For such a short month, February certainly is a busy month, especially this week. On three consecutive days we celebrated Mardi Gras and buried the Alleluia, began Lent on Ash Wednesday and celebrated Valentine’s Day on Thursday. Good thing Presidents’ Day is Monday and we have a three day weekend!
As is our tradition, on Tuesday, which was Mardi Gras, the staff and students wore gold, green, and purple beads. Each class enjoyed King Cake. As near as I can figure the basic recipe for the confection is some sugar to which you add some more sugar and finally top the whole thing off with sugar. Last week each class made an Alleluia banner to “bury” in the church basement as a sign that we are putting aside our joyful Alleluia in order to enter the somber season of Lent. However, before the Alleluia is buried, all present make as much noise as humanly possible for exactly one minute. Let me tell you a basement full of sugared up children can certainly make a lot of noise. Frankly, I was concerned that the vibrations would knock the roofers off the church roof! After a final prayer the banners were laid to rest and all departed in silence. It is absolutely amazing how well even our smallest students respect the silence. The silence is kept until the children are dismissed from school. On Tuesday evening, the 13th Annual Fat Tuesday Reverse Raffle was held. Thank you to all who bought tickets, sent desserts, and came to enjoy the evening. Thanks to you our school made around $6800!
Our Lenten observance began with Mass on Ash Wednesday. In addition to the penances the students have chosen as individuals, the entire school is keeping silent in the halls during change of class as a school penance. The school will attend the Stations of the Cross every Friday afternoon at 1:45. The stations are led by the eighth graders. You are more than welcome to join us in prayer.
We celebrated Valentine’s Day on Thursday. Some of the students were taking goodies home to save for later since they had given up treats for Lent. I was informed by one student that he could have sweets because he had given up fighting with his brothers for Lent. I think he may have chosen the harder penance! The room parents did a great job as usual. Everyone had lots of fun.
My class has a new piece of technology. We now have a document camera. The best way I can describe the camera is that it is an attachment to the Smart Board. I can put items under the camera and show them on the Smart Board. For example when I teach handwriting, I can write on paper underneath the camera and the students can see what I am doing on the board. This is really handy, since one of the drawbacks to the Smart Board is that you cannot trace back over a letter as is sometimes required in handwriting. On Thursday the second grade
had a math lesson in which they were to fold and cut shapes. I demonstrated what to do under the camera. It was much easier than trying to stand in front of the children and fold and cut paper while holding it out in front of me! The funds for the camera were from a grant from the Harry Stevens Memorial.
The seventh and eighth graders wrote letters to Father Suarez and Monsignor Weis of Newtown, CT. These priests presided at the funerals of the Catholic children who were killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook School. They spent many hours comforting the stricken families of these children. The students wrote to express their gratitude to the priests for their commitment and to encourage them through this very sad and trying period.
It happens that I am writing this letter on Valentine’s Day, so in the spirit of the day I would like to send a “heart-y” thank you to some special volunteers in our school. The following people spend hours helping round out our offerings to the students. Ken McCoy teaches band to our sixth grade band students. Steve Blocher, who is famous for directing the wonderful biennial school musicals, teaches music to the fourth through eighth graders. Sherry Myers teaches art to kindergarten and third through eighth grades. Rich Hadden teaches computer classes to the fifth and sixth graders, and Deb Barga, with an unbelievable amount of patience teaches keyboarding to the kindergarten through eighth grade classes. All the aforementioned people have gifts and talents that they have graciously decided to share with our students and we want them to know how much we appreciate all the time they donate to our school.
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.