With over 100 years of rich history, St. Joseph School Wilmette has a wonderful blend of historic traditions and new, contemporary customs established by our student and faculty community to enhance learning, development and spirituality.
Most all of our traditional events can be found on our school calendar, and include all school masses, church and feast day celebrations, fine arts performances and exhibitions, field trips, and commemorations and commencements.
Junior Kindergarten “Graduation”: Moving from Junior Kindergarten to Kindergarten is a big step for children. We honor our students’ successful completion of Early Childhood with a short, simple commencement ceremony complete with “diplomas” and stepping over the bridge, which has been a tradition at St. Joseph.
All Saints Mass: Our first graders prepare and perform a pageant about saints. Each student chooses a saint to portray, dresses as the saint for the mass and offers a short summary of their saint to the all-school congregation. This pageant of saints is a beloved St. Joseph tradition.
Living Stations of the Cross: During the Lenten season leading up to Easter, the fourth grade students present the Living Stations of the Cross, which depicts the crucifixion of Jesus.
May Crowning: This is a beautiful Mass where the second grade, who just celebrated their First Communion, attend Mass in their Communion dresses and suits, and present flowers to Blessed Mary. They also help conduct the mass, performing songs, readings and offertory.
May Crowning in the Garden: This all-school mass is celebrated in our very own Mary Garden. The eighth grade presents the Mass and each eighth grade student offers a flower to honor Mother Mary.
Student Art Fair: The students of St. Joseph School present their unique masterpieces, which are creatively exhibited around the school facility for friends and family to view and appreciate.
Athletic Banquet: St. Joseph teams and athletes end the season with a dinner honoring both the athlete and their family’s commitment to supporting our sporting events and athletes. The dinner recognizes both student athletes and coaches.
Christmas and Spring Programs: Our students shine as they showcase their musical talents and vocal expressiveness. Students not only sing, as our beginning Band and Concert Band also perform.T hese concerts are choreographed and directed by our own musical talent and teacher, Mr. Richard Pancratz.
Student Council Activities:
St. Joseph’s Student Council is responsible for both organizing existing traditional student events and establishing new ones with their peers. Some examples of events and projects led by the Student Council include: Pumpkin Carving Contest, Spirit Days, 12 Days of Giving, Peppermint Post Office, Boo Grams, and Jeans for Wishes.
Classroom Connect: Fifth grade students have partnered with other schools across the country to exchange letters, packages and emails and collaborate with their classrooms via internet. This opportunity allows children to experience a variety of cultures, values, and history across the United States.
Special 8th Grade Traditions:
- Graduation Dinner Dance: The seventh grade class and their parents plan, prepare, decorate and serve the eighth grade class and their families a formal dinner and dance. After the sit-down meal, the 8th graders are treated to a video tribute of their years at St. Joseph School. The 8th graders wear semi-formal attire and have a formal dance with their parent, which they have learned in advance with several dance lessons with a formal instructor. Following the student-parent dance, the dance floor and music is opened to everyone to celebrate.
- State Capital Field Trip: In the spring, the eighth grade students take a trip to the Springfield to visit the Illinois State Capital, the Lincoln Museum and other historic points of interest and attractions. The trip also includes a visit to Hannibal, Missouri to visit the home of Mark Twain and take a paddle boat ride down the Mississippi River.
- Six Flags Great America Amusement Park: A reward and celebration of their upcoming graduation, but led by their Math and Science teachers it incorporates concepts learned over the course of the year, such as algebraic formulas at work in calculating slopes, as well as scientific and physics models, such as speed and velocity.
- Chicago Architectural Tour: Our eighth graders visit Navy Pier, Millennium Park and other historic locations, including an architectural boat tour to learn about Chicago’s history and rich contributions to the field of architecture.
- Cantigny Field Trip: 8th grade students visit both the Robert R. McCormick Museum and the First Division Museum at Cantigny in Wheaton, Illinois. Robert R. McCormick, Cantigny’s benefactor, stated in his will that he wanted his estate to be used for the education, recreation and welfare of the people of Illinois. St. Joseph School Wilmette is honored to partake in fulfilling his wish and the students are offered a variety of educational experiences in subjects like the American Revolution, WWI, D-Day and WWII and other historic events.