It’s time for ElderFest

Elder’s annual spring tradition continues.


It’s that time of year again as the weather gets warmer and the school year winds down. At Elder High School, this can only mean one thing: ElderFest.

ElderFest is Elder’s annual spring festival, which serves as a break from the routine of school, and a proverbial passing of the school leadership torch from the seniors to the juniors. This tradition started roughly two decades ago and has remained ever since.

The day starts out with an all-school Mass in the Pit. The Mass itself is dedicated to the seniors and serves as a blessing for them as their Elder careers end. Directly following the Mass is a “passing of the torch” ceremony, where the seniors are celebrated and the juniors officially take the reins of the school. The academic top 10 seniors are honored in front of the whole school, and the incoming student council president (Lou Langen) is inaugurated. He will then address the student body with his plans for next year.

The Faculty and Students get ready for tip-off.

After the Mass and opening ceremony, the students flood into the Fieldhouse for the annual faculty vs. students basketball game. The Faculty Flyers take on the winners of the intramural basketball tournament, held in the weeks prior to ElderFest. Surprisingly, the faculty perform quite well on the big stage, winning in all three of my years at Elder thus far. This, in part, is due to the recruitment of a former Elder teacher, seven-footer Dave Rapien.

Once the game ends, students have free roam of the campus. There are different tournaments and events stationed all around Elder. It’s a pretty chill day. Students are free to just hang out.

Many of the same tournaments take place every year, with students looking to come out on top. Here’s a preview of some of the most popular events.

The biggest tournament bracket at ElderFest is usually the ping-pong tournament. Over 100 people participate in the March Madness-style table tennis tournament. Games are played to 21. This tournament normally lasts all day.

Cornhole is also a very popular tournament. Dominated by Mr. Oberjohann in previous years, grab a partner and see if you can take down the champ.

A little cornhole action

Wiffle Ball games are held in the Pit. This event requires some planning as teams are larger than most other events. Games last three innings.

Birdieball is a golfing event held in the Pit. Participants chip plastic golf balls into buckets at varying distances away.

Three-on-three basketball is always very popular among the students. Held in the Fieldhouse, teams of three play their way through a large bracket to be crowned champions. This event is usually hosted by Phil “The Thrill” Bengel. Andy Geigle said this was his favorite event. He said, “it’s competitive, but is very fun to play against your own classmates.”

The dodgeball tournament made its triumphant return to ElderFest last year after a one-year hiatus. This event is held in the wrestling/volleyball gym. You would be surprised at how competitive this event is. A lot of teachers participate and they don’t hold back against their student opposition.

The euchre tournament is a chance for the smart guys to get out and show off their skills. Hosted by Mr. Louis, this event is way above my skill level, as euchre requires a supreme level of strategy and knowledge. No chance a euchre newbie walks on, and wins this tournament.

There are many video game tournaments that also happen throughout the course of ElderFest. Among these are NBA 2K, FIFA, NHL, and Call of Duty. The NBA 2K tournament is the most popular of these. The last two years, the 2K tournament has been organized by current senior, Corey Mamutse.

One classic video game tournament is all the rage though. The Super Smash Brothers tournament has been one of the favorites for years now. Teams of two face off in the smash brothers’ arena. This gets extremely competitive and can lead to arguments between partners. Tensions were high last year between partners of the runner-up team. Will Ellerhorst and Vince Feldman had the game on lock, but according to Vince, Ellerhorst blew it for them. Feldman said in digust, “Our team took care of business and we earned a spot in the championship. However, Will choked under the pressure, destroying all chances of a first place finish.” He did, however, give a positive outlook for this year’s iteration: “If Will can keep it together this year, the Feldman-Ellerhorst duo has a good shot at the crown.”

Class of 2016 seniors just hanging out.

Other activities range from watching movies to grilling up burgers and shrimp in the parking lot. Feldman said, “The best part of ElderFest is definitely the grilling that happens wherever Jack Knolle’s truck is parked.”

ElderFest serves as a medium for Elder students (and faculty) to increase the bonds they have with each other. Geigle told me that the best part of the event was the connection with his classmates. He said, “Every person at Elder is united to compete against one another. It’s great to see the brotherhood that all comes together at this one special event.” This is exceptionally true for seniors. This is one of the last events where the entire 2017 graduating class will come together as Elder students. It’s certainly bittersweet for the seniors as ElderFest is obviously a great time, but there is also a sadness since it’s their last one.

Elder students, get ready. Because the annual ElderFest is coming up and it’s sure to be a great one.