Dear Parents and/or Guardians:
We are nearing the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. As a Catholic School, we celebrate Advent in anticipation of that wonderful moment. We accomplish this through the various liturgies, Prayer Services and Service Projects. Through it, our goal is to teach the children the true meaning of the Christmas season. In looking forward this month, our Advent Prayer Services demonstrate the long lived tradition of the Catholic Church, the Advent wreath. We gather together with the children on 12/3 and 12/17 for a short Advent Prayer Service in the gym which culminates with the lighting of the Advent candles. The service is very reverent as the school children enter the gym quietly with music playing over the PA and are seated around the Advent wreath. Following the ceremony, they leave as they came in.
On 12/10, instead of the Prayer Service for the second week of Advent, we celebrate the Feast of St. John of the Cross (actually 12/14) in a liturgy at church; however, celebrating early gives the children an opportunity to reflect on this great patron saint of ours and all he accomplished in his lifetime toward being a spiritual person. Other Prayer Services also occur with grade 2 and their Service Project, Breakfast with Baby Jesus on 12/13, grade 8 Prayer Service on 12/11 in preparation for Confirmation and the Preschool Prayer Service on 12/18 and 12/19, a Christmas Prayer Service.
We are extremely grateful to our parents who organized and joined with us in the annual Service Project, which occurred last week. Together, we have worked with Helping Hands and Beds Plus and brought these community groups into the school so the children have a better understanding of giving to those less fortunate than themselves. We raised $700.00 from the out of uniform day last Friday, which goes toward both organizations. We also want to thank parents for your generosity in giving a multitude of small gifts to these organizations. We are truly blessed with our school community and its mission.
As a school, we continue to reinforce this message through our School’s Advent Project. Today, we demonstrated that message to our children with a visit from ‘Thumbuddy Special’, a non-profit organization that was started in 1988 by a group of special education teachers and therapists who had a vision to fill a void in their field. They needed to raise money to provide adaptive equipment for children with special needs. These children required equipment to access their environment, and live a life where they could reach their maximum potential. Often these children were denied the equipment they needed by the insurance company or public aide. Most of these families lack resources to purchase the equipment that their child needs. ‘Thumbuddy Special’ supplies equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, bath chairs, adapted bikes, ramps and computers. In recent years this program has grown considerably. The only source for revenue has been fundraising throughout the year, where family and friends continue to be their biggest supporters. At our assembly yesterday, a child demonstrated the adaptive bicycle for the students. We are asking the children to save their coins and offer them in the classroom as a way to assist these children so that our children personally feel that they have contributed to something greater than themselves. For information regarding this organization, you can view their website at http://www.thumbuddyspecial.org/.
Also ahead of us these next three weeks are a plethora of activities. The Christmas Pageant has become a wonderful tradition here at SJC. Grades 1 and 2 prepare for “Guess Who’s Coming to Bethlehem”. This musical tells the story of the animals that live near the manger. They are curious about what kind of baby the Lamb of God will be. The children will be singing fun and engaging songs that help tell the story, with some traditional Christmas carols as well. Our 3rd and 4th grade perform in “Sing a Song of Christmas”. The story shares Jesus’s birth and teaches why we should sing joyfully in praise of God. It features traditional Christmas carols and new carols that were written for this play. We look forward to our traditional Christmas celebration on 12/20. Adding to this mix, our Kindergarten has traditionally expressed the true meaning of Christmas through their innocent rendition of the birth of Jesus. Be sure to mark those dates on your calendar, along with the annual Christmas Band/Choir Concert, which takes place 12/12. Please check your calendars for any other pertinent dates as it relates to activities in the classroom or the school.
We are so blessed here at SJC. We see Christmas through the eyes of children, which each year reinforces our mission of Catholic education. Thank you to our families for believing in us and trusting in us for the spiritual development of your children. We wish each and every one of you the blessings of the Christ Child. May He hold you in the palm of His Hand now and throughout the year. Have a wonderful Christmas!
God Bless You,
WEATHER RELATED CLOSINGS
Last week, we experienced a snow day very early in the school year. At this time, we will not need to make up the day, but may find it necessary to do so if we take any other snow days.
Living in Chicago and the Chicagoland area, snow and cold are synonymous with winter. Before closing our doors, we consider the conditions at the travel time of a school day. Last week, the forecast held that it would be blizzard like conditions. We waited until the snow actually arrived and it was imminent that travel could be dangerous. We want to keep our children, families and staff safe enroute to SJC, so it was in the best interest of all that we closed our doors. Safety is our main consideration. Had it snowed heavily earlier or later, the trucks would have already been on the roads clearing the snow to make it safer for travel. We also collaborate with the other Catholic schools in the area, as well as paying close attention to the local school districts.
In the same way, we have had very cold periods in the past. The weather serves as a reminder that the children will go outside for recess each day unless the conditions are extreme and dictate that they stay inside. We check the forecast each day to assure that the weather will allow for outdoor recess. With that in mind, please remember to dress your children in the appropriate outdoor garments, along with hat, gloves, and scarves.
Winter weather can often complicate AM drop off and PM pick up. Please allow yourself extra time so that the standard policies and procedures of both may be maintained.
Please remind your children to cross at a corner with crossing guards.
SPEECH CLUB/ACADEMIC BOWLS
Congratulations to our grades 6-8 students who participated in the annual Speech Contest here at SJC. They did a great job. Students prepared speeches in five areas: declamation, original oratory, prose, poetry and dramatic. Students practiced and memorized their speeches in preparation for the Speech Contest. The evening was the culmination of their hard work throughout the 1st trimester.
We are also proud of grades 7-8 students who competed in the different Academic Bowls. The Benet Academy Scholastic Bowl consisted of questions in mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, and general knowledge. We were excited for one of our 8th grade groups who received 3rd place.
A BIG congratulation to nine of our eighth graders who attended the 10th annual Nazareth Academy Scholastic Bowl. SJC brought two teams, both competing in 5 rounds of play that included questions in mathematics, science, language arts, social studies, fine arts, and general knowledge. Our SJC teams took both 1st and 3rd place.
We also competed at Montini Catholic High School Math Competition with 6th, 7th and 8th grade.
One student tied for 5th place and one tied for 6th place in the individual results. Great job! Thank you students and teachers for your time and energy in preparing for each of the competitions. Congratulations students!
Congratulations are in order for our 2nd grade who celebrated the sacrament of Reconciliation last Saturday. On the same day, our 8th grade took the Catholic High School Entrance Exam. It was a busy weekend for our families, with both grade levels immersed in those important events/activities that take place during their academic year.
Some area schools are experiencing outbreaks of head lice. Please remind your children not to share any items worn on or around their head- hats, scarves, headbands, barrettes, helmets, etc. Please be noticing if your child is scratching his/her head or complaining of itching so that you can check for head lice and treat accordingly. If you do find head lice, please let Mrs. Petersen know so that she can be on the alert here at school as well. Please review the Head Lice information in the Parent/Student Handbook.
We are experiencing low numbers of student illness. Kudos to parents for monitoring symptoms and keeping illness out of school.
Please monitor the Nurses News on the website for timely updates of health information.
PROTECTING GOD’S CHILDREN
We remind our parents that you must complete each step of the “Protecting God’s Children Safe Schools Program” before you are allowed to volunteer in the building. This procedure is mandated by the Archdiocese of Chicago and keeps our children safe. All parents must complete a new CANTS form each year. Please return the completed form to the school office. It is crucial that you complete these requirements if you want to volunteer in the school or coach any of the sports teams.
For information regarding the program, please contact Mrs. Wingert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 708-246-4454.
TIME, TALENT, TREASURE
Any time you volunteer in the school for any event, please take the time to complete the Time Talent and Treasure form on the website in the Parent Portal. It will save you time at the end of the year when we notify parents that we are closing it down.
Former teacher, Mrs. Risch, just welcomed her second child into the world. Cameron Gary Risch was born on Sunday, November 25th at 5:56pm. He was 7lb 15oz and 20in long. Congratulations to the Risch family!
Please keep in your prayers the family of Mrs. Ostrowski, former 3rd grade teacher whose father passed on 11/23.
Having completed their Maternity Leaves, we welcome back Mrs. McCreary in 3rd grade and Mrs. Baldacci in Preschool. Mr. Frisbee who has covered the PE in the upper grades will move to Preschool through 3rd grade and teach PE. Thanks to all teachers for their hard work and dedication through these leaves.