What is Cailini?

By Alley Faulkner, Sydney Anderson, and Yvan Polynice
FEB. 20, 2020

Calling all Lady Raiders, the St. Thomas Aquinas High School’s (STA) annual Cailini event is just around the corner. That’s right! The competitions will be held on February 21, 2020.  “Cailini is a fun event in which all grades of girls compete against each other in various events,” said Ms. Staci Applebaum, one of the moderators. It consists of competitive events such as volleyball, dodgeball, tug of war, powderpuff, a bake off, art, aerobics, gymnastics, hi-impact and relay races. Freshman Gymnastic Moderator Ms. Stephanie Borglum explained that the art portion includes “T-shirt designs for class shirts and powderpuff shirts; class mural; arena art-decorating posters for Nova.”

Cailini, which means “girls” in Gaelic, is a competition that has been held at STA for more than 30 years. It is the oldest annual STA tradition. According to moderator Ms. Maria Virginio, Cailini started in 1976 when “… female students did not have the same opportunities [in sports] as male students.” She feels that a very important part of her role is to “… help teach the girls the tradition.” Since then Cailini has featured the individual skills of Raider ladies through numerous competitions. “Bake-Off, the semi-finals for the sports activities, and powderpuff take place on Wednesday at school. At Nova, we have the finals for sports, high impact, gymnastics, and aerobics.” said Ms. Borglum. 

Msgr. Vincent Kelly is responsible for creating this annual event. “It is our joy once again to celebrate the talents, the energy, and the emotion of our Raider Girls.” Msgr. Kelly added, “[Cailini has provided] the opportunity to share the togetherness of the St. Thomas Aquinas journey in fun and games.”  

The theme for Cailini 2020 is TV Channels. “The Seniors are ESPN.  Juniors are MTV. Sophomores are The Weather Channel.  Freshmen are the Travel Channel.” said Ms. Virginio. The girls choreograph dances in order to illustrate their themes. Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12 will each perform their dance for a panel of judges. The winning points from this competition are then calculated as part of the final score for each grade. 

Some contests require skills such as high-impact, which is why try-outs are held in advance to audition for positions on these teams. Ms. Applebaum said that once the teams are chosen, “The girls prepare by holding meetings and practicing each week.” With the help of the Cailini moderators, the teams set up practices to perfect their performances for the competition in February. Ms. Borglum said that she goes “…to the 6:15 a.m. practices with them and I facilitate their creative process, make sure everything looks great, and help them with their routines.” The girls put an abundance of work into rehearsing their dances in order to impress the judges and hopefully win for their grade.  

Cailini is a very special time at STA, and everyone is encouraged to get involved and spread the word to support the games. With all of the energetic music and dances, this has become a very popular event with the Raider community. As Msgr. Kelly says, “May the Cailini night not only be a cherished night for our present students but also a happy recollection of fond memories of the past.” Go, Raiders!