I have to tell you the magic in my classroom is strong magic indeed. In January, the kindergarten class made snowflakes and their teacher hung them from the ceiling. They also did a torn paper picture of snowflakes to hang in the hall. As you may remember, there wasn’t a lot of snow in January. Now I had planned to do paper snowflakes with my class. I enjoy listening to the “oohs” and “ahs” as the children unfold their papers to reveal lacy snowflakes. It never gets old. I hope you noted the word “planned.” Somehow before I knew it, January had morphed into February. So, I had the children cut out the snowflakes and glue a red heart in the center of each snowflake. (I like killing the proverbial two birds with one stone.) The extra “unhearted” flakes were glued on black paper. I hung our snowflakes from the ceiling and the pictures in the hall. Bingo! We have 10 inches of snow. (I apologize. I guess we overdid it a little.)
February turned out to be the month that almost wasn’t, thanks to the abundance of snow. The shortest month was a bit shorter than usual. We had one holiday, Presidents’ Day, two snow days, and six two-hour delays. I always find the two-hour delays particularly challenging. For some reason I seem to believe that I can control the space and time continuum and should be able to cover everything in four hours that I usually cover in six. However, there was one February that beat this one. I don’t remember whether we had any delays, but I do remember we had exactly seven school days the entire month.
The primary students celebrated Valentine’s Day on Feb. 12, since Valentine’s Day fell on Sunday this year. The following Monday was Presidents’ Day. The day after the holiday was Fat Tuesday. Our tradition has been to celebrate Fat Tuesday with Mardi Gras masks and beads. We enjoy King Cake and at the end of the day bury the Alleluia. Burying the Alleluia is actually an ancient Christian tradition. Decorated Alleluia banners are symbolically “buried” as a sign of putting aside pleasures to concentrate on the somber and serious season of Lent. On Easter the banners are “resurrected” and hung over the classroom doors in celebration. One of the unique customs of this burial is after carrying the banners to their place of interment, a short prayer service is held and then the participants make as much noise as humanly possible for one minute. Then the banners are laid in place and the congregation leaves in silence. In the past we have always interred the banners in the church basement. This year due to COVID, we had planned to have the service outside in the playground and “bury” the banners in the boiler room. That was the plan. Fat Tuesday was snowed out. The banners are safely awaiting Easter in the boiler room, but there was no ceremony.
The Mardi Gras Reverse Raffle was held as planned. This year the drawing was online due to Covid. The lucky winners of $250 were the Livingstons, Rodney Oda, Grady Jones (one of my first graders), Peg Hadden, Kyle Hummel, and Mike and Sherri Jones. The grand prize winner of $3000 were the Jones Kids. Congratulations to all.
Ash Wednesday was the next day, Feb. 17, which happened to be another snow day. St. Mary’s was on a two-hour delay that day. The students who were able to make it in at the regular time and the staff attended Mass and received ashes. At noon, Fr. Matt came over to school to give ashes to those students who were unable to attend Mass in the morning. By the way, I don’t think I have told you about Fr. Matt. Father Matt Feist is our resident priest until someone is assigned to our parish. We are very happy to have him with us.
The past few days the temperatures have improved, and the snow is melting. Some of my students have reported that they have heard birds singing. That means that spring is just around the corner. Each day, I have the Question of the Day for the students. (We use it as an exercise in graphing and fractional parts.) One of the questions this week was whether the students thought we would get more snow this last three weeks of winter. The majority thought not, although I am not sure that wasn’t just wishful thinking. Here’s hoping my students’ magic is just as strong predicting the weather as it was bringing snow!
Kathy Ayette is a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.