I heard a rumor that spring is just around the corner. You couldn’t have proven it by the weather this week. Frankly, I have had enough of the white stuff. I am ready for spring!
As I write March Madness is beginning today. At St. Mary’s we have our own version of March Madness. March seems to be the month when we are either in the middle of something or madly preparing for an upcoming something. We began the month with IOWA testing. Students from kindergarten to seventh grade took a battery of tests. Because I teach a combined class, I tested the first graders while our trusty sub, Mrs. Waltke tested the second graders. I think by Friday the majority of the students were “tested out.” I did have several first graders who said they enjoyed the tests and wished we could do more IOWA tests. I have to admit I didn’t quite share their enthusiasm. The following week, the fifth and second graders took the CogAT which is a battery of tests to measure cognitive ability. The fifth graders took their tests on Monday and Tuesday. The second graders took their tests on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I think my principal thought that I opted to start testing on Tuesday rather than Monday because I was taking into account the changeover to Daylight Savings Time. Actually I misread the note and thought everyone was starting on Tuesday.
On Sunday, March 11, the eighth graders sponsored their annual St. Patrick’s Day pancake breakfast featuring Chris Cakes. The event raised funds for the eighth graders class trip to Charleston. The highlight of the pancake breakfast is not so much the pancakes, but how they are served. Patrons have the option of catching the pancakes. The cook flips the pancakes and people try to catch them. I think I impressed some of my former students. Since I am using a cane this year, I had to catch them one-handed. I was four for four. Oh yeah!
The second graders will be receiving their First Holy Communion on Saturday, March 24. On March 17 they had a special retreat day known as Jesus Day. Jesus Day is a fun day for the first communicants and their families to prepare for First Communion. The students and their families participated in prayer, crafts, and other fun activities.
The last week of March is Holy Week. School will be in session until Good Friday. During the week in order to help the students understand and appreciate the Holy Week Liturgies, we have special prayer services. During the Holy Thursday Liturgy in imitation of Christ, the priest washes the feet of twelve parishioners. At school the teachers wash the feet of their students. We also have a “Breaking of the Bread” prayer service and a veneration of the Cross. Net Ministries will conduct an in-school retreat for the junior high students on March 29. On the day before Ash Wednesday, my students made Lenten crosses. On the backs of the crosses they wrote down what they were going to do as penance during Lent to prepare for Easter. Before we go home for Easter break, we will take the crosses down and decorate them as Resurrection crosses which will be displayed during the Easter season.
On April 3 the teachers will attend the National Catholic Educators’ Association (NCEA) convention and expo. It will be held in Cincinnati this year. We have attended the state convention in the past, but this is the first year that the national convention has been close enough for us to attend. Teachers will be able to attend sessions covering a variety of topics. While the sessions are interesting, I have to admit my favorite part is the display area set up by the vendors. You can find everything from new textbooks and the latest educational technology to samples of candy for fundraising. Frankly I gravitate towards the candy samples more than the technology since I tend to have a more satisfying experience with chocolate than with computers.
I mentioned March is a month when we are busy preparing for upcoming somethings. Mr. Nealeigh and the fourth through eighth graders have been working very hard on the spring musical, P.T. The Greatest Showman on Earth. Judging from the music wafting through the hall, both during and after school, it is really going to be a great show. I also have to compliment the children on their acting. I heard a bit of a ruckus one day after school and I was going to investigate until I realized the children were rehearsing their parts. The musical will be at 7 p.m. on April 13 at Memorial Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.
Until next month, keep thinking spring!