Eighth-graders and teachers face off in annual volleyball game

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The eighth-grade class was dressed from head to toe as Disney characters ranging from 101 Dalmatians and Lilo and Stitch, Russel from the movie "Up" and Mickey and Minnie Mouse. The teachers were dressed in American-themed outfits: red, white and blue honoring the upcoming Winter Olympics.

"The more outrageous the costume is the better," Kate Harry said.

Harry, the athletic director of Our Lady of Lourdes Interparish Catholic School, was refereeing the school's annual eighth grade vs. staff volleyball game Friday.

The game, a tradition since 1990, was the final activity for Catholic Schools Week.

Before the game started, the eighth-grade class was confident. Many students were holding brooms to symbolize that they were going to sweep the game, along with chants of, "We ready for y'all," from the tops of their lungs. The rest of the student body cheered, "Go eighth grade," as they sat in the gymnasium bleachers, awaiting the start of the game. Students also held signs supporting the class.

After the eighth-grade students entered the gymnasium, the room exploded with noise. Each team said a Hail Mary prayer before their first 11 players stepped onto the court.

The teachers started with the ball and were the first on the score board.

"We enjoy making fools of ourselves," said Crystal Harrison, a second grade teacher.

The teachers have won the annual game for the past six years, which gave the students more motivation to try to win.

"All we wanted to do was win, because not only would it have been fun, but it is something that not many previous grades have done before," George Nickolaus, an eighth-grader, said.

The game ended with the teachers winning 2 sets to 1.

"We have been waiting to participate in this game for the past nine years," Meg Duncan, one of the eighth-grade players, said. "We have been planning to have our theme be Disney since we were in the sixth grade."

On top of the much-anticipated volleyball game, students took part in other community-building activities for Catholic Schools Week, like writing letters to veterans, reading to younger children, volunteering at a food bank and praying novenas for their local bishop. All of the activities are meant to help the students grow in their faith.

"Catholic Schools Week allows for all Catholic schools to come together and celebrate Catholic education," Callie Baker, an eighth-grader, said.

Coming together was a common theme this week for the eighth-graders, who will be moving on from Our Lady of Lourdes after graduation in May.

"This friendly competition allows for the school to come together one last time," Nickolaus said in reference to the volleyball game.

Christi Baker, Callie Baker's mother, said the students and teachers look forward to the game each year.

"The second semester is always bitter sweet," Christi Baker said.

Denise Smith, a physical education teacher, said the students love to participate in the annual game.

"They vote to have this game each year, adding to the tradition of Catholic schools week," Smith said.

Supervising editor is Tynan Stewart

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