The highlight of my week comes at 11:25 each Tuesday and Thursday. As I make my way to a sun-lit corner of campus known as the Moyer Theatre lobby, my heartbeat picks up and my joy ratio surges: It's time for homeroom!
But this ain't your average homeroom. This one, which I share with Vice Principal Emily Hagelgans, is populated with Jesuit freshmen, delightfully colorful pieces in the gorgeous mosaic that is the JHS student body. Jesuit freshmen combine adolescent energy, a rambling curiosity, openness to new experience, and undeniable joie de vivre. Our homeroom also has a bit of a taste for adventure and a delightful appetite for the absurd.
Sure, this year has been tough. When our homeroom was wholly online (late August til mid-February, remember?), these frosh dug in and talked about growth mindsets and the electoral college and the evil of racism... all before we had actually met in person. They were game, but it was still Homeroom-on-Zoom. A bit stilted, a bit awkward.
But since we have been back on campus, we have shared travel stories, educated each other on cultural dishes (menudo soup!), and they have helped educate me on teenage sleep and homework schedules. And now, we have a band!
That's right: Somehow, inexplicably, organically, almost miraculously, these 16 brand-new-to-Jesuit frosh have formed the H-Cubed Orchestra (Hagelgans-Hogan-Homeroom... get it?).
It all started when Adrian asked if he could play the Moyer lobby piano for us. Then Townsend revealed that he actually plays a little guitar. Hudson and Ruben both claim to have been drummers in their youth (or at least "percussionists"), and it turns out that Audrey and Claire and Melanie can really sing!
From there, all it took was to assign Angel and Bobby as large-and-in-charge backup singers, give Evan a cowbell and everyone else a tomato-maraca, ask Sagarika join in on the elusive "remote flute," and find Taniyah a real, honest-to-goodness tuba (!). Bruno Mars' "Grenade" has never sounded so... unique. Or so much fun.
If you don't believe me, check out the video evidence. For this performance, we even attracted an audience which included JHS Choir Director Kristen Caldwell (and her homeroom) and Band Director Ken Hoffman.
The H-Cubed Orchestra rocks. They may not win a Grammy, or even make it on TikTok, but man, do we love these freshmen. Their spirit and off-beat energy give this old rock 'n roll principal something to look forward to, every Tuesday and Thursday, during a year that has been one long, strange trip indeed.
Paul J. Hogan