Last Push for the Turkey Trot

The generosity of the St. Michael’s School community is overwhelming. As we look to wrap up our annual Food Drive, we want to thank everyone for supporting this community outreach. Bake sales, car washes, pickle sales, and more–including personal cash donations that have come from emptied piggy banks–have made a significant difference. Cash donations will go to the Community Food Bank. Canned food products help to stock the church food pantry for distribution to those who come to the church for assistance. Thank you for sending in your cash donations and canned food items to support our outreach in the Tucson community.

Cash donations received by this Thursday morning at 9:00 a.m. will be matched by TEP. Please bring all canned food donations to the School Office or your child’s classroom by Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. Thank you for making a difference in our community.

Notes from the Head

As we head toward our annual celebration of Thanksgiving, gratitude and gratefulness become routine topics of conversation. We have talked about it in our chapel services and in the classrooms. Certainly, it might be a topic around dinner tables at home as well. When asked what they might be thankful for, our students name people, places, and things of great value. Family, friends, pets, material possessions, and our school are often mentioned in the list they recite. Frequently overlooked, however, are the intangible things that bring meaning to our daily lives. The kind words spoken by a friend…the invitation to join a group or a game…the listening ear of a trusted colleague or friend…an encouraging note that affirms our worth as human beings…a phone call that comes at just the right time to say simply “hello”–all examples of actions that speak to the heart. These intangibles, for me, are what top my gratitude list.

At St. Michael’s, we do so much more than teach academics. We create community. We celebrate diversity. We honor the dignity of everyone. We extend a hand of greeting and welcome, making this a school where everyone can find a place and everyone knows your name. That is not always easy, but it is part of ongoing lesson plans, remembering that kindness gets you everywhere, remembering that the intangibles make the biggest difference. Unfortunately, our students see too many examples outside of school that demonstrate the exact opposite. Jokes that bring a laugh at the expense of a person or particular group, or social-media postings that marginalize people different from ourselves. Angry rhetoric and violence that have catastrophic outcomes. Sadly, we do not need to look far to see that our country is becoming increasingly polarized. The trenches between us grow deeper and wider by the day. All of this is on full display in the news, on social media, and in movies and cable shows that seem to have no boundaries. Our students see much of this. It becomes their model. It is hard to find something to be thankful for around that type of behavior.

Author Brené Brown suggests a better way in her most recent book, Braving the Wilderness. Speaking to an assembled group of educators at an Episcopal school conference in Houston this fall, Brown focused on four practices that might just help us to find our way back toward stronger connections and cultivating a greater sense of belonging. The first suggests that we move in closer to those we dislike or to those who might have opposing viewpoints. Rather than remaining at a distance, when we move closer, listen well, and attempt to understand viewpoints different from our own, it is more likely that respect and acceptance can grow. Second, Brown suggests that we speak the truth but in a civil way. We do not have to accept or agree with false or groundless arguments, but we can be civil and respectful in disagreeing. Third, she encourages readers to move outside of comfort zones and get to know strangers. Shake hands, make contact, and picture them as potential friends rather than enemies across a divide. Finally, Brown calls for strong backs, soft fronts, and wild hearts. As we push to be part of the solution, we will be part of bringing communities closer together, modeling civility for others who may be watching, young or old.

Belonging is a human need. Maybe, just maybe, if more people committed to move closer, listen more, and speak in a civil manner while attempting to understand and accept those that are different, our children would see a model for community that celebrates our common humanity, even through our differences. For that, we could all be truly grateful this Thanksgiving, and our world would be a far better place. As we all know, children watch our every move, and big ears hear everything.

Margaret Delk Moore

Head of School

Eagle’s Quill

A reminder that the current Eagle’s Quill contest, “OUT OF THIS WORLD: Creativity from the Cosmos and Stories from the Stars” is ongoing. The contest covers space and science-fiction topics, and the deadline is Wednesday, November 29.

Coach’s Corner

Middle School Sports
Coed Soccer is under way! Games start next week. Our home games will be played at Sewell Elementary School.
Tuesday 11/21 –  Casas @ St. Michael’s at 4:00 p.m.
Intramurals
Practices started this week. We will practice from immediately after school until 4:30 p.m. in the Student Center. We are currently doing four weeks of Volleyball, followed by four weeks of Basketball.

SMA News 

Holiday Greens – Extras Available
If you missed the holiday greens sale but as still interested, there are some centerpieces and door swags available for purchase. Please contact Amanda Kukla at akmoro@cox.net to reserve your item. Holiday greens will be delivered the week after Thanksgiving.
Christmas Cheer – Help Needed
Fast approaching is the most festive time of the year!  Our campus decorating committee plans to brighten up campus with a lot of holiday cheer on TuesdayNovember 28th.  We need extra hands to help make the effort.  If you can give an hour or two of your time, please contact Breanne Tirrito at breanne.tirrito@me.com.  You are sure to get your Christmas spirit going in full motion!

Parking Lot Reminder

During our morning and afternoon arrival and dismissal, our parking lots are very busy places on campus. Cars are coming and going. Students and parents are crossing the travel lanes on the way to and from classrooms. Please be aware of students and parents walking in the parking lots, particularly if they are crossing in front of cars. If you are simply dropping off or picking up students in the carpool line, please do not leave your car. Also, if you are stopping your vehicle, please do not block the brick walkways in front of the gates. This will allow a safe walkway for students and parents entering from the parking area. We appreciate the vigilance of all drivers as we keep our campus safe. Drive slowly as you enter the parking lot and follow the safe flow of traffic around the school. Many thanks!

Eagle’s Quill

Too much time on your hands over this long weekend, or over Thanksgiving break?  How about draw an alien, write an ode to Pluto, or create a story set in the year 3017?  The current Eagle’s Quill contest, “OUT OF THIS WORLD: Creativity from the Cosmos and Stories from the Stars” covers submissions about space and science-fiction topics.  The deadline is Wednesday, November 29.

Coach’s Corner

Middle School Sports
Our winter season is underway! Coed soccer started practicing this week. Practices will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays until 5:00 p.m. Our first game will be on Tuesday, November 21st. Game schedules will be out soon.
The fall sports awards assembly will be on Friday, November 17, at 9:40 a.m. in the Student Center. We will be recognizing everyone who participated in a fall sport. Anyone is welcome to attend and help celebrate all of our fall athletes and their great seasons.
Intramurals
Our winter intramural season will begin on Monday, November 13th. Practices will be three days per week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays) until 4:30 p.m.  **Please note: we might have to shorten the season a little as well as juggle some of the practice days once in a while due to holiday performances in the Student Center, all of the holidays we are trying to work around, and the school musical production. There will be advanced notice of any shifting of practice days for a particular week. Here is the tentative schedule:
Volleyball:
     11/13, 11/15, 11/16
     11/20, 11/21 (Tues)
     11/27, 11/29, 11/30
     12/4, 12/5 (Tues), 12/6
Basketball:
     12/11, 12/13, 12/14
     12/18, 12/19 (Tues), 12/20
     1/8, 1/10, 1/11
     1/17, 1/18 (last day)
 
If your child is interested in participating in all or part of the winter intramural season, please send me an email at kgreene@stmichael.net so we know how many kids will be participating.