Dear HRA Families and Friends,
Many thanks for your tolerance in waiting for my next blog! I found myself so engrossed in the beautiful liturgies and spiritual events of the Easter Triduum that I quite stole away from school and took a break. What a refreshing time it was. Still there are some events in the last two weeks that must be recognized!
National Merit Recognition
Juniors, Karina Biegel, Anna Jemmings, and Jacob Owens were recognized by the National Merit Scholar Program for scoring in the top 50,000 or top 3% of all juniors who took the PSAT this year. We are so proud of this achievement. In September they will learn if they have been recognized as Semi-Finalists. If they should be recognized, then they will have a chance to apply to be a finalist which whittles the field down to 15,000. This initial recognition is indeed an honor!
Thank you so very much to all of our Dominican Chaplains for the many masses they have said for use over the school year. A special thank you goes to Fr. Paul Raftery O.P. who came to offer last minute confessions for our students on the Tuesday during Holy Week. Thank you to Fr. Augustine Highlander O.P. for the beautiful all-school mass on Thursday, April 24th filled with joy of the Risen Lord and to Mrs. Colleen Carter-Duncan who led us in the joyful singing to accompany the mass. Happy Birthday to Fr. Augustine who celebrated his birthday on April 13th!
Thank you very much to the students who were able to fill out surveys indicating their assessment of our current teachers. The thoughtful responses add so much to our ability as a school to self reflect on the commendations and recommendations the surveys revealed. Further, thank you to all the parents who have already responded to the surveys assessing the Administration and the Staff of the school. We sent home the surveys just before the Easter break and hope that many more parents will send their anonymous voting in to us. Miss Danielle DiCiero, our Business Manager, has been calculating all the votes. She is the only one who views the surveys. Consequently, she is able to bring to the project the objectivity that the teachers and Principal could not. Thank you, Miss DiCiero!
All School Seminar
Thank you to Mr. Austin Welsh and Mr. John Haggard who led our Upper School Students in an all-school seminar. The short story was called “The Living Relic” by the Russian author, Turgenev. It was a challenging piece and I was so very impressed with the students whose analysis of the lead character revealed their own ability to see hypocrisy in an individual who feigns holiness. Mr. Welsh and Mr. Haggard deftly asked minimal questions and allowed the students to work out the meaning of the story.
Their Socratic approach is such a gift to the students. The critical thinking skills this fosters in our students is so superb to behold. I especially thank those students who fully participated and led the discussions and demonstrated to the younger grades how inspirational and rewarding coming to understand a subtle story such as this can help in their own discovery of what it means to be human and suffer.
HRA Involvement in their Parishes
I wish to thank all the students who went to their own parishes and participated in the Easter Triduum. I saw many of our high school students participate in the Holy Thursday, Good Friday retreat over at St. Benedict’s. It was inspiring to see them arise early and walk from St. Benedict’s to the downtown Performing Arts Center with the cross pondering Christ’s walk to Calvary. To see Eric Bjelland, Izaiah King, Fintan Nakada, Justin Klump, and Jacob Owens carry the heavy cross up the stairs of the PAC for the Archbishop as he led the last three stations was a true privilege for me. To see my HRA boys offer their health and strength to help the community enter more fully into this spiritual journey edified me and helped me enter into the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Lord more fully as well. Little do our young people know how their generous love for the Church and self-sacrifice for it help the older generation to reawaken in their love of the faith. Thank you gentlemen!
Track Team Accomplishments
Thank you to Mrs. Klump and our UAA coach, Russell, for all the work you are putting into our track team this year. The team has had only one tournament so far. In it, Miss Sarah Lucas (sophomore) truly distinguished herself by winning first place in the 100,200, and 800 events! We are very proud of you, Sarah! Further, she led the girls team of Sarah Lucas, Heather Siebs, Monica Klump, and Evangeline Dooc to a first place in the relay. Congratulations to the mens’ efforts as well.
Open House Success!
What a flurry of visits and applicants to the school we have enjoyed! We will have a new sixth grader, Rian Shearer, who will join the class for the last few weeks of school. She comes to us from Florida on a military transfer. We look forward to welcoming her to the HRA family. We were also visited by approximately twenty families at the Open House this past Wednesday, April 23rd. A huge thank you goes out to ALL THE HRA PARENTS AND STUDENTS who came out that evening to help me and my faculty and staff to host the evening. The students did a superb job of leading tours and the parents warmly greeted and spoke with the visiting families. Special thanks go to my incredible Parent Association Team of Mrs. Lisa Cookson, Mrs. Jennider Dooc, Mrs. Rosa Sanchez, and Mrs. Karin Owens. Through their careful preparations and set up as well as their tireless set-up and clean-up that evenings, we were able to leave the school in fine condition shortly after the event. My gratitude to the PA team knows no bounds. Bless you! At this point, we are at a record high for returning and enrolling students at this time of the year!!! Thank you very much to all the families for their love and loyalty. REMEMBER THAT BY RECOMMENDING A STUDENT AND HAVING HIM OR HER COME, YOU MAY RECEIVE $100 OFF TUITION. IF A FAMILY (MORE THAN ONE STUDENT) ATTENDS, WE WILL GIFT YOU WITH $250.00 OFF YOUR TUITION! Your approval of the school and your authentic testimony is the MOST effective form of recruitment that we have . Thank you.
Many thanks go to our former principal, Mrs. Barbara Doerner, for stepping in for Upper School teacher, Mr. Andy Coldiron, this week. Further thanks go to Mrs. Lisa Williams who stepped in for two days for sixth grade teacher Miss Viens who was out for two days. Thank you to all the faculty for stepping in to help fill gaps this week. I am always so grateful to the hard working community of teachers who help to keep the students on a steady course each week.
First and Second Grade Trip to Fish
Congratulations and thanks to Miss Verreux for organizing her class’s collection of canned goods for donation to the organization called FISH. This organization delivers food to homebound needy and provides a unique and important service in Anchorage. Our first and second graders went down to their headquarters located next to St. Mary’s Epispocal Church and cleaned and stocked the shelves with their 100+ cans of food. Thank you for teaching the young amongst us to remember their brothers and sisters in need, Miss Verreux. Thank you for your generosity first and second graders. Thank you, finally, to teacher, Miss Syren, for driving the class down to FISH.
K,1,2 Take a Trip to the PAC
Thank you to Mrs. Shaut, Mrs. Verbout, and Miss Verreux for coordinating a wonderful trip to the Performing Arts Center for our little ones. They enjoyed a funny and wholesome show (The Bear) at the PAC last week. The organizers of the show arranged to send us a school bus to take the students down to the PAC which generated much excitement and a feeling of great importance. The Teachers reported that the children were very well behaved and that a wonderful time was had by all! Bless you, teachers, for going above and beyond to afford these important developmental experiences for our students!
Thank you so very much to Mr. Yabyabin (father of first grader, Tadeo) who brought bagels and cream cheese and gave each teacher a free trip for a coffee at the coffee shack! The teachers are always so grateful and touched by the thoughtfulness of the parents and the encouragement these kind gestures give. Our teachers work tirelessly and dearly love the children. Parent acknowledgement like this serves to buoy the teachers’ spirits so tremendously. Thank you, Mr. Yabyabin!
Greek and Roman Festival Success!
Yesterday, April 25th, the students and faculty put on one of my favorite events of the year, the Greek and Roman Festival. It was quite simply, a blast. For the first time in twelve years of helping to run this day, I sat down and enjoyed a delicious lunch!!!! Because of the incredible parent support, I was able to surrender my usual anxiety to them. SPECIAL RECOGNITION GOES TO THE FOLLOWING PARENTS WHO WERE SIMPLY PHENOMENAL IN THEIR EFFORTS TO MAKE IT A WONDERFUL DAY:
Head Organizer: Mrs. Geiermann
Assistants: Mrs. Miller (and daughter), Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Dooc, and Mrs. Koop (please alert me if I have left someone out!)
Thanks also to all the parents who came to assist in the particular games and events! You all helped to make it such a lovely and enjoyable day!
To Miss Jordan Brittain: Thank you for the tireless hours you spent creating the schedule and programs and for your graciousness throughout these busy days! Happy Birthday on April 29th!!!!
The faculty and students, too, must be acknowledged for a superb series of events and plays/skits that they put on for our enjoyment on Friday. Special acknowledgement goes to:
- Miss Danielle DiCiero for directing the Junior High scene from Ajax. Special commendation goes to lead actors, Michael Lucas and Elizabeth Pope, for moving portrayals. Soldier, Thomas Biegel’s clear and audible voice leant to a superb performance as well.
- Mr. Matthew Krepel for directing his Latin II students in an unforgettable portrayal of Icarus and Daedelus. The sublimely droll ironic interpretation of the lassitude of prison life that both Ryan Foster and Patrick Droege portrayed brought laughter (an in my case laughter that reduced me to tears) from the crowd and distinguished their skit. Bravo to all in that skit!
- Mrs. Marie-Louise Schirda for directing and acting in a profoundly funny and contemporary Latin III depiction of students trying to figure out What in the World Latin Ever Taught Me? The discovery they make amidst great joking was wonderful to enjoy. Thank you for drawing in the whole crowd by having us sing Latin conjugations and making Latin truly fun!! You still look youthful and 15 in the school uniform, Mrs. Schirda! Bravo to Sang Nguyen, Anne-Marie Droege, Atlin Bell, Forrest Rose, and Elizabeth Pope for joining Mrs. Schirda in this excellent original piece.
- Miss Verreux for directing a heartwarming Aesop fable with the first and second grade. We will not soon forget these adorable green jumping frogs of kids who stole our hearts on Friday. Bravo to one and all. A special commendation goes to Mr. Paul Knox (1st grade) for bravely and loudly and clearly reciting his lines on his own for the afternoon performance. You already exhibit a thespian talent worth pursuing!
- Miss Theis for coordinating another unforgettable gastronomic adventure at the 3rd and 4th grade restaurant Twelve Golden Thrones. The service was as shabby and the servers attitudes as surly as all the restaurants I visited in Greece! Bravo. My Golden Tree Fungi was particularly lousy!
- Miss Viens for directing the fifth and sixth grade in the singing of a memorable and mournful Greek epitaph. The ladies of the classes are to be especially commended for their beautiful and authenitic Greek attire. Bravo to both classes for your moving song and all the help you gave to the little ones throughout lunch!
- Mr. Haggard for organizing his Latin I class to put on a newcomer game called the Punic Panic Ship Building Game! It was a hit and Mr. Haggard’s attentiveness to helping young students successfully build and float their boats was the thrill of the day for many of our elementary. Bravo to Mr. Haggard and Mr. Alec Grandel (freshman) for bringing this great game to our annual event!
- Mrs. Furby for organzing the scavenger hunts led by the Greek II class. Miss Mary Tappel, Miss Monica Klump, Miss Arianna Fouch, Miss Sarah Lucas, and Mr. Richard Malo did a brilliant job devising riddles and challenging the students to discover the answers thoughout the day! Thank you for introducing this appropriate new element to our Greek and Roman Day. May it become a tradition!
- Junior, Mr. Lee Cookson of the Greek II class outdid himself in designing another incredible labyrinth this year. Following in the footsteps of his fine predecessors, Mr. Michael Tappel and Mr. Jacob Owens, Lee drew up, orchestrated, and executed the most challenging of labyrinths to date. He wisely devised a labyrinth that would be easier and less scary for the younger students (who came in mass numbers and simply loved every moment of the labyrinth) and suitably difficult for the older students. Only six bright students and Mr. Welsh were able to find their way all the way through to the minotaur without help and guidance. Special commendations go to Mr. Matthew Lastimoso (freshman) and Mr. Patrick Droege (sophomore) for switching off as minotaur and helping to “spook” the unsuspecting labyrinthine travelers. I was among the terrified travelers successfully brought to screams by Matthew and Patrick. Special thanks to Miss Evangeline Dooc (freshman) for making a truly lifelike head for the minotaur. It is displayed in Mr. Haggard’s room should anyone wish to see it. Thank you to Jacob Owens who helped Lee Cookson set up the labyrinth and advise him. Thank you also to Justin Klump for bringing pizza and sodas to buoy the boys’ efforts. Finally, thank you to alumni superb, Mr. Reagan Biegel, for delivering all the much needed cardboard pieces for the walls of the labyrinth. Congratulations Mr. Lee Cookson and your compadres for a job well done. It was, once again, the most celebrated event and Disneyland-like excitement-generating experience of the day!!!
- Mr. Shaut for running the ampitheater and showing the Greek and Roman heroes, movie that proved such a nice rest for the students in the midst of their active day.
- Mrs. Shaut and Mrs. Verbout and the kindergarteners for coordinating the Decathlon games! The little ones and the big ones and their parents all had a blast. It is the sure-thing event for fun of the G & R Festival every year. Thank you for all the coordination and organization it takes.! Thank you also, ladies, for keeping such a vigilant and watchful eye on the kindies throughout the day to see that they have a wonderful time and assure their safety throughout the sweet chaos that this day can be! I am so grateful!
- Mrs. Pearce – the face and limb painting this year was the best ever. Your skill amazes me every year!
- Mr. Sang Nguyen (sophomore) for stepping forward as the Master of Ceremonies and doing it with the graciousness and ease that is his signature! I am most grateful, Sang!
- Miss Syren and Mr. Welsh for the many behind the scenes helpfulness you leant to the day by your encouragement of the students and the vigilance with which you supervised. I was so relieved to know you were my eyes and ears in the Bosco building especially!
I have already received many compliments and calls indicating how wonderful the day was from our visiting homeschooling families and friends. Thank you, again, one and all. I am already excited for next year!
Thank you for your understanding as I continue to secure the school. I know that some of the locking of the gates and the back door of Kolbe has caused some families to have to change their approach to the school. Nevertheless, we are quite determined to close down safely the arteries of the school that might make our students vulnerable to intrusion. The man who entered the Kolbe building late in the evening on my watch has been caught and is being tried. I hope that we have seen the last of him. Thank you all for explaining the circumstances to your children. The students returned to campus more aware of paying close attention to whom is on the campus. I and my staff are also on high alert and personally escort any adults we do not recognize to the office.
In the meantime, I MUST THANK MR. LEDERHOS (grandfather of second grader, Jennifer) for his incredible response to my call for tighter security. He has provded walkie-talkies for all of our teachers. We are in the process of triaining the faculty to use these items with ease and increase security through rapid communication. Mr. Lederhos has so generously gifted us with eight cameras that will allow all teachers to access visuals of intruders from their iphones or from the computer. These are in the process of being reviewed for the best and most prudent locations on campus. We hope that you will understand that we have no wish to invade your privacy as visitors to the campus but simply to use prudence given the extent and size of the campus and the number of buildings.
I will spend the summer making further physical changes to the campus that will add to the security we currently enjoy. Thank you for all your support and encouragement!
- Monday, April 28 – School Assembly at 8 A.M.
- Tuesday – April 29 – Morning Dress Rehearsal for Festival of Poetry and Song – PLEASE HAVE YOUR STUDENTS TO SCHOOL ON TIME!
- Thursday – May 1 – Festival of Poetry and Song from 7-9 P.M. at St. Patrick’s Hall on Muldoon. All families and friends are welcome and encouraged to join us for this first annual event!
- Saturday May 3- Miss Tina Nguyen, Miss Isabelle Jones, and Mr. Stephen Hart will receive their First Communion. We are so very happy for all of you!
BE SURE TO SIGN UP SOON FOR THE CHARITY WALK. WE RECEIVED THIS NOTIFICATION:
We are getting close to the start of the 2014 Visitor Industry Charity Walk.Registrations are starting to pick up and we are anticipating a sellout this year. This is a capacity controlled event and there are a limited amount of Bibs available. If you have members that still need to sign up we encourage you to get them signed up this weekend. If folks wait till the last minute there may not be room for everyone. We also need to give a final food count by May 1st to allow vendors to prepare. Please encourage your teams to go to the website, select your team and sign up today. The website iswww.anchorage.net/charitywalk.
As always, I report all of this school news with such profound gratitude for the privilege of being the Principal of this school. The HRA family continues to grow and flourish and gift me with the joy and pride of a spiritual mother! Bless you all.
Miss Catherine Neumayr, Principal