Dear HRA Families and Friends,
We are approaching the last week of school. I marvel at how much the students of Holy Rosary Academy have accomplished this past year and look forward to celebrating their achievements at the Awards Assembly next Friday, May 24th at 10 A.M. in St. Dominic’s Hall. Parents, family, and friends are most cordially welcome to join us for the Awards Ceremony and the potluck following. At the Awards Ceremony, the 8th grade, the 6th grade, and the kindergarten will graduate from their respective classes. We will be most proud to welcome the new first graders, the new junior high students, and the new high school students to the next big step in their academic endeavors on that day. Please join us.
Before the Awards Assembly, however, we must celebrate the incredible year our seniors have enjoyed. The festivities begin with an evening Baccalaureate Mass at 6 P.M. The Archbishop will be presiding. Fr. Tom Lilly will be concelebrating. All are welcome to join us. Following the mass, the seniors have invited close family and friends to attend a special dinner in anticipation of the graduation the following day. The faculty look forward to hosting the seniors and their family and conveying how proud we are of all of their accomplishments.
Wednesday, the seniors, the faculty, the staff, and the student body will all journey to Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Graduation of 2013. Our dear Dominican chaplains will be presiding. Fr. James Barrand is so sorry to miss out this year; he will be in Rome but conveys his deepest congratulations to the seniors. We hope that as many parents will help us drive the students over and be in attendance to wish Reagan, Natalie, Jamie, Marisa, and Michael well as they move on to college or the Marines. The mass will last from 1 P.M. to 2 P.M. Then, we will move to the Lunney Center next door to begin the graduation ceremony at 2:15 P.M. Following the graduation ceremony, we will have a brief cake and punch reception. ALL HRA STUDENTS ARE TO BE PICKED UP FROM OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE AT 3:30 P.M. NO STUDENTS WILL BE RETURNED TO THE SCHOOL THAT DAY. Family and friends and faculty will continue to gather until the natural end of the reception. I encourage any parents who have remaining share hours to complete to consider helping me with the set up and serving on the evening of the Baccalaureate or to help with set up and serve at the Graduation ceremony.
In the meantime, our wonderful elementary and upper school students will be valiantly taking their final exams on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The elementary will take Core Knowledge Tests that check for their understanding of this year’s curriculum. The upper school has their final exam schedule available on the online calendar. Periods 1,2 exams are on Monday. Periods 3,4 exams are on Tuesday, and periods 5,6 exams are on Wednesday. There will be study time provided in between the exams in order for students to focus their attention and discuss questions with the teachers. Give it your very best, HRA students. These are the moments where you are called to strive for excellence and finish your academic year on an excellent foot.
Thursday of next week, May 23rd, the elementary school will all go over to Our Lady of Guadalupe to enjoy Field Day. This is an annual event in which the students and faculty enjoy all kinds of sports and activities coordinated by P.E. teacher, Mrs. Debra Pearce. Students are encouraged to bring wonderful lunches to the picnic style lunch (weather permitting). The Upper School is headed to Seward on Thursday, May 23rd where the students will enjoy the city, the beaches, the Sea Life Center, the waterfalls, and Exit Glacier in an action packed day. They will stop and Summit Lodge on their way back for a dinner next to the scenic Summit Lake. All the upper school is eagerly anticipating this end-of-the-year field trip. The faculty and seniors, who will be invited with us as chaperones, will be in attendance. Thank you to Miss Danielle DiCiero for making all of the arrangements for the students.
THIS WEEK AT HRA
In case you were worried that this past week at HRA was relatively uneventful, I can assure that it was not. We have been enjoying visiting prospective students visiting in our classes, field trips for the fifth grade, a Friday special substitute and science guru, Mr. Thompson (grandfather of kindergartner, Blaise)for the sixth grade, the first annual Sibling Day in the kindergarten (six excited students joined us), Scantron testing for grades 7,8,9 and Senior Exams,. The weekend began for the upper school with a well attended Friday Game Night hosted by the seniors as their final school event for the upper school student body. As always, the week flew by and was filled with much laughter, some tears, and the excitement of the imminent end of school. Thank you to the whole student body and faculty for continuing to work so hard in your classes and for making the faith-filled atmosphere we foster at HRA so joyful. Though I run around trying to prepare the many events coming next week and often feel frazzled and overwhelmed, the smiles on the faces of the students, the encouragement and work ethic of the faculty, and the friendship of the parents buoy my spirits and inspire me to have the stamina to do all that needs to be done. Thank you all!
UPCOMING FACULTY AND STAFF CHANGES FOR 2013/14 SCHOOL YEAR
- Business Manager, Miss Marisa Shanstrom, will be departing at the end of June. The entire HRA community wishes to thank her for the heroic and tireless behind-the-scenes work she has done for the school. I am so grateful to Miss Shanstrom for handling the financial and maintenance work (so desperately needed to keep our school running smoothly) with such professionalism and poise. You have made an indelible impression on HRA and your pioneering of this new business position has been nothing short of outstanding. Thank you!
- Miss Frania Lonskaia will not be returning as the music teacher next year but thankfully, will remain at HRA where she will assist her son in the heroic work they do to keep our school clean, neat, and tidy throughout the school year. Miss Frania has so generously shared her considerable musical talent with our students for which we are incredibly grateful! Her love of the children and her desire to inspire them to excellence has never wavered in her many years at HRA. We thank you and we love you, Miss Frania. We hope you will join us at mass to harmonize with the entire student body many times next year! Thank goodness it is not goodbye but simply “See you around.” May you be abundantly blessed for your great sacrifice and love for HRA!
- Mr. Louis Bolin, teacher in the upper school, will be leaving us to join the Monastero di San Benedetto, Norcia. Mr. Bolin hoped to spend more years with us as he payed off his graduate school loans. God has blessed him with the ability to go right to St. Benedict’s home town of Nursia, Italy right next year to discern further his priestly vocation. I cannot begrudge God who has called our dear Mr. Bolin to transcendent service, but I can express on behalf of the student body, faculty and staff how grateful we are for the wisdom and creativity he has brought to his classes and the piety he has modeled to all of us. You will be remembered most for pioneering our first every Latin IV class and doing it superbly. God speed, Mr. Bolin. Pray for us; we will pray for you.
- Mrs. Katy Morrison will not be returning to HRA next year because Baby Morrison will have just arrived near to the beginning of school. Mrs. Morrison will be so very missed by the entire HRA community. She has brought her incredible depth and breadth of knowledge in the liberal arts, especially her science and math genius and her love of Latin. The students have been so happy for the arrival of her child but so very sad to know that she will not be their “cool” teacher next year. We hope we will still see much of you, Mrs. Morrison, and that Little Morrison Jr. or Jrette will make frequent visit since your sister, Mary, will still be here. Thank you for the last three wonderful years, for your excellent teaching, for your directing of the Yearbook and choir, for inspiring in the students a love for science, math and Latin, and for your friendship. You will be gone but not forgotten!
- We are blessed to have a replacement for Mr. Bolin already! I have recently engage, Mr. John Haggard as our new full-time teacher in the upper school. In a brief biography he sent me, he wrote, “Mr. John Haggard is the fifth of six children and was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He was home schooled through high school, and attended Thomas Aquinas College, where he received a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts. He loves basketball and military history. He has acted in over a dozen plays, from Henry IV Part I to West Side Story, and has sung in choirs since he was eight. He has directed countless short films and one feature length film, entitled Who Killed Erin Sales? He has played the piano since he was nine, and his favorite composer is Mozart. He looks forward to living in Alaska, “the Final Frontier.” I am so very excited to introduce Mr. Haggard to the students and pleased to mention that he is a former classmate and friend of our returning beloved teacher, Mr. Welsh. He will arrive in Anchorage near to August 1st. You can see how many gifts he has to offer HRA. We can’t wait to welcome you into our HRA family, Mr. Haggard!
- New mother and beloved teacher, Mrs. Marie-Louise Schirda, will be returning to the faculty again next year. She will be teaching part-time, two to three classes. I know the students share my relief that this incredible woman and teacher will grace our halls again next year. Her daughter, Helen Marie, has already bewitched me with her beauty and cuddly personality. Helen Marie has already been to Prom 2013, the Greek and Roman Festival, and Michael Tappel’s senior recital. We look forward to many visits from Helen Marie next year and thank her for letting her Mom come back to share her many gifts as a teacher. Welcome back, Mrs. Schirda!
- It is my privilege to announce that Mrs. Colleen Carter Duncan will be our Director of Choir for the K-12 student body next year. Mrs. Duncan, a Gonzaga University graduate with a degree in Liturgical Music and Musical Literature, has also taken some graduate classes from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA in historical musicology. She is a highly skilled musician and has directed choirs before. Currently she sings for and assists her husband, Mr. Gavin Duncan, as he directs the Holy Family Cathedral music program. She teachers voice, piano, and harp and has already graced the campus with her gifts and talents several times this year. She has many exciting plans to elicit from the students a continued love of sacred music and longs to introduce them to a range of classical secular pieces to enliven their range. She is a gentle lady with a powerfully lyrical voice. I look forward to you enjoying her contributions to the beautiful sounds coming from the walls of HRA! Welcome, Colleen. We are delighted to have you.
- During the course of the summer, I will let you know when we have hired our new Business Manager and the part-time teacher we will hire to replace Mrs. Morrison. In the meantime, I want to thank the fantastic duo of substitutes, Mrs. Lisa Williams and her father-in-law, Mr. Clarke, who have stepped in to replace Mrs. Morrison and Mrs. Schirda in the last few months. Mrs. Williams and Mr. Clarke, you have been a true gift to me and to the students. Your tireless work, your love for the students, and your generosity in the last few months overwhelms me with gratitude. You are both terrifically gifted teachers and true Catholic role models for our students. God bless you for the heroic flexibility you have graced us with this semester as we adjusted to the needs of our pregnant faculty. Thank you, dear friends!
I AM SO PLEASED TO LET YOU KNOW THAT THE REST OF THE FANTASTIC FACULTY ARE RETURNING TO BRING US THE SAME STEADY, PROFESSIONAL, LOVING, OUTSTANDING TEACHING WE HAVE ENJOYED THIS YEAR!
So, dear HRA families and friends, be sure to mark your calendars for the exciting end-of-the-year activities coming up this week. If you have need of completing share hours, contact me if you can help this coming week. There are so many opportunities to help with by driving and setting up and taking down our many receptions and meals. I have some tasks for the summer as well. Parents may continue to work off their hours after work if that is the only time you can come.
I wish everyone a blessed week. Pray for my stamina!
Miss Catherine Neumayr, Principal