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Juniors, parents enjoy successful weekend together

Maureen Mullen | Monday, February 20, 2006

From late nights at The Linebacker to residence hall luncheons, more than 1,200 families of Notre Dame juniors spent this weekend at Notre Dame to take part in the events and celebrations of the 54th annual Junior Parents Weekend (JPW).

The tradition of JPW began in 1952 as a way to expose a student’s family to life at the University, and this weekend was packed with activities that highlighted spiritual, academic and social aspects of student life on campus.

“I thought it was a very well-run event, especially considering the number of people,” junior Sarah Benoit said. “It was really nice for my parents to be able to meet and visit with my friends. The events allowed us to relax and get to know one another – something you don’t always get to do during the hectic atmosphere of football weekends.”

The weekend began with an Opening Gala on Friday evening in the Joyce Center, where families socialized and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

Junior Roseanne DePaoli said she enjoyed the weekend’s events, despite a snowstorm that nearly stranded her mother in her hometown of Sheboygan, Wisc.

“It was a very well-organized event that kept us entertained all weekend,” she said. “[We] had a great weekend and my parents made it back home safely.”

Wintery weather in New England proved to be a problem for junior Laura Kelly, whose parents’ flight was rerouted to Detroit.

“They ended up having to drive to South Bend from Detroit,” she said. “We had a really fun weekend though. JPW is a great event.”

Saturday’s events featured collegiate workshops comprised of faculty addresses and departmental presentations, as well as residence hall luncheons geared to foster social interaction between students, parents and residence hall staff.

University President Father John Jenkins celebrated the JPW Mass Saturday evening, and Jenkins also addressed juniors and their families during a dinner at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse that evening.

“It was good for my parents to see the campus for a time other than a football weekend,” junior Ryan McSpadden said. “It was also funny to watch parents fit into typical weekend social settings.”

Junior Jim Martin said he enjoyed immersing his parents into the Notre Dame social scene and took them out to bars and parties on Saturday night.

“My parents had a lot fun with my friends,” he said. “We took them to the Linebacker and closed down the place. We went to a party at the College Football Hall of Fame and also one at Turtle Creek.”

The weekend concluded Sunday with a closing brunch that featured an address by Vice President for Student Affairs Father Mark Poorman and a benediction by University President Emeritus Father Theodore Hesburgh.

“My parents enjoyed all of the University events of the weekend,” Martin said. “We thought that Father Hesburgh’s address was especially impressive.”

JPW 2006 chairperson and junior Marri Kajfez said the event was a success.

“I had so much fun this weekend and I hope that all the juniors did as well,” she said.