Dear Parents and/or Guardians:
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” As the song lyrics state, children love the magical moments of Christmas. They are enthralled by the bright shining lights, the delicious delicacies of the season, and the overall friendlier atmosphere it seems to elicit from all. We as adults often are captivated by similar responses to the season.
In the spirit of the season, we attempt to capture the real reason that we celebrate the Christmas season through the various December prayers and activities here at SJC. Certainly the band/choir concert later this week puts us into the Christmas mood. However, our children realize the true meaning of Christmas through the Christmas pageants in the younger grade levels and the Prayer Services we conduct throughout Advent, often associated with a Service Project.
The Christmas Pageant in grades 1 and 2, entitled “Twelve Days of Christmas,” tells us the story of Jesus’ birth and the arrival of the three Kings through the eyes of the different characters in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” We will hear many familiar Christmas carols, as well as some traditional carols from other countries that may not be as familiar. Grades 3 and 4 convey the story “It’s Christmas Everywhere,” and take the audience on a journey around the world to learn about Christmas celebrations in Germany, Japan, Australia, Africa, Mexico, Canada, and Spain. Students will be singing well known carols as well as lesser known carols, and will be singing and learning Christmas greetings in six different languages. Please join us for this uplifting evening on 12/20 at 7 PM in the gym.
Besides the Pageant in grades 1-4, our Kindergarten displays their version of the birth of Jesus. They gather together and invite parents to attend on 12/19 at 9:15 AM, also in the gym. Our Preschool gathers together for a Christmas Prayer Service on either 12/18 or 12/19 in the Early Childhood area at 10:15 AM. The teachers will notify parents when your child/ren participate in their version of Christmas.
For this season of Advent in preparation for the birth of the Christ Child, children attended the first Advent Prayer Service on 12/4 at 9:15 AM in the gym, followed by a presentation from representatives of Holiday Heroes, an organization that serves children in long term pediatric hospitals. They plan parties for these children, arts and crafts as a means of fostering a healthy social development, play games, and bring the children celebrity guests. They are in need of certain supplies and/or toys to assist the children in these hospitals. A flyer goes home to families as part of this endeavor. If you are able, please join us in supporting this worthwhile cause. We will celebrate with one more Advent Prayer Service on 12/11.
At this time, I would like to congratulate our 2nd grade on celebrating their First Reconciliation on Saturday, 12/2. As Father Bill Vollmer stated, the children received a wonderful gift of Reconciliation during this Christmas season. Many children stated afterward that they felt great! We are very proud of the children! In the same manner, our 8th grade concluded their work in small faith groups relating to Confirmation with a Prayer Service on 11/30 in the gym. In the final session, students searched for a precept in which to live their lives and the idea of kindness resonated with many of our students.
As it is easy to be caught up in the secular part of Christmas, turn to the children and they will guide and remind us that we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. May He be in your hearts in all that you do during this “most wonderful time of the year.” I wish all our SJC families a Holy and Blessed Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!
We are extremely grateful for our Parent Association and all that they do for the children at SJC. They sponsor the upcoming Santa’s Workshop later this week. Last month alone, they sponsored the Book Fair, helped us in the school within various capacities, advertised and continue to let you know about the various Dine, Shop, and Share experiences, provided dinner for our teachers during conferences, and planned parent nights in different grade levels, to name a few activities. Thank you for your dedication to our children!
High School Entrance Exam
The Catholic School High School Entrance Exam was scheduled earlier this year. Our 8th graders took the test on Saturday, 12/2. As they left on Friday, many of them seemed very nervous as this is a big step in their lives. In returning on Monday, many of them stated how they had very little trouble with the test taking. Academically, our teachers do an excellent job preparing the children for the next step in their academic career. Now, they await the acceptance letters into the various Catholic High Schools. Good luck students!
Since the state of Illinois passed the new legislation allowing tax credits as a way to fund scholarships for children who attend private schools, an effort by the Archdiocese of Chicago has been underway. I recently sent an email blast to all parents, along with posting information on the website regarding this program. More information about tax credit scholarships is available on the Archdiocese’s website, www.archchicago.org/tcs, including a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) document and the latest information about the application process. Within the next week, we will send out communication regarding this program.
UPCOMING DECEMBER ACTIVITES/EVENTS:
- Out of uniform on 12/1
- Reconciliation for grade 2, 12/2, beginning with a retreat in the PC, followed by the sacrament in the church
- The first Advent Prayer Service takes place on 12/4 at 9:15 AM in the gym with our 3rd grade planning it, followed by Holiday Heroes presentation.
- Parent Association Meeting, 9 AM on 12/5 in the PC
- Those 8th graders living in the LT District attend a LT Junior Lyon Tour on 12/5, from 1-2:30 PM.
- Our annual Band/Choir Concert takes place in the gym on 12/6 for the school children at 9:15 AM and for the parents/guests at 7 PM.
- Our Student Council elves provides each child a candy cane as we celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas on 12/6.
- Santa’s Workshop, sponsored by the Parent Association, occurs on 12/7 and 12/8 in the PC for children in grades K-5
- We celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at church on 12/8 at 9:15 AM, with grade 7 organizing and participating in the liturgy
- Advent Prayer Service on 12/11 at 9:15 AM with grade 6
- Grade 2 participates in Breakfast with Baby Jesus on 12/15
- We celebrate the Feast of St. John of the Cross at church with a Prayer Service on 12/18, with grade 5 leading us
- Preschool Prayer Service takes place on 12/18 and 12/19 in Early Childhood at 10:15 AM.
- Kindergarten Pageant dazzles all on 12/19 at 9:15 AM in the gym
- School Pageant for grades 1-4 occurs at 2:15 PM and 7 PM in the gym on 12/20
- Classroom Christmas celebrations on 12/21 from 9-10 AM
- Christmas break begins on 12/21 at 3:30 PM and children return to school on 1/8/18.
- Scrip continues each Tuesday and Thursday. For information regarding Scrip, please check the website or contact Mrs. Tisa at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will not have Scrip available on 12/26/17 and 1/2/18, but will resume again on 1/9/18.
Please see the Nurses Newsletter on the website under the Parent Log-In for the latest update of school health information. We are experiencing cases of influenza in our school community. The flu vaccine is the best preventative of influenza. Overall, illnesses numbers are up. Please remember to include your child’s symptoms when reporting absences for illness to the hotline. We can then monitor others in the same groupings as symptoms arise in school. Thank you for doing all you can to keep our students healthy.
- TIME, TALENT, TREASURE – We remind our parents to continue and include any volunteer hours online and submit them when you have reached 15 hours.
- PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN – It is imperative that any parent volunteer completes the steps of the “Protecting God’s Children Safe Schools Program” before they may volunteer in their children’s classrooms, field trips, coaching, etc. For information regarding the program, please contact Mrs. Wingert at email@example.com or 708-246-4454.
- We continue to keep Rachael Schopp and Father David in our prayers each day.
- Please keep Martha Attaway, mother of Mrs. Ann Linehan, our 5th grade Science teacher, in your prayers, at her recent passing. Our thoughts are with the family at this time.
- Please keep Mrs. Maggie Serafini, our 2nd grade teacher, in your prayers as she excitedly awaits the birth of her child. She will be on Maternity Leave following the Christmas break.
- Please keep our gym teacher, Mrs. Sue Bak, in your prayers as she faces a serious foot fusion surgery following Christmas break.