October 21, 2016

St. Patrick School Community,

I have often borrowed a line from Sr. Jacqueline Marie Kieslich, President of the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Leadership Team, that I have found to be really powerful and showed the enormous amount of responsibility we bear as Catholic educators.

“You’re not just educating students for high school, or college, but you’re preparing them for the rest of their lives by providing them with a foundation of values that will affect everything they do.”

The magnitude by which the foundation of values impacts a child’s entire future is why we are going to focus on our mission to teach students to act justly, love and serve one another, and walk humbly with God.  This is why we develop the spiritual, moral, intellectual, physical, and social attributes of our students so that they will become service-oriented citizens prepared to meet the challenges of a complex society.

Sr. Jacqueline’s words are ones that the teachers and I reflect upon in our professional practice.  More importantly, they are words that we try to instill in the hearts and minds of the students so they will intuitively apply those values throughout their lives.  Any student that has been in my office to process something that has happened has probably heard me tell them: “It’s great that you have told me what you need to do; now what is more important is that you show me.”

The school year is moving quickly and Thanksgiving will be here in a couple of weeks.  What better time than now to reiterate this lesson.  Once a year on Thanksgiving we gather together in thanks for the many gifts, opportunities, and loved ones in our lives.  What if every day was Thanksgiving?  What if every day we stopped to reflect upon what we are thankful for?  What if we just didn’t stop at reflection but we put action into our words? 

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”  — John F. Kennedy

I once attended a school Mass in which the priest told the students that it was okay to thank God for you!  What an amazing and special gift that God has bestowed upon us by creating each and every one of us as a unique and different person.  I continually think about how teachers and administrators can continue to build from a message like this, thanking God for us, and put it into action at the school.

Talking about unkindness, rude behavior, excessive physical play or even bullying is the perfect opportunity to be proactive about sharing this message of thanking God for creating us as unique individuals and the tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness we should put into action because of it.  We, as a school community, need to find more ways to celebrate our differences every day.  We need to make it a part of our culture and then extend that culture into the greater community.  This will take the help of all the students, all the parents, and all the teachers, administrators, and staff to work collaboratively to create a culture of mutual respect, thanks, and appreciation to find ways to continually celebrate our differences.

 

Updates:

  • The Student Council Installation ceremony will next Tuesday, October 25, 2016 @ 1:00 in the church. Parents and family and friends of all the newly elected representatives and officials are welcome to attend.  The Mother’s Club will have a small reception in OLP Hall after the ceremony.  Congratulations to all of our new student council members:

President       Giulia Damico

Vice President       Jacob Coons

Secretary      Nico Donahue

Treasurer     Elena Rotondo

Class Representative (4A)      Griffin Condon

Class Representative (4B)       Marc Gagne

Class Representative (5A)      Jimmy Nardone

Class Representative (5B)       Philip Rotondo

Class Representative (6A)      Madelyn Leary

Class Representative (6B)       Michael Nuzzo

Class Representative (7A)      Ryan McGuinness

Class Representative (7B)       Kaylee Shipps

Class Representative (8A)      Peter Pizzarello

  • Angelika Paul, Ph.D in Anatomy and parent of two children at St. Patrick School has offered to start an after-school science club for our younger elementary students. We are in the process of working out some of the details and are looking for anyone who would be interested in helping her with the club or starting a similar club with the older students.  We are in the beginner planning phase and are also looking for anyone who works in a field that would be able to donate science or lab materials.  If you are interested please reach out to Mr. Fontana afontana@stpatrickschoolstoneham.org .
  • Students were instructed over the intercom this morning to please refrain from using any balls or running around at dismissal time. There is an unsafe environment currently being created with students playing at this time because all ages are being dismissed at this time, including smaller children, and cars are in motion with students chasing balls or not watching for cars.  There is absolutely no problem if students want to stay to play with their friends after school as long as parents are supervising them and they wait until after 2:45 when all the classes have been dismissed and the parking lot has been opened up and the majority of the traffic has exited.  Thank you for working collaboratively with us to help keep the students safe.

God Bless,

Anthony Fontana

Principal Letter October 21st, 2016