December 17, 2013
Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” I certainly wished that someone would have done something about our weather this month. So far we have had two calamity days and three two-hour delays. Given we had only 15 scheduled school days, that was quite a chunk of time to lose. And while I have to admit a few extra hours of sleep were welcomed, I was a little daunted by the nearness of our Christmas program. I kept thinking of our few remaining practices. Nothing like a little stress to get the old adrenaline flowing. We keep telling ourselves that we work well under stress. After all, aren’t diamonds just stressed out pieces of coal? Even saints were not immune to weather delays.
St. Nicholas had to delay his annual visit to our school by several days. St. Nicholas’ feast day is Dec. 6, and he usually makes a visit to our school on his feast day. The preschool through fourth grades leave their shoes outside of the classroom doors. As St. Nick goes through the hall, he leaves treats in the shoes. Not only were we not in session on his feast day, which was on a Friday, but also the following Monday. Luckily, St. Nick was kind enough to come to our school on Tuesday and to return the next day to bring treats for the preschoolers. I guess that’s why he’s a saint.
Our first day of school in December was actually our first day back after Thanksgiving vacation. It was also the first week of Advent, a time of spiritual preparation for Christmas. The students and staff gathered in the morning for a short prayer service around the school Advent wreath. As part of their Christmas preparation, the students are collecting money for the Missionary Childhood Association. Funds collected for the association are used to help children around the world. Funds are used to buy such items as mosquito netting for schools and beds for orphanages. The student council chose two individuals from the parish’s Giving Tree and is raising funds to buy gifts for these people. Last Wednesday, the council sponsored a “Wear Your Favorite Team’s Jersey” Day. In order to dress in team apparel, students were asked to bring in a monetary donation or a canned food item. The money will be used for the “Giving Tree” project and the food given to Grace RCC.
On Dec. 4, the second graders received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. They had been formally preparing for reception of the sacrament for the past two months. The following day, as is our tradition, the second graders were honored by a reception with donuts. It is my privilege to teach second grade religion and to help the children prepare for the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. I was still basking in the glow of having accomplished preparing my students to receive the first sacrament, when I found the books for the next sacrament on my desk! One doesn’t get to bask very long around here!
The spelling bee to determine our representatives at the city spelling bee was held on Dec. 4. Students from grades three through eight competed. Isabelle Rammel and Landen Kreusch, both fifth graders, placed first and second. They will represent our school at the city spelling bee later this year.
On Dec. 12, the first through fourth graders brought some Christmas cheer to the residents of Heartland and Oakley retirement communities. They sang the carols that they have been rehearsing for the upcoming Christmas program. The Christmas program was held Tuesday evening at St. Mary’s Church. Students from preschool through fourth grades will present the program.
Next week is the last week before Christmas break. The students are looking forward to doing special activities with their buddies. On Friday the students will walk downtown and spread a little holiday cheer by caroling on Broadway. School will be dismissed at 12:30.
As the year draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and prayers. May you have a blessed and merry Christmas season.
Kathy Ayette is a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.