Article by Phoenix writer Paulina Barnjak ’24:
It was the evening of January 25, and all was anything but quiet throughout the Barnjak house. My sisters and I rushed throughout the halls as we picked out our dresses, curled our hair, and prepared our makeup. This night was to be special— a night to remember— because not only was it my father’s birthday, it was the night of Kellenberg’s annual Pop-Hop.
The Pop-Hop is Kellenberg‘s very own “daddy daughter dance”, an opportunity for girls in all grade levels to invite their fathers to an evening of dinner, prayer, dancing, and most importantly: a night filled with memories that will last a lifetime. When I first heard that the event will be held on the exact day of my father’s 58th birthday, I just knew my sisters and I had to ask him to accompany us.
As I got ready for the dance, I couldn’t help but smile and think of the last dance I went to with my father. I must have been 7 or 8 years old. Although we are triplets, he still managed to dance with all of us, making us feel very special in our own little way.
Our night of fun started at 7pm as we entered Kellenberg’s cafeteria. I was astonished to see that the cafeteria I usually enter during 4th period for lunch was transformed into a buffet restaurant. Kellenberg’s S.A.L.T. program handed out delicious appetizers to those around the room. I myself had a slight tendency to keep wandering back to the mini chicken and cheese quesadillas. Finally, we all took our seats, and waited for the excitement to begin.
A special prayer was conducted by four Kellenberg students and their fathers; a beautiful expression of the promise and thankfulness in the relationship of daughter and father. Then, Mr. Bursig beautifully sang the renowned Chris Tomlinson song, “Good Good Father”, which addresses how good our fathers are, and how thankful for our Father in heaven we all should be. My sisters and I, knowing every word, silently sang along.
After prayer, we enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner, which consisted of pasta, steak, chicken, and salad. They also advertised raffles, to be announced at the end of the night with prizes like Kellenberg merchandise, wine baskets, and a handmade cutting board. We entered into a few raffles, before finally taking to the dance floor.
The king of the dance floor, DJ OB (aka Kellenberg’s own freshman scripture teacher and AP for high school admissions Mr. O’Brien) played classic hits such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Piano Man”. We were breathlessly exhausted after dancing the “Cotton Eye Joe” 50 times faster than the original speed.
But my favorite song was “Cinderella” by Steven Curtis Chapman. That song has always hit a soft spot for me because it embodies the relationship between a girl and her father, from when she’s just a little girl pretending to be a princess, to going to prom in high school, to eventually being given away to the man she’s marrying. It’s very bittersweet.
After heading over to the ice cream buffet station for dessert, the night started to close out.
DJ OB gave my dad a shout out, wishing him a happy birthday and acknowledging his senior triplet daughters. I was very proud of my dad. As we left the Pop-Hop and started heading home, I couldn’t help but to feel grateful that my sisters and I got to spend so much time together on his birthday.
As I lay in bed that night, I thanked God for that night. But I also thanked Him for the wonderful memories my father has given us. It’s never easy to take care of a daughter, let alone three at the same time! But ever since our first breaths, he hasn’t left our side, and he continues to do so much for us. I will never forget the way he makes me smile and laugh, the way he comforts me when I’m upset, and the way he supports me in everything that I do.
Thank you, God, for my father.