It's not every day that St. Teresa of Avila students have an opportunity to herd sheep.
The breed they herded Tuesday afternoon was indigenous to St. Teresa's and only found at its All Saints Day Festival. The sheep were shaped like basketballs, but composed of cotton, and for mobility rolled along the ground.
The task of the herders was to herd - or roll - the sheep through a series of orange cones and into a box at the end. The herders were given wooden canes to roll their sheep along.
Every so often, as 9-year-old student Fiona McElhaney discovered, even the best-intended herding techniques found a sheep astray over near the bean bag toss.
"It was a little challenging when I hit it too hard," she said.
Once the herding was completed, students received several plastic snakes to remind them about the life of St. Patrick, patron saint of sheep herders, who was best known for driving the snakes out of Ireland.
"This is really exciting for us," said Cathy Smith, student council leader and a teacher at the school. "We're doing this so our students will learn more about the Catholics and their faith. We tried to do fun things so the kids would remember the saints. The kazoo for the patron saint of music is too cool."
Tuesday was the first All Saints Day Festival at St. Teresa. All Saints Day is a Christian holy day observed by many Western churches on Nov. 1 in honor of the its saints.
At the festival, student council and parents ran 11 booths, all containing information about the life of a saint. For example, at the booth of St. Nicholas, patron saint of children, students tossed bean bags into a pseudo chimney and received a card about St. Nick's life as a reward.
At the booth of St. Lucy, patron saint of vision, students guessed the number of chocolate eyeballs in a jar. At the booth about St. Catherine, patron saint of artists, students could paint. Other saintly activities included halo making, dart tossing and digging for lost articles.
Cameron Childers, 13, a student council representative who oversaw the sheep-herding event, said the festival gave him a chance to learn more about saints.
"I didn't really know much about any of the saints," he said. "I learned what they were the patron saints of and what they did with their lives."
His favorite saint is Christopher, a third-century martyr who traveled the world in search of adventure and is the patron saint of travel.
At the booth of St. Christopher, students threw paper planes through toward a target.
"I like (Christopher) because I like to travel a lot," said Cameron.
The festival was behind the school on a field and students went from booth to booth as they pleased, their only direction being to attend all.
"I think it's been pretty fun," Cameron said. "It's kind of neat to have us going around to different booths. It's really great to have the kids learning about saints."
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.