Greetings, St. Therese Family!
The start of our school year is just over a week away as we begin this last week of August. Teachers and staff will be hard at work this week preparing for an excellent 91st school year at St. Therese Catholic Academy! New staff/teacher orientation begins tomorrow, Monday, 8.27, and our entire team reports Tuesday, 8.28, for our in-service. Please keep us in prayer as we reorient, rededicate, and refocus ourselves to accomplishing our mission this year with a talented, committed, and passionate group of educators! In many ways, our work has already begun. Teachers and staff have been on campus throughout the month arranging and rearranging classrooms, digging into curriculum content, and engaging in planning and communal building conversations on a regular basis. Last Tuesday, 21 staff and school commission members participated in a conversation with local writer, blogger, and racial justice advocate Ijeoma Oluo (author of So You Want to Talk about Race?) with other educators at Holy Names Academy. This experience was formative, informative, and will guide all of us as we embark on our continued call to break down boundaries as we pursue “justice for all” and work together to build up the Kingdom of God.
Last week, we also welcomed dozens of new families to campus for our annual New Family Orientation. In our transition from last year to this year, we are losing quite a few families who have been long-time members of the St. Therese Family in large part due to relocation. However, with 38 new students enrolled for the first day of school and their dedicated families joining our returners, we will once again begin this school year with more students than last year (4 straight years!). Next Tuesday, 9.4, 156 Allstar students will assemble for morning assembly to officially begin our 91st school year. Thank you to all of you for choosing St. Therese to be the educational home for your children and families – there is no better option this side of heaven! The “Dream Team” staff and I look forward to igniting the faith, minds, and dreams of our students with renewed vigor, unrelenting dedication, and a passion second to none in the year ahead. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Back-to-School BBQ on Wednesday (8.29) evening, and have a blessed last week of summer!
Greetings, St. Therese Family!
I hope this update finds everyone well as we turn the corner toward the start of our 91st school year at St. Therese Catholic Academy! The school year ahead is inching ever closer and the excitement is brewing among staff, students, and parents alike! We’ve been busy preparing for an excellent school year, but I was also blessed to be able to take three weeks to relax, refresh, and be with family in Minnesota and Chicago as well as a brief stop at the University of Notre Dame as well. While the slow pace of July was nice while it lasted, the percolating pace of August is now here so I wanted to ensure that everyone has a clear sense of what to expect in the weeks, months, and year ahead.
It has been a busy and productive summer for us on campus. Here are a few points of celebration:
Enrollment currently stands at 151 with 11 students’ families (returning and admitted) still discerning their status for the 18-19 school year. That is right where we ended last year and + 12 from where we were on this date last year!
Our construction project is nearing completion for our relocated and renovated office reception area near the main entrance, AND, a partnership with Real Networks (Thank you, Ms. Jackson!) is underway to increase and enhance campus security and efficiencies utilizing facial recognition technology! More updates will come when the full scope is clarified!
Our theme for this year will center around the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), with two questions and a command: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” … “Who is my neighbor?” … “Go and do likewise! In this vivid Biblical encounter, Jesus is pushed by a “scholar” to describe what it takes to go to heaven. While Jesus starts with the law, he focuses on a powerful and dramatic story loaded with political, cultural, and social implications for his audience seeking to break down boundaries and stereotypes. Jesus then closes with the call to act – not in the comfortable way of the authorities, but in the humble, servant-leader way of the Samaritan. Our collective work as a community this year is similar to that of the Samaritan. We are all called to recognize the realities and needs of the world and people around us – not just those we know and are comfortable with, but especially the strangers in our midst – and to respond to them with compassion, openness, creativity, and love. I look forward to the journey ahead!
18-19 Calendars and Upcoming Events
First Day: Tuesday, September 4, 2018 – Noon Dismissal
We will begin with prayer on the blacktop at 8:25am (DAILY). Students are welcome to arrive with staff supervision at 8:15am, but parents are welcome and encouraged to stay for the first day (and everyday) prayer and assembly. Before Care services are available starting at 7am. We dismiss at Noon; After Care services are available until 6pm.
Tuesday, 9/4 – First Day, Noon Dismissal
Wednesday, 9/5 – 2:30pm Dismissal – Faculty PLC Time (we dismiss at 2:30pm every Wednesday for Faculty PLCs)
Thursday, 9/6 – 3:30pm Dismissal (Normal Day)
Friday, 9/7 – Noon Dismissal – Faculty PD
Our team is very eager to begin this school year with all of you as our partners in this shared endeavor. As a Catholic school, we firmly believe that parents are the primary educators of their children, and we are all honored and excited that you have again – or for the first time – chosen St. Therese to help you in this sacred task. Have a blessed rest of summer, and we can’t wait to see you at the Back-to-School BBQ on 8/29! God bless!
Greetings, St. Therese Family!
Can you believe it? Our 90th school year at St. Therese Catholic Academy has reached its conclusion. The Class of 2018 has left the building. We have sent forth 13 graduates to their high schools (10 to Catholic high schools) and are confident that they will blaze new trails as faith-filled servant-leaders, responsible lifelong learners, and respectful and compassionate community members. In the final week of school, we celebrate the remaining students in a few special ways – our annual talent show, field day, and “Moving Up Assembly” to name a few. As we hit the final days here, allow me to highlight a few special moments from our final days.
In today’s talent show, we had not only the traditional singing and dancing, but trumpet solos, piano solos and duets, and a quartet of students on violins with a parent and teacher accompanying them on guitars. We had 5th Grade students emceeing the production while their classmates set and cleared the stage for the various needs with little to no adult guidance (aside from a few parent and teacher assists with the equipment). Class of 2018 graduates have already made their way back to volunteer, and two of our recent grads even went around asking their teachers and I if they could bring us a coffee or pastry from Cupcake Royale in the middle of our morning! As I walked the halls and popped in classrooms today, I observed teachers and students looking back on their years with a reflective and celebratory lens and drawing connections between our student learning expectations, core values, and the academic work and experiences that occurred throughout the year. Further, “can I help you with anything?” seems to be the most recurring question among students and adults alike this week – a true sign of a living, breathing Christian community in action!
Heading into our 90th school year, we picked the theme that has been printed at the top of these weekly updates: “Surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us run God’s race!” from Hebrews 12:1. This theme was really picked with alumni and former staff in mind, but as we hit the last week and days, it is glaringly clear that the witnesses surrounding us are not only those from the past, but the present and future witnesses growing and thriving on our campus daily right now. Our students, teachers, staff, and parents are amazing witnesses – active participants in the building up of the Kingdom of God. While this school year is coming to a very rapid conclusion this Friday, this chapter in our St. Therese story will certainly be a memorable one. We had our ups and downs. We laughed; we cried. We have agreed and disagreed. We have succeeded and failed. In the end, we have persevered through yet another school year, and no matter where we find ourselves this summer and at the beginning of next fall, I fully believe AND trust that we will all be even better witnesses to our common call to share the Good News with all we encounter after embarking the journey of this school year together.
Thank you, St. Therese Family, for making our community what it is – a home away from home, a second family to celebrate and grow in – for all of us to share and enjoy. Have a blessed summer!
Greetings, St. Therese Family!
The Class of 2018 is leaving St. Therese Catholic Academy as students this week, and entering into the next phase of their spiritual, academic, and social journey at some of the best high schools in the Seattle area as St. Therese Alumni. These scholars have demonstrated throughout their years with us that they are faith-filled servant-leaders who are eager to lend a helping hand to their community and to their neighbors in need even when not prompted. They live that out in a special way in their final service-learning experience at the Josephinum this week. The Class of 2018’s high school process was quite impressive – not a single student was denied acceptance to the high school(s) of their choice. Their hard work over the long haul earned them spots at their respective high schools and they will go to these institutions of secondary learning not just as students, but responsible lifelong learners thanks to the foundation that St. Therese and their parents have given them. Their projects at the Science Fair and their final Religion essays on values and virtues showed me that they truly are ready! Finally, whether they spent 9 years (as Bryce, Quinn, and Takeo have) at St. Therese or just this once (as two of our grads have), I say with complete confidence that this group of children know and live what it means to be respectful and compassionate community members. When I first came to St. Therese four years ago, one of the first priorities we had was to establish, or better yet, re-establish, a culture of respect. For me, this starts with how we greet each other. The students in this class never resisted this culture. There have been so many handshakes, embraces, and creative greetings over the years that they often reminded me that I needed to stop and greet them in the hallways or at recess – whenever our paths crossed. It doesn’t stop with greetings, however. They identified on their retreat this week that asking for help, honesty and integrity, and community/family are a part of their top values and virtues as a class. They are not in it for themselves. They articulated that they have a responsibility to ensure that not only they succeed, but that none of their classmates fail or are left behind. I am confident that they will take those values and that mindset into high school, college, and out into the world, and in doing so, they will make our world a better place.
I pray that these children always remember that their roots, their foundation, stem from their parents and families and their first school home – St. Therese. Thank you for your leadership and example, Class of 2018! Your presence on campus will be missed. Go forth, and set the world on fire!
Greetings, St. Therese Family!
The Easter season has officially come to a close. The reflection of Lent, celebration of Easter, and joy and culmination of Pentecost come and go each year. As people of faith, we must ask ourselves, did this sacred season change us? If not, I suppose the Good News is that these seasons come and go every year. However, we are called to be renewed as a Resurrection People annually not to remain the same, but to evolve and grow on our own individual and communal faith journeys. As I look back on the first 34 weeks of our school year, with only 3 action-packed weeks left, I’ve asked myself, has our community changed? Our 90th school year is nearly complete, and looking back on it, WOW, what a journey it has been. We have had some incredible highs and challenging lows throughout this year, but through it all, our children, our families, our team, and our community have persevered and grown ever close to whom God is calling us to be. As we re-enter “Ordinary Time” in the Church calendar, I am constantly reminded how there is nothing ordinary about our community and the work we do.
Today, our 2nd Grade students left campus to join some of their elders at Full Life Care in Seattle. In their second visit to the residential facility this year, the students sang songs led by Mr. Stevenson and did some arts and crafts – being present to their neighbors as well as sharing their gifts. While this was planned as part of our service-learning initiative, it also strikes to the core of who our children are and who we are as a community. Tonight, we welcomed over 40 new students/parents to campus for a welcome dinner and social, and during the introductions, one of the incoming families touched on this spirit of service that radiates from our children. While taking their family out for a morning walk before preschool, this family was in the neighborhood of Full Life Care and saw the St. Therese van pull up and watched the students in their uniforms exit the van, walk excitedly into the center, and demonstrate the confidence our students so remarkably exhibit in all places as they were ready to lead and eager to serve.
As the Class of 2018 begins their last academic week on campus, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on their contributions to our community of faith-filled servant-leaders. Last week, when we celebrated the feast of Pentecost, I was away from campus and unable to lead our weekly prayer service. After checking in with a couple prospective substitute preachers (teachers), it became clear it was time for a new leader to emerge. 8th Grader, Rev. Bryce, a “lifer” at St. Therese since Kindergarten, was a quick study. With only minimal preparation and support from Mr. Nelson and myself, he led the community in an entire prayer service, preached a mini-homily, and challenged the students to live their ideas with actions, not just words. Where else do children get the opportunity to lead, serve, and grow in a community like this? I certainly have never seen another place like it! Thank you, Rev. Bryce. Thank you, Class of 2018! And thank you St. Therese Family for leading by example as faith-filled servant-leaders past, present, and future! Our world is in good hands as we look ahead to the years to come!
Greetings, St. Therese Family!
This week is a pivotal week as we prepare for the big finish to our 90th school year. Students are finishing up their end of year NWEA MAP Tests in Math, Reading, and Language Usage. Parents and teachers are meeting before school, over lunch, and after school for Spring Conferences to discuss our children’s progress throughout the year. Track season is in full swing and our Girls on the Run and final Gymnastics enrichment classes are preparing for the end of season showcases (including the Girls on the Run 5k @ Memorial Stadium in Renton @ 9am Sunday morning, 5.20.2018!). On Wednesday night, our Kindergarten through 5th Grade students will sing their hearts out at our annual Spring Concert while our 7th Graders rest their heads after their first day at NatureBridge outdoor recreational camp on the Olympic Peninsula. There is no shortage of happenings at or around St. Therese Catholic Academy in the month of May, and through it all, our children persevere and shine like the sun!
Despite the celebratory feel and busy schedule, some students struggle with the end of a school year. The rhythm of life that the school year offer is part of what makes many children strive and thrive to become the leaders and saints they are called to be. All of us need a semblance of structure, consistency, and routine to be our best, but some need more of this than others. While most of us have positive connotations of summer, it is often lost that some students fear the changes ahead and become extremely anxious at this otherwise joyous time in the life of school communities and individuals alike. This fear, anxiety, and uncertainty parallels remarkably well, I imagine, with the feelings of the Apostles gathered in the Upper Room in the days following Jesus’ Ascension into heaven. As Jesus’ closest friends and followers gathered together in that time of rapid change and unpredictability, Pentecost swept in. The Holy Spirit’s presence was made known through the wind and tongues of fire resting above the Apostles’ heads. Is this what they thought Jesus meant when he said “I will be with you always…” or “I will send an advocate…”? I doubt it. However, God is not one known for predictability and conventional practices. God is a miracle-worker, an unconditional lover of humanity, and a “by any means necessary” Divine Presence in our lives and in the world. The feast of Pentecost that we celebrate this Sunday is commonly known as the birthday of the Church. God officially passed on the reigns of Kingdom building from Jesus to the rest of us, and that work continues today. While Lent, the season of preparation, often invites us to repentance and changing our ways, Pentecost concludes the Easter season and challenges us do go out into the world and be the light of Christ to all we meet. This is a daunting task, but one we are called to adhere to. It starts with those directly in front of us – our children, our families, our neighbors, our communities – and expands to the ends of the earth. With much to celebrate and mindfulness about the needs of the vulnerable in our midst, I pray that this year’s Pentecost celebration may truly be one of witnessing, preaching the Good News with our words and our action. Have a blessed week, and let’s go set the world on fire with God’s love!
Greetings, St. Therese Family!
Here we are at the start of Week 33 at St. Therese Catholic Academy. A nice burst of summerlike weather has greeted us at the start of May and Teacher Appreciation Week has arrived at just the right time – energy is both high from the excitement and low from the fatigue of the journey, students are giddy about summer and the end of year rituals and also bittersweet about the changes ahead. Through it all, teachers work. Day in and day out throughout a school year, and most often over the summer, teachers go to sleep and wake up thinking through, reflecting upon, and in our context, praying over what they can do to best help their children – our children – grow and excel. In this sacred ministry of teaching, we have a great model – Christ the Teacher. This week, we recall and celebrate the feast of the Ascension, when Jesus concludes his 40 days of post-Resurrection ministry and teaching with his followers and rejoins God the Father in heaven. Like a great teacher heading into retirement and “life after teaching,” Jesus leaves his pupils with the parting words, according to Mark:
“Go into the whole world
and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved;
whoever does not believe will be condemned.
These signs will accompany those who believe:
in my name they will drive out demons,
they will speak new languages.
They will pick up serpents with their hands,
and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them.
They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” - Mark 16:15-19
From there, it was up to the followers of Jesus to continue the history making and kingdom building, and given the fact that we gather today in Christ’s name and spirit nearly two millennia later, I’d say they did their part! Catholic school teachers continue Jesus’ ministry with our children today. Parents, too, continue this ministry as the primary teachers of their children and as the faith leaders of their families and households. In a special way this week, we honor teachers. We thank them for their tireless service and commitment to the betterment of our children and world. If not for the example set for me by my teachers, I would not be an educator myself today. They interrupted the errors in my ways and challenged me to be best, all the while teaching me the essential concepts and skills I’d need to make it in school and in the world. I remember them by name – Mrs. Turas, Mr. O’Donnahue, Mrs. Klein, Mr. Herrmann, … and I could go on! Our teachers are our parents at school, and in a school like ours, where we are more like a family than a corporate institution, what a gift it is to have such caring, compassionate, talented, and dedicated teachers! Thank you, “Dream Team,” for all you do and all you are to our children. We’re all better off as a result!
Further, thank you, Mothers of the St. Therese Family, for your similar guiding, nurturing, prophetic, and strong example of faith, love, and service in action as we raise our children together. I am grateful to my own mother for all she’s done for me, and I have learned so much about parenthood and life from the mothers I’ve partnered with here at St. Therese. Happy Mothers’ Day, St. Therese Moms! We love you!
Greetings, St. Therese Family!
Last week, our students demonstrated great courage, creativity, confidence, and charisma at our third annual STCA Poetry Slam. Under the theme, “Blessed to be a Witness,” students shared heartfelt, humorous, and heavy reflections on both what they’ve experienced in the world and what they’d like to make happen in the world. It was a huge privilege and honor to be present to listen to the children speak their truths with love, tact, and authenticity. Our final three poems featured 8th graders, one solo act, a trip of boys, and duo of girls. Our eldest students shared powerful testimonies with the titles: “Racism,” “Popularity,” and “Dear Males.” The student leaders of our school proved to be a powerful joint closing act as they made us think, made us laugh, and inspired us to not just sit back and listen, but to stand up (for what is right) and ACT. That is what true witnesses do, and we are all called to be witnesses as people of faith and followers of Jesus in this Easter season. As we enter into the busy month of May, our poetry slam was just the exciting push we needed to start our busy final six weeks of spiritual, academic, and social growth and formation in our 90th school year on campus.
As we hit Week 32, students are preparing for their final round of NWEA MAP Testing over the next few weeks, beginning work on end of year units and projects, and rising in their zeal as they anticipate the conclusion of this school year, the fun of summer, and the start of their next step, whether at St. Therese or beyond for our Class of 2018. Amidst the wide ranging emotions of this time of year, I always like to remind our parents, guardians, teachers, and myself that it is completely normal for our children to be a bit up and down right now as we inch closer to the finish line. We are nearing the finish line of a truly amazing body of work, and there is much to celebrate, but there is also the bittersweet reality of change, goodbyes, and new beginnings that await at the end of a school year. For now, it is imperative that we continue to guide and push our children to be their best and strive for growth and excellence in all they do, taking time to pause, reflect, give thanks, and pray for the gift that is our 90th school year in our community. What a ride it has been to date, and I’m truly excited for our big finish in the six weeks ahead. May and June Calendars were sent home this week, and as all recipients can see…we have a busy road ahead! I already know that I am “blessed to be a witness” for all the good that awaits us in the weeks to come. Thank you for your partnership and support – have a blessed start to the month of May!
Greetings, St. Therese Family!
Last weekend (and stretching back to Easter for one child), 10 of our students received their 1st Communion at St. Therese Parish. These 2nd, 3rd and 4th Graders prepared the past few months by reflecting upon and learning about the sacrament of the Eucharist in the Catholic Church. Many students and families in our school are not Catholic, so I wanted to take the opportunity to join in this reflection and learning along with our students and share a bit about what the Eucharist is all about in the Catholic tradition, and what our children have just committed to.
The Catholic Church has seven total sacraments, with three sacraments being sacraments of “Initiation.” As the name infers, these sacraments mark new beginnings on the faith journey of Catholics. The first of these is Baptism, the last is typically Confirmation, and the other, arguably the most important sacrament in the Catholic tradition, is the Eucharist. Commonly referred to as “Communion,” this sacrament is the only sacrament we are encouraged and obliged to receive weekly – some even do it daily. Why? For Catholics, the bread and wine on the alter are not just symbolic representations of Jesus’ Last Supper. We believe that the bread and wine are transformed into the true Body and Blood of Christ during the consecration. While this teaching can be complicated for children, and adults, in essence, we believe that there is a change in substance and reality of these gifts set on the altar, and when we receive them, we receive Jesus – all that he was and is – physically and spiritually. Thus, when receiving Jesus within our own very beings, we are called, or rather, sent, to go out into the world, beyond the pews and beyond the church, to be Jesus to all those we encounter. This is why it has been said that the EXIT sign – not the cross, not the candles, not the altar, not the other holy symbols – is the most important sign in a Catholic church. While the Eucharist has been considered a source of division among Christians because of differing teachings on the purpose and meaning of it, the word Eucharist literally means “giving thanks.” We give thanks to God for the gift of God’s son, Jesus. We give thanks to Jesus for enduring the Paschal Mystery for us. We give thanks to the Holy Spirit for empowering us to be the hands, feet, voice, ears, and heart of Jesus in the world today.
St. Augustine once reflected on the Eucharist reminding his generation that it is true, “You are what you eat,” or more eloquently stated, “You become what you consume.” In a world that is bombarding us with invitations to consume – media, material items, gluttonous feasts, everyone else’s business on our news feeds, once-in-a-lifetime experiences… – 10 of our children chose to consume the real presence of Christ last weekend for the first time. This choice that they made is a reminder to all of us to adhere to St. Augustine’s reminder to “become what we consume.” My prayer during this Easter season is that all of us – regardless of our faith tradition – may come together to live the way the first Christians did in radical community, with the utmost compassion and concern for one another, so that truly, as we’re told to do every Sunday when leaving Mass, we may glorify God with our very lives!
Happy Easter, St. Therese Family!
In this joyful season of the Resurrection, new life abounds… Springtime in Seattle is very much in mtion. In the first few days back from break we have seen beautiful, sunny blue skies one minute and torrential downpours the next. While the old adage “April showers bring May flowers” may ring true in some places, it truly is a gift to see so many flowers and other aspects of God’s Creation already blooming bountifully and beautifully in Seattle and particularly around St. Therese’s campus. While the Easter season tells the story of the Resurrection of Jesus and his encounters with his followers in the days before his Ascension, we also see the resurrection of new life in Creation each year at this same time. I truly believe we can learn a lot from the cycles of nature and our earth as the natural designs and rhythms of our Creator are not just around us, but also within us.
The energy that springtime brings is always plentiful and zealous in schools, and while it can be exhausting for educators (and parents), it truly is a gift. The first day back from break brought the joy of stories, embraces, and reconnection on campus. The second day back brought the fatigue, rust, and a few kinks out. With the first week back continuing on, the rhythm and energy is now back in sync and the new life of spring is truly coming. Prospective families are visiting nearly daily at this point in the year, and it is truly a gift to sit and meet with each family who wants to join our community. While these conversations are always life-giving, what continues to impress me is how families visiting our school can feel within minutes of their time with us that St. Therese is a community in which all are truly welcome and can discover and grow into their unique, God-given identity in a loving, nurturing, and faith-based environment. They pick-up on this feeling not through their conversation with me, but rather, through their observations of our children in action. I, too, am moved by the presence of our children, and I pray that as we continue on in this Easter season, we may all slow down, take a few moments to soak up the beauty that surrounds us – in both Creation and in our children, and give thanks to God for the time and place in which we are all gathered here. It is with this joy that Easter invites us to tell the Good News of the world. Let’s be sure that we are not silent this Easter season, but zealous for the Good News of the Gospel!
Greetings, St. Therese Family!
As we enter into this third week of the 3rd Trimester of our school year, we also enter the numerical “4th Quarter” of our school year. It is very fitting that as we enter this final leg of our academic journey, we also prepare to enter into the most sacred week of our liturgical year – Holy Week. The week begins with our remembrance of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem where he was greeted like royalty and ends with Jesus’ crucifixion and death on the cross, only to be overshadowed by the miraculous joy that comes with the Resurrection on Easter Sunday! This dying and rising that is recounted in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus is also directly applicative to our very lives. We, too, face triumphs and setbacks, mini-deaths and mini-resurrections. Our tradition teaches that the highs and lows of our lives are ultimately preparing us for our common destiny: death on earth and eternal life in heaven. While we don’t always think or conceive of daily life as this ultimate preparation for our final end, our faith invites us to reflect on this rhythmic reality.
As I reflect back on all that has occurred throughout this 90th school year, I am awestruck by the TRUTH of this “Paschally mysterious” rhythm and flow. We have had our challenges, including the deaths of loved ones and community pillars like Mr. Melonson, but also many points of celebration. Our 2nd Trimester Awards Assembly last week truly captured the spirit of joy that is abound in our community when we come together. Further, despite our imperfections and areas for growth, I have been receiving more and more complimentary communications of late about how special our community is. One volunteer said to me on her way out for her term of service, “I will definitely be back. I’ve always wanted to be in a community like this!” On class picture day last Wednesday, the photographer was complimenting our students’ behavior, cooperation, and overall happiness that he observed. After I shared a bit more of our history, mission, and contemporary reality, he said, “Catholic schools are all a step ahead of their counterparts with their students, but there is truly something different, something special about this school.” Finally, we have had the pleasure of partnering with Seattle JazzEd for music classes for our K-2 students this year. The partnership has been fruitful in both directions, and the lead teacher, Mr. Dan Wickham, has been very clear about what his experience here has been like:
I have been a public school teacher for close to 20 years, and in my career I have worked at 10 different schools, including St. Therese. In my time, I have worked at a couple of places that were special. I believe that what makes a school special are the staff members, beginning with the principal, and the vision set forth, to the teachers who work to implement the vision with the students, to the support staff who support the teachers and students. St. Therese is a special place.
I can feel the specialness in every aspect of working here. Student behavior can be a challenge at any school, but here at St. Therese, there is something different. With the students here, I see a joy, a happiness, and I feel a sense that no matter what the behavior, the students will respond, if not immediately, within a short period of time. This has nothing to do with me, as I see the students once a week for 45 minutes. This is because of the school, and the staff and the vision and commitment. There is just something wonderful here that is difficult to put into words.
These students are not fundamentally different than students I have had at other schools, but they seem happier, more grounded, and very interested in everything that we do. Here the students greet me with smiles and hugs, and can’t wait to have music class. I don’t teach anything differently here than I do other places, but here, it is all different.
That is because of the staff here at St. Therese. As I said, from the top down, or maybe the bottom up, there is something special here that doesn’t exist at other schools. Thank you for the blessing of being able to teach here.
For 90 years, St. Therese has been a special place. God’s work and God’s love are active, alive, and well in our community. We all know this – that is why we are here - but it can be easy to forget amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life. I’m grateful for these volunteers, guests, and community partners that have put into words the essence of what we try to do on a daily basis. Well done, St. Therese Fami