we are as an Assumption community. Freshmen who have wanted to transfer have decided to stay after Mission Week.” The impact of Freshman Mission Week is evident in each student’s unique experience throughout the week- with no two experiences exactly alike. Wulf describes Mission Week as “an imperative time to learn about Assumption, classmates, and oneself.” Banzon also shares that Mission Week changed her perspective in showing her that “everyone has their own troubles- you are not alone.”

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