During the month of October, the monthly book report that the students do for Mrs. Cunningham is very special. The students each research a famous personality that has had an impact upon our world. They read a book about their person and created a "Bottle Buddy" replica of their subject. The students also did digital research with Mrs. Yakes in the Computer Lab, and then they produced a PowerPoint to support their oral presentation about their famous personality. On Halloween, the students came dressed up like the historical figure they were reporting about and shared their information with their classmates. This English Language Arts / STREAM* project is a favorite in the school as everyone tries to figure out who is who! Can you figure out who these students represent as you look at these pictures?
On Friday, October 26, 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 the upcoming 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 eighth 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 a prayer 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!
On Friday, October 19, 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 sixth grade students. The 6th graders set the tone for the day with heartfelt words that expressed how special a grandparent’s love is to us. Other readings and pertinent comments by Mr. Tom Culcasi, also known as Papa Tom to the children, added to the ceremony. Mr. Culcasi shared a special perspective since he has been associated with our school for many years, first as a parent himself and now as a member of our school board and frequent volunteer here. All of our special guests 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 some photos from the day……
On Friday, September 21, 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 Mrs. Denise Cunningham, 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 seventh graders Lia A., Jeremy D., Sophia F., Grace G., Tess O., Jackson O., Matthew O., and Anne P. They were ushered into the NJHS by our existing eighth grade members Caleb B. and Jacquelyn Kroll. We are very proud of these hard-working students and know that they will accept the responsibilities that come with having talents.
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. The keynote speaker during the ceremony was Mrs. Terri O’Neill-Borders from the Lemont Hope & Friendship Foundation. She related the mandate of the National Junior Honor Society to the directive from Jesus that we provide help and kindness to other human beings. Ms. O’Neill-Borders concluded her address with an assignment to the NJHS members……she had been given 10 beautiful handmade quilts with a request that they be given to persons who would benefit from them as a sign of care and love. The NJHS students are charged with helping to find those ten individuals. We are confident that these exemplary students will take this and other tributes to the pillars of NJHS seriously.
Our beautiful campus allows us to host many special events. On Friday, September 21, our teachers and staff hosted a Family BBQ Night. Guests were able to enjoy an open gym, a bouncy house, face painting, our terrific playground, and a movie in our new outdoor classroom. The teachers prepared bratwurst and hotdogs for all of our families. It seemed like both hosts and guests all had a wonderful time!
The eighth-graders have been learning about the scientific method. Their task in a recent experiment was to design two paper airplanes, one with flaps and one without. When creating their plane, they needed to include each step of the scientific method, carry out the actual experiment, collect their data and form their overall conclusion based on their data.
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. They took the time to interview younger students in the school to find out what they expected from the student leaders of the school. The eighth graders took what they heard to heart.
During the Liturgy on Friday, September 14, the Class of 2019 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 virtues we try to live by as Catholics. They will help us live our theme: Faith to Move Mountains. They will help us work together to make our school community and our world a better place. Our school community welcomes their leadership.