Ciaran Murphy is a current ESTEEM Student and Naughton Fellow hailing from County Cork, Ireland. Ciaran was instrumental in planning and organizing not only the spring break trip to Silicon Valley but also the ESTEEM Formal held this past Saturday, March 29. Here are his reflections on this historic event.
Our year as ESTEEM students is drawing to a close, and the time has come for taking stock of what remains undone. In recounting all of the activities and fun we have had together as a class, there was one glaring omission. We had never gotten our glad rags on and had a formal! Frankly, this had to be remedied so the date was set for last Saturday night, March 29.
Our evening began at Parisi’s Italian restaurant, where we convened with our dates at 6:30 pm for dinner. Everyone had pulled out all the stops in preparation, and this was evidenced by the style on display. We would not have looked out of place on the red carpet at the Oscars. The food was excellent, and after a chance meeting with Coach Brey when he wished us well for our night, we returned to the spiritual home of ESTEEM gatherings and my home from home, 825 North Notre Dame Avenue (or the Irish guys’ house as it is more commonly known among the class).
In organizing the night, it was pointed out to me that our house is not a typical formal venue. That was a thinly veiled dig at our somewhat outdated décor (not pointing any fingers, Shaylyn Sikorski!). To that end, a transformation was undertaken on Friday evening and our typical TV/sitting room was turned into a dance floor, while the dining room was morphed into a bar and seating area. The theme for the decorations was black and white and with the help of Amazon Prime, Sam’s Club, some old curtains and a box of thumb tacks the venue was complete. One guest was heard to liken it to a “winter wonderland”, so I’ll take that!
The ESTEEM program generously lent the class the program promotional banner for the evening, so this was used as the backdrop for our photo booth. The photographic genius of Sean Liebscher was employed as the event photographer and the guests and their dates had many photos taken. After the photos had been taken, we had a selection of cheeses and crackers to sample, courtesy of Lucy Driscoll. Our barmen for the evening were the ever-capable Conor Hanley and Nate Higgins, and their cocktail making skills certainly added to a great evening. A word of thanks must go out here to all attendees for their generosity in providing the supplies for the evening. It wouldn’t have been possible without them.
The music played on the night was very eclectic and the artists featured varied from Swedish House Mafia and Avicii to Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac. There had been talk of an acoustic version of a Flight of the Conchords number from Finn Pegler and Daniel Collins, but sadly this did not take place and we will have to look forward to it in the future. The dance floor became heavily populated as the night went on, and some of the class revealed previously hidden dance skills. As we sat recounting the events of the year and looked back fondly on some of the most memorable moments, time passed quickly, until the sun came up outside. At this point, we realized it was approaching 7:00 am, so we went our separate ways, bringing the curtain down on the first ESTEEM formal.
Since returning to South Bend after Christmas, I have become more and more aware that we are very lucky to have such a good group of people in our class. We are far more than just classmates and I believe many of us have forged friendships this year that will last for a lifetime. Any night you can spend time with close friends is a great night, and this was borne out in the success of the ESTEEM formal.