When February 2021 rolled around, it seemed as if St. Thomas the Apostle school’s annual spirit t-shirt design contest wouldn’t happen. There was nothing on the horizon until seventh-grade student Colin Goossen became determined to carry on the tradition.
Frustrated because his old spirit shirts were now too small, Colin took the initiative to spearhead the contest.
He approached the school principal and asked him if he could continue the contest as a service project. The principal was immediately on board, and Colin quickly put the wheels in motion, creating a flyer for the art contest. It turned out that Colin’s schoolmates were eager for some new school spirit shirts, too. Colin received 75 submissions, which he narrowed down to his favorite five. He presented them to the student council, who picked their top two, and the principal made the final selection.
“Traditions are an important part of our school,” Colin said, “and allowing a student to use their artistic talents to create a spirit shirt that everyone wears is one of my favorites.”
Fourth-grader Angel Montero won this year’s contest using bold and colorful imagery inspired by the Bible verse “Do not fear, for I am with you.”
“I thought it was marvelous how much detail stood out in Angel’s artwork,” Co-Student Council Coordinator Karen Wells said.
Angel’s image was created with pencils, sharpies, and colored pencils.
“I wanted the dove to represent God,” Angel said. “My design represents how God is with us through any disaster or turmoil. He will never leave us. I also created tornados and clouds to show disasters.”
Angel’s father, Miguel, beamed with pride when talking about his son’s spiritual and artistic accomplishment.
“He has made me and his mother so proud. He’s a very determined boy who is always pushing himself in whatever he does, whether it’s piano, baseball or school,” Miguel said.
Each year students and staff choose a school theme and vote on a winning design for the school’s spirit shirt.
“At the end of the year, I collect about 60 Bible verses from the seventh graders,” Religion Teacher Tom Parks said. “They are verses that speak to them spiritually.”
The students pick their top ten favorite verses, and then the teachers vote for their favorite. The winning verse is displayed in every classroom the following year. The Student Council selects the artwork, and the winning image and verse are on the back of the shirt with the school logo on the front.
In a display of school pride and unity, students showcase the shirts every Friday on Spirit Day.