Beginning with solemn Ash Wednesday services and all throughout the 40 days of Lent, the students and staff of St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School kept the meaning and actions of Lent present in very special and reverent ways. We concentrated on prayer, sacrifice, and almsgiving in many ways.
We gave service with projects like the Student Council sponsored Complement Hearts project. An additional contribution was made to Watt of Love and a contribution was made to Catholic Relief Services from the proceeds of this project. Many students and staff also filled the CRS Rice bowls during Lent and those additional contributions allowed us to send over $850 to Catholic Relief Services.
Many beautiful Lenten traditions at our school prayerfully add to the meaning and significance of the season. These include the Seder meal for the 6th, 7th and 8th graders, the dramatization of the Last Supper presented by the 5th grade and the living Stations of the Cross presented by the 8th grade.
Please take a moment to relive some of these special moments of worship through photos and videos of the events.
On Friday, March 16, we honored our basketball and co-ed volleyball athletic team members with a rousing pep rally. Basketball and co-ed volleyball players were recognized and then everyone cheered for their classmates as they competed in a friendly free throw contest. The Student Council sponsors pep rallies to periodically acknowledge some of the gifts and talents of our students and to affirm our Celtic spirit!
Our eighth grade students have all received the Sacrament of Confirmation----St. Alphonsus parishioners received the sacrament on March 3 and the students from St. Patrick’s parents were confirmed on March 10. Bishop Andrew Wypych presided 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.
On Friday, February 23, 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 2018 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 2018 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, 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.
During the week of January 28 through February 2, 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 expressed the mantra that Catholic Schools are committed to helping students Learn, Serve, Lead and Succeed. 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 Inventions by our 7th and 8th Grade students. There were cake walks just for fun and the Toasty Cheese truck and Higher Grounds coffee shop 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 food and cash donations for two local food pantries. Students also created thank you notes to express gratitude to school community members who help our students to succeed.
Many other fun activities occurred during the week including a special student breakfast, a Bibleopoly competition, a faculty appreciation luncheon, and Friday Bingo made the week a true celebration of our School and our culminating Catholic Schools Week Mass was a true celebration of the Faith that sustains us.
The St. Alphonsus-St. Patrick School Invention Convention was held on Thursday, January 25. Students from both 7th and 8th grade participated in the event. They began developing their inventions in October under the direction of Mrs. O’Hara, our junior high science teacher. The students first brainstorm to think of an original product that might serve a useful purpose, solve a problem, or fill a particular need. The final products represent months of hard work. The inventions were on display at this year's Open House and what a display it was! The gym was filled with ingenuity and creative problem solving. The student inventions came complete with market research and a marketing plan. Many observers decided that they would definitely like to buy some of the products on display!
The student inventions were judged by 16 teachers and community members based on criteria such as the originality and usefulness of the idea, the workmanship of the product prototype, the marketing plan, market research, and the creator’s response to the market research. The projects receiving special recognition were as follows:
Third place went to seventh grader Michael for his Foam Knee Pad Pants. There was a tie for second place by two eighth grade projects. Both Luke for The Clip Pocket and Regan for her Controlled Collar won second place honors.
Finally, first place honors went to seventh grade student Jacqueline for her Phone Leash.
In addition to the awards for the Inventions themselves, Mrs. Bruno also evaluated the display boards as effective communication tools. She applied the Illinois State standard goals and objectives for “Communicating”. The standards explain how students are to “express and interpret information and ideas.” Based upon elements of the goals and standards, the Invention Convention display boards are considered a valid and vital piece of communication and they were assessed for their effectiveness in this regard. The students chosen for this special certificate were seventh graders Caleb and Nick for their project entitled Your Super Phone and eighth grade Luke for his Clip Pocket project board.
Take a look at some photos of our young inventors with their unique and useful creations.
Each year, Mrs. Parry, our Fine Arts teacher, 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 and writing a poem inspired by their painting 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. Included are also the final paintings of our young artists. The paintings debuted during Catholic Schools Week at the Art Fair, and remain on display in the front entrance of the school.
In preparation for the South Cook Regional Spelling Competition, twenty five of the best spellers of St. Alphonsus-St. Patrick School participated in our school spelling bee on Tuesday, January 23. Cheered on by their classmates, the students from grades 4-8 who won their classroom competitions did their best to spell some very challenging words in the all school Spelling Bee! Participants from Grade 4 included Gabrielle, Josie, Blake, Nina and Olivia. The Fifth grade spellers were Nick, Cianna, Jacob, Emily and Claire. From sixth grade, the challengers were Tess, Matthew, Maia, Drea and Max. The seventh grade super spellers included Sophia, Michael, Jackie, Frank and Nick. Eighth grade competitors were Luke, Sam, Ian, Reagan, and Alex.
Every one of these students showed poise and spelling prowess as they stepped up to the microphone to spell a number of very difficult words.
The third place finisher was Luke from the eighth grade. Sixth grader Tess came in second place after some fast paced rounds with the final bee champion, Alex from grade eight. Alex was a repeat champion and also competed in the regional competition last year! He represented our school very well on February 5 through some fast paced spelling and vocabulary rounds and showed impressive poise and preparation throughout the competition.
Although many terrific items were available for both the live and silent auctions, the classroom projects proved to be, as always, a highlight. Enjoy a few pictures of these lovely items which are now in the homes of their lucky and very generous winners! Thanks again to all who helped organize the event as well as to all who supported the gala in any way. The staff and students of St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School are truly grateful for this annual show of support!
On December 16, the St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School Drama Club and Stage Crew, along with Lucky Star Productions, performed a wonderful musical play that transported their audience back to the Old West. The student performers and their director, Mrs. Margie Novotny, along with many helpful parent volunteers and staff representative, Mrs. Terri Riordan, worked for months to hone their thespian skills and musical song and dance routines. Mr. Mike Bruno also worked with the stage crew to create all of the sets and backdrops for the play’s action. All of that hard work culminated in an outstanding performance filled with lively song and dance routines, lots of plot action, and plenty of humorous twists and turns. The play received rave reviews from those in attendance. Everyone enjoyed seeing the play on a real stage thanks to Mount Assisi Academy who allowed us to use their facilities.
This charming 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 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 Wagon Wheels West story unfolded. Everyone, actors and audience alike, look forward to future performances by our drama club members!
On Wednesday, December 13, the children in Kindergarten through the fourth grade and the Liturgical Choir and newly formed Bell Choir joined to present a Christmas concert for their parents and friends. Under the direction of Mr. Joe Martorano, the students sang a program of Advent and Christmas music designed to highlight the true meaning of the Christmas season and also treated their audience to many lighthearted familiar Christmas songs. The lovely melodies and significant lyrics helped add meaning to our Advent of waiting for the Christ child. Unique this year were the lovely tones played by our new Student Bell Choir. This dedicated group practices during their recess time and adds so much to our liturgical music.
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.
Our junior high students use our well-equipped Science Laboratory for constant discovery. Pictured here are just a few examples of the scientific inquiry processes that occur.
The sixth graders recently finished a chapter on matter and learned how the particles of a solid, liquid and gas are arranged and at what speed they move. The students then got to observe the movement up close. They placed food coloring drops in three different cups ( very hot water, ice water and room temperature water) and observed at different times how fast the particles of dye spread throughout the cups of water.
Seventh grade students have been reinforcing their science skills. They used the scientific method to predict, measure and observe the mixing of two unknown liquids. They also learned that a scientist does not set out to prove a hypothesis but rather to test it, and that sometimes the results just don't seem to add up. When combining 25 milliliters of liquid A and 25 milliliters of liquid B, they should have observed that the final volume did not equal 50 milliliters.
Finally, the eighth grade has been learning about physical and chemical changes and properties. They were able to actually observe those types of changes in action by viewing what happens when substances such as baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch and powdered sugar were mixed with liquids like water, vinegar and iodine. Students needed to determine which showed physical or chemical changes and which demonstrated soluble or reactive properties.
December 4-10 was National Computer Science Education Week. Along with millions of others, our students were invited to try to learn a bit about computer coding during a nationwide campaign to expose students to this important skill. The students had an opportunity to listen to short tutorials by famous personalities. These short instructional videos were 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 had the opportunity to try computer coding. Many tried the specially designed experiences that were based on MineCraft or Star Wars or familiar Disney movies. Students used Blockly (a simplified coding language) to create their programs and they were also able to reveal the actual coding language. Other students experimented with tutorials offered by Tynker and by Code.org. Some even tried their hand at more complex coding languages like Python, while our youngest students in PreK and Kindergarten used an iPad app called Kodable to get an introduction to programing concepts and problem solving.
On Wednesday of this special week, our fifth through eighth grade students were very fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and hear an actual Computer Scientist from Argonne National Laboratory. Haritha Siddabathuni Som shared information about her pathway to her career in computer science, offered encouragement to the students, and encouraged them to value and cherish this time in their life that is just dedicated to learning. Mrs. Som is a leader for the team that manages access to the supercomputing facility. Researchers who wish to gain access to the power of these huge computers must obtain a special access protocol from her team. The students learned a bit about the two super computers currently housed at Argonne and gained some appreciation for the power of these machines.
Computer coding lessons will be ongoing in the lab so that students can continue their opportunity to experience what it takes to make computers work 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!
This year more than 180 students in grades 6-8 entered the Lemont VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. The theme this year was “America’s Gift to My Generation”.
This year thirteen winners were announced on Sunday, December 3, 2017. We are proud of our six students who were awarded a certificate and a one hundred dollar cash prize. Congratulations to Luke, Lia, Michael, Sophia, Ryan, and Jackie. Their essays were submitted to be judged in the district competition.
The seventh grade students orchestrated our Thanksgiving Liturgy on Friday, November 17. The entire school community took time to offer thanks for our many blessings. Included during the liturgy was also the commissioning of two new Eucharistic Ministers for our school, Mrs. Lerch and Mrs. Salomone, and a blessing for all of those who serve in this capacity at our liturgies. Finally, during the month of November, the Student Council sponsored a food drive so that we could share our bounty with the less fortunate. Father Brian blessed the food that was delivered to a local community food pantry later in the day.
As traditional as turkey and pumpkin pie, the eighth grade annual Turkey Theater event happens each November at St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School. The Class of 2018 hosted a fun-filled afternoon filled with raffles, movie viewing and treats. All of the proceeds from the event help fund the eighth grade culminating trip. The eighth graders also received their Class of 2018 hoodies to make the day even more special.
Our Academic teams were very active and very successful during the month of November.
All of our Junior High academic teams from sixth through eighth participated in the Thirty-First Annual Montini High School Math Competition and every student came home a winner! Thirty seven schools and 450 students competed overall. Our eighth grade team came in second overall, the seventh grade won third place, and our sixth grade team also took second place. Of the 33 awards given at this competition, St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School received nine of them for 27% of the total. Individual honors were garnered by several students in addition to the team awards. Eighth graders Alex and Ryan O. took home first place and second place respectively. Seventh graders Jackie and Caleb won fifth and eighth place in their division. Finally, sixth graders Max and Lia achieved second place and seventh place.
This month, our Academic Team also won first place in the Benet Scholastic Bowl, first place in the Nazareth Scholastic Bowl and third place in the Nazareth Math Bowl. At the Nazareth Academy Scholastic Bowl our eighth grade academic team competed against 19 other schools and won the final round with a 143-37 point victory to take first place overall! Our students also did very well at the Benet Academy Scholastic Bowl. Our eighth grade team again won first place overall and our seventh grade team won first place in the math section of the competition.
We are very proud of all of these hardworking students who represent our school so well!
The Worship Commission, under the direction of Mrs. Bruno, consistently creates wonderful backdrops for our liturgies. Their transformative efforts for the annual Mass of Remembrance are especially meaningful for our school community. In keeping with our school theme this year, We Are One Body, small images of loved ones who have passed were represented on figures that were joined hand in hand. The figures were decorated by family members and contained symbols to celebrate the lives of those represented. Names were read and candles were lit to honor those loved ones who have died. The first grade students did a fine job orchestrating the liturgy celebration with some help from their 7th grade buddies. It was a lovely way to remember special people who are no longer with us on earth.
On Wednesday, November 8, 2017, we honored our veterans with a prayer service and reception at our school. We were so pleased to welcome several members of the Lemont VFW Post #5819 and other veterans. Several students read from their Patriot's Pen Essays, the drama club did a reprise of a patriotic song from last year's play, and all prayed with and blessed the veterans in attendance.
A very special tribute to all who have and are serving in the armed forces was the setting of the Veteran’s Table by some of our students. As the students placed the items on the round, white table, Mrs. Bruno explained their significance. The symbols that were part of this display included items 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 the Eucharistic meal with us.
Also connected to our salute to those who protect and defend our freedoms was the traditional National Junior Honor Society Treats for the Troops Collection. Our National Junior Honor Society collected Halloween candy from students. The candy was then delivered to Shorewood Family Dental who generously shipped the candy to Operation Gratitude. Operation Gratitude sends care packages to our soldiers overseas. Thanks to the generosity of St. Al's-St. Pat's students, five large boxes of candy were donated. Many students also wrote cards and letters to the soldiers and those were also sent along with the candy treats!
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 type videos. They did their best to express what our 2017-18 school theme means and showcased how we live the theme, We Are One Body. 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 One Body!" All of the videos are available for viewing on a special website. Click on this link to visit the website.
St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School hosted it’s thirteenth annual chess tournament at school on Friday, November 3. Eighty-eight chess players from nine different schools competed in four divisions. Our chess club performed extremely well! In the Grade K-1 division, Joey received a fifth place trophy! In the Grade 2-3 division we had all of our players placing in their division, including Tommy, Emmett, Corey, Matthew and Jack. These boys brought home a third place trophy! This was quite an accomplishment as there were over 30 players in this most popular division! In the Grade 4-5 division, Gabrielle was our school's sole representative, but she represented us very well by placing in her division! Ian, Alex, Max, Danny and Zach also placed in their division, enabling our Grade 6-8 division to bring home the first place trophy! Coach Theo is very proud of all of these hard working children and their success! The chess club and Coach Theo would like to extend a special thank you to all of the amazing St. Al/St. Pat’s chess parents for their hard work orchestrating this tournament!!
The fourth and fifth grade book reports this month have been collaborative journeys between technology classes and English/Language Arts, and have even involved some creative fine arts! The students selected a biography book about someone who has made a difference in the world. All of the students read their books, did digital research in the computer lab, and took notes to facilitate their final projects. The fourth graders created professional looking PowerPoint presentations. On Halloween, the students came in character, and dressed as their famous person. They used their PowerPoint presentation to share all that they had learned about these important historical figures. The fifth graders followed a similar research phase but then composed a script and narrated their report into a video creation program in the computer lab. Their work has been gathered onto a website for sharing to a wider audience. You can access their presentations here: https://sites.google.com/stals-stpats.org/historicalfigures5th2017/home .
Both groups of students also created “Bottle Buddies” fashioned to represent their famous biography subjects. These creations are currently lining the hallway with a few clues so that passersby can try to discern whom each bottle buddy represents.
On Friday, October 27, the gymnasium underwent a miraculous transformation and 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 and other visitors 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 tableau, 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. 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!
On Friday, October 20, the halls of St. Alphonsus-St. Patrick School were filled with love and caring as many grandparents and persons 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 second grade students. The second grade students set the tone for the day with a beautiful introduction that expressed love for all grandparents no matter what name they are called by. Other readings and tributes, as well as touching comments by Grandpa Risatti, 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 a video montage and looking at some photos from the day……
A new dimension has been added to our liturgy choir! Under the direction of Mr. Joe Martorano, several students have learned to play the hand bells. The participants give up their recess time to practice. Their efforts lend a special resonance to the beautiful voices of our liturgical choir. We are very proud of all of the students who enhance our worship with music and song.
This year, October is the 100-year anniversary of the Blessed Mother’s apparitions to the people of Fatima. On October 13, 1917, the miracle of the sun took place to the amazement of tens of thousands of people who came to witness the phenomenon. At Fatima, our Blessed Mother identified herself as the Lady of the Rosary and instructed the child seers to continue to say the rosary every day. Through Fatima, we see the role of Our Lady in world salvation and the importance of entrusting and consecrating our lives to her.
A very special gift of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima was made to our school by the St. Alphonsus community. At Mass on October 14, the statue was presented to the school community, blessed and adorned with flowers by the children. Our school community cherishes this reminder that we should constantly pray for peace in our world.
Our sixth through eighth-grade students participated in the 17th annual Providence Junior High Academic Bowl on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Seventeen schools participated in the event. Our Eighth-Graders finished third overall, and our Sixth/Seventh-Grade team finished in second place.
Participants competed in several subject areas including Language Arts, Social Science, Science, Mathematics and Geography. Students earned personal scores in each subject area, which were tabulated and compared to their peers. An award presentation took place following the competition. Trophies were awarded to the top four teams at both grade levels, as well as to the top five individuals in each subject area. Our team members also brought home several individual awards. On our sixth/seventh grade team, Max took first place in Science and Caleb won third place in Mathematics. Eighth graders also placed individually. Ian won first place in Science, Luke took third place in Social Science, and Alex placed fourth in Mathematics.
On October 23, our eighth-grade math team finished in third-place at the Nazareth Academy Math Contest. Sixteen total teams and 80 individual students competed in the contest. Congratulations to Alex, who earned second place individual honors in the competition.
We are very proud of these students who represent our school so very well!
Each year our Junior High students participate in a major field trip that helps build team spirit while also providing a rich learning experience. This year our students traveled to Springfield, our state capital. They absorbed lots of historical information along with having a great time with classmates.
One of the best features of our PreSchool through grade 8 school is the fact that our older students buddy up with our youngest students. The sixth graders mentor the Preschool students, seventh graders buddy up with the 1st graders, and our eighth grade leaders take the Kindergarten students under their wings. The students get together frequently during the year and especially when the younger kids might benefit from some help from their older buddies. Enjoy some photos of a few the first buddy activities of this year! You will see older students reading to younger students, seventh graders helping their first grade buddies with a sight word activity and with addition fact bingo, and eighth grade buddies planting bulbs for springtime blooms with their kindergarten buddies.
Celtic Spirit rocked the house on Friday, November 29, as the whole school gathered in the gym to cheer for our Fall athletic teams. All of the Volleyball, Cross Country and Football team members came out to be recognized by their fellow students. Celtic pride was evident everywhere and the spirit meter was on high! Each class participated in our Celtic cheer, and a volleyball “keep it up” contest. The 8th grade class was able to keep passing a volleyball for 112 times-----it was an amazing display of Celtic Teamwork! Finally the whole school played Four Corners with eighth grade corner callers Ethan and Brayden. Both winners were seventh graders named Nick!
The pep rally was a kick off celebration for our Fall Spirit week when we celebrate all Celtics as winning team members who contribute their unique talents to the whole……We Are One Body!
On Friday, September 15, the St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society inducted three new members. Our Principal, Mr. Priest 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 grader Ryan O. and seventh graders Caleb B. and Jacquelyn K. They were ushered into the NJHS by our existing eighth grade members Luke A., Vince C., Ian M., Scarlett O., Julia P., and Alex P.
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.
The Kindergarten students are learning how to access on-line storybooks using QR codes! They learned how to do this with the iPads and the Quafter app during computer class. Now they will be ready to use their new skills in their classroom with Mrs. Fleming during their Daily Five reading sessions. Learning to read is so exciting!
Our first graders learn all about apples during the Fall season! Last week, they performed many apple explorations. They learned that apples do float in water. The students tried balancing apples on top of one another. They also tried to balance apples on their own heads! First graders combined apples and geometry by forming geometric shapes with cut up apple pieces and toothpicks. The children are also creating a diagram of an apple tree in all four seasons in the computer lab and they will be graphing the results of other apple investigations they will do in the classroom. Apples are amazing!
Our eighth-grade students are introduced to the art of designing airplanes through paper airplane constructions. The goal is for our students to learn aircraft design considerations and how engineers must test their designs to achieve success. They learn about the use of flaps that can be found on any airplane and their functions. This prepares students for the associated activity in which they first make and test several paper airplane designs.
The students pictured here experimented with constructing airplanes with flaps and without flaps and then investigated which flew farther. Each group of students used their own original designs and they carried out their trials using good scientific method.
We can tell that we are officially back to school when our eighth grade class accepts the mantle of leadership during our traditional Leadership Mass.
All week, the eighth grade students developed and led our morning prayers---helping to prove that they are ready to be the leaders of the school.
During the Liturgy on Friday, September 8, the eighth grade class pledged to use their gifts and talents to lead and to carry out the Celtic Mission. They prepared for this commitment by reading and listening to speeches by prominent Americans and leaders of our Church; they examined the characteristics of effective leaders. Although they know that they are still learning, they pledged to do their best to be leaders for the school and for their younger classmates.
Throughout the year our eighth grade leaders will help us understand the gifts we have been given by God and how He expects us to use them to actualize our theme, We Are One Body. They will help us work together to make our school community and our world a better place.
No matter how many days of school have already gone by, it is our opening Mass that really starts the year. This special liturgy actualizes our theme for the year, We Are One Body, in an artistic and creative way thanks to the work of all of the children and the school community. This year, each class created a silhouette of a child that symbolized the gifts and talents each individual brings to the whole community. Special mention must be made about the extraordinary contributions of time and talent from Mr. and Mrs. Bruno for the original conception and woodworking.
On Friday, September 1, the entire school community gathered for our opening celebration liturgy. The unique silhouettes created by each class will serve as a constant reminder this year of our theme. We are Celtics...Living Our Mission....and We Are One Body. Father Brian's homily spoke to the fact that we are all called to contribute our gifts and talents to the whole community, and that if one part of the whole is missing the community is diminished. He told a story of a teacher who illustrated this concept with a puzzle. Finally, the entire school community stood and recited and recommitted to our Celtic Mission statement.
We are Celtics:
Carrying out the mission of Christ,
Excelling in academics,
Leading by promoting respect, integrity, discipline, and citizenship,
Teaching a foundation of right judgment, values, and confidence needed for a life of success and purpose,
Instilling a commitment to serving others according to Gospel values,
Celebrating our varied cultures, heritage, learning styles, and social backgrounds, and
Sharing the Word of God through prayer, worship, and example.
Each eighth grader chose a color of sand and layered the colors in one vase to symbolize how individual beings come together to work as one body. Then each class member poured a bit of his or her sand into the "heart" of each classmate to remind us all how we will work together as one, bringing our individual talents to the whole for a wonderful year. We wear the hearts on our necks as a symbol of unity and placed our vase on our prayer table to remind us of our goal to be ONE BODY.