From special events like holidays and reunions to more causal gatherings like date nights and family dinner, food is what unites people together and helps them celebrate their occasion. Mercy High School’s annual Welcome Picnic is no exception to this. To say that Mercy girls like food would be a gross understatement; Mercy girls LOVE food.
The Mercy Welcome Picnic gives girls the chance to bond with their classmates through multiple activities such as flag football, a water-balloon toss, kickball, and of course, picnicking. Lunch is not provided by the school, so friends must come together to build their own lunches for the day.
Many lunch tables take the potluck route, where every girl brings a lunch item to bring for her table to share. Girls may also bring a personal lunch if that is what they choose, but participating in a potluck adds more variety to the usually dull sack lunch that almost everyone ends up bringing on the normal school day.
Food items this year ranged from boneless buffalo wings to delivered pizza to countless bags of chips and popcorn. A small group of freshmen decided to take a more authentic approach and bring homemade rice and beans, along with pop and chips to share. Alexis Hernandez-Portuguez said, “Next year we plan to bring even more food like tortillas and nachos in addition to rice and beans.” These Mercy girls brought this unconventional picnic cuisine that added a little bit of flare to lunch.
A staple food item at most lunch tables is dessert. There was certainly not a shortage of sweets at the picnic this year, ranging from delectable brownies to homemade cookies to scrumptious scotcheroos. Sophomores Mia Shepoka and Sophie Harvart had a large assortment of baked goods at their table, but being true Mercy girls, they claimed they could have eaten more.
For most people, the hardest part of putting together a potluck is figuring out what the main dish should be. This year, Student Council decided to give out free hotdogs that were grilled by Mercy dads themselves. Even though lunch took place inside this year, the dads improvised by placing the grill by the Pine Street entrance doors and cooking out there. More than 400 hotdogs were cooked for the picnic, which was more than enough for all the faculty and students.
The volunteer dads included Mr. Shepoka, father to sophomore Mia Shepoka, Mr. McClellan, father of junior Macy McClellan, and Mr. Vankat, father of Molly Vankat and husband of Theology teacher Mrs. Vankat. Mia was excited to see that her dad grilling and said, “It was nice to see my dad getting involved in my school.” Overall, people were pleased with the preparation and the quality of the hotdogs, and were grateful for the free food.
The teachers also pull together to create a massive potluck of their own. Theirs may have been sightly more sophisticated than student potlucks, however, as Ms. Hahn’s watermelon feta skewers with mint and a balsamic reduction were among many other dishes. Mrs. Wessling’s homemade chocolate chip cookies were a favorite of both Ms. Regele and Ms. Hahn, as Ms. Regele commented that they are “the most delicious cookies in the world.”
All in all, the Welcome Picnic, in particular the picnic part of the event, was a smashing success. There was no shortage of laughs, food, or activities at the Picnic. This fun-filled day successfully set a positive mood for the upcoming school year as Mercy girls dive back into classes.