Usually when I write a column, I like to begin with a funny little anecdote. Today it is quite impossible for me to do so.
Our hearts are very heavy at St. Mary’s due to the unexpected and untimely passing of one of our own, Steve Blocher. Budgets at Catholic schools tend to be rather tight, and often it is only through the kindness and dedication of volunteers that our students are afforded lessons and experiences beyond the basics.
Steve was a volunteer par excellence. Many of you may have known Steve through his business, Blocher Enterprises. Perhaps he even did some decorative concrete work for you. When he was a young man, he was a professional musician. For over 20 years, Steve shared that talent with our students. He was the director of our biennial school musicals. And what awesome musicals they were. It was hard to believe that the actors/singers were fourth- through eighth-graders.
If you asked the students, I am sure that they would assure you, that no Broadway director ever pushed his actors/singers any harder. Steve was serious about those musicals. On the “off” years he would teach the children basic music. As I got ready for class, I was often treated to jazz, Christmas carols, and various types of music as he practiced on the piano before school. He also shared his building talents. For our Christmas program he constructed the stable. I think what I will miss most are his smile and wry observations on everything. Almost everyone I have talked to, said that when thinking of him, it is his smile that they remember fondly. Right now there is an aching hole in our collective heart. In time, we will heal and realize how blest we were that Steve Blocher was part of our school family. Rest in peace, Steve.
School is winding down. In fact it is hard to believe that as I write, we have 11 school days left. (Teachers and students always count school days as opposed to just days!) The eighth-graders are currently on their class trip to Toronto. This class accomplished something, that quite frankly I can’t remember any other eighth-grade class accomplishing. They had all their mulch sold and delivered before the class trip. That was no small feat! Most years the students return from the trip and start delivering the last of the mulch. This week, the seventh-graders have been trying on their new role for next year as the top class. They have been selling pretzels, watching some of the smaller students and leading the school in the Regina Coeli, a special Easter prayer honoring Mary.
Some students think science is hard and no fun, but not the third- and fourth-graders in Mrs. Pierri’s class. This year they have enjoyed a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). I have seen some of their projects displayed in the hall and wished I could have participated. Right now, they are working on a tower challenge, which is to build the tallest possible tower using crafts sticks and cups. However, they have been given certain constraints to follow. (After all, it wouldn’t be a challenge without constraints, right?) Next week, they will be learning about area and perimeter while designing and building obstacle courses.
Speaking of obstacle courses, field day is the last Monday of school, May 22. Members of the student council are busy planning the games and activities. On field day the council members with their advisor, Mrs. Foster, will run the field day activities. For lunch that day, the students will be treated to a cookout.
The next day, May 23, the eighth-graders will graduate. This year we are graduating 11 students. As is our tradition, graduation will begin with the celebration of Mass. After Mass, there will be a reception honoring the graduates. As the students complete this leg of their education, the faculty, staff and their fellow students wish them well. We know that they are ready to embrace the challenges and adventure of their high school years. They will always be welcomed at St. Mary’s and forever remain in our hearts. We will miss them and look forward to seeing them at our Thanksgiving homecoming.
The last day of school is May 26. It is hard to believe that the school year is coming to a close. Of course I say that every year! On behalf of the staff and students, I would like to thank all those people who have helped us in some way this year. If I were to name them all, well it would be a whole ‘nother column! Have a nice summer!
Kathy Ayette is a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.