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School News in Brief - November 2016

The Northern Cross - November 2016
School News In Brief

Duluth Catholic schools have forestry day

On Sept. 20, fifth-graders of Holy Rosary School in Duluth, along with students from all the other schools of the Duluth Area Catholic Schools, participated in the annual Forestry Field Day at Chester Park sponsored by the St. Louis County Land Department. It was enlightening to see how many students already know students from the other schools. Students were engaged in various activities designed to either introduce or expand their knowledge of the resources of northeastern Minnesota. Learning stations ranged from the emerald ash borer and basic animal needs to timber harvesting and firefighting. There were a total of nine stations as well as a recreational break to burn off excess energy. Luck was with them as the rain held off until everyone was safely on their buses and returning to their schools with a greater understanding of the environment. As part of their experience, Holy Rosary School students wrote letters to the director of the event expressing their gratitude and what they found to be enjoyable. This information will be used to improve the Forestry Field Day for future fifth-graders.

Walk for annual Marathon

Marquette School in Virginia held its seventh Remembrance Walk-a-Thon in October. The students visited people in the community for pledges and prayer intentions. The prayer intentions were then put on signs and placed throughout the walking trail for station stops of prayer. The walk-a-thon is part of the statewide Minnesota Marathon for Nonpublic Education which is held every October. The mission of the Minnesota Marathon for Nonpublic Education, Inc., in cooperation with the Minnesota Knights of Columbus, is to raise public awareness of nonpublic education by promoting fundraising initiatives. Since 1974, Marathon events have given students, school families, faculty members and friends an opportunity to show school pride while generating important financial support for school programs. Marquette School students collected over $18,000 in pledges this year. The school’s top pledge earners are: Kindergarten — Juhani Rosandich; first grade — Ella Bialke; second grade — Cody Raad; third grade — Christian Schmid ; fourth grade — Edward Sandquist; fifth grade — Ellie Spaeth; and sixth grade — Marija Phelps.

U12 team was undefeated

Soccer for the Duluth Area Catholic Schools took on a new look for the 2016 season. Rolled out in July, the new Duluth Saints Soccer Program hit the pitch. Building on the successful tradition of a strong soccer program for players U6-U13, Duluth Saints Soccer offered students from all of the Duluth Catholic Schools and parishes the opportunity to play together on teams under the new identity. Teams continue to be coached by volunteers. And in this inaugural year, victory was achieved with an undefeated season and division championship for the U12 girls. The U12 Duluth Saints team was comprised of players from Ordean, Marshall, Hermantown, Congdon, Duluth Montessori and Esko in addition to Holy Rosary. Holy Rosary School players included Bridget Dixon, Danica Mark, Grace Strandberg, Shea Bradley, Mycala Johnson and Emma Schaub. The girls were coached by Holy Rosary School parents Dan and Maribeth Mark.

Holy Rosary sends ambassadors

Students in grades five through eight from Holy Rosary School in Duluth volunteered in September to assist in two important gatherings: the Harvest Fest parish picnic on Sept. 10 and the diocesan Anniversary Mass and Luncheon on Sept. 25. The Harvest Fest was the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary’s end-of-summer fellowship gathering that involved fun and food. The Anniversary Mass and Luncheon honored married couples who are celebrating milestone years of their marital commitments. At both events, Holy Rosary students assisted with the serving of food, welcoming guests, taking coats, opening doors and assisting those who may have needed help walking. Holy Rosary middle school students will assist at other events in the upcoming year to fulfill a required number of service hours: five for school, five for church and five for community. Rebecca Hudoba, Holy Rosary parent and pastoral council member, organized the youth volunteers for the Harvest Fest and notes, “It’s amazing how natural serving your community comes to Holy Rosary students. … Serving others is just what we do here at Holy Rosary and students learn early on what it means to serve the community, which is serving our Lord, and don’t we all enjoy serving when we are among friends?” These students are growing to appreciate the gifts and talents God has given them. Through acts of service, they also learn that their talents and gifts are not merely for their own personal benefit, but are meant to be given away.

Nature trail being developed at Holy Rosary

Did you know that there is a nature trail in development just below Holy Rosary School? The Holy Rosary School property, which extends down to Second Street in Duluth, includes a large wooded area. For the past year, the school board’s Buildings and Holy Grounds Committee has worked to develop a nature trail for use by the school and surrounding community. The trail design was mapped out by parent John Geissler, with support from his undergraduate students. Initial trail-breaking occurred last spring, and work will continue throughout this year. The trail includes a prayer and learning space where students can gather as a class or small group. The woods are full of wonderful plants and wildlife and afford opportunities for learning and experiencing God’s sacred gift of nature.

Buddy Bench at St. Joseph

What is a Buddy Bench? A few years ago, then first grader Christian Bucks suggested the Buddy Bench concept to his elementary school in Pennsylvania. The Buddy Bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. In that spirit, the Grand Rapids Kiwanis Daybreakers Group built a Buddy Bench for St. Joseph’s School. Students at St. Joseph’s School have all learned about the use of the Buddy Bench in their classrooms. Use of the Buddy Bench rules include: Before you sit on the Buddy Bench, think of something you would like to do. Ask someone else to play with you. The bench isn’t for socializing. Only sit there if you can’t find anyone to play with. While you’re sitting on the bench, look around for a game you can join. If you see something you want to do or a friend you want to talk to, get off the bench! If you’re sitting on the bench, play with the first classmate who invites you. Keep playing with your new friends! When you see someone sitting on the Buddy Bench, start by saying hello. If you don’t know the person, introduce yourself. Make conversation. “What’s up?” “How are you?” “I like your shoes.” Ask them to play with you or suggest an activity you can do together. Don’t make it the last time you hang out. Keep playing with your new friend. Visit buddybench.org to understand how this playground movement began.

Foundation dinner raises $69,000

The 2016 St. Francis School Foundation Dinner was held Sept. 30 at Arrowwood Lodge with over 140 in attendance. The keynote speaker for the event was Bishop Paul Sirba of the Diocese of Duluth. Brandon and Anna Freihammer, both St. Francis alumnus, shared memories of their school days at the school. Attendees were entertained during the social hour by an alumni trio: Mari Hermerding, Malia Hermerding and Helen Knudson. The evening also included a performance by the St. Francis School Trash Can Band and an additional musical number by Naomi Ringhand, Elizabeth Buffetta and Sophia Laube. Rosemary Potvin was recognized in a speech given by her son Bill Potvin. Rosemary was a longtime supporter of St. Francis School and passed away in January. The annual event is chaired by Dr. Cassie Spitzley along with a dedicated group of committee volunteers. More than $69,000 was raised through the generosity of Foundation supporters. The St. Francis School Foundation has played a key role in the school expansion project,
tuition assistance and technology advancements. The objective of the Foundation is to ensure the school has financial stability for the future.

Pet Blessing

In October, Father James Bissonette, pastor, and Father Blake Rozier, associate pastor, of St. James Church and School blessed all of the pets students of the school brought in honor of the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. Children brought dogs and cats, of course, but they also brought hamsters and even a chicken! Children also brought their stuffed animals to be blessed.

Firefighters visit Marquette

Virginia firefighters and Chris Clark, Virginia fire marshal, visited Marquette Catholic School in Virginia Oct. 11. The students learned about fire safety, fire prevention and how to exit the school via the fire escape. Students were encouraged to talk to their parents about fire safety and exiting the home in case of fire. Particularly important is to designate a meeting place outside the home in case of anemergency.