Dear HRA Family and Friends,
The time has already come to begin looking towards your educational plans for next year! This past week, HRA welcomed parents to our third Parent Association Meeting of the year and announced the new and easy way to re-enroll on Sycamore. We emailed to all of our families the following items: (Hard copies can be retrieved from the front office.)
- Minutes from the meeting, including my State of the School Address
- our updated brochure and brag sheets (including the updated statistical data recording our students superb SCANTRON and PSAT/SAT average scores)
- Step-by-step instructions for re-enrollment on Sycamore (instead of filling out application papers, you simply need to make any updated changes to the information you provided last year)
- Centurion Project announcements/Address sheet to fill in and submit to the office
Please be sure to read the materials. The most exciting news is that I have received permission from the Board to offer a $100.00 discount to all those who re-enroll between February 12 – March 15. When you re-enroll, Business Manager, Miss Shanstrom will contact you to set up a tuition payment meeting and to collect the remaining $150.00 enrollment fee. If you are planning to pay full tuition by June 15th, we will reimburse you the $150.00 deposit plus another $100.00 for paying tuition early. All these discounts are an attempt to say THANK YOU to you, our parents, for the time and care you take in meeting your tuition responsibilities.
As the daylight returns, so do the high spirits of the students. The week was filled with wonderful events. The sophomore/junior Church History class began the school week early; they went to St. Innocents, the Russian Orthodox Church, to witness Saturday vespers and enjoy a tour of the church. All this was arranged by their teacher, Miss Alex Theis. The students indicated that it was very complementary to their current studies of the Great Schism and a beautiful study of icons.
The faculty enjoyed a wonderful lunch provided by Mrs. Ana Williams (mother of Nicolas – 7th grade, and Marianna – 5th grade). She hails from Mexico and treated the faculty to authentic shrimp cocktail and traditional Mexican fare. The next day, she left to nurse her aging and ailing father. She will be gone for two weeks. Please keep her father in your prayers! Thank you, Mrs. Williams, for a lovely lunch! Thanks, also, to Ampara Manuel for bringing the delicious chocolate cake to add to the luncheon!
The elementary school truly enjoyed their Mardi Gras/Valentine’s Day celebration last Tuesday. The many parents who attended to help and the incredibly delicious food provided by all the families made the event a perfectly decadent feast before the onset of Lent. As is always the case, the food was so plentiful that the upper school had the pleasure of leftovers after their return from a field trip! Thank you parents. Be sure to submit your share hours for cooking and supervising. All those who sent food in, know that you may certainly count one share hour for your efforts.
The elementary school participated in an outstanding presentation, Monday, from Fr. William Stoeger S.J. He is considered one of the premier astrophysicists in the world. He currently works as the Vatican representative at the Vatican Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. Our young budding scientists gravitated towards questions about the “black hole.” Fr. Stoeger answered patiently and clearly. I was astonished at the level of interest and understanding exhibited by the elementary.
Our high school was no less impressed by Fr. Stoeger. Tuesday afternoon, the high school joined the Lumen Christi community for a talk. The humility, graciousness, and brilliance of Fr. Stoeger made a deep impression on our science oriented students. He fostered in the faculty and students in attendance a profound sense of wonder at God’s incredibly ordered and expansive universe. He took the most complex of ideas like “string theory,” the possibility of alien life, “black energy” and the “black hole” and made them all understandable. We were indeed blessed by this opportunity and grateful to Lumen Christi and Fr. Stoeger for inviting us!
Wednesday was Ash Wednesday. The entire school and a number of visiting families enjoyed a beautiful beginning to Lent. Archbishop Roger Schwietz assisted by alum, Michael Rannals, inspired us to begin Lent properly and to look forward to Easter. He blessed the ashes and put them on each and every attendee himself. We are so grateful for his presence at our school and his support of Catholic education! May you continue to be blessed, Archbishop!
Thank you to Miss Theis and the third and fourth grade for putting up the bulletin board in the Kolbe Lobby. All HRA family and friends are encouraged to stop by the bulletin board and enjoy the pictures of the sledding adventures of our elementary school two weeks ago. The exuberance on their faces will brighten your day!
First and second grade parents, be sure to ask your child to recite the beautiful sixteen line poem they memorized this week! They came in to my office and recited their poem with calm and poise! How proud I am of the many poems you have memorized this year, first and second grade. Bravo! Keep it up.
Bon Voyage to Mrs. Morrison and her husband as they journey to New Zealand for the next three weeks. In the meantime, thank you to Mr. Bill Clarke for stepping in so generously to substitute during her absence. Thank you for spending the last two weeks in the classroom observing so that the transition would be smooth!
The week concluded with community service for the upper school. A special thank you goes to Miss Syren for taking students to Serendipity to work with the elderly, Mr. Welsh for taking students to stock the pantry for FISH, and to Mrs. Furby for taking so many of our students to witness to the humanity of the child in the womb at Forty Days for Life! Thank you teachers for modeling the importance of apostolic work for our impressionable students!
Senior, Mr. Michael Tappel, received another encouraging college letter this week. Ivy League college, Dartmouth, sent a “likely letter” in which they told Mr. Tappel that he is likely to be admitted to their school in April. Apparently this is a new type of letter sent to “court” students whom they most want to attend their school. We continue to be so proud of Michael, and all of our seniors, for their acceptances to academically competitive schools!
Senior, Reagan Biegel, also had a big week. He tested in the top level on the military exam, the ASVAB, and as soon as he completes his physical will be signed on for four years of active duty with the Marines specializing as an engineer’s aide which is one of the top roles offered to infantry men. We are so very proud of you, Reagan, and so grateful that you are willing to defend our country! Your cause is noble, Reagan. Your faith and your strength of character will stand you in good stead, I know. Bless you abundantly for your sacrifice!
Finally, congratulations to the Junior High Volleyball team for completing a very strong season. I had the privilege of being the line judge at their final tournament game and discovered what an exceptionally talented team they are! My highest compliment goes to Miss Mary Tappel whose strong serving ability and her work ethic on court made her an incredible force for the team. Bravo to all the members of the team and a special thank you to Mr. Dickason and Miss Karina Ramos for all the volunteer time you put into supporting the team. The team party will be this Wednesday at 3:30 in St. Dominic’s. Thank you to Maureen Klump for organizing the team and the party!
- The annual Centurion Project, our final fundraiser, has officially begun again. Once a year, HRA, sends letters throughout the country to family and friends asking for a donation in support of the school. We ask that parents continue to submit names of family and friends to whom we might send this annual letter. We keep track of the responses. As soon as $250.00 worth of donations has been returned in the name of the parent who submitted the name, all parents receiving discounted tuition will have fulfilled their Centurion fundraising commitment. IF YOU ARE NEW TO THE SCHOOL THIS YEAR, PLEASE FILL OUT THE CENTURION ADDRESS SHEET WE EMAILED HOME OR STOP INTO THE FRONT OFFICE WITH NAMES AND ADDRESSES. All HRA parents are welcome to send us any new names and addresses. Our goal for this year is $40.000.00. Last year, we collected $32,000.00 for which we are so grateful. I know we can reach our goal with your help. Please contact Miss Shanstrom for clarifications, new addresses, and questions.
- I will be leaving town for approximately one week. From February 21 – February 27th, I will be in Southern California to attend the Los Angeles Religious Congress and to visit two Catholic, classical high schools for my own professional growth. I hope to stop by Thomas Aquinas College to visit alumna, Mara Biegel, and meet with seniors who might consider teaching at HRA sometime in the future. (The TAC graduates are uniquely qualified to teach at HRA because of their classical liberal arts degrees, their Latin and Greek background, and their emphasis on Catholic identify. We have been abundantly blessed with many TAC graduates including Mr. Bolin, Mrs. Morrison, and Mr. Welsh, who are currently teaching in the upper school!) Know that I will be checking in with the office and the teachers daily. If you have need of me, please call the front office to relay a message to me. Please pray for me during this week of professional development!
- The upper school will enjoy an all-school seminar this Friday, February 22nd. The story has already been handed out. This seminar allows the 7-12 graders to learn how to discuss together. Parents are always welcome to come and watch. Thank you to Mr. Bolin and Mr. Welsh for facilitating this seminar!
- The seniors will be hosting the second annual Priests’ Luncheon on Tuesday, February 26th from noon to 1:30. Natalie Chennault, Jamie Cookson, Marisa Ramos, Reagan Biegel, and Michael Tappel will represent me in my absence! They will serve the faculty and priests lunch and coordinate the student presentations (choir, poetry, drama scene). Thank you to the seniors for taking on this responsibility! Thank you also to Mrs. Michelle Droege, who will be cooking the lunch and to any parents who can help her during the luncheon. What a treat it is to spoil our priests and further introduce them to our wonderful school!
- Eighth grader, Mary Tappel, will be competing for HRA at the State Spelling Bee, March 1st! I look forward to reporting to you how well she was able to do. We hope her next stop is Washington D.C. We are proud of you, Mary!
I continue to be so happy and blessed to be your Principal. The weeks simply fly by. The faculty and students and you, parents, make every moment on the campus a joy for me! Please forgive me for leaving you for a week. Know that my prayers and thoughts will always be with this little brown school on Fireweed though I am away. I will not be writing a blog next weekend. This one must suffice.
Have a blessed two weeks.
Miss Catherine Neumayr