Dear HRA Families and Friends,
I have taken a long hiatus from my beloved blog. This summer was a whirlwind of maintenance improvements to the school that I hardly had the energy to write at all! Now that school has begun, my desire to communicate all the wonderful happenings at HRA has returned with it.
I wish to extend many thanks to the legion of friends who helped me work on the school this summr. First and foremost, I thank John Fleming, the Board member and backbone of the school. Thank your for all that you do behind-the-scenes to help the school! I also thank, Danielle DiCiero, my Business Manager, who doubled as my Office Manager and directed the entire Admissions and student enrollment process as well as closing down our fiscal year and starting up another. Without her help, I never could have taken a three week trip to the Midwest with my parents. Thank you for your exellent work and loyalty to the school. I am very grateful.
Alumna, Michelle Tobia, worked as my head of maintenance this summer and is responsible (along with the loving help of her parents, Tami and John) for the beauty of the grounds. Her green thumb brought the lawns to life; the flowers are the prettiest that I have ever seen on this campus. She painted almost every room in the school with the expertise of a seasoned professional. She organized the removal of the furniture in every classroom to allow for steam cleaning of the carpets. She got up on the roof of the chapel and removed all the moss and treated the roof so that it wouldn’t come off. She put beautiful new curtains in the kindergarten, second grade, and music room, and she organized the downsizing of furniture and excess materials in the Bernadette, chapel, and Bosco buildings. She was a tireless landscaper and mowed, clipped, and perfected the campus to its current pristine state. God bless and keep you this year as you return to Benedicting College as a junior, Michelle! We can’t wait to see you back.
Thank you to alumnus, Michael Tappel, who also assisted me this summer. He wrote and developed the entire elementary science curriculum. He took the Core Knowledge lesson plans and brought them to life for the teachers providing them with great labs and resources to enhance their teaching. Further, he helped to pioneer the first ever Parent Calendar complete with his written descriptions of each special event or program we do on this campus. The Calendar is beautiful and something I proudly look forward to handing the parents, Board, and supporters of the school. Thank you to Michael for the love, creativity, and professional tone you brought to the calendar. I was so grateful and proud of both Michelle and Michael for their love and loyalty to the school and the superb work they did for me this summer.
I would be remiss if I did not remember to thank my graphic design artist and developer of the Parent Calendar as well as the Faculty and Student Planners. Mr. Aaron Jansen, father of first-grader, Noah Jansen, took my ideas and created the most beautiful calendar and planners. He spent hours patiently designing and writing up the books. He put up with my never ending editing and visits to his house to confirm the format with ease and graciousness. Thank you to Aaron, Sarah, his wonderful wife who helped as well, and their children for their patience as I monopolized Aaron with the many projects I hoisted upon him. Thank you, Aaron, for your cheerfulness and graciousness through it all. You have given all of us a great gift in these calendars and planners.
Thank you, also, to Suzanne Kelley, mother of third grader, Alena, who owns Alaska Tab and Bind and did many a rush order for me to have the calendars and planners in time for the New Parent Orientations and the start of school. You are a treasure, Suzanne. Thank you to you and your staff.
Thank you, also, to my teachers for all of the work they put into the summer. The In-Service days are long and arduous at the end and the beginning of the summer. Yet, the teachers have cleaned and designed their rooms and written up superb lesson for the students. The preparation was evident in this smooth first week of school. Thank you faculty!
I wish to thank, in particular, Mr. Bolin for stepping into the Office Manager position for several weeks when I was gone AND for helping me to develop and codify a book that contains all the classes, novels, and fundamental ideas present in the Upper School curriculum. The ultimate hope is to put our academic program into a book for new parents and for new teachers to know the role they play within that curriculum.
Thank you to Dr. Laura Walters, Mr. Bolin, and Mr. Welsh for all their hard work organizing the science lab. The room is absolutely beautiful. The drawers and cupboards are labeled and the materials properly stored so that teachers can have great labs in there this coming year. It was a huge task. Be sure to visit and enjoy it when you can!
Thank you to Mr. Austin Welsh for taking care of all the teacher book orders this summer as well. It is a huge task and entails searching for the most reasonable cost to books. All the orders came in a timely way and well under-budget. I am so grateful, Mr. Welsh. You make this ordering process that flummoxes me look easy. Bless you.
Thank you also to Mr. Dennis Stankewich who has worked tirelessly to make the behind-the-scenes improvements to the buildings possible. He is a man of all talents. He is electrician, plumber, and maintenance man extraordinaire. There is no problem that he will not figure out. He has kept our buses and buildings humming this past year and has completed necessary work to keep our buses and buildings running for years to come. Thank you, Mr. Stankewich!
I wish to thank Mrs. Schirda, Mr. Welsh, and Dr. Walters for offering such a rich and beneficial Summer Reading Seminar Program to the students. Every other Tuesday throughout the summer, each lead a discussion on anything from Pride and Prejudice (my seminar 🙂 to Tess of the D’Ubervilles (Mrs. Schirda) to The Screwtape Letters and the Magicians Nephew (Mr. Welsh) to Alice in Wonderland (Dr. Walters). At least 8-15 students attended each class. It was rich reading and a wonderful supplement to the works we read during the school year. Bravo to the students who participated and enjoyed these great works. Bravo to Mrs. Schirda, the foundress of the program, for her vision in beginning this program three summers ago. It has turned into another great tradition at HRA!
Thank you to ALL the many parents and students who came in to complete their share hours. The parent help was fundmanetally necessary to our success in cleaning the classroom and purging the campus of extra books and materials that have accumulated over the years. Thanks especially to Robin Woyte and her three children for their great help in cleaning the reference room with me! Robin, you are a genius at organization and a tireless companion for these types of tasks. Thank you so much! Further, thanks to Mrs. Hilario who helped, clean, weed, purge,prep rooms for painting, and clean out the basements. You are so much fun, Mrs. Hilario. I enjoyed all the days you gave to us! Further, we are blessed to have beautifully waxed floors all around campus. I want to thank Mr. Gonzalez, father of eighth grader, Lilly Gonzalez, for the exceptional job he did waxing the floors of St. Dominic’s, Bosco, and the bathrooms in Kolbe. Thanks also for the removal of pews so that the wonderful Bell Family (sons, Atlin and Macklin) could install new carpet. Finally, thank so much to Mr. O’Neill, father of seventh grader, Alex, for all the painting and lifting and hefting you did for many weeks at HRA. Michelle was so grateful for your work ethic. I was so grateful for all your help while I was away on vacation. The work of all you wonderful parents made the summer a great joy for me.
I would be asbsolutely remiss if I did not thank Mr. Bernie Droege (father of Anne-Marie – senior, Patrick – junior, and Lael – freshman) for the outstanding job he did putting two windows in the office. Now the Office Manager can see out the window to see who is entering the building. The internal window allows students to come and check in without needing to walk into the office. Mr. Droege moved the desk and made the office much more spacious. Be sure to come in and enjoy his handiwork. I could not be happier. Further, Bernie replaced all the steps around Kolbe and has made them safe for years to come. Bless you, Mr. Droege!!!!
This little brown school on Fireweed Lane is tiny and humble but brought to life with such love and care from the HRA community. For all others who helped along the way, know that I am so grateful even if I have not named you. May you be abundantly blessed for your sacrifices for the school.
In my next blog, I will have a chance to tell you all about the great first week we enjoyed. For now, I leave you with the happy news of the birth of several new members of the HRA community. Congratulations to Mrs. Mindy Goorchenko who gave birth to little Maria this month. Mrs. Theresa Bird, our wonderful tenant on campus, gave birth to Dominic Pier Giorgio this month. Mrs. Monica Kinney (former sixth grade teacher) gave birth to Gregory Joseph this month. We eagerly await the birth of more babies in the very near future; I look forward to sharing the news.
Have a blessed weekend.
Miss Catherine Neumayr, Principal