Eighth Grade Challenge Course Trip

A highlight of the year for the eighth-grade class is the trip to Loyola University's Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois, to participate in the Challenge Course Program.

The challenge course at the Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus provides an ideal setting for challenge, reflection, and learning. The programs are focused on building communication, goal-setting, problem-solving, and leadership skills that can be applied to everyday life.

The class had a wonderful time of recreation and prayer to close their time as friends before graduation.

Kindergarten Mother's Day Tea 2017

The Kindergarten students were so excited to welcome their moms for a special Mother’s Day Tea on Friday, May 12.  Not only did they serve them some delicious treats, they also served up treasured memories as they performed for their moms. They surely evoked a tear or two as they sang and signed for their moms a song that they had prepared called Wonderful World.  The students were happy to gift their moms with many handmade treasures that were in keeping with our school theme this year, We Are the Work of God’s Hands. They made a bouquet of lilies created with their hand cutouts and a lovely necklace for their moms made also from their hand print and then shrunken to a size that would make a good pendant. The students also created a special card for their mom in computer class! Take a look at some of the smiling faces that radiate the unique love between mother and child. We have a special kindergarten class taught lovingly by their teacher, Mrs. Jenkins!

May Crowning 2017

The month of May calls for special dedication to Mary, the mother of Jesus and inspiration to us all for her willingness to say Yes to God’s plan for her. As part of the celebration of Mary, St. Alphonsus / St. Patrick   students crowned Mary during Mass on Friday, May 12.  Eighth grader Gabriela S., had the honor of crowning Mary. She was supported and assisted by other 8th grade classmates as well as the second grade students who recently celebrated their First Holy Communion. The May Crowning Mass on May 12 marked the first time that the second graders had the privilege of receiving Holy Communion with their school community! To honor the occasion and Mary, they dressed in their First Communion finery and honored Mary with flowers. This beautiful ceremony helps to keep the faithfulness of Mary alive in our minds and hearts so that we might draw upon her strength and bring it to life for each other.

Fifth Grade D.A.R.E. Graduation 2017

On Friday, May 12, the fifth grade students gathered with their teacher, Mr. Joel Munyon, and their D.A.R.E. officer from the Lemont Police Department and his commanding officer, to graduate from the D.A.R.E.(Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education) program.  Their commitment to resist alcohol and drug abuse was witnessed by their family and friends.  As one of the culminating activities of the program, the students each composed an essay about how they intend to stay away from dangerous substances and follow a healthy lifestyle. Although the officers said that they had a very hard time selecting winners among all of the well composed essays, they did choose two to be read at the ceremony. Lia A. and Lucien Z. read their commitment statements to the audience.  Both the officers from the Lemont Police Department and Mr. Munyon spoke enthusiastically about how seriously this class of fifth grade students participated in the lessons and discussions throughout the program. St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School is very proud of these fine students and the leadership qualities they already show.

First Holy Communion for the Second Grade

On Saturday, April 29, the second grade students from St. Alphonsus Parish received their First Holy Communion during a beautiful ceremony at St. Alphonsus Church. Then on May 6, our second graders from St. Patrick Parish received the Holy Eucharist for the first time also! Having been well prepared for the sacrament by their second grade teacher, Mrs. Teri Lerch, by their parents, and by their participation at our school and parish liturgies, the students approached the table of the Lord with both anticipation and reverence. The children helped to orchestrate the Mass and sang a special song with joy. The prayerful expressions you will see in the photographs here give witness to how special this day was for our second grade students and their families. It is our prayer as a school community that their faith will continue to grow.

Chicks Hatch in the First Grade!

The dedicated “mother hens” in Mrs. Gottardo’s first grade classroom were thrilled to welcome 20 baby chicks into the world this week. Beginning on Monday, May 8, the chicks began to peck their way out of the shells that have been carefully tended for 21 days. This is such a wonderful learning experience for not only the first grade, but for the whole school. Everyone loves to check in on the chicks!

The children will continue to observe the chick growth and development for another few weeks. Science is very thrilling when it happens before your eyes!

Celtics Excel: Young Scientists Bring Home Gold from the State Science Fair

On Saturday, May 6, four of our seventh graders participated in the Illinois State Science Fair at Northern Illinois University. There were approximately 1,200 participants and 1,000 projects! The projects were all awarded a points score and then were awarded either a gold, silver or bronze certificate.
 
All of our Celtic Scientists did an outstanding job and represented our school so well.

Luke A. received a GOLD certificate for his project "The Music in You, Does Music Affect Your Heart and Soul". Ian M. received a GOLD certificate for his project "Placebo Effect". Julia P. and Scarlett O. received a GOLD certificate for their project "Who Remembers More: Males/Females." 
Illinois State Science Fair, Celtics Excel
Illinois State Science Fair, Celtics Excel
Illinois State Science Fair, Celtics Excel
Illinois State Science Fair, Celtics Excel
Illinois State Science Fair, Celtics Excel
Illinois State Science Fair, Celtics Excel
Illinois State Science Fair, Celtics Excel
Illinois State Science Fair, Celtics Excel

Second Grade Church Visits

As part of their preparation for First Holy Communion, the second graders took a field trip to St. Alphonsus Church and St. Patrick Church. Students were able to go on the altar to see the Tabernacle, visit the Sacristy, see the choir loft, and even had their special handmade Rosaries blessed. The rosaries were made for the children by Mrs. Brueckmann from St. Alphonsus parish.
 
In between the church visits the students paid a visit to Gelsosomo's Pizzeria for lunch. While there, they reviewed what they had learned in Social Studies, focusing on goods and services. They made their own pizzas too!
 
It was heartwarming to see two students praying the Rosary on the bus ride home!

Holy Thursday at St. Als/St. Pat's

Each year during Holy Week, the students of St. Alphonsus-St. Patrick School are blessed to be able to participate in traditional presentations that help them recall the passion and death of Jesus. On Holy Thursday, the first day of the Triduum, the fifth grade students performed a very thought provoking and moving re-enactment of the Last Supper. Their fellow students in Kindergarten through grade 4 came to witness the dramatization/prayer service along with many other guests. Also on Holy Thursday, the students in grades 6 through 8 participated in a Seder Meal prayer service. Through this ritual we hope to remember our Jewish ancestors and how our Catholic faith is linked to theirs through Jesus.  Both experiences helped our students live out memories that are central to our Catholic faith.  

The Last Supper Dramatization

The Seder Meal

Meditations on the Cross....You Are Invited

Each year, the eighth grade class relives the Passion of Christ for the school community by presenting a special reenactment of the Stations of the Cross.  Directed by their homeroom teacher, Mrs. Eileen Bruno, and using a scrim, shadow, song and script, the eighth graders present a moving rendition of the Stations of the Cross. This year, the meditations on the scriptural Stations of the Cross were based upon those celebrated by Saint Pope John Paul II on Good Friday in 1991.  The meditations gave the audience so much to think about and reflect upon, and the pictures painted with shadows give life to this story that is so central to our faith.  Relive the performance as you view the videos and pictures. 

Meditations on the Cross, a Synopsis

Meditations on the Cross, Synopsis from Mrs. Yakes on Vimeo.

Meditations on the Cross, You Are Invited

Meditations on the Cross, You Are Invited, 2017 from Mrs. Yakes on Vimeo.

Celtics Excel: Montini Catholic High School Scholastic Bowl Victors!

St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School was represented by two teams in the Montini Scholastic Bowl on March 22, 2017.  Students participated in an individual, subject-specific competition in four different subject areas.  They also competed as a team in a buzzer competition.  Our teams were split into two different pools.  One team, Ian, Ryan O, Brayden, and Ryan S., won all three of their matches to advance to the final four.  Our other team, Alex, Scarlett, Ryan E, and Tyler, also secured a spot in the final four.  In a very exciting competition, our two teams went head to head to move on to the championship round.  They tied and had to do a sudden death round.  Both teams now had to compete for 3rd place and for 1st place.  We won both!!  St. Als/St. Pat’s came home with Bronze and Gold medals.  Tyler also won second place in the individual social studies competition, and Alex won first place in the math competition.  We are so proud of our Celtics and the many ways they excel!

Learning to Stand Up for Oneself

Lessons about treating others with kindness and care are infused throughout the curriculum at St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School. Teachers also take time to give students information about how to handle people who may not treat them kindly. After learning about ways to "Stand Up For Yourself," students in grades six, seven, and eighth created helpful brochures for their younger schoolmates in grades two, three, and four that included steps for standing up to bullies and believing in oneself. Eighth graders even reenacted a song they learned about "Standing Up for God" that connected to the theme. 

Stand Up for Yourself Lessons, Brochures for younger classmates
Stand Up for Yourself Lessons, Brochures for younger classmates
Stand Up for Yourself Lessons, Brochures for younger classmates
Stand Up for Yourself Lessons, Brochures for younger classmates
Stand Up for Yourself Lessons, Brochures for younger classmates
Stand Up for Yourself Lessons, Brochures for younger classmates
Stand Up for Yourself Lessons, Brochures for younger classmates
Stand Up for Yourself Lessons, Brochures for younger classmates
Stand Up for Yourself Lessons, Brochures for younger classmates
Stand Up for Yourself Lessons, Brochures for younger classmates
Stand Up for Yourself Lessons, Brochures for younger classmates

Girl Scouts Help Teach the Power of One: A Girl with a Cape

The fourth grade girls from Girl Scout Troop 75423 set out upon a Girl Scout Journey this year that culminated this past week in an assembly for the whole school that encouraged us to all use our powers of kindness and good will to change the world.
 
The girls worked on the Girl Scout Journey called Agent of Change. On this journey, Junior Girl Scouts learn how they can change the world by exploring their own talents and by learning about women who have made the world better. They then team up to become agents of change in their own community. Our fourth grade girls did this with the help of some books written by author Amy Logan, niece of our very own Ms. Nancy from our Extended Day program. Ms. Logan's books are about the hero in all of us....no matter how small we may be. The Girl Scouts read one of the books to each of the primary classrooms, and they also described the project to the older grade levels. They even spent $225.00 of the Girl Scout Cookie money they earned this year to purchase books for the PreK through Grade 3 classrooms to have in their own class libraries. The books they donated include: A Girl with a Cape,  A Boy with a Cape, and A Girl with a Cape and Her Jar of Pennies. The books are all about kindness, respect and empowerment to change the world around us for the better. In addition to reading the books, the scouts asked students to record their own acts of kindness on post it notes. They combined these to create a Celtic Cape.  Clearly these Girl Scouts are true agents of change and leaders at a very young age!
 
On Friday, March 17, author Amy Logan visited our school and presented two assemblies, one for grades PreK through grade 3, and another for grades 4 through 8. She read her book and enthusiastically encouraged everyone to believe that they can change the world with little acts of kindness. Ms. Logan implored everyone to join her C.A.P.E. campaign and Create a Positive Environment.

All American Girl and Boy!

Seventh graders Luke and Scarlett were finalists in Congressman Dan Lipinski’s All American Boy and Girl Program which spans the Third Congressional District. This annual event is designed to honor young men and women in the Third Congressional District who are involved in their community, excel in the classroom, and participate in extracurricular activities. Students were asked to fill out an extensive application that included  eight essay questions.  Based upon those answers, 100 finalists, from an overall applicant pool of over 1000 students, moved on to the next round.  After the finalists were chosen, they were interviewed by a panel of judges comprised of local community leaders, teachers and other dignitaries.   Students who were finalists were recognized at Moraine Valley Community College on March 13th where the winners were announced.  Congratulations to our finalists, Luke and Scarlett!

The Sacrament of Confirmation 2017

On Saturday, March 11, our eighth grade students received the Sacrament of Confirmation from Bishop Andrew Wypych at both St. Alphonsus Church and at St. Patrick Church. His instruction to the young men and women was that they ought to live a life of love….the kind of sacrificial love of Jesus….and in so doing, they will change the world.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit filled our eighth grade leaders as they participated in this rite of initiation. It is our prayer as a community that the Holy Spirit will forever guide these young people.

STEM at St. Al/St. Pat's: A Visit to Argonne National Laboratory

On February 28, our junior high students had the privilege to visit Argonne National Laboratory. First the students were taken to the Argonne Learning Labs. Each room in the lab is named after a famous scientist and the staff here is dedicated to helping students understand the science that is being done at Argonne, particularly for developing clean, renewable energy sources and ways to store generated power for future use.
The student groups rotated through three different STEM lessons at the learning lab where they experimented with harnessing wind power to create electricity, potential and kinetic energy, and extracting hydrogen to power a fuel cell that could then light a bulb or run a small car! The students had to apply the scientific method as they experimented. They learned that scientists usually narrow their focus to one aspect of a problem or design question and then they collaborate with other scientists who are working on other pieces of the puzzle to create a solution born of a collective wisdom.
 
One of our parents, Mr. Skwarek, took time out of his workday to give our students a tour of the Argonne Advanced Photon Source, "a remarkable scientific tool that helps researchers illuminate answers to the challenges of our world, from developing new forms of energy to sustaining our nation's technological competitiveness to pushing back the against the ravages of disease." The students learned that researchers from all over the world come to use this amazing facility. It was a fascinating field trip and a great chance to observe science in action for the real world!

Pure Imagination Gala 2017

On Saturday, February 25,  St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School held its annual fundraiser, the  Pure Imagination Gala, at the Crystal Grand Ballroom in Lemont. The Willy Wonka themed event was attended by over 250 friends and families of St. Al/St. Pat’s. With over 270 unique live and silent auction items to bid on as well as great entertainment provided by the Dancing Noodles, it truly was a magical and wonderful night in the Chocolate Factory. A HUGE thanks goes to Mrs. Stephanie Kula for all her hard work in making our Annual Gala a success. Thank you also to Mrs. Kula's “oompa loompa” helpers Lisa Buczyna, Theresa McGlynn, Katie Kogut, Cindy Markun and the office staff. We are grateful to Mark and Dina Ligda who shared their technical expertise.

One of the highlights of the night was the announcement of two new annual awards that recognize those who play an important role in the success of St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School. School Advisory Council member Deana Ligda took the stage to share the details of the new awards.

The first new award is the St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick Distinguished Alumni & Achievement Award. Beginning in 2018, St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School will recognize an alumnus that has demonstrated the ideals consistent with the mission of the school, while distinguishing themselves in their chosen profession, taking leadership roles within their communities and accomplishing significant achievements in their personal and civic lives. The recipient of the Distinguished Alumni & Achievement Award will be recognized at the Annual Alumni Mass held each year in the weeks prior to the school Gala. The recipient will also be recognized at the 2018 Annual Gala.

The second award is the St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick Celtic Award. The St. Alphonus/St. Patrick Celtic Award is the highest honor bestowed upon members of the St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick family. The recipient or recipients can include alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and all who have supported, led or served our school. Consideration for this prestigious honor is given to nominees that have distinguished themselves through achievement or service, inspired others through their courage or selflessness or served St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick faithfully. The Celtic Award highlights inspiring members of our family whose stories reinforce the belief that St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick provides the foundation to achieve extraordinary things. Induction will also take place each year at the annual school Gala. Melissa McGuire from the School Advisory Council was given the honor of announcing the recipients of the first Celtic Award. For their years of tireless dedication, endless amount of work, time, compassion, and love, the School Advisory Council was honored to present the Celtic Award to Eileen and Mike Bruno.The entire St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School community offer them sincere congratulations!

 

Gala 2017

Eighth Grade Ribbon Mass 2017

On Friday, February 24, our eighth grade students received their class ribbons during a special Mass and ceremony that was a celebration of friendship, accomplishment, and call to further service. Witnessed by the entire school community as well as their families and friends, the members of the class of 2017 proudly accepted the green and white class ribbons from the faculty members that have been their Confirmation mentors this year. They accepted the ribbons as a symbol of honor, fellowship and leadership.  To paraphrase Mrs. Bruno, their homeroom teacher,

" …we give each member of the Class of 2017 a special ribbon to …to adorn them, to signify their giftedness, to tie them to memories of loved ones that have helped them reach this point in their lives, to symbolize their courage as disciples of Christ, to show their solidarity with our school, and to honor them for their academic victories….."

 Keenly aware of the example that they provide to our younger students, the eighth graders will wear the ribbons with pride as they continue to demonstrate the character, kindness and courage that distinguish our St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School graduates.  

STEM in Fourth Grade with Homemade Anemometers

The fourth graders have been  studying weather in Science. They made their own Anemometers out of a paper plate, cups, a spool of thread and a stick .Then they took their creations outside and tested their work. An Anemometer measures wind speed. The students counted how many times the Anemometer turned during a one minute interval to calculate the wind speed The students then recorded their results and assessed the effectiveness of their design. 

Our First Annual Alumni Mass

Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. McGuire and Mr. and Mrs. Bruno and their many helpers, we held our first annual Alumni Mass on February 18.  The Mass was meaningful and the entire event was a successful gathering of so many of our past students. Alumni from the classes of 1942, 1944, 1980, 2008, 2016 plus many other classes attended. All enjoyed Faith and Fellowship at Mass and the dinner that followed. The plan is to make this an annual celebration of our fine alumni on the weekend before the school Gala. Please enjoy some photos from this event.

The Fourth Grade Parade of States!

As part of their Social Studies curriculum with Mr. Lundberg, the fourth grade students have been learning about the regions of the United States. During their study of the states, each student created a “float” representing one state. The floats were filled with symbolism and facts. Their fellow students lined the hallways as the fourth graders and their  “Parade of States” made its way through the school as patriotic music played in the background. Everyone appreciated the hard work and creativity of the fourth grade students.  

STEM Building a House of Cards in Science

The eighth grade students recently finished their study of forces. Using what they learned, they were asked to construct houses out of decks of cards. The class was challenged to see which construction could hold the most weight. They had to use careful design principles and some trial and error to create the strongest structure. Note that the strongest playing card house was able to withstand the force of 2700 grams!

Vocation Awareness with the Maryknoll Missionaries

On February 15, our junior-high students were visited by Father Tom, a MaryKnoll missionary priest, who shared his experiences working with people in North Sudan and South Sudan. Through an interactive game, Ms. Kate Macan, a missioner who served in Nicaragua, taught the students about the importance of going out and meeting new people in the world. Both visitors humbly told about their experiences doing the work of Christ by simply praying, sharing a meal, and providing hope in places of turmoil. The meaning of answering the call ---vocation ---was brought to our school in a new way.

Alumni Phonathon

St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School was pleased to welcome back many of our recent alumni plus current students and parents. They worked together to contact alumni and update our alumni records.It is important to us to stay in touch with our past students!

Celebrating Catholic Schools at St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School

During the week of January 29 through February 3, we took the time to highlight some of the wonderful features of Catholic Schools in general and to celebrate the extraordinary qualities of St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School specifically.  The theme of Catholic Schools Week again expressed the mantra that Catholic Schools are communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service. It is always our goal here at St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School to hold our students and teachers to the highest standards of academic excellence.  While academics are the key essential, we also find ways to practice our Faith and to be of service every day.  Added into that mix are ways to make learning fun. 

The week’s festivities began with Open House on Sunday. Our classrooms and all of our extracurricular activities and athletic teams were on display along with a Book Fair, a spectacular Art Fair and an amazing array of Science investigations by our 7th and 8th Grade students.  There were cake walks just for fun and the Toasty Cheese Truck provided great snacks for visitors.

Our commitment to service was clearly evident as we watched our National Junior Honor Society members sponsor the Souper Bowl of Caring. Guided by the NJHS moderators, Mrs. Lerch and Mr. Munyon, the students collected an amazing amount of food and cash donations for two local food pantries. Students also created Spiritual Bouquets for nursing home residents to brighten their days and to let them know that we keep them in our prayers.

Many other fun activities during the week including a special student breakfast, a Bible-opoly competition, a faculty appreciation luncheon, and Friday Bingo made the week a true celebration of our Catholic community of Faith, Knowledge and Service.

Celebrating Catholic Schools 2017....Open House

Celebrating Catholic Schools 2017....School Activities

The Science Fair 2017

On Thursday, January 26, many weeks of preparation culminated in the school Science Fair for our seventh and eighth grade students.  Under the guidance of St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School junior high science teacher, Mrs. O’Hara, the students develop a hypothesis, design an experiment to test their hypothesis, conduct the experiment and analyze the results.  A written report that includes a review of the literature about other similar studies accompanies the displays that are presented by the students at the science fair.  Pairs of judges rate the student’s work and the scores are averaged and tallied to determine who will represent our school at the regional science fair. The science experiments were quite varied this year and showed excellent application of the scientific method. There were experiments that involved behavioral science, chemistry, physics, consumer science, material science, computer science, and even cellular molecular biology!  The critical thinking and problem solving fostered by the science fair are very important skills that students need to have in their toolbox for life. Pictured here are the student projects along with their abstracts and their displays. 

The Stock Market Game at St. Al/St. Pat's

The Stock Market Game (SMG) program is used in thousands of classrooms nationwide to help teach core academic subjects while emphasizing the importance of long-term saving and investing.  Students work together in teams to conduct research, invest their hypothetical $100,000 cash account and manage their portfolio over time.  Through their participation, student teams gain practical knowledge about the markets, learning such concepts as risk and diversification.  While the students think they’re playing a game, their teachers know they’re learning real-life economic and financial skills that will benefit them for years to come.

Ms. Burke, our junior high Math teacher, and Mrs. Yakes, our technology teacher,  work together as a team at St. Als/St. Pats to bring this learning experience to our eighth grade students. They use the SMG program’s online educational resource library as a tool to enhance student engagement with math, language arts, social studies, business, and technology, while integrating investment concepts into their existing curriculum.  The cross-curricular lessons and materials address many important learning standards.

Buddies Working Together!

One of the most charming and helpful programs at St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School involves our older students helping out our youngest students in many ways. Our eighth graders are paired with Kindergarten students, our seventh graders work with first graders, and our sixth grade students team up with our little preschool kids.  The Buddies often work on cooperative projects together such as when the eighth graders help their little buddies plant flower bulbs at the front of our school. Everyone anxiously awaits the springtime floral explosion!  Also pictured here are the seventh grade students helping their first grade buddies accomplish digital research and notetaking for their penguin project. The first graders were so grateful for the kind assistance from their buddies! Sixth grade students get together with their preschool buddies every chance they get. They are looking forward to doing a Valentine’s Day project with them soon. The guidance provided by our oldest students to our youngest students makes life better for both groups. The older kids learn valuable leadership and service skills while the youngest students get extra personalized help and attention. It is definitely a win-win program!

Eighth Grade and Kindergarten Buddy Bulb Planting

Seventh Graders Helping First Grade Buddies with Digital Research

Sixth Grade with Their Preschool Buddies

The Beautiful "Ugly" Sweater Fashion Show

Our junior high students teamed up during the month of December to create facsimiles of “ugly sweaters” that were intended to highlight talents and features of the wearer.  Each sweater designer also had to create a runway narrative that he or she read as the sweater was modeled by the recipient.  Some of the sixth grade students even teamed up to create “ugly sweaters” for some of their teachers.

In the end, all concluded that the sweaters were not ugly at all but rather beautiful representations of the people they were specially designed for.  Everyone had a great time watching the “fashion show” and many of the very artistic “sweaters” will be treasured for a long time by the receivers. 

Masterpieces in the Making

Each year, Mrs. Parry guides the eighth grade students on a journey that culminates in a piece of artwork. Like the masterpieces that these student creations emulate, the paintings require several stages and take quite some time to reach their framed display state during Catholic Schools Week. As the students work on the art, they are also journaling in their language arts classes with Mrs. Bruno and applying math skills as they maintain the proportions of their painting on their canvas. Along the way they also employ technology to help with research and to communicate about their overall experience. This amazing learning experience teaches the students about art, about perseverance, about what it really takes to create a masterpiece on canvas that lives on long after the artist, and finally, about themselves and what they are capable of doing. These photos depict some of the early struggles of the student artists as they endeavor to get the colors and proportions just right.

 Another part of the journey involves our young artists visiting The Art Institute of Chicago to see real artistic masterpieces and to learn more about the artistic process.  There are also some photos of this traditional field trip included here.

 The whole school eagerly awaits the finished masterpiece paintings that will be on display at the Art Fair during Catholic Schools Week that begins with our open house on January 29!

Completed Masterpiece Paintings 2017

A Visit to the Art Institute of Chicago ..... viewing artistic masterpieces and learning more techniques....

Christmas Musical Concerts 2016

On Wednesday, December 14, the children in first grade through the fourth grade and the Liturgical Choir joined to present a Christmas concert for their parents and friends.  Under the direction of Mr. Joe Martorano and accompanied by talented musicians, the students sang a program of Advent and Christmas music designed to highlight the true meaning of the Christmas season, intermixed  with a sprinkling of lighthearted familiar Christmas carols. The lovely melodies and meaningful lyrics helped add meaning to our Advent of waiting for the Christ child. Unique this year was a live streaming of the concert that allowed even far away relatives to enjoy the concert!

Then on December 20, the band members from our school combined with those from St. Germaine and from Ss. Cyril and Methodius to present a wonderful Christmas band concert. The band is directed by Mr. Patrick Mooney.

These concerts showcase the musical talents of our students, and they help to get everyone into the true spirit of Christmas.

Hour of Code 2016

During National Computer Science Education Week (December 5-9 this year) all of our students join  millions of others around the world and attempt to learn a bit of computer coding and even some app invention. This has become a nationwide campaign to expose students to this important skill. The exercises the children participate in also fit very well into our STEM initiative (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math). The students listen to short tutorials by famous personalities and expert computer scientists as they attempt to complete the wide array of tutorials available. These short instructional videos are designed to pique interest in computer science and guide the student’s coding experiences.

All of Mrs. Yakes’ students from PreSchool up through the 8th grade are given the opportunity to try computer coding.  Many tried this year’s specially designed tutorial based on the new Disney movie. Moana.  Students used Blockly (a simplified coding language) to create their programs and they were able to reveal the actual coding language that lies beneath the blocks.  Other students experimented with tutorials offered by Tynker and by Code.org. Some even tried their hand at more complex coding and App creation using the MIT App Inventor site. If you would care to check out this year’s possibilities for the Hour of Code, click these links to try your hand:  Hour of Code 2016 and the MIT App Inventor.

 These lessons will be ongoing in the lab so that students can continue their opportunity to experience computer coding and gain some appreciation for what computer scientists do to help make our world a better place. In the words of Bill Gates, every student should learn how to do computer coding because “it teaches you how to think and how to solve problems”, and those are very important skills indeed!

Kindergarten Thanksgiving Mass

Mrs. Jenkins’ Kindergarten students orchestrated our school Liturgy service for the first time on Friday, November 18.  They sent the tone for the Mass with a beautiful handmade banner proclaiming the need for us to be thankful for our many blessings.  Our youngest students led the readings and prayers with just a bit of support from their eighth grade buddies! The children then worked with the choir to sing and sign and beautiful hymn after Holy Communion. Included during the liturgy was a blessing over the food we collected for the community open pantry during the month of November. 

Eighth Grade Public Service Announcement Videos

As part of their Language Arts Class with Mrs. Bruno and their Technology Class with Mrs. Yakes, the eighth grade students recently created Public Service Announcement videos. They did their best to express what our 2016-17 school theme means and showcased how we live the theme, We Are the Work of God’s Hands. The students worked together in small cooperative groups on the scripting and taping, but then each student created their own take on the final video presentation. The students are pleased to show off their writing and speaking skills, their videotaping, editing and production skills, AND our wonderful school and the ways that "We Are the Work of God's Hands!" All of the videos are available for viewing on a special website. Click on this link to visit the website.  Pictured here are the eighth grade students sharing their video creations with their kindergarten buddies.

Montini Catholic Mathematics Competition

On Saturday November 12th, fifteen of our sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students attended Montini Catholic High School to participate in a math competition.  There were over 400 students who attended from 33 of the area’s best public and private schools.  Representing our school from sixth grade were Caleb B., Garret C., Connor K., and Nick V., from seventh grade were Vince C., Ian M., Scarlett O., Ryan O., and Alex P., and from eighth grade were Christopher C., Paige C., Abby G., Will G., and Gabby S.  We are proud to announce we had many winners!  In sixth grade, Caleb B. earned an eighth place honor.  In seventh grade Alex P. earned a seventh place honor and Ian M. earned a fourth place honor.  In eighth grade Will G. earned an eighth place honor.  We are also happy to announce that our seventh grade team took a third place team victory overall!  Congratulations to the parents of these students and to the faculty who have taught them throughout the years.  We are so proud of our Celtics!

Veteran's Day 2016

On Veteran’s Day, November 11, Mr. Munyon and his fifth grade students, along with Mr. Lundberg and Mrs. Bruno and the Worship Commission, joined forces to create a very moving Veteran’s Day Service as part of our Friday Liturgy. All were welcomed into the worship space by a most meaningful display of the Veteran’s Table. The symbols that were part of this display included item such as a single red rose to remind us of the life and the blood that was shed and a slice of lemon to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land. There was a lit candle to show that America is a light in a world of darkness and salt to symbolize the tears of the families with missing soldiers. A Bible represented the strength gained through faith and an inverted glass and tilted chair signified the inability of those lost to wars to share in this Eucharistic meal with us.

We were so pleased to welcome veteran and former teacher Mr. Kerry O’Donnell back to our school as the keynote speaker. Other highlights of the morning included the cast of our recent school play, Kilroy Was Here, reprising the beautiful song We Are One, the reverent recitation of the names of many Veterans, and a special blessing that was offered to all of our visiting vets as well as those who could not be with us.

Another activity to honor and benefit those currently serving in the military was spearheaded by Mrs. Lerch and the National Junior Honor Society. She found out about a dentist who was willing to collect leftover Halloween candy, pay for it by the pound, and then ship it overseas to soldiers currently serving. There was a great response from our school community. Many pounds of candy were collected and sent to servicemen along with handmade letters and cards. 

Veteran's Day Service Highlights

A Special Performance for Cardinal Cupich

Our school is very happy for our newly appointed Cardinal Blaise Cupich. We wanted to do something special to congratulate him. After Mass on Friday, November 4, the whole school created a special performance of our theme song for this school year, The Work of God’s Hands by Michael Schmid.

Kilroy Was Here: A Musical Comedy Salute to the Early 1940's

On November 5, the St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School Drama Club along with Lucky Star Productions produced a wonderful musical play that transported their audience back to the early 1940’s. The student performers and their director, Mrs. Margie Novotny, worked for months to hone their thespian skills and musical song and dance routines. All of that hard work culminated in an outstanding performance. The cast performed a complete dress rehearsal for the entire school on Friday before the official show on Saturday. The play received rave reviews from all of the faculty and students. Everyone enjoyed seeing the play on a real stage thanks to Mount Assisi Academy who allowed us to use their facilities. 

This charming patriotic musical drama was hugely successful thanks to the dedicated sponsors, the hardworking student performers, and the many supporting parents and staff members who helped with creating sets and arranging all of the other necessary components of the play. The entire school community took delight in watching “our kids” work musical magic on stage as the Kilroy Was Here  story unfolded.  Everyone, actors and audience alike, look forward to future performances!

Mass of Remembrance 2016

The Worship Commission, under the direction of Mrs. Eileen Bruno, consistently creates wonderful backdrops for our liturgies.  Their transformation efforts for the annual Mass of Remembrance are always especially meaningful for our school community.  This year, the names of loved ones who have passed were represented on butterflies colored and decorated by family members. They were meant to demonstrate that upon death, life is changed but not ended. The first grade students did a beautiful job orchestrating the liturgy celebration with just a little help from their seventh grade buddies. It was a lovely way to remember special people who are no longer with us on earth.

November Chess Tournament

St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School hosted the twelfth annual chess tournament at school on Friday, November 4. Eighty chess players competed in four divisions. Our chess club did fantastic! In the K-1 division, Tommy got second place, Sahej got third and Nathan got fourth place. Our K-1 team garnered the first place trophy!  Our 2-3 division had Joey, Corey and Emmett all placing in their division and bringing home a third place trophy! In the most popular 4-5 division with over 33 players, Danny, Noah, Max, Aidan and Zach all placed in their division and brought home a third place trophy. Ian received third place in the 6-8 division. Coach Theo was very proud of all of these hard working children and their success! Both the coach and the children also extended a special thank you to the hard working St. Als/St. Pats chess parents for their hard work orchestrating this tournament.

Eighth Grade Saints Presentation

On Friday, October 28, the gymnasium underwent a miraculous transformation and again became a reverent worship space just as it does for our all school liturgies. This time, however, it became a hallowed hall of holy saints.

 Under the direction of Mrs. Bruno, the eighth grade teacher, each eighth grader dressed up to represent their chosen Confirmation Saint and posed beside a stained glass window backdrop that they had created. The “stained glass windows” were filled with rich symbolism important to their Saint’s story. Complete with candle light and hushed voices, the setting became a very holy place and a spectacular way to honor All Saints Day. The younger grades were welcomed in and after an introductory Litany of the Saints, they gathered in small groups at each Saint to hear the story of their life.  Young children and visiting adults alike listened with rapt attention as the 8th grade Saints revealed details about the faith and life of the inspiring person they represented.  As the young students left the museum, they were able to choose an artifact or holy card that the eighth graders had made to remind others of their Saint.

 This experience really helped make the Saints come alive not only for the eighth grade Confirmandi, but for our whole school community. We are so fortunate to be able to provide these experiences both for those creating them and for those praying with them. Later this year, the students will create webpages about their Saint that they will also be able to share. When our faith life is woven in such a beautiful way with our other learning, we recognize and feel our Catholic identity deeply. Great job eighth grade leaders! 

The Saints Presentation 2016 by Slidely Slideshow

Biography Presentations

The fourth and fifth grade technology classes have been working on their October book reports for Mrs. Cunningham in a unique way this past month.  They had to select a biography book and their book report was done with Mrs. Yakes in the computer lab in presentation form which they were then able to share with their classmates.

The fourth grade students created a PowerPoint presentation about their chosen famous person. They were challenged to not only find basic information about their person, but also to infer character traits that helped them accomplish the great things they did. The students dressed up as their famous person on Halloween to deliver their presentation to their classmates. Can you guess who each student represents in the photos?

In the fifth grade, the children also read a book about a famous historical figure and did digital research and note-taking as well. They then developed a script and recorded a video PhotoStory report about their biographical subject. This challenging project involved many steps from start to completion.  The finished Photostories can be viewed on this website:  https://sites.google.com/a/stals-stpats.org/historicalfigurephotostories5th2016/

Halloween Fun 2016

Imagination was everywhere during the days leading up to and including Halloween. Doors were decorated with Halloween themes! The traditional I SPY Haunted came out in the Computer Lab for the younger grades just before Halloween, and several of the children found their way out of the mansion this year! The Family School Association hosted a fabulous Halloween party on Friday, October 28 complete with costumes, games, food and even a soup cook-off. On Halloween itself, the Pre-school through third grade paraded their costumes for the older students and parent on-lookers, and then had a chance to enjoy treats and games at their classroom Halloween parties. Alumnus Madison Wall and Mrs. Wall even helped the extended day students mix a little science with Halloween fun as she showed them how to create “Ghost Bubbles” using carbon dioxide vapor from dry ice.  The children learned about the sublimation properties of frozen carbon dioxide, which is unique in its change of state directly from frozen solid to a gas.  Ms. Wall used a unique tubing contraption and soap solution to trap the CO2 gas inside of bubbles-----hence, ghost bubbles!  It was fascinating and fun!  Enjoy the photo gallery of our many Halloween festivities!

Halloween at school by Slidely Slideshow

Grandparent's Day 2016

On Friday, October 21, the halls of St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School were filled with love and caring as many grandparents and persons that are special to our students came to visit and share the morning. The day began with a beautiful liturgy officiated by Father Kurt with the help of our fourth grade students. The fourth graders set the tone for the day with heartfelt words that expressed how special a grandparent’s love is to us and how much we learn by watching what these treasured family members show us about faith and goodness. Other readings and touching comments by Grandma Fiore added to the ceremony.  Our special guests then had the opportunity to visit the classrooms with their grandchildren and to enjoy a reception in their honor. It is apparent that our students are very much loved and supported by their families and extended families.  Enjoy viewing some photos from the day……

Providence High School Academic Bowl Victors!

On Saturday, October 1, 2016, eleven of our 7th and 8th grade students competed in the Providence High School 16th Annual Junior High Academic Bowl. Participants were selected based upon their demonstrated proficiency in Language Arts, Social Sciences, Science, Mathematics and Geography. There were more than twenty schools participating in the competition. Awards were given to teams and to individual students for outstanding performance.
 
Representing St. Alphonsus/ St. Patrick from the seventh grade were Scarlett O., Ian M., Julia P., Alex P., and Ryan E. Representing us from eighth grade were Chris C., Ryan M., Michael V, Connor K., Jack G, and Tatiana S.. We are pleased to announce that Scarlett O. won third place in social studies and Alex P. took second place in the mathematics competition. The seventh grade team took 1st place overall!! Congratulations to these fine students, their parents, and to the faculty who have taught them throughout their previous years. We are proud of our Academic Team CELTICS!

First Grade STEM Lesson

Alumni Madison Wall, Class of 2009, returned to our first grade recently to share a STEM Lesson (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). The lesson, called the Balancing Robot, helped the first graders understand balance and center of gravity. The children colored their robots and then used two pennies to find the center of gravity. They tried balancing their robots in many ways and in many places around the room.
 
Madison is taking a course entitled Broadening Participation in STEM and was happy to share her expertise with us. She will graduate from Loyola University in December with a degree in Math and Computer Science. She will continue at the University to receive her Masters degree in Secondary Education with a Mathematics endorsement. 

Balancing Robots in First Grade

National Junior Honor Society Induction 2016

On Friday, September 23, the St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society inducted eight new members.  Our Principal, Ms. Payne and the  NJHS advisors, Mrs. Teri Lerch and Mr. Joel Munyon, along with the current members, welcomed the new inductees in a formal ceremony that celebrated the qualities that are the hallmarks of the society. Student members resolved to carry out the five pillars of Character, Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Citizenship.  The new inductees included eighth graders Ela S. and Tatiana S..and seventh graders Luke A., Vince C., Ian M., Scarlett O., Julia P., and Alex P. They were ushered into the NJHS by our existing eighth grade members Christopher C., Paige C., Abigail G., William G., Connor K., and Ryan M.

True to the mandate given to these young people during their induction, our NJHS students strive to be "servant leaders". NJHS members work throughout the year to foster the touchstones of NJHS by sponsoring projects that benefit the community, our parishes, and St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School.  We are very proud of these hard-working students. 

Cross Country....the Newest Celtic Sport!

This fall season, a new sport has been added to the athletics programs available to our Celtics! There is now a Cross Country Team open to all children in grades five through eight. The team practices two to three times per week to prepare for Cross Country meets. Pictured here are our Celtic runner who competed in their first meet at Providence High School on September 22. Cross Country runners accomplish superb conditioning as they strive constantly to improve their own personal best running time!

Cross Country Meet at Providence, September 22

The New Collaborative Learning Center

The new Collaborative Learning Center (CLC for short) is taking shape nicely!  The room is a wonderful learning space complete with comfortable seating for a discussion group, modular furniture that can be reconfigured to match the needs of the group, and a large screen on the wall that functions as a Chromebook.

This new learning environment is based upon the view that knowledge is a social construct. Collaborative activities that are student focused, involve real world problems, and emphasize active “doing” and working in groups are known to promote authentic and deeper learning experiences.

The CLC is available to all teachers and students for use and has already been the site for many projects.  Pictured below you will see the drama club during the early stages of producing this year’s play!

The room and its many possible uses will continue to evolve. We are grateful to the many generous donors who contributed to this project at last year’s gala and to all that have contributed to the construction of the CLC and the relocation of the regular library. Mrs. Hoster is working hard to get the traditional library back in service in its new location!

Eighth Grade Leadership Mass

One of our most inspiring and touching back-to-school events is the eighth grade Leadership Mass. We have watched our eighth graders grow from little children to mature students willing to accept the mantle of leadership. During the Mass on Friday, September 9, the eighth grade class pledged to use their gifts and talents to lead the school this year and to help all of our students and our entire school community live our theme, We Are the Work of God’s Hands.  Throughout the year these young leaders will demonstrate with their service and leadership some of the ways that God expects us to also be His hands to help make our world a better place. The school community promised to help our fledgling leaders along the way and to champion their successful leadership accomplishments as well.

 

The Opening Mass: We Are the Work of God's Hands

No matter how many days of school have already gone by, it is our opening Mass that really starts the year. This special Mass actualizes our theme for the year in an artistic and creative way thanks to the work of all of the children and the school community. The teachers prepared the background boards and then the children each contributed an artistic rendition of their hand. As always, special mention must be made about the extraordinary contributions of time and talent from Mr. and Mrs. Bruno for the original conception and woodworking and for the final framing of the artwork. 
 
On Friday, September 2, the entire school community gathered for our opening celebration liturgy. The beautiful hand portraits created by each class will serve as a constant reminder this year of our theme. We are Celtics...Living Our Mission....and We Are the Work of God's Hands. Father Brian's homily spoke to the fact that we are all here to also be the hands of God to one another. He told a story of a simple hero who just by eating lunch with an isolated student changed that child's whole life. The opening liturgy charged us all to go out and be heroes to one another with simple kindness and caring.