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OC Register: There's No Day Like Snow Day at JSerra Catholic High School

OC Register reporter Lilly Nguyen covered yesterday's Snow Day at JSerra — arguably the school's favorite tradition. Barring any weather issues, the administration secretly chooses a day before first semester finals to blanket the quad with tons of snow. Within a couple of hours, students are surprised with a winter wonderland. . . .

There's No Day Like Snow Day at JSerra Catholic High School

45 tons of shaved ice covered the quad for the annual holiday tradition

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Snow blanketed the quad at JSerra Catholic High School early Thursday afternoon, Dec. 13. But it didn't stay on the ground for long.

Once the lunch bell rang snowballs starting flying and students begin sledding down hills.

Off to the side, a photographer was taking pictures of students with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus — played by the school's deans, Bridget Desmond and Chris Plaia.

JSerra's Snow Day has been an annual tradition since 2012, a few years after a parent tried to create a "snow day" for the campus.

"What (the parent) rented for us were basically bubble machines and we're like, 'Oh, there's gotta be a better way to do this,'" Donna Vandenberg, the school's vice principal, said. "So, I started researching and decided this would be a really fun, annual event to put on for the kids right before finals just to kind of let off some steam."

Snow Day typically is held on the last day before semester finals and is supposed to be a close-kept secret. Vandenberg acknowledged, though, that it isn't always a surprise for students being it tends to take place on Ugly Sweater Day.

Vandenberg, who oversees the event every year, said her favorite part is seeing the look on her students' faces when they come out and see the snow — actually 45 tons of shaved ice — covering the grass.

"I'm telling you, these big kids," Vanderberg said, "they come out here and they turn into toddlers again like they're seeing snow for the first time.

"They just go absolutely bonkers!"

Blake Klassen, 18, said he remembers being surprised on his first Snow Day, during his freshman year. This year, however, Klassen knew it was coming — Ugly Sweater Day gave it away — and this being his last year at JSerra, he said, he had to "go big."

He even brought his own sled to the festivities.

"It just shows how much they care about us," Klassen said. "Not just academically, but they also want us to have a lot of fun too."

The fact that the white stuff isn't really snow doesn't change the way both under- and upperclassmen respond to Snow Day. The majority of students could be seen on the lawn while others dodged snow tossed at them from each other and from Father Damien Giap, who gave chase with snowballs of his own.

"It's so much fun, like everyone just kinda chucks snowballs at each other," Hannah St. John, a sophomore, said. "It's so amazing. I'm so blessed to go to this school."

(More photos at OCRegister.com.)