Banner Day at XLI: Seniors Work To Welcome Freshmen

A tadpole turns into a frog in a matter of months, but those incoming seniors transforming their sketch called “Leap Into Xavier” into a finished product had just a few hours.

As part of this week’s Xavier Leadership Institute (XLI), the 76 students attending the four-day event are divided into groups to work on banners that will welcome the incoming freshman class. “The Leap Into Xavier” crew showed the transformation of an egg into a tadpole into a mighty frog, just as one day these incoming freshmen will grow into confident seniors.

Other themes of banners painted Wednesday were “Shoot For The Moon” and “Planting Seeds To Success.” The banners will hang in the gym for all to see and as a special way to greet the Class of 2024. Down the road, many members of that class will be working on banners to welcome yet another freshman class. And on and on the cycle goes.

“XLI, the whole thing is an exercise in collaboration,” Campus Ministry Director Peter Lyons said.

The program started Sunday night and concludes Thursday night. The coronavirus prevented it from being an overnight retreat, but that was all that was missing. The same desire to come together and become leaders while having a good time along the way was evident.

Making the banners is all part of the process. 

“You have to learn to work together in a goal of welcoming the freshmen, so the messages have to be positive and welcoming so when the freshmen see the banners they will feel welcome,” Lyons said. “The kids have to work together on a common theme, but give a little of themselves and their interests.”

Thus, many times you’ll see initials of those who made the banners, sometimes including a sport or club they might be in. When asked what this exercise meant to them, the answers from students ranged from teamwork to collaboration to everyone having a role to practicing time management skills.

“Welcome To The Nest” read yet another banner. That’s what it’s all about. A new group of Falcons is on its way.