Activities / Clubs
Our clubs revolve around academic, artistic, recreational, and social justice themes. In addition to our athletic teams, we have math and forensic teams that compete throughout the state.
Every year the list of clubs changes, based upon the desires of the students, as well the strengths and talents of the faculty and staff moderators. Given the dedication and involvement of our faculty and staff, there is no doubt that if a student wants to take part in a club that is not offered, he only has to ask, and that club can be created!
The Art Club is the inspirational palette from which young men at SLS can paint their unique world. More than just paper and colored pencils, the Art Club is a gathering of creative minds that share a common appreciation for all forms of the visual humanities, including sculpting, woodworking, painting, sketching, and much more. By working to foster individual artistic skills, the SLS community is sculpted into a colorful place for all.
Band at St. Lawrence Seminary High School is an elective course that meets four days a week, Monday through Thursday, throughout the school year. It is open to any student who has previous experience playing brass, woodwind, or percussion instruments, or who has an interest in learning how to play an instrument but has never played.
The Band has a regular enrollment of sixty or more students who, through class instruction and outside help, develop performance skills and confidence. The Band appears and performs at all home basketball games, a Christmas Concert, Wisconsin School Music-sanctioned contests or festivals and a spring concert.
In addition to the large ensemble, we have smaller ensembles that are able to perform for other activities. String, clarinet, brass, mallet, or keyboards may perform before the Christmas Concert in various places near the Chapel. A Pit Orchestra created from the larger group compliments our musical stage productions. Strings, brass, woodwinds and percussion also assist as music ministers for and during liturgical celebrations.
Students may earn letters in Band. Students earn points toward a letter by performing outside of class. For instance, liturgy or pep band involvement earns points. In addition, students can earn even more points by placing at interscholastic competitions, including if they qualify for the State Competition. Seniors who have actively participated in Band for three years are also eligible for a letter. Finally, the Musical Director may award a letter for significant contribution to the Music Department.
The music department plays an important role in service to the St. Lawrence Seminary High School community and has received many compliments from clinicians and adjudicators for the fine quality of music and preparation of student musicians.
The Bike Club was created to foster an appreciation of cycling among young people. Because cycling is a lifetime sport and a resurging form of sustainable transportation, the club focuses on fun, fitness, safety and basic bike maintenance. Students are required to wear helmets when riding off campus and on all club rides.
Students ride on area country roads as well as a network of off-road mountain bike trails right on St. Lawrence’s expansive campus. Additionally, the club takes occasional trips to area parks that have miles of trails with challenging terrain.
Many students bring their own bikes and equipment. However, the Bike Club keeps and maintains an assortment of bicycles and helmets for any student to borrow for club rides or independent leisure.
Choir at St. Lawrence Seminary High School is an elective course that meets four days a week, Monday through Thursday, throughout the school year. It is open to any student who has previous choral experience or who is interested in learning to sing.
The Choir is comprised of forty or more young men in grades nine through twelve, who receive instruction in class or outside help developing their performance skills and confidence.
The Choir appears at many liturgical functions. During the Advent Season they prepare and perform music at local convents, and a Christmas Concert for the St. Lawrence community, parents, faculty, staff, alumni and the local community. Singing for and greeting the sisters at local convents, or residents of nearby assisted living centers warmly is a long St. Lawrence tradition and creates fond memories for countless people. The Choir also performs for Wisconsin School Music-sanctioned contests or festivals. Finally the Choir closes their year with a spring concert.
Students may earn letters in Choir. Students earn points toward a letter by performing outside of class. For instance, singing at liturgy or in a concert earns points. In addition, students can earn even more points by placing at interscholastic competitions, including if they qualify for the State Competition. Seniors who have actively participated in Choir for three years are also eligible for a letter. Finally, the Musical Director may award a letter for significant contribution to the Music Department.
The Choir is an important service component to the St. Lawrence Seminary High School community and receives many compliments on the quality and preparation of music performed.
The International Club consists of students who informally study, different nations of the world. The purpose of the club is to cultivate an appreciation for the wide variety of nations, peoples and cultures in the world, as well as to expand knowledge about many places in the world, especially places that do not receive a lot of attention.
Students plan and present information (historical, political, economic, geographic and unusual information) about a featured nation using posters, pictures, handouts and other creative means. Attendees may also ask questions of presenters. After the presentation, students propose five nations as possible subjects for the next meeting. Attendees vote on the nominated nations and the one receiving the most votes becomes the subject nation of the next meeting. One or two students then volunteer to plan the next presentation.
National Honor Society
The local chapter of St. Lawrence's Honor Society is affiliated with the National Honor Society of Secondary Schools. The Rector annually appoints a Chapter Advisor, who may serve consecutive terms. The Rector has the right to approve all activities and decisions of the chapter, which extends to the selection and dismissal of members.
The Rector also appoints five voting faculty members who, along with the non-voting sixth member, the Chapter Advisor, comprise the faculty council. The faculty council meets to consider selection and non-selection, dismissal and other actions.
Membership is an honor bestowed upon a student. No student has a right to be selected for membership. Selection for membership is based on outstanding scholarship, character, leadership, and service. The selection of each member to the chapter is by a majority vote of the faculty council. Candidates must have been in attendance at St. Lawrence for one semester.
The local chapter considers only juniors and seniors for membership. The minimum requirement is a cumulative grade point average of 3.30. The faculty council may change the required cumulative grade point average according to the norms of the Society.
While the academic criterion is important and is considered first, membership is not extended on the basis of grades alone. Three other criteria are used: leadership, service, and character.
- Leadership roles can be exercised in terms of offices the student has held in school and in other organizations. Leadership also includes that which exists outside elected positions.
- Service can be defined in terms of the value of contributions the student has made to school, classmates and the community, as well as the student's attitude toward service.
- Character encompasses such things as cooperation with school administration, honesty, reliability, truthfulness, courtesy, and respect for others. Students who have been on probation or have a series of disciplinary occurrences are considered poor candidates for membership. The faculty council may conduct a survey of academically eligible students to obtain information regarding service and leadership activities. Such a survey is not an application for membership and does not guarantee selection.
The English Department at St. Lawrence Seminary High School works together to offer students the opportunity to read and discuss books beyond those that they read for class, an idea that was student generated.
Some students read a few chapters a week which are discussed at the weekly meeting, while others read faster and, after discussing the first book, take another one from the books that are offered. Each grade has its own club with age-appropriate books.
The selections cover a variety of books. Some are classics, like The Grapes of Wrath (U.S.), The Lord of the Flies (England), Crime and Punishment (Russia), The Stranger (Algeria/France), or The Count of Monte Cristo (France). Others are more recent classics, like Pedro Páramo (Mexico), Siddhartha (Germany/India), One Hundred Years of Solitude (Colombia), The Name of the Rose (Italy), or Midnight’s Children (India).
We try to add a new book each year. Some recent additions have been The Kite Runner (Afghanistan) and The Rule of Four (U.S.).
Some reading club meetings feature as many as thirty students exchanging views, while other meetings may be just one student discussing a book with the reading club advisor.
There are times when the majority of the students in a class are all reading the same book at the same time, so that they can talk about the book together all week, not just at the reading club meetings. They also encourage each other in their reading.
The reading clubs are an opportunity for reading improvement for the students, as well as a chance for them to widen their knowledge of the literary world.
Student Government consists of the Student Council, class officers, and the Student Spiritual Life Committee.
Student Council officers are elected in the spring of the preceding year in accordance with the Student Council Constitution. Prior to the election, each Student Council officer candidate will prepare and deliver a speech before the student body on his own behalf.
At the beginning of each year, each class, except the freshman class, conducts elections for a Class President, Vice-President, Student Spiritual Life Representative and three Student Council Representatives.
Freshmen have elections during the second quarter, after they have had a chance to get to know their classmates. The student council functions as a forum for the student body to demonstrate and practice student leadership.
In September, St. Lawrence Seminary High School students elected to leadership positions are commissioned during a prayer service. During the service, the Rector asks the newly elected leaders to respond to three questions:
- As a class officer or student council officer, are you willing to serve your classmates by humbly accepting the leadership entrusted to you?
- Are you able to recognize that the good that comes through your efforts is really the power of God within you?
- Are you resolved to cooperate with the leadership of St. Lawrence Seminary High School in order to build a community based on faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and respect for each individual?
The newly elected leaders are presented with a Tau Cross made by Br. John Willger and his students in woodshop. The Tau was a favored symbol of St. Francis, and signifies for the community a desire to be servant-leaders like St. Francis.
In late November, after the freshman class elects its leaders, the Student Council President presides at an evening prayer in which the freshmen leaders are commissioned. Again, these student leaders are asked to commit themselves to serve the community and are presented with Tau Crosses.
Hilltopics (School Newspaper)
As part of the student publications program, students may join the staff of the school magazine Hilltopics. Hilltopics has been published as the school’s magazine since 1965.
Currently published six times a year, each issue of Hilltopics is loaded with updates about happenings on campus. There is a wide variety of news, spiritual, sports, and entertainment topics covered in every issue.
A student staff, led by a senior editor-in-chief, organizes each aspect of the publication. With guidance from faculty supervisors, students choose article topics, assign and write articles, take photographs, lay out each issue electronically, and distribute the paper.
The student magazine is available by subscription for parents and families of current students, as well as benefactors, alumni, and others interested in the school. Many parents have commented that it is an excellent source for keeping up with what is happening on the Hill. Admissions recruiters also find the publication helpful in showing prospective families what the student body is like and the types of activities that often occur on campus. Anyone interested in subscribing to Hilltopics may contact Mrs. Katie Daane.
The St. Lawrence Seminary High School yearbook, the Laurentian, has been published since 1963. The yearbook is a record, in pictures and text, of a particular academic year. Each yearbook covers the scope of a school year. In addition to a section of student portraits, the yearbook also covers academic life, faculty and staff, clubs and organizations, student life, spiritual life, sports and numerous aspects of daily life at St. Lawrence, all revolving around a chosen theme for the book.
Students create page layouts, take photographs, write articles and captions, and do various behind-the-scenes jobs to produce the yearbook, which is distributed in May of each year. Staff members learn how to use current technology, such as digital photography, scanners and publishing software, as well as learn how to work together to meet deadlines, plan ahead and be creative.
“Yearbook is an exciting group activity. You have to depend many times on other people to complete the job. I am grateful for the dedication of many staff members who make it possible to finish the book. Together, we have a lot of fun making the book and then enjoying the finished product for years afterward.” Vincent Dang (’08).
Forensics is one of the more popular co-curricular activities at St. Lawrence Seminary High School. There is a very wide range of activities students can compete in, from extemporaneous speech to dramatic interpretation. There are individual and team events.
The minor seminary has a long tradition of success in Forensics, including four WFCA Division III State Championships—three in the last four years—and fifteen consecutive top-ten state finishes. During the last ten years twenty-five students have been state champions or runners-up in their events.
The forensics program provides students with the opportunity to develop and improve their public speaking skills. This is an opportunity to develop oneself as a confident, skillful public speaker. In addition, the individual who is able to communicate well often has a distinct advantage over the less well-trained speaker in many areas of society. Participation in forensics and demonstrated dedication to improvement as an orator are essential elements for the success of the program, both for the individual student and for the forensics team.
The forensics season lasts from January through April. During this time, students compete in various tournaments and festivals. The moderator determines those students who are to be entered in each competition. The seminary high school is affiliated with the Wisconsin High School Forensic Association (WHSFA), the Wisconsin Forensic Coaches Association (WFCA), and competes in the Wisconsin Flyway Conference.
The requirements for earning a letter in forensics have been established so as to recognize both superior achievement in forensic competition as well as commitment to the goals of the program. A student may letter in Forensics by earning a gold medal or two silver medals at the WHSFA State Festival, a trophy at the WHSFA State Tournament, two trophies at two tournaments in one season, one trophy and a medal at the Flyway Conference Meet, or a semi-finalist award at the State Tournament. In addition, a senior who has participated in at least six festivals or tournaments in each of three separate years may be awarded a letter. Finally, a student may be awarded a letter at the discretion of the coach. Students who do not meet the criteria to letter may be given other awards, at both the varsity and junior varsity levels. In years subsequent to lettering, meeting the lettering criteria will result in the award of a bar. Students who are members of the Forensic team for four years will receive a four-year award at the end of their Senior year.
The Math Team offers an opportunity for students from all classes to test their mathematical aptitude against students from other schools in the area. The only requirement for participation is an interest in mathematical problem solving.
Meets take place monthly, with the hosting school writing the test. Students from each school form eight-man teams, with no more than four seniors per team. The teams take four individual fifteen-minute tests and one twenty-minute team test. Students are judged on an individual level, and the three students with the most points from each grade receive medals for their achievements. Team scores are then added, and plaques are presented to the three teams with the most points.
A spring conference math meet among schools in the Wisconsin Flyway Conference caps off the season. Writing the tests and hosting the meets rotates among the schools. Each meet prepares the students for the conference challenge and the chance to Bring Home the Gold!
"It is fun to meet students from others schools and to compete against the best in the area." John Go (’08).
"Math meets make you think out of the box and quicken your ability to solve problems." Kyle French (’08).
"A nice reward for all the hard work in math class." Michael Brannan (’11).
Venturing is a youth development program of the Boy Scouts of America for ages fourteen through twenty. The purpose of venturing is to provide positive experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. St. Lawrence Seminary High School is the chartered organization for Venturing Crew 9778 of the Bay Lakes Council in the Ledge to Lakes District of the Boy Scouts of America. Because scouting encourages so many values parallel to those espoused by our school, such as leadership, character, responsibility, and faith, we find it is a natural fit and a great opportunity for our students.
Venture Scouting at St. Lawrence is open to all students, but is generally dominated by those who have been involved or are currently active in scouting back home. Scouts may hold dual membership in our Crew and their Troop back home, allowing them to stay active and involved in scouting and continue with their badge-work while attending St. Lawrence. Many students have completed their Eagle Scout Service Project during their time here. The graduating class of 2007 had seven Eagle Scouts out of a class of forty-six, or about one in every six or seven students!
The Crew holds meetings on a regular basis and plans two or three major outings each school year. Camping, rock climbing, canoeing, and hiking are popular choices, but any group activities that encourage exploration and discovery are appropriate. The scouts are encouraged and expected to do most of the planning and preparation for these activities and are supported by an adult advisor. Outings are often opened to the general student population if additional space is available, which can generate greater interest in membership the following year.
Because our students are involved in so many different activities on weekends, it can be difficult to schedule more than one off-campus weekend campout per school year. Additional opportunities to camp are offered on our sixty-five acres of undeveloped and partially wooded land that is directly adjacent to our campus. This allows students to participate in tent camping and related activities, yet come and go to as needed to fulfill other obligations on and off campus during the weekend.
“Venturing Scouts creates an opportunity to get off the Hill and have some fun with your classmates… and to get out and experience nature.” Tim Plants (’08).
“Venturing provides a window to nature. The program allows for time to relax and vacate from the constant reminders of school. I have many friends who do venturing with me, so they add even more to the experience. The time spent working to set-up the tents is well worth the fun we have throughout what typically is a two-night stay.”
Carl Colosky (’10).
The Activities Director, in coordination with the Dean of Students, arranges various field trips throughout the year. Teachers, staff, supervisors and parents serve as chaperons to various sites and programs. Most years there are field trips to Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks games; special exhibits at the Chicago Field Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Milwaukee Planetarium; canoeing, rock climbing and plays such as The Lion King and Cyrano.
Regular trips to the Fox River Mall, near Appleton, provide an opportunity for students to purchase things off the school grounds, and at least one Sunday a month, an opportunity is provided for students to sign up and go to a movie at a local movie theater.
The Movie Club is comprised of a group of students that enjoy watching movies. They meet once a week to discuss and select movies for the viewing pleasure of the school. Movies are shown every Friday and Saturday night in St Anthony Hall and also on a large screen in the auditorium.
The Cooking Club, open only to seniors, aims to introduce members to the fundamentals of cooking during their monthly meetings. The seniors seek to build on the fundamentals, like how to cut foods properly and safely, and work toward more advanced activities, like creating specialty foods and exploring unique ingredients. Members are responsible for developing the meal choices for the meetings, preparing the meals, and then they share the meals with one another.