By Bridget Ruffing, ’22
Classes are officially in full swing here at Thomas More College, as the freshmen bravely embark on their journey through Euclid’s Elements and the seniors commence work on their theses. Everyone has put their best foot forward, cracking open their new books with vigor and energy. But as Friday night brought this first week to a close, it was time to relax and have some fun.
The current situation surrounding the Covid-19 virus has required the community to take some creative measures to ensure everyone’s health and safety, and the Student Council worked hard to provide on-campus social events throughout the weekend. The festivities began after dinner, and as the sun began to set in the late August sky, the new tent on the school’s piazza sparked to life with glowing twinkle lights and flickering candles.
Soon, the evening air was filled with laughter, cheering and bingo calls. Students enjoyed soda pop and snacks while they waited with bated breath for just the right numbers to be called, hoping to be the first to cry out “Bingo!” and win one of the many cash prizes being given away. In TMC’s characteristic manner of fun and misadventure, students were faced with the unique challenge of a shortage of bingo chips. Given the restrictions placed on sharing these markers, the participants got creative: within minutes, the winners were celebrating cards filled with all manner of interesting placeholders, from safety pins to rocks.
As the night drew on, the stakes and the rewards were raised, with Student Council Representative Andrew Larivee, ’22, calling for increasingly difficult-to-achieve forms of bingo. In one round, players had to achieve three bingos all going across the card, each one right below the other. The final round, with the greatest cash prize, required a complete card blackout of the winner. The odds fell in the favor of freshman Maddy Sullivan, ’24, who enjoyed herself thoroughly and confessed, “I was very surprised to win!”
The student body had to take a rain check of sorts for the Apple Festival meant to occupy Saturday afternoon, but the dreary, grey skies and intermittent drenchings served to encourage a studious attitude. Everyone still enjoyed a well-deserved break, however, with hot coffee beneath the tent, accompanied by a wide range of fun flavors and whipped cream.
Sunday more than made up for the previous gloomy weather, bringing crystal-clear blue skies and a snappy, invigorating breeze that whispered Autumn is just around the corner. Students gathered in the sunshine to talk, enjoy soft folk music playing throughout the piazza, and sample from a variety of individually portioned apples, cheese, cider and beer.
“I enjoyed trying all the different kinds of apples,” said Junior Torrey Culbertson, ’22, “especially as a native of Washington state, where apples are one of our main exports. It was a nice way to get ready for fall and enjoy the sunshine.” She added: “This weekend has been exemplary in bringing us all together again—or, for some of us, for the first time—especially after such a long absence from campus.”
With the outbreak of the pandemic early last spring, the students both on the Merrimack campus and in Rome had to depart and finish their semester virtually. This separation was keenly felt by the entire school, and it has been heartening to see the community come back all the stronger afterward. The events of this weekend stand as a testament to Thomas More College’s commitment to Christian charity and fellowship, and the sacrifices joyfully made by all to support the common good of keeping everyone safe and healthy.