By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
CLINTON — Waffles, made with love by the school principal, have become a tasty tradition for seniors at Prince of Peace Catholic School.
The principal, Nancy Peart, says making waffles is a way to “let the students know we appreciate them and their leadership through the years. They’re special people.”
The tradition began around 15 years ago when Peart and Sharon Roling, assistant principal at the time, saw some waffle makers for sale. “She’s a good bargain shopper,” Peart said of Roling, who now serves as principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in DeWitt. Initially, the women hosted waffle breakfasts for a variety of occasions and for a variety of age groups. Over time, it evolved into a “rite of passage” for seniors. Students don’t always make time for breakfast at home, but they will make time to come for waffles at school, she said.
This year, seniors have been treated to two breakfasts, with another coming up before graduation. On waffle days, Peart and one or two staff members get to school a little early to prepare the waffles. To reduce wait time, they keep freshly cooked waffles warm in the oven. Sometimes, an underclassman smells the waffles cooking and asks for one. “Yeah, when you’re a senior!” Peart quips back.
Senior Sophie Griffin said the waffle breakfasts have been worth the wait. “I remember freshman year, walking up the steps wondering why I was smelling waffles. Now it’s like, ‘Ha! We finally get them!’ It’s been building up to this every year.”
Classmate Kyle Sager said the waffles are “really good.” His favorite topping combination is butter, syrup and chocolate chips. “I usually don’t have time for breakfast on my own so it’s nice to come here and get a really full breakfast.”
For the seniors, the waffle breakfasts offer something else they crave: time to bond before graduation. “We’re a pretty tight-knit group,” Kyle said. The senior class has 16 students, most of whom have been together since elementary school. “We know each other inside and out,” said classmate Ava Ruden. “We’ve been together so long. It’s going to make it a lot harder to say goodbye. …these are some of our last times together.”
Sophie said, “I look at the class and I know it’s gonna be hard for us to graduate after being together so long, but I know on breaks we will definitely see each other.”
The next waffle breakfast is the last one for the seniors and for Peart, who retires this spring after serving as principal for 21 years. She isn’t quite ready to put her waffle-making days behind her, though. “I can still make waffles after I retire, and if someone needs training on how to make waffles, I can do that!”