Dear HRA Families and Friends,
Auction 2014 is upon us. The Office Staff and Auction Committee have dedicated endless hours to creating a truly elegant night for all of you who will be able to join us. I thank Ann Neavill, Gena Columbus, Krissy Johannes, Pam Bjelland, Danielle DiCiero, Debra Pearce Jen Dooc, and our Co-Chairs, Jacki Rose and Rosa Salazar-Sanchez for their tireless service to this exciting evening. Thank you to the many parents who procured items this month and last as well!
If you have not yet purchased a ticket for the event or wish to submit an item or donation towards this, the school’s largest fundraiser, please do so in the next few days. Blessings and thanks to all the many friends and family contributions for the event. I promise you that the student-made articles will knock your socks off! Under the guidance of Mrs. Pearce, their art teacher, and their other teachers they have created true works of beauty! Thank you to the entire HRA community for participating in and contributing to this special event.
Many other lovely events have been taking place at HRA in the last few weeks. The soccer teams, for example, finished a fine season. Though they did not finish at the top of the field, they were awarded the Good Sportsmanship Award at the final tournament. I am so proud of our students because they have learned how to win and to lose with grace. This award always means much more to me than a first place trophy because sportsmanship is an award to judges the character rather than merely the skill of the athlete. In the end, the good character will endure when the games taper off. Bravo, Knights.
The girls’ volleyball team and fifth through eighth grade basketball teams have begun their seasons. Thank you to junior, Sang Nguyen, for coaching the team and demonstrating true school loyalty and dedication. Thank you also to sophomore, Matthew Lastimoso, and freshman, Izaiah King, for coaching the basketball team. You are affording the players much afternoon joy! Go Knights. I will try to attend more of your games and encourage you on your way! I am so proud of all our scholar athletes!
On October 7th, the school enjoyed its second annual “Living Rosary.” It was a lovely event. We were joined by our beloved, Fr. Augustine O.P. who led us in the opening prayer and blessed the handmade rosaries (made by the junior high) that were given to each of our kindergarteners as their very own Holy Rosary Academy rosary. Mrs. Colleen Duncan and Arianna Fouch led the singing culminating in the most fitting and heavenly sounding rendition of “Queen of the Holy Rosary” that I have heard our students sing. It was a true privilege to honor Our Lady and Her Son on this special school feast day. After the rosary, the students enjoyed cookies served by the junior and senior girls. Thank you to the parents who joined us for this special rosary.
The students continue to flourish in the classroom. Of most excitement to me is that more and more I am seeing exciting science labs take place. Mrs. O’Neill, one of our parents, and a teacher, has been coming in to set up many labs for the elementary students. She has procured the high school lab for several of the classes so they can enjoy the authentic lab atmosphere. You should see how excited the students, clad in their white lab coats and goggle up, become! I sneak in there and watch them whenever I can. Mrs. O’Neill helps to make their science lessons fun, engaging, and worthwhile. Science at HRA continues to grow and blossom into another strength for which we can be most proud.
There are so many people for whom I am grateful. Mrs. Woyte, our Parent Association Share Hour Coordinator, is one whom I must fete! She has tirelessly coordinated parents to help me run the school more smoothly. From coordinating rides to field trips to lunches for the faculty to helpers for the Priest Luncheon to driving in when she senses we have too few workers, she is the tops. Robin, God bless you for your love and dedication to the school. I am so very grateful for your initiative and follow-up. You are in my prayers.
Robin is only one of many to thank. Please know that the students and I pray for all those of you who do so much to ease our load and enhance our daily school experience. The autumn has been remarkably smooth and enjoyable and the parent help has much to do with it.
I look forward to writing again soon. The faculty and I will spend the week in Don Rags with the Upper School while the elementary teachers will meet on Friday with the students and parents in all-day conferences. It is truly a privilege to stop and take some time to discuss students’ strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement in an effort to encourage them on for the rest of the year. Below you will find the explanation of our Don Rags as it may be a new term for you.
What Are Don Rags and Why Does HRA Offer Them?
1) What are Don Rags?
The Don Rag is a special kind of meeting for the benefit of each student. All the teachers of the student convene to discuss the strengths, weaknesses, and areas of growth they have observed in the student. The parents and the student sit and listen while the teachers discuss the student amongst themselves. The goal of the teachers is to offer sage advice that will help the student to grow in his or her academic setting as well as to inform the parents about how their child is developing in school.
The Don Rag is not meant to emphasize the report card and the grades. Grades are merely a measure of students’ academic success. Rather, this meeting is meant to offer specific advice and encouragement to the student as he or she grows intellectually. In the event that the student is languishing, the teachers will proffer their best advice on how to stem the student’s struggles and put him or her back on a road to success.
The Don Rags happen in the middle of the first semester with the express wish that the meeting will result in a stronger, happier, and more motivated student for the remainder of the year.
2) What is the format that the meeting will take?
The parents and the student will be welcomed into the room. Mr. Welsh will explain the format of the twenty-minute meeting. For the first fifteen minutes, the teachers will discuss amongst themselves the strengths, weaknesses, and areas of growth they have observed in the student during the first quarter. A designated teacher will type up the gist of the comments and will print them out at the end of the meeting for the parents to take home and further consider. This scribe will also hand over the report card for the first quarter. In the last five minutes of the meeting, the student will have a chance to respond to anything he or she has heard; the parents will follow with any remarks, questions, or clarifications they have. Mr. Welsh will call the meeting to a close when the twenty-minute time period has ended.
3) What is the history of the Don Rags?
The term “Don Rags” has come to us from historical Oxford when the “Dons,” as Oxford professors are traditionally called, would “rag,” or challenge, students in an oral examination.