Dear St. Louis Friends and Families,
It is hard to believe that February of 2014 has come and gone, and now we begin March. The liturgical season of Lent begins today with Ash Wednesday. Lent is such a great time for all of God’s children! It is a designated time we set aside each year to become better. We look at our lives and assess where we can improve. We know that God wants us to have a close and loving relationship with Him and He calls us to repentance and service to others. Catholic educators know the importance of teaching this concept to the children. Each child is taught about the importance of sacrifice, almsgiving, and service to others. Lenten purple is visible throughout the school; we pray the Stations of the Cross every Friday afternoon; and attend Mass as a whole school every Friday morning. We would love for our St. Louis families and friends to come join us in this special prayer time.
February 13th-15th I took a team of teachers to a professional development opportunity at Presbyterian Day School, sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education called Project Zero. We participated in many workshops and lectures on the latest in educational research. The overriding theme of these meetings and workshops was the importance of getting our students to think. We learned about many strategies to make student thinking visible in our classrooms. So often, students attend class with the attitude of the “give me”.
Give me information, I will write it down, better yet, you write it down and give it to me, and I will give the information back to you on the test in the format that you have provided. No application of knowledge is expected or independent problem solving. At Project Zero, the presenters challenged us as educators to engage the children in thinking activities that would require them to research, work with others, discuss, and not be so ready to rescue them when they feel uncomfortable not knowing all the answers.
Therein is the challenge. Teachers and parents struggle with the lifelong question of when do I need to solve children’s problems? None of us like to see our students or children struggling or suffering in any way. We want to keep them safe, happy and protected. Yet, we know that if we do not let them struggle and work things out for themselves, we may be doing more damage than good. Ultimately, the goal is to have the birdies fly from the nest, independent and able to solve life’s problems, strengthened by their faith. Will they be able to do that if we do not challenge them during their elementary years? We certainly do not want stressed out kindergarteners or third graders, but it is important to help our students and children to be independent thinkers and problem solvers. A little discomfort when challenged is natural and important to learning. I have challenged the teachers to incorporate more problem solving and thinking routines into their daily schedules. The faculty members who attended this event had an opportunity to share what they learned with the entire faculty. If you are interested in any of the topics that were presented here is the link.
Peace & Blessings,
–Mrs. Teddi Niedzwiedz, Principal
Mar. 4 – Talent Show audtions
Mar. 5 – Ash Wednesday
Mar. 7 – End of the 3rd Nine Weeks
Mar. 10-14 – Spring Break
Mar. 17 – Summer uniform begins
Mar. 21 – Reports cards go home
Mar. 21 – All School Mass; Stations of the Cross
Mar. 21 – Men’s Club Fish Fry
Mar. 28 – All School Mass; Stations of the Cross
Mar. 28 – Men’sClub Fish Fry
Mar. 31 – Apr. 1 Homeroom Pictures
Mar. 31 – Online auction begins
Apr. 1-11 – ITBS testing
Apr. 9 – 8th Grade NET retreat
Apr. 10 – 7th Grade NET retreat
Apr. 11 – 6th Grade NET retreat, Junior High Lockout; Fish Fry
A Message from Monsignor McArthur
So quickly time has passed since the celebration and festivities of Christmas. In fact, time always goes so fast. Our children grow up in rapid time. We age and feel and see the changes in our lives, bodies and attitudes. We are also under so much pressure. We are lured every day by the need to make more money and to spend it on what the world tells us we must have to be happy and fulfilled. Wouldn’t it be great to just stop the train, get off, and smell the roses? Certainly life doesn’t give us much opportunity for that experience.
Yet, the Church gives us a 40 day period to focus on our spiritual dimension of life. Lent is a season of grace and opportunity. In the Old Testament reading of Joel the Prophet we hear for the people to come back to God, to fast and pray. Paul says “Now is the acceptable time!” We are children of God first and foremost. Our DNA is to please, love, know and serve God.
Ashes are blessed on Ash Wednesday to be placed on our foreheads to remind us that life is short. Remember “we are dust and unto dust we shall return.” We have this precious time to reflect on our lives and priorities. Hopefully we will all take advantage of the opportunity. What can we do? St. Louis provides...
A. 3 daily Masses - 6:15 a.m., 8:15 a.m. and 12 noon Attend daily Mass or at least one during the week.
B. Study Groups - Living the Eucharist. Join a group and take a step to growing in faith.
C. Confessions are Tuesday and Thursday nights of Lent 5:00 - 6:00 pm. Saturdays 3:30 - 4:30 pm. Make a good Confession during this season of repentance.
D. Bread of Life Chapel - Come and spend an hour during the week in adoration before the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament.
E. Again we will have a Men’s weekly Holy Hour in the Church on Fridays at 2:00 a.m.
F. Stations of the Cross are Friday evenings of Lent at 5:30 p.m.
G. Ekklesia (church) Night Dinners and Religious Presentions on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Thursday evenings of each month.
Now is the time! We are called to die to self - sacrifice, self denial, more prayer, some fasting, and caring for the poor in our lives. Lent merely gives us a chance to turn our lives around, face the Lord, and live in His light. We move to remember that he died for us but was raised. When we die to self we can rise to be better people. One day when time has been completed for us on earth, we will die but then be raised with Christ to glory. God bless you.
Rev. Msgr. John B. McArthur.
Mrs. Dana Maury Joins SLS Faculty
My name is Dana Maury, and it is my great privilege to be joining the St. Louis Catholic School faculty as 7th and 8th grade math teacher for the remainder of the 2013-2014 year.I am joining the St. Louis Catholic School family after teaching 8th grade Algebra in the public school system at Havenview Middle School since the beginning of the school year. Prior to that, I was at home with my children for 7 years after spending 13 years in banking and finance. My husband, Stephen, and I have two wonderful daughters, Allison and Erin.We are members of Church of the Holy Communion and live in East Memphis, so it is truly a blessing for me to be at a wonderful school like St. Louis.
Fourth Grade Hosts First States Fair
The fourth grade unit on the states took a new twist this year. Students presented their projects in the “states mall” in the Orians Center gym. The fourth graders dressed as characters portraying an important aspect of their state, many even handed out food or souvenirs that represented the state. Everyone explained to visitors the history, symbols, and traditions of the state that they researched. This was a wonderful first research project and very informative for all.
St. Louis School National Junior Beta Club
is a National School of Distinction
The St. Louis chapter of the National Junior Beta Club recently inducted twenty-seven new members into its group. These deserving young students were honored based on the traits of leadership, character, and high academic standing. Students must attain a 3.75 cumulative gpa for induction. The new initiates joined the current members of the chapter to celebrate St. Louis earning the award, 2013 National Beta School of Distinction for “our commitment to academic rigor and for exemplifying the Beta Motto: Let Us Lead by Serving Others". The club is “committed to recognizing and promoting high academic achievement, rewarding and nurturing worthy character, improving student leadership skills, and encouraging service to others.” (Featured Photo: Beta Club president, Kyle Frasure and vice president, Austin Martin present the School of Distinction banner to Monsignor McArthur and Mrs. Teddi Niedzwiedz, principal.)
Beta Club Inductees
Michael Baker, Jackson Lyons, Samuel Barnett, Marc Anthony Marconi, Phillip Benedict, Andrew Martin, Taylor Brenner, Charlie Moore, Kaitlyn Broughton, Sarah Moran, Ethan Cary, Ellie Navarre, Alexis Grace Connor, Sarah Grace Price, Katie Cunningham, Sarah Reno, Jackson Deneka, Brittain Ross, Cecilia DiMeglio, Alyson Sloka, Katherine Emery, Spencer Stalnaker, Bridgette Groben, Zachary White, Mason Hall, Turner Wolffe, Karson Kane
RACE: Are We So Different?
St. Louis students competed with students from around the city in the Memphis Pink Palace’s Locker Project entitled, “RACE: Are We So Different?” The fifth grade students at SLS, under the direction of Mrs. Robin Durden divided into groups and worked on their projects in art class. The teams created their artwork to be displayed in a school locker at the Pink Palace. Each team focused on the questions: What is Race? What is Racial Justice? What does race mean to you? What is Racial Equity? and Has you life been affected by race? The St. Louis teams won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the Elementary division of the competition. This project has helped the students mold their perspectives on RACE. The lockers will be on display at the Memphis Pink Palace through May 4, 2014.
First Place: Chloe Webster, Emily Arangino, Amelia Madden, Nicholas Quarles, Cade Fick, Rachel Ward, Rainey Wallace, Christopher Stephens, and Richard Hauser
Second Place: Josh Jones, Sean Mullen, Jaden Stanley, Mickey Hossenlopp, Mikala Decker, Pierce Charbonnet, Benjamin Floyd, and Maria Cremerius.
Third Place: Matthew Durden, Mary Hatley, Oliver Jones, Willy Huffman, Evan Schroepel, Lydia Koch, Ella Almand, Collin Roberts, and Caroline Senter.
Operation Science: Owl Pellets!
Third grade Science has been very busy. We just finished a Unit on animals and ecosystems. We studied environments, how living things work together, predators, preys, food chains, etc. We decided to take our learning a step further and experiment with food chains ourselves. Thanks to parent donations and administration, we were able to buy owl pellets for the entire third grade to dissect with partners. The kids thought this was awesome. I have to admit that it was pretty cool!
We had to learn about owls first. We learned how they attack their prey, how they digest their food, etc. We then got to watch cool videos about how to dissect the owl pellets and what we could expect to find. The kids were grossed out at first, but had the best time discovering. We put the Scientific Method into action by examining our owl pellets and making predictions on what we would find. (Featured Photo: McKinley Kee and Ben Wills examine the owl pellet.)
We found bones, skulls, feathers, fur, teeth, claws, etc. Each discovery was more interesting than the next! We concluded our experiments by examining the digested bones. We used charts with bones to try and figure out what animals the owls had eaten. We found bones from various animals. We discovered that some of our owls even ate more than one animal and that is why they had multiple skulls.
Overall it was a great experiment and learning experience. The kids learned a lot, but more than anything they had fun doing it. We work hard to make Science fun and learning with our hands instead of just a textbook and workbook pages!
St. Louis Students Soar in STEM Competitions
St. Louis junior high students recently participated in two regional competitions, MATHCOUNTS and the Memphis Area Joint Engineering and Technology Contest.
The St. Louis MATHCOUNTS team of Karen Benedict, Nick Scherson, Lee Griesbeck, and Finn Mullen competed against area middle school students in both team and individual components of oral and written math problems. After a grueling morning of competition Lee Griesbeck placed in the top ten of one hundred eighty-five students and advanced to the finals of the program. Lee tied for fifth place in this regional competition.
Forty St. Louis students met on Saturday, February 22 to compete in the engineering and technology competition. The fifteen SLS teams were tasked with creating and demonstrating inventions that would improve our quality of life. The students were judged on benefit to society, feasibility, creativity, and presentation. Four teams made it to the finals of the competition. Eighth grader Ethan Ferguson won first place in the contest with his self-sustaining hydrogen gas generator.
Annual Science Fair Inspires Many
The St. Louis Science Fair is a highlight of sixth grade. Students begin working on their projects in the first semester of school. Students research a scientific question, develop a hypothesis, and carryout the scientific method to form the conclusion. The culmination of the project is the science fair. Projects are judged by three judges from different scientific fields. Those earning honorable mention meet with an additional three judges to be interviewed about their projects. This year’s overall winners are Hughes Raiford, first place (“Does Music Affect Memory?”); Ellie Navarre, second place (How Does Design of a Golf Ball Affect Performance?”); Sam Goodman and Sarah Grace Price, tied for third. Winners from 6A are Hughes Raiford, first; Sam Goodman, second; Maggie Montegut, third. 6B winners are Ellie Navarre, first; Sarah Grace Price, second; Marc Anthony Marconi, third.