St. Michael’s recently received a letter of appreciation from Marty Croissant, founder of ANGEL HEART PAJAMA PROJECT, which provides books as well as pajamas to children in need in our community, many of whom are awaiting adoption. During our annual Love of Reading Book Drive, our families donated an impressive 599 books to this worthy organization. Thanks to all contributors!
To teach is to touch lives forever. This anonymous quote sums up the greatest gift that we receive in the education community. Think back for a moment in your own life to those men and women who taught you at various levels of your education. Perhaps it was your Kindergarten teacher who ignited in you the spirit of inquiry and unlocked the keys to early reading. Maybe it was a math teacher who challenged you to dig for the answer or try a new equation for the first time, showing you that numbers are fun. Was it your high school science teacher that introduced you to chemistry, which led to a career in the medical field? Or maybe, just maybe, it was the teacher who inspired you to believe in yourself and in turn become a teacher. Each of us, I suspect, has had significant teachers who touched our lives forever, and life was never the same again.
For me, that person was Miss Sanborn. She was my high school history teacher, and I was scared to death of her. She was stern. She was strict. She had unreasonable expectations, pushing me to accomplish more than I thought I was capable of. I walked into her class as a disorganized, distracted student, and I left her classroom two years later as a different person. She changed my life. She made me want to achieve. She encouraged me both inside and outside of class. Most especially, however, she cared. She believed in me and gave me her time, and I was inspired. Because of her, I went on to major in history, and I entered into the field of education so that I might also, like Miss Sanborn, be a part in this chapter of a child’s life.
That’s what excellent teachers do. Here at St. Michael’s we have an amazing number of teachers who transform students in so many ways. They open their arms to their students in August and send them out in May with deeper knowledge, greater confidence, and a growing love for learning, as well as a sense that they are loved just the way that they are. For the teachers at St. Michael’s, teaching is not a job, it is a calling. They bring their joy, their passion, their enthusiasm and energy, and transfer that to students. They have the patience of Job, a passion for children, and a dedication to the success of their students that is never ending. They encourage students to be their best. It is my privilege to work with the men and women that comprise the faculty of St. Michael’s. They are models of excellence for our students and for me. As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, my hat goes off to our teachers. They ARE St. Michael’s, and I am grateful for the many, many ways that they touch and change students’ lives forever. They are our champions!
Head of School
Recently, students were observed running across the parking lot to classrooms in the midst of cars coming and going for arrival. We have also witnessed cars driving much too fast coming into the parking lots as the 8:00 morning bell was ringing. We certainly want to encourage punctuality; however, it is much more important to arrive safely and with caution in our parking areas. Please be mindful of your speed and watch for students and parents that may be walking to and from school.
In addition, we have had a growing number of concerns expressed from the Harold Bell Wright neighborhood, located behind the school, regarding the number of parents who are using the parking area adjacent to the park. In recent months, neighbors have had near-misses either in cars or while on morning walks from drivers who are not observing speed limits or mindful of neighbors who are walking in the area. Just today, a neighbor came within inches of being hit by a car backing up and then speeding out of the area. Parents are strongly encouraged to use the St. Michael’s parking areas for drop-off or pick-up rather than the spaces adjacent to the park. Should you still want to use the playground parking area, we would ask that you obey all posted street signs, including speed limits, and be mindful of neighbors walking on the streets. We strive to be good neighbors and keep everyone safe!
Each year, St. Michael and All Angels Church celebrates Mother’s Day with a special food collection for those in need, in honor of or in memory of one’s mother. The Social Action Committee invites you to bring a bag of food to the church on or before Mother’s Day, May 14, to stock the food pantry shelves through the summer. Following Mother’s Day, a letter will be sent to each mother in whose honor groceries were given. Specially marked grocery bags are available outside of the School Office or Church Office with a list attached of the foods most needed in the pantry. What a special way to honor our mothers or special sisters, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, or special mother figures in our lives!
The last SMA Coffee Corner will be held this Friday, May 5, outside of the School Office. This month our sponsor is OMP Endodontics. Thank you, Dr. Oscar and Anabelle Pena, for your support!
If you have a family business and are interested in sponsoring a Coffee Corner in the 2017-18 school year, please contact Breanne Tirrito (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you for the wonderful support of our community!
The winners of the Eagle’s Quill Miscellaneous contest were announced in Monday Chapel. The writing award recipients were Matt Capaldi (second grade), Eamon Coffey (second grade), Delaney Reuter (fourth grade), Ben Teller (fourth grade), and Willa Kleiner (eighth grade). The winning artists were Cecilia Kramer (first grade), Riley Egan (fifth grade), Alex Lewandrowski (sixth grade), and Cameron Strong (eighth grade). Congratulations!
This is the final stretch for submitting to the Eagle’s Quill cover contest. The theme this year is “Critter Kingdom,” and any color, vertical artwork remotely tied to animals or creatures is welcome! The deadline is next Tuesday, May 9.
Three 8th graders–Alexander Brown, Andrew Gioannetti, and Martin Gioannetti–have been recognized by Young Authors of Arizona for their submissions to the 2017 Scholastic Writing Awards.
Alexander Brown received a Silver Key award for his short story “Life of War.” Andrew Gioannetti received a Silver Key award for his short story “The Way It Was” as well as a Gold Key award for his poem “The Statue.” Martin Gioannetti received a Silver Key award for his poem “The Summit.”
The awards ceremony will be held this Saturday, April 29, at Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale.
The staff of Eagle’s Quill has announced its front cover contest for this year’s edition, with the theme of “Critter Kingdom.” They are looking for colorful, vertical images–whether a painting, sketch, or photograph–on the topic of creatures from nature or the imagination. The deadline is Tuesday, May 9, and the winner receives a gift card to the art supply store Michael’s.
As we begin our last trimester and work to complete the enrollment process for the coming school year, I often take this opportunity to have my own self-reflection on the question, “Why St. Michael’s?” It is a valid question, regardless of being an administrator, a teacher, a parent, or a student.
Five years ago, I stepped onto the campus of St. Michael’s School for the first time. I did so initially with a bit of skepticism. Why in the world would I want to leave Virginia to head so far away to the desert Southwest? What could possibly convince us to stay? It didn’t take long to have my initial answer, and to see the list of convincing reasons grow. St. Michael’s, first and foremost, is a fantastic educational institution. We educate children well. When I speak with our graduates, I am sometimes speechless at their poise, articulation, passion, vision, and devotion to St. Michael’s. They credit our school for preparing them well, and it is this school that laid the foundation for their high school success. On another level, beyond this academic foundation, is the profound effect St. Michael’s has on the nourishment of a sound moral compass in our students. In partnership with parents, our students leave us with a deep sense of integrity; a knowledge of right and wrong; a desire to display kindness and compassion, perseverance and tenacity; and a growing resilience to keep trying, even when goals are not initially achieved. Our students learn that they are surrounded by adults and friends who are there to support them and cheer them on, even when the going seems a bit tough.
What I saw five years ago still holds true. This is a community of people, young and old, who sense the magic of this campus and know that being a member of this community is a transformational experience. And what makes this possible? Why, it’s the community and the people within it. It’s the parents, the teachers, the administrators, and, most importantly, the students who make the biggest difference. That, in and of itself, made St. Michael’s the place for me and a place that I wanted to be a part of. Although our campus is beautiful and our buildings represent the aesthetics of the desert Southwest, it is the people and the intrinsic values nurtured here that set this school apart. So, why St. Michael’s? I think the better question is, “Why not St. Michael’s?” Here we educate children in mind, body, and spirit. Here, it is about scholarship, leadership, and friendship. We don’t always take the easy road, but we do prepare our students for life, even when the road itself is not easy. This is why I came. This is why our alumni return. This is why I believe in the work we do. At the end of the day, it is always about the children.