Notes from the Head

At this time of the year, when the days are full, classes are being completed, and final preparations are being made to close out the school year, the idea of striving for peacefulness seems out of reach and even comical. Many days feel anything but peaceful.  And yet, as we talked about peacefulness in our Monday Chapel, students and teachers alike took a deep breath, perhaps wishing for this important virtue to be present in each of us. In the Benedictine way of living, a model for peace is offered up. There are three steps, and the simplicity of this model can be a goal at any age.

First, be gentle with yourself. Like many people, I can be my own worst critic, and yet I know that self-acceptance is important. I know how hard our students work both in the academic arena as well as in those important extracurricular activities. They strive to do their best. They set very high standards, and they work to achieve their goals. In the process, however, this reminder is given: “be gentle with yourself. ” Perfection is not the goal.

Second, be gentle with others. Pointing fingers, blaming others, and expecting more of others than we would expect of ourselves, do not create peace or leave anyone with a peaceful feeling. An understanding heart, a kind and encouraging word, and gracious affirmation create peace-filled relationships and give the message that “I like you just as you are.”

Finally, the third step in the model for peace is to be gentle with the Earth.  We are God’s stewards here, taking care to preserve our corner of the world. The beauty surrounding Tucson, the mountains and canyons, and the occasionally running streams remind us that we are caretakers, and so we strive to leave the world a better place.

At St. Michael’s, throughout the year, we talk at every opportunity about how to be our best selves and model well for others. Though never done with perfection, we strive to be kind, to show tolerance and understanding, to forgive as we are forgiven, to show respect, to love justice–persevering even in the face of challenge–and to handle each other with care. It’s not always easy to do this. Sometimes we make mistakes, but we practice patience because God isn’t finished with us yet. And that’s a good thing. So as we head toward our summer break, be sure to take deep breaths along the way, remembering to be gentle with yourself, with others, and with the Earth. It’s a perfect way to end our school year as we pause for some much-needed summer refreshment.

Margaret Moore

Head of School

National Junior Honor Society

We are excited to announce the 2017 members of the National Junior Honor Society. Membership in the National Junior Honor Society is open to all seventh and eighth graders who achieve both a minimum of a 3.7 G.P.A. as well as a determined completion of hours of service to the community. The seventh graders have a requirement of twelve hours, while the eighth graders must complete at least twenty. In total, our students contributed over 800 hours of service! National Junior Honor Society members must also demonstrate qualities of leadership, citizenship, and strength of character.

We celebrated our new and returning members during a special luncheon held last Friday, May 12th. Congratulations to the following students:

Seventh Grade
Catherine Bennett, Clare Daubert, Sydney Even, Fiona Fischer, Ellie Greenwood, Lucy Harris, Serena Hsu, Xochitl Martinez, Varga Michaud, Nathan Monroe, Tanvi Narendran, Ava Neher, Abigail Nordstrom, Chloe Pesqueira, Jensen Peyton, Nico Rivera, Carmen Roe, Linden Solgonick, Jace Springer, Sophia Terpning, Franklin Van Straalen, Nicole Witte, Talia Zuckerman-Brown

Eighth Grade
Lilly Bedwell, Elliot Chubon, Brooke Dyson, Bella Foust, Andrew Gioannetti, Martin Gioannetti, Madeline Greene, Dylan Greenhill, Katherine Hawes, Francis Honaman, Aidan Huber, Ellie Kearney, Willa Kleiner, Thomas Monthofer, Sofía Peña, Cameron Strong, Nicholas Zaetta

National Spanish Exam

Every year our eighth graders take the National Spanish Exam.  This exam tests vocabulary and grammar, as well as both reading and listening comprehension skills. Congratulations to the following students who attained national recognition by placing in these categories:

Oro (Gold): Katherine Hawes and Andrew Gioannetti. These two students not only placed nationally but won cash prizes for their placement in the State of Arizona NSE competition.

Bronce (Bronze): Brooke Dyson and Cameron Strong

Honor (Honor): Elliot Chubon, Madeline Greene, Willa Kleiner, Andrés Peralta, Maya Leuthold, and Sofía Peña

Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, the National Director of the Exams said, “Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious, because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States with over 157,000 students participating in 2017.”

Way to go!

Notes from the Head

When I first joined the St. Michael’s community five years ago, I would take time during the summer days to wander the campus. I needed to find my way through the various courtyards. I wanted to become familiar with the environment that everyone spoke so highly of. What struck me was how peaceful the campus was. That continues to be an appropriate word to describe our unique environment. Yes, it can be noisy with more than 350 students and adults during the day, but the peacefulness remains.

Peacefulness is the virtue we are talking about this closing month of the school year. What a perfect topic as we head toward summer. The world is a very hectic place, and our students lead very busy and often chaotic lives. Our faculty and staff work very hard, often into the late hours of the evening. Stress levels can be high at various times of the year, and the end of the year certainly has its fair share. But at St. Michael’s we have many places that help to restore the soul. On Monday, I asked the students what creates a sense of peacefulness on our campus. Immediately hands went up with lots of ideas: The wetlands with the small waterfall. The many plants and flowers throughout the campus. The courtyards with the fountains. The beautiful chapel that welcomes us to worship. And I had to agree. What a gift it is that our students can come to school in an environment that offers peaceful, tranquil beauty. What a gift to work in such a place.

I invited the students to take time when life is hectic or stressful to pause for just two minutes in a courtyard, by the wetlands, or when they are in chapel. Take just a moment to breathe deeply, observe the beauty, pause, and be still. In that moment, one’s soul can be refreshed, nerves can be calmed, and a sense of peacefulness can be restored.

Often we don’t realize the gifts that we have in this place until we are no longer here. So I shared a story of an alum I recently saw. We ran into each other in St. Michael’s Church one Sunday morning. After we caught up with school and family news, I asked what brought her that day to St. Michael’s, which is not her church home. She said, “I just really wanted to be back in this church. I’ve missed it, and it was such a special place when I was here.” Peacefulness. Sacred places. Places that restore the balance. St. Michael’s is filled with them. How special that we can work, learn, play, and pray in an environment that offers peacefulness on a daily basis. Feel free to slow down. Breathe deeply from time to time, for God is present here.

Coach’s Corner

Well, our sports seasons have come to an end for this year. I would like to say congratulations and great job to all of our athletes that participated in any of our sports this year. Also, a huge thank-you to all of our amazing coaches and all of the teachers that supported the kids’ participation in our sports program.

Middle School Sports
Congratulations to the Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball teams! Both of the “A” teams made it to the league championship game. The boys lost a heart-breaker to a tough Tucson Country Day School on a last-second shot. The girls were able to hold off a skilled Pusch Ridge team and win by one point to attain their second-ever championship and first since 2008. Way to go, Eagles!

SMA News – Teacher Appreciation Week!

We love our faculty and staff at St. Michael’s School!  Last week we celebrated our annual Teacher Appreciation Week and shared the love and appreciation our community has for the wonderful teachers here that love, teach, and care for our children each day.

As a favorite long-standing tradition, a Roma Imports Take-Home dinner was sent home mid-week.  Our Back-up Bakers provided an array of treats for a delicious “Cookie Bar.”  Jimmy John’s lunch was served Thursday.  Finally, Friday wrapped up with Tucson’s favorite Frost gelato and a surprise gift.  Thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers who brought in donations of wine, water, bread, gift cards, and more!  We couldn’t do it without all of your amazing support.  And finally a big Thank You to Amy Petrow and Haley Ochoa for planning, organizing, and implementing this sweet St. Michael’s tradition.  What a wonderful place to be!

Fine Arts Night, Grades 4-8

We are getting very close to our Fine Arts Night show on May 19th at the Temple of Music and Art. There are many things that happen between now and then, so I’d like to have you put a couple of things on your radar for that day. The dress rehearsal is during the school day on the 19th. We will take the kids from St. Michael’s on buses in the morning to rehearse on the stage. The rehearsal is from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Students will need to pack a lunch and snacks for the day to bring to the theater. We take them to the theater, but you must pick them up at 3:30. The address of the theater is 330 S. Scott Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701.

Theater phone: (520) 624-7370

Dr. Antista’s cell phone: (520) 954-6759

To download the permission form, click here:  Fine Arts Permissions Slip-2g387mv

Boy Scout Car Wash and Bar-b-que

The annual car wash fundraiser for Boy Scout Troop 122 will be held on Saturday, April 22, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the west parking lot of St. Michael’s School.  We use this money to help fund troop activities and events.  We will also be selling hot dogs, hamburgers, and soda.  You can have a bite to eat while the Scouts get your car squeaky clean!