Editor's Note

Creative Pursuits

The signs posted around the Hogan Campus Center ballroom read, "Keep It Real: Cap Your Heel." I soon learned this was a reminder to the female ballroom dancers in town for the 12th Annual Holy Cross Ballroom Dance Competition to place plastic caps on the tiny heel tips of their glitzy, strappy sandals so as not to damage the gleaming maple boards of the ballroom's dance floor. I also learned that using a hula hoop in between dances gets your hips ready for the next Latin dance-and that hair gel with glitter comes in gallon-size pump bottles.

But the true lesson of the day, as I accompanied our photographer getting images for this issue's cover feature, was about creativity. Creative people take it for granted that what they have is a gift. For them, it is a need more than anything ... a need to create something beautiful or meaningful. And sometimes both.

Holy Cross students and alumni with a passion for ballroom dance are creating under the most difficult circumstances: Not only are they immediately judged, they are creating in partnership with another person. Kristine Cyr Goodwin, associate dean for student life, explains that this is one of the prime examples of why cocurricular education thrives at the College-lessons outside the classroom are as important as those inside. "Learning when to lead and when to follow is important for everyone in their lives," she says, adding that these students have to figure out ways to make their partnerships work. "How do you dance with someone when you're really angry at them, for example?"

How indeed! If anyone was angry the night of the big Holy Cross competition, it never showed. Our team not only danced through dozens of styles and rounds, they served as gracious hosts to the other competitors. They paused to watch and cheer for the day's special guests: professional dancers Michael Creeden '03 and Jessica Spink '06.

The theme of creation spreads throughout this issue. In the 1930s, Pope Pius XI called on the Jesuits of America (mostly the New England Province) to create a new school in Baghdad. They took up the challenge with gusto, and five Jesuits from the Holy Cross community were there. Listen in on their panel discussion about the ups and downs of life in Iraq, and the memories that they will keep forever.

In this issue, we also get to share poignant creations that loving children have made for their parents. In Gifts at Work (Page 36), you'll meet the Van Houten siblings-Karen '86, Paul and Scott Van Houten-who created the Francis X. Van Houten, M.D., '61, Financial Aid Fund to honor their dad. Dr. Van Houten pulled himself over the hurdle of being orphaned not once, but twice, and instilled in his children the idea that giving to others is a gift that lasts forever.

You'll also meet Marjorie Bennett, whose father, William Francis Bennett, had to drop his dream of attending Holy Cross when, at age 10, he left school to help support his newly widowed mother. That was in 1910. Today, Marjorie has made plans for the William Francis Bennett Memorial Scholarship to create new opportunities for other deserving young men who have lost their fathers.
We hope you enjoy the issue our team has created. And as always, please let us hear from you if you want to share a story idea or a concern.

Suzanne Morrissey