August 22nd, 2014 by Catherine Neumayr
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
May 19th, 2014 by Catherine Neumayr
Dear HRA Family and Friends,
As you can imagine, it is such a busy, busy time in the halls of HRA. Last week was so very enjoyable that I must recap a bit. There is much news to share but excuse my brevity. Please be sure to look at the upcoming events as there are so many to remember this week. Thank you all in advance for a wonderful school year. Your children have been a joy to watch grow in wisdom and in virtue. They deserve a break for summer!
Last week, the kindergarten brought their stuffed bears to school and did activities all week with them! They counted, told stories, read stories, played with them and finished the week with a picnic with the bears. It was delighteful for them and for all who watched their joy.
The kindergarten and the fifth and sixth grade took a wonderful trip to the zoo midweek. Mr. Shaut came back and reported that there were three other schools there, but the HRA students distinguished themselves for their good behavior. He mentioned that other adults approached him and complimented the kids for their good behavior. I was a proud Principal to hear that! Thank you Mr. Shaut, Miss Viens, Mrs. Verbout, and Mrs. Shaut for arranging the trip! Thank you to all the wonderful parents who helped. We could not do it without you!
Congratulations to grades 2-8 who took the SCANTRON. Almost every student improved dramatically from the beginning of the school. Some students had scored so high that they could not move much higher. The results were super and will be send home with the grades in early summer. Bravo to the students for working so hard and performing so well!
Miss Theis took her third and fourth grade class on another wonderful trip to Thunderbird Falls and to the Russian Orthodox museuma and cemetery! The weather was perfect. Thank you also to the wonderful parents who helped with that event! All returned with big smiles. Eklutna lake was a hit as you can imagine!
Our Super Junior, Jacob Owens, has been accepted to the International Theological Institute in Austria and will travel there for one year to study theology and philosophy. It will be a great experience as his interim year before entering college. We are very proud of you, Jacob!
Thank you to Mrs. Maureen Klump who hosted the first annual Sports Banquet. All the teams that played this year and their coaches came together for a potluck evening at HRA. Mrs. Cookson, Mr. Cookson, Mrs. Tappel, and Mrs. Klump, barbecued, set up, decorated, and hosted a well-attended event. Mrs. Klump had sports certificates for each of the students as well as pins for their sports that can be worn on their uniform. She also surprised the coaches and our two graduates with t-shirts that had the knight and the word coach imprinted on it! It was a great evening and one we hope to do again next year. Thank you for all the work and love you put into it as our Athletic Director, Maureen! You are a true saint among us!
Congratulations to our alumni, Ben Carpenter, who recently graduated from Wyoming Catholic College with a degree in liberal arts. He has been hired to teach Composition at a small classical charter school in Colorado. He is also engaged to be married on August 1st. His fiance, Sarah, is wonderful. I will have the privilege of traveling out to witness their marriage in Sioux Falls, Iowa. We are so proud of you, Ben!
Thank you to Fr. Paul Raftery and to Mr. and Mrs. Duncan and Therese Knox and Arianna Fouch for making up our choir for mass this past Tuesday for Our Lady of Fatima. The Dominican Rite mass was said and the choir was absolutely beautiful. Thank you!
The Catholic Daughters of America have named to scholars for the two $500.00 awards for two Catholic school bound junior high students. It turns out that two students planning to attend HRA were the winners. Congratulations to Michael “Chip” Chennault and Ciara McMorrow. We are so very proud of both of you! God bless, Mr. Mario Bird for convincing the Holy Family Cathedral Knights of Columbus to offer a matching scholarship so that there could be two winners.
Miss Anna Berry, currently a freshman at the school, received first place for her submission to the Anchorage Daily News last spring of her short story “Falling Asleep.” We are so very proud of you, Anna! This is just the beginning of what I know will be a long love affair with writing.
Our new second grade teacher, Miss Alison Bilafer, came to sit in on classes and meet the students on Thursday and Friday of last week. She enjoyed her two days immensely and plans to attend the in-service with the teachers to begin preparations for next year. We are so very happy to have you Miss Bilafer.
You may have heard the news that Mr. Shaut will not be returning next year. Mrs. Shaut will continue on as our kindergarten teacher. One can hardly begin to thank Mr. Shaut for his twelve years of service to the school. The good news is that his wife will be here, so he will have to come back and visit often! Mrs. Lisa Williams will be taking his place as the new fifth grade teacher. Mrs. LouAnn Verbout will also be leaving to teach second grade at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. We will miss her terribly but take consolation in the fact that she will not be far away. We can see her from time-to=time.
We will also be saying goodby to Mr. Haggard, Mr. Krepel, and Miss Syren in the upper school. Miss Syren, however, will be offering an after-school tutoring program in the fall and will be sending home information on a summer school tutoring opportunity for your children shortly.
Finally, my wonderful Office Manager, Jordan Brittain, will return to Phoenix. We will miss her bright and cheerful smile and kind and caring nature in our office. She has brought us all much joy.
Please come to the Academic Awards Assembly Friday, May 23rd to wish all these wonderful members of the HRA family well! We have been so blessed to have them! God speed!
Though we will be losing dear friends, we have new, loving, caring teachers and staff coming to keep the beautiful continuity of family and harmony that the students have enjoyed this year.
- Monday, Assembly, Core Knowledge Testing, Upper School Finals 1,2
- Tuesday, Core Knowledge Testing, Upper School Finals 3,4
- Tuesday, Baccalaureate Mass at 6 P.M. at St. Nicholas of Myra followed by a dinner
- Wednesday, all must wear the formal uniform for the Graduation at Our Lady of Guadalupe at 1:00 P.M.
- Mass will be followed by the commencement exercises and a reception. Parents are to pick up their child at OLOG at 3:30 P.M. No After School Care available.
- Thursday is Field Day for the Elementary at OLOG and the trip to Seward for the Upper school. All are to wear the P.E. Uniform.
- Friday the Academic Assembly will begin at 10 P.M. followed by a potluck. All parents are encouraged to attend in St. Dominic’s. Be sure to consult the list your child brought home.
It is a crazy, busy week. You will see me running around in sweats or heels or both at the same time. If I look right through you or seem scattered or distracted, just look at the week’s activities and you will know why!
Miss Neumayr, Principal
May 10th, 2014 by Catherine Neumayr
Dear HRA Families and Friends,
What a glorious week of weather we have enjoyed! The sun and the warmth have enlivened the campus and the students are like bees bursting with energy and a desire to run outdoors. We have given in many times this week, yet the work accomplished has been encouraging. The students continue to grow and learn and bring the faculty and staff great joy!
Last Saturday, I had the great privilege of attending three First Holy Communion Masses to witness the reception of the Real Presence by five of our current students. This is such a significant moment in the lives of all Catholics. The reception of Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity is pinnacle of our earthly existence and our source of life and grace! I witnessed Isabel Jones (3rd Grade) receive at Holy Family Cathedral in the morning. Then I went to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church to watch Tina Nguyen (3rd grade), Earthen Le (2nd grade), and Savio Le (7th grade) recieve. (Gregory Biegel, younger brother of Thomas, Julianna, and Karina also received. Then I raced over to St. Patrick’s to witness Stephen Hart’s First Communion! It was a day filled with grace for me to see our HRA students continue on in the faith.
Many of our older students received their last Sacrament of Initiation, Confirmation. I was able to pace myself to one an evening. On Monday, Sarah Lucas (10th grade) from St. Patrick’s Parish was Confirmed. Then my own St. Benedict’s class was confirmed. In it were Jacob Owens (11th grade) and Anne-Marie Droege (11th Grade) They were confirmed along with eleventh grader Karina Biegel (from SEAS Parish). It was a joint confirmation with St. Benedict’s and SEAS and was a well attended joyful event. Finally, I ventured out to St. Andrew’s Parish in Eagle Rive to watch Lee (Athanasius) Cookson be confirmed. The most wonderful was for me to see so many of these students’ classmates come out in the evening to support their classmates in this important step in their faith. Thank you HRA students for supporting the Sacraments! We look forward to congratulating Arianna Fouch (10th grade) who will be confirmed this coming Wednesday, May 14th at Holy Family Cathedral.
THE YEARBOOK IS HERE AND ON SALE!! Be sure to bring in a check for $55.00 to secure a book. The Yearbooks will not be handed out until Friday, May 16th. You may pay Mr. Welsh or bring a check to the office. I have seen the book and it is simply beautiful. Every grade will be so pleased. First come, first serve. Don’t wait!
The high school girls track team returned with a first place trophy this week! Sarah Lucas won first place in all five events she entered. The girls relay team won first as well. Monica Klump, Heather Siebs, and Evangeline Dooc also placed in their respective rounds as well as winning the relay with Sarah. Bravo to all you women for representing HRA so well. We are very proud of you!
The week of classes was steady and the elementary did a terrific job of staying focused for their SCANTRON testing. We look forward to sharing with you their progress over the year. Nearly all of the students have made significant increases. I know the elementary teachers are very pleased. Next week, the junior high students will also take the SCANTRON testing in Reading, Language Arts, and Math. I look forward to sending those results home to parents as well.
Thank you to Fr. Patrick Brosamer for saying the last elementary mass in the chapel this week! We are so grateful for your faithful help this year, Fr. Patrick! Thank you also to Fr. Augustine Highlander for coming on your day off to say mass for the Upper School. You inspire us to spiritual heights with your wisdom and self-sacrifice! Bless you both, dear priests.
I apologize to the students of Mr. Haggard. He missed two days this week and will miss at least two more next week due to dental surgery. I know that he is sorry to have to disrupt his classes and desert his students in these last few weeks of school. We hope to have him back by midweek. Mrs. Lisa Williams will take his classes.
Mrs. Shaut has twenty live chicks soon to be hatched in her kindergarten classroom. Much to the delight of her students, she can shine a light into the egg and see if the chick is growing. The last day of school should be filled with lots of peeping! Stop by and see the eggs this week. The kindergarteners will be able to tell you all about them!
I enjoyed the annual Charity Walk this Friday, May 9th. It was the most delicious walk around downtown I have taken to date! Thanks to all the families and students and faculty who joined us this year. I hope to talk the whole school into going next year. It is too much fun and such a great fundraiser. Thank you to the Parent Association for all the advertising and sign-ups in preparation for this great event!
The Rabbit amd Cavy show took place in St. Dominic’s this weekend. On Saturday afternoon the room was filled with stunningly beautiful award winning rabbits and their owners. There were games, a bake sale, and a silent auction to make the day a great success. It was put on by the Alaska Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Club. What a nice group of people. It was a delight to host them. Next time you see it on the school calendar, load up the kids and come on over to view and hold these gorgeous creatures.!
Finally, the faculty and staff would like to issue two thank yous for the Teacher Appreciation treats we enjoyed this week. Thank you to the Parent Association for giving all of use coffee cards and a Payday candy bar on Monday. Thank you to Mrs. Karin Owens for writing such kind cards and remembering us. (Thank you also for remembering my Office Staff and me on our special days the previous week. The flower bouquets were just beautiful, Mrs. Owens!) Thank you also to father of second grader, Tadeo, Mr. Yabyabin for making a delicious fried chicken and all the sides lunch on Friday in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week! The teachers ate as much as they could and there are still leftovers for Monday! God bless you, Mr. Yabyabin!
- Assembly Monday, May 12th 8 A.M. in the Kolbe Building
- The Kindergaten will have a Bear-themes week of activities. They must bring a bear from home. You won’t believe the fabulous games and projects the kindergartener teachers have planned. Each activity will affirm basic concepts and accomplishments the students have made this year. Bravo Mrs. Verbout and Shaut!
- Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the junior high classes will take the SCANTRON test.
- All school Dominican Rite mass in St. Dominic’s on Tuesday, May 13th at 10:15. Fr. Paul Raftery will say his last mass for us before leaving to return to Thomas Aquinas College in the fall. All are welcome.
- Wednesday, May 14th will be the First Annual Sports Banquet. We will honor all of the sports teams of the year. The coaches will be there. Dinner will be served and awards following. Parents and students are encouraged to join us in St. Dominic’s at 6 P.M. Mr. Cookson is barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs. Yum!
- Thursday and Friday the seniors (Justin Klump and super junior, Jacob Owens) will take their finals in the library.
- Friday – the Upper School students have a Joseph Day and will study for their first and second finals that afternoon.
- REMEMBER THAT THE FINAL WEEK OF SCHOOL IS QUITE BUSY.
- The High School will have final exams. Monday (periods 1,2); Tuesday (periods 3,4); Wednesday (periods 5,6)
- The Elementary students will take their Core Knowledge exams (to see what they have retained from the year).
- The Baccalaureate mass on Tuesday, May 20th is open to all at 6 P.M. at St. Nicholas of Myra. The reception following is by invitation only.
- The Graduation is held at Our Lady of Guadalupe on Wednesday, May 21st. The mass begins at 1:00 P.M. followed by a reception at 2:15. Grades K-11 will be dismissed at 3:30 P.M. from OLOG. Parents are encouarged to help us drive over and to join us for this special event. Please be sure to plan to pick up your child at OLOG!
- Thursday, May 22nd is Field Day for the Elementary. Lots of parents are needed to help. The students will be transported to Our Lady of Guadalupe where Mrs. Pearce coordinates a series of fun and competitive events. The students bring their lunch and enjoy a picnic. It is a fun day for everyone!
- Thursday, May 22nd is Field Trip Day for the Upper School (7-12). I have sent home permission slips and a description of the trip to Seward this year. I have rented professional (beautiful) buses for the students to enjoy the full day of events from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. Be sure to ask your child if you have not seen the permission slip and itinerary yet.
- Friday – the last day of school the students may sign yearbooks and clean their lockers in the morning. The Academic Awards Ceremony begins at 10 A.M. and all parents are encouraged to attend. There will be an eighth grade, sixth grade, and kindergarten graduation to enjoy! I am so proud of our students and all they have accomplished this year! After the Awards Ceremony we will have a potluck lunch and leave by NOON.
- Summer begins on May 24th. God bless and keep all of you safe. Come by and say hi whenever you want.
May 2nd, 2014 by Catherine Neumayr
Dear HRA Families and Friends,
Please consider signing up for the Charity Walk by this weekend. Miss Brittain sent an email with all the instructions on how you and your family can participate. Most of the faculty are going to attend. It should be a wonderful evening and such an effortless fundraiser. Won’t you think about bringing your family for delicious food, fine company, and tons of raffle prizes to potentially win? See you on the downtown streets of Anchorage, Friday May 9th! The website is www.anchorage.net/charitywalk.
Let me begin by saying that the warm weather and endlessly sunny days have breathed an animation into the children the likes of which I rarely see. There is truly never a dull moment in the halls of Holy Rosary Academy! I thought last week was amazingly busy as my long blog captured, but this week had many activities of its own.
The good news is there are smiling children everywhere joyfully singing, chattering, clapping their hands or just goofing off. The bad news is that the students are eagerly anticipating summer and harder to contain in the classroom. I will be reminding them this coming Assembly to keep their heads focused on the prize of finishing well in the midst of their irrepressible joy. Please note: I am not complaining about the sunny days! I love and cherish them.
Last Saturday, the graduating students, Justin Klump and Jacob Owens, put on a successful school prom for the upper school students grade 7-12. We call it a prom, but it really means a dress-up dance at a pretty place. The gentlemen chose O’Malley on the Greens again for the prom site this year. It fits us perfectly and has a glamorous view of downtown that all the students enjoy. Accompanied by the hard working and creative juniors, Justin and Jacob, advertised for, procured, raised funds, organized, and decorated for the dance. I love to encourage leadership in the students and Justin and Jacob (along with music master, Lee Cookson, and decorations committee, Jessica Smith, Anne-Marie Droege, and Anna Jemmings) stepped up and impressed me. The dance was well attended with 31 attendees and well chaperoned with most of the upper school faculty in attendance. As always, I had a wonderful time watching the students enjoy dress up and formal dancing and the general excitement of it all. I even ventured out on the dance floor for a few dances including the very fun, “Be Happy.” Congratulations to the Queen and King of the dance voted on by their peers: Miss Anne-Marie Droege and Mr. Lee Cookson.
Today, we had new locks put on the Kolbe building to continue to safeguard the campus and prohibit any intruders. The number of people who have access to the keys will be much more limited. This will demand that teachers make special arrangements to use the Kolbe facility outside of school hours, but seems a prudent addition to the other safety measures we are taking. As always, we appreciate your searching eyes and ears when you are visiting the campus in case you see anything or anyone who does not seem to belong. Remember that I am often in my office and keep my blinds open in case someone needs to enter after school hours and taps on my window.
A huge thank you goes to Mr. Jon Pope who came and fixed the library door that had quite collapsed under the wear and tear of frequent exits and entrances. He came late at night when I realized I could not close the door and secure the facility. God bless you for giving up some of your evening, Mr. Pope!
After School Care Has Moved
A huge thank you to Mrs. Smith for making After School Care so much fun and so enjoyable for the students. She has graciously moved the students to the Music Room in the Bernadette Building so that they are closer to the outside playground. Further, I wished to minimize the wear and tear on the library and especially the door for the remainder of the school year. Thank you to the families who have adjusted so quickly to the change! Thank you to Mrs. Duncan for allowing the students to invade her room at the end of the day.
A huge thank you also goes to Miss Syren who offers tutoring services to her math students in the afternoons after school. Out of the goodness of her heart, she spends these afternoons helping her students. I know they are grateful, Miss Syren, but I am especially grateful for your self-sacrifice for the students! Bless you.
Miss Michelle Tobia received Academic Honors for her 2013-14 school year. Bravo to you, Michelle. She is attending Benedictine College in Kansas (where our graduating senior, Justin Klump will also attend). She is a Political Science major and hopes to teach one day. In the meantime, HRA will be blessed with Michelle’s landscaping skills as she will be my official Maintenance Manager for the summer. The list of projects is growing, Michelle. Can’t wait to have you return.
Mr. Michael Tappel has graciously decided to return from his freshman year at Yale University to work as my “intern” this summer. Michael will be helpin me codify the K-12 curriculum in a formal way so that entering students and faculty know exactly what will be covered in each year of school and in each class. It is an exciting adventure and I look forward to pioneering with Michael. He and I hope to offer an intensive SAT class later in the summer as well. Details to be announced.
While I am still in the process of determing the faculty for next year, I wanted to share with you the new teachers I have hired thus far to join the HRA family:
Miss Alison Bilafer will teach in the elementary (grade to be determined): She is graduating this year from Ave Maria College in Naples, Florida with a major in music and liberal arts. She was born and raised in Palmer and homeschooled throughout high school. She knows children well and has taught her own siblings. She is an experienced swim coach and knows how to keep young children organized, learning, and alive! She will spend the last week of this school year observing classes and attend the faculty in-service days in order to aquaint herself with the school. She will spend the summer under the mentorship of my most experienced elementary teachers in order to be prepared for the upcoming school year. Parents and children will be charmed with her!
Dr. Laura Walters (PhD. Art History) will join the high school faculty. She graduated at the top of her class in Biological Sciences from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and then went on to receive her Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of St. Andrews. She has much experience teaching the undergraduate students at the U. of St. Andrews and has already taught a Medieval Seminar class and a Biology lab here at HRA. Her talents extend to fine arts, flute, music (voice) and drama. Oh, yes, and did I mention that she “loves” math? All math! She will be an excellent addition to the faculty next year. She, too, will join the faculty for the in-service this May!
Mr. Louis Bolin will be returning to the HRA faculty after a year sabbatical to explore the possibility of a priestly vocation at a monastery in Nursia, Italy. His superiors have encouraged him to explore a different vocation and we are the beneficiaries. Mr. Bolin, who graduated from Thomas Aquinas with top honors and then distinguished himself for studies and teaching at the International Theological Institute where he completed his licentiate in Sacred Theology, brings a wealth of knowledge and a calm, steady, and Socratic method of teaching back to HRA. The students, faculty, and I are all equally delighted to have him return.
Mr. Andy Coldiron will continue on at HRA teaching full-time this coming year. He comes to use with much teaching experience. He received his B.A. in English from Chapman College in California and then completed his Masters in English from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. Here in Alaska where he moved with his wife, a doctor at JBER, he went on to complete a teaching credential and Masters in Teaching from UAA. Some fun trivia is that he did his study abroad in Australia (wonder how much studying that was???). Mr. Coldiron has already become a well-liked and respected member of the faculty.
I look forward to sharing more announcements as our ever increasing enrollment dictates. I have given those teachers not returning the opportunity to tell their classes when they feel the time is right. As the teachers confide in their students, I will make more general announcements in the hopes that you will have a chance to wish the teachers well and let them know how much their work here this year is appreciated.
I am cautiously excited to say that our student numbers for next year are growing. The numbers are ever fluctuating as families make their decisions for next year, but it looks like the numbers are creeping up into the upper 120′s. My goal has been to begin with at least 130 students (we are currently at 113) next year. It looks hopeful that we may reach or surpass that goal. I thank you for all that you do to encourage interested families to join our thriving community!
Anyone who has not yet paid the re-enrollment fee and the Parent Association fee to secure a place for your child may want to do so quickly. Many of the grades are beginning to fill up and my goal is to keep most of the classes in the range of 15. The first grade is currently full and a waiting list begun. The eighth and ninth grades are also quickly filling up with only one or two spots remaining. Kindergarten is also close to being full. The only combined class we have currently will be the third and fourth grade. The rapidly changing numbers may force me to separate those class too.
Bless you all for your great support and love for your children and this school!
Festival of Poetry and Song
Many thanks to our fine music teacher, Mrs. Colleeen Carter-Duncan for providing us with an outstanding first annual Festival of Poetry and Song! It was held Thursday evening at St. Patrick’s Hall! Mrs. Duncan was accompanied at the piano by her talented husband, Gavin. Gavin also generously volunteered time during the school year to work with the upper school boys. (Boy, did those boys sound robust and full last night!) Thank you also to Dr. Laura Walters who joined in with the flute and student, Anna Jemmings who played the violin to accompany one of the upper school songs! We are blessed with great talent at HRA. Thank you all.
The evening begin with our annual May Crowning procession. Usually we do it at school, but since the concert fell on May 1st, we decided to share it with the parents. Tina Nguyen, Isabel Jones, and Stephen Hart (all First Communicants) dressed in their First Communion attire and crowned Our Lady while the fifth and sixth grade sang “Immaculate Mary.” The entire student body processed by Mary placing a flower in the vases set before her. We love you, our spiritual Mother and model!
The students sang superbly. The voices lifted in song and often in praise of their faith was a joy to hear. We were further edified with Shakespearean monologues by three seventh graders (Felicity Hart, Savio Le, Laura Stankewich) and Business Manager and Junior High Drama Teacher, Miss Danielle DiCiero! My Office Manager, Miss Jordan Brittain moves us to tears with her lilting rendition of “Danny Boy.” Mrs. Duncan’s appropriate song by poet, William Blake was sublime! Mrs. Schirda’s 9/10 Composition class gave homage to Gerard Manley Hopkins in “God’s Grandeur.” Some of her students gave recitations of their original poetry. Thank you to Sang Nguyen, Mary Tappel, Richard Maloy, Arianna Fouch and 8th grader, Casey Painter. I was so pleased and proud to see how generously you shared your talent. The kindergarten outdid themselves with an amazing display of voice and pictures singing the Alaska Flag Song (gee it has a lot of words!) The first and second graders moved me to tears as they called up their mothers in order to recite the poem “Angels Among Us” and present them with a single white rose. All the mothers in the audience were asked to stand up as the first and second graders included them in a “Happy Mother’s Day” wish.
I was quite amused by the mosquito song and quite touched by the lovely “Cuckoo” sung by K-6. The fact that these elementary students memorize their words and retain all the many lines is so very impressive but just what a classical school should expect.
I must simply say to the Upper School that you have entered a new realm as singers. In my three years as Principal, Mrs. Morrison, Mr. Michael Tappel, and Mrs. Colleen Carter-Duncan have created a truly fine choir. I thank you for singing with your whole heart and soul. The care you took, the projection, and the fervor in your voices made the appeal of your sound even richer. I encourage you to continue to grow in technique and style now that you have mastered the fundamentals so well. St. Cecilia must have enjoyed this gift. You sang with the Angels.
I could not end without saying that the Parent Association, led by Mrs. Lisa Cookson, are so very wonderful. Thank you to Karin Owens for shopping, Lisa Cookson and Rosa Sanchez for set up and clean-up, and parent volunteers, Suzanne Kelley and Gladys King for all your behind-the-scenes help. Thank you also to Mrs. Erin Furby and her husband, Will, who are parisioners of St. Patrick’s and helped me with set-up and clean-up and lock-up after we had all left. Finally, thank you to Mrs. Furby, Justin Klump, and Jacob Owens for the earlier run of risers, food, balloons, flowers and Our Lady statue! Bouncing along in the green bus just would not have been as much fun without you! Thank you also to John the sound man and the many, many, many helping hands who helped with setting out and picking up all the chairs. Many hands truly made light work. God bless each of you!
I just can’t wait to see what the HRA Choir will do for next year’s program. Thank you once again Mrs. Duncan!!!
HRA Student Writer Emerges
Congratulations to freshman, Miss Anna Berry, for submitting and winning First Place for her short story, “Falling Asleep.” We are so very proud of you. I encourage all those who receive the Anchorage Daily News (sponsors of the writing contest) to read Anna’s story which will be published in the paper on May 18th. Can someone please bring me a copy? Congratulations again, dear Anna. This is only the beginning of what I suspect will be a very healthy hobby and perhaps a profession one day!
Summer Camp at St. Therese’s Camp
I would encourage all parents to go to the website www.stthereseak.com in order to look into the many camp weeks offered throughout the summer at our newly acquired Catholic Camp, St. Therese’s. The camps are for children in grades 3-8. I know that camp helpers ages 14-17 are invited to spend the weeks available as well. Call 907-232-2066 with any questions you might have.
Trips to the Zoo, Fish Hatchery, and the Civil War
The week finished with grades 3/4 and grades 7-10 going to the Anchorage Zoo as an extension of their science classes. It was the perfect ending event for their squirrely excited behavior all week. Thank you to Miss Theis, Mr. Haggard, Mr. Coldiron, Mr. Welsh, Miss Brittain, Mrs. Furby (and husband, Will), and parent volunteers for making the trip such an enjoyable one. Thank you to the students for making the chaperoning so pleasant.
Miss Viens and Mr. Shaut took the 5th and 6th grade to the Fish Hatchery at JBER for a wonderful extension of their science class.
The 11th and 12th graders stayed behind with me to enjoy Gone With the Wind as we have been discussing the Civil War in American Seminar and this movie depicts it so well. Thank you, Robert Kemper, for bringing the pizza. Thank you Anne-Marie Droege for bringing the Southern style chicken. Thank you, Anna Jemmings for bringing the delicious pecan pie. Thank you Victoria Zipay for the Southern Sweet Tea. And, thanks Jessica Smith for bringing the movie. It was a four hour marathon but so worth it if even to hear the last few oft quoted lines!
All in all, it was a great week!
- Saturday (May 3) Tina Nguyen Earthen Le, Savio Le receive First Communion at SEAS Parish. Isabel Jones receives First Communion at Holy Family Cathedral. Stephen Hart receives First Communion at St. Patrick’s.
- Monday – Assembly
- SCANTRON testing Monday through Thursday – final testing for the year. Please be sure the elementary students rest well and eat a good breakfast!
- Monday – Teacher Appreciation Day (luncheon served by Mr. Yabyabin) ANY PARENT WHO CAN VOLUNTEER TO WATCH THE STUDENTS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 11:0 AND 12:30 WOULD ENABLE THE TEACHERS TO RELAX AND ENJOY THEIR LUNCHEON. Please contact Miss Neumayr or email me on Sycamore if you can help. Share hours will, of course, be provided.
- Tuesday – Elementary Mass in the school chapel at 2:15.
- Tuesday – Karina Biegel and Jacob Owens are Confirmed at SEAS
- Thursday – upper school mass in the chapel at 10:15
- Friday – Mary Day (Periods 1,2,3) in the Upper School
- Friday – CHARITY WALK BEGINNING AT 5 p.m. DOWNTOWN
- Tuesday, May 13th All School Dominican Rite Mass in honor of Our Lady of Fatima
- Wednesday, May 14th – First Annual Sports Banquet honoring all the athletes of the year (looking for Dad’s willing to help us barbecue hotdogs and hamburgers the evening of the potluck banquet. Let Miss Neumayr know if you can help.) The event begins at 6 P.M. in St. Dominic’s Hall. All athletes and parents are encouraged to come and celebrate the great season! Contact me or Mrs. Klump with any questions.
Enjoy another wonderful week. The weather looks to be pretty good again! Let’s hope my animated students can contain their enthusiasm and channel it into the final days of school!
Miss Catherine Neumayr, Principal
P.S. Special eggs have arrived in the kindergarten classrooms. Wonder what will be peeping out in the next21 days. Come take a look if you dare!
April 26th, 2014 by Catherine Neumayr
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
April 12th, 2014 by Catherine Neumayr
Dear HRA Families and Friends,
We begin Passion week and eagerly anticipate the Resurrection of Our Lord. It will be a shortened week of only three days. Please enjoy time with your family as you celebrate Holy Thursday, the day we celebrate our ordained priests and pray for more, Good Friday, the day we embrace the cross and venerate the Great Sacrifice of Our Lord, and rest on Holy Saturday with Jesus in the tomb, only to spiritually awaken on Easter Sunday. I hope that the vacation Monday after Easter is the beginning of a joy filled Easter octave! May you and your families enjoy this spiritual journey with one another this coming week.
This past week was one of some trials and great tribulations. The Juniors and Seniors presented their theses to the Upper School, Faculty, and their families. Each and every one wrote fine, coherent papers in which they struggled with some of the most difficult theological and philosophical topics I have ever encountered in the ten years students have been defending their theses. Congratulations to the Juniors and Seniors for defending their positions thoughtfully and well. A special thank you to the faculty advisors, Mrs. Schirda – the foundress and director of the Thesis Program, and Mr. Austin Welsh, the Composition 11/12 teacher for the excellent help and counsel you afforded these students throughout their preparation. Bravo to all involved.
Thank you especially to the panel who brilliantly questioned the seniors for their evening rigor. Fr. Augustine Highlander O.P., Dr. Laura Walters, and Mr. Mario Bird made up a superb panel to challenge the seniors to a grueling half hour of insightful and probing questions. Justin Klump and Jacob Owens bravely fielded and defended their theses while conceding points in the interest of arriving at the truth of their subject matter. They both showed maturity and wisdom in their prudent responses. To the Juniors, I can only say how proud I was of your first efforts this year and how much I already eagerly await your papers as Seniors. Congratulations to Karina Biegel, Jessica Smith, Anne-Marie Droege, Anna Jemmings, Victoria Zipay, and Lee Cookson! Thank you to all the families who joined us. You ought to be so proud of your children and their peers. Thank you to the great alumni who showed up to support the students and for all the moral support you provided.
I encourage all parents to check their emails for an important letter and picture I have sent to you regarding a triying event we endured this past week. If you did not receive an email by Sunday midday, please be sure to call or stop by the school office so that we can give you a hard copy of my letter. It is a enough to say that all is well and the state of the school is strong!
This is a shortened blog in order to save for more very exciting news I have to share in the coming week. In the meantime, I wish you all spiritual blessings this week.
Miss Neumayr, Principal
April 5th, 2014 by Catherine Neumayr
Dear HRA Families and Friends,
It has been two weeks since my last missive. During that time much has happened. I am in the midst of assessing the re-enrollment plans of the students for which I thank all you parents for your prompt responses. The returning numbers for the 2014-15 school year look exceptional. Our kindergarten is already quickly filling up. I may potentially need to offer a second class again this coming school year. The first grade has grown so large that the first and second grade will be their own separate classes. Depending on the influx of new students, I may need to separate the third and fourth grade combination class for the coming year as well. Our high school and middle school is growing next year which is most exciting.
Thank you to all those who have encouraged other families to consider our school. Know that if a family cites you as their source for looking at the school, we discount your tuition by $250.00! It is very hopeful that we will have the same number of students with the distinct possibility that we will grow next year. I am excited at the prospect but intend to grow slowly and surely rather than encourage growth that is too much too soon. I intend to maintain the fine quality and standards you have enjoyed this year and simply continue to inspire my faculty to even greater heights in terms of their guidance of your children!
In March and already in April, I have many congratulations to offer. The students continue to distinguish themselves. Our alumni are also flourishing and sharing with me their successes. It is my privilege to share the good news with you:
- Mr. Patrick Klump (alumni) – Passed his Nursing Boards! Bravo!
- Mr. Kevin Klump (alumni) will graduate from the minor seminary, St. John Vianney, and continue on in the major seminary at the University of St. Thomas. Bless you in your continued road to the priesthood, Kevin!
- Miss Megan Woods (alumna) – Graduates from Eastern Washington with a B.S. in Biology where she attends on scholarship and also completes the Honors Program this spring. She has already been accepted into Simon Frasier University in Vancouver B.C. to pursue a higher degree in Public Health. We are so very proud of you, Megan!
- Miss Cierra Houchins (alumna) graduates from the University of Dallas this spring. She has just finished and is in the process of publishing a children’s book which she began in Mrs. Schirda’s class years ago. It is the story of her rides home from HRA in the family’s big green van. Her father has illustrated the book. I am in the process of ordering the book and will have it proudly displayed in the office soon.
- Miss Jamie Cookson (alumna) – has declared an English major with minors in General Business and Philosophy at Gonzaga University! She is flourishing in her classes. Continue the great work, Jamie!
- Mr. Michael Tappel (alumni) – who is a freshman at Yale University is a member of the 100 year old group, The Spizzwinks, and has just finished a trip to New Zealand to sing. He will travel through Europe in the month of May with the same group. Bring back lots of memories to share, Michael!
- Michael Lucas (8th Grade) – Michael participated in the National Wrestling Championship Tournament in Virginia Beach this past weekend. Michael defeated all of his opponents from around the entire country and is the National Champion in Wrestling in his age and weight category. We are so very proud of you, Michael!
- Forrest and Sophia Rose both participated in the State Science Fair and brought home first place gold medals for their respective science projects. Bravo to both of you! Thank you for representing HRA so well!
- The Junior High Indoor Soccer Team led by Coach Lee Cookson, a junior in the high school, and Coach Mary Tappel, a freshman in the high school, won second place in the final tournament of the season. Bravo to the entire team. Come in and enjoy their trophy on display in the school office!
- Justin Klump – Our one and only senior has decided to attend him parents’ alma mater, Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas in the fall. Bravo and congratulations to you, Justin!
Cardinal Dolan Visited with the HRA/Lumen Christi High School Students
The entire high school had the privilege of meeting the Cardinal from New York, Timothy Dolan, two weeks ago. He is a tall, large, warm, hugging machine! He literally and figuratively embraced all of us and complimented the students on their schools and their commitment to Catholic education. He shared his own vocation story and encouraged the students on in their faith. The visit was an historic one for which the students were excited and grateful. I was delighted to see five of the HRA students attend his evening talk at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish where he spoke to a crowd of 700 about the three great challenges Pope Francis faces. He shared that the restoring of the primacy of Marriage and Family, Improving the Lustre and Restoring the Credibility of the Church, and Engaging the Secular Culture were the three particular areas that the Pope has made the focus of his papacy. It was an excellent talk and a privilege to meet this great Cardinal!
During the week, the seminarians from St. Paul’s Seminary in Minneapolis returned for a priest retreat with the Cardinal. My dear friend and seminarian, Mr. Arthur Roraff, will be ordained to the diaconate on June 6th at the Cathedral. All of the seminarians (Rob Whitney, Arthur Roraff, Kevin Klump) are dear friends of HRA and speak fondly of the days when they will be able to come over and say mass for our students in our John Paul II chapel. I long for those days already!
On the Feast of the Anunciation, Fr. Paul Raftery O.P. said the Dominican Rite mass on campus in St. Dominic’s Hall. This anciet rite is one of the oldest forms of the mass. Said completely in Latin, this rite is a quiet mass that allows the students to pray and listen to God in the silence. The mass was accompanied by an outstanding ensemble of singers whose chant and song were positively heavenly. Thank you to our earthly angels, Mrs. Colleen Carter-Duncan, Mr. Gavin Duncan, Dr. Laura Walters, Miss Arianna Fouch, and Mr. Mario Bird for lending their exquisite voices to this holy feast! The students were attentive and prayerful throughout. It was a mass fit for the King of King, Lord of Lords! Thank you, Fr. Paul Raftery O.P.!
Many apologies for the state of the parking lot. The mountain of snow is slowly melting much to my delight. It is, however, causing ice slicks at important arteries of the lot. I am trying to put down gravel to steady the walkways. Further, Miss Brittain and other helpful hands are laying down ice melt at shaded turns on the pathways of school. Watch your step and tread carefully for a few more weeks. Thank you to the O’Hanley family for bringing us gravel to put down! Help yourself to the bags close to the fence in the parking lot if you should need to put down gravel for safety.
Congratulations to all the students from kindergarten to grade 12 for the wonderful presentations you afforded your parents and the faculty last week. They were the best that I have witnessed in my twelve years at the school!
Best of luck to the juniors and seniors who will be giving their theses presentations on Thursday and Friday of this coming week. All parents and friends are welcome to join us to encourage the juniors and seniors as they present their philosophical papers and defend them. While the Juniors will defend their papers to the faculty and students, the seniors will have a panel made up this year of Fr. Augustine Highlander, Dr. Laura Walters, and Mr. Mario Bird before whom they will defend their paper. Thank you, Juniors and Seniors for all the long hours and meetings with your faculty advisors and your Composition 11/12 teacher, Mr. Welsh. This is a stressful time, but your rhetorical confidence will soar after you surmount this hurdle!
April 7, 2014 – The Parent Association Meeting will be held in the Kolbe Lobby. It will last from 6:30 – 7:30 P.M. Babysitting will be provided. The agenda for the evening was sent home with your child on Friday. Be sure to ask for it from your child if it has not been passed along.
Junior/Senior Theses Presentations:
Thursday, April 10 – Juniors, Karina Biegel, Jessica Smith, and Anne-Marie Droege will present their theses from 1-3 P.M. in St. Dominic’s Hall.
Friday, April 11th – Juniors, Anna Jemmings, Victoria Zipay, and Lee Cookson will present their theses from 1-3 P.M. in St. Dominic’s Hall.
Friday, April 11th – Senior, Justin Klump and graduating Junior, Jacob Owens will present before a panel from 6-8 P.M. in St. Dominic’s Hall.
I am looking forward to our Open House on April 23rd from 6-9 P.M. with great anticipation! I ask parents and friends to spread the word and invite interested families to attend. Further, I have asked the students to come in uniform to give tours of the campus and welcome the interested families. Parents, too, are most welcome to come that evening to stand in Kolbe during the reception of the families and introduce them to your experience of the school. The evening is always a lovely one. Your attendance is greatly appreciated and your attendance certainly includes share hours. The entire faculty will be in attendance as well. The teachers have pledged to keep it a low to no homework evening!
Be sure to add the first annual Festival of Poetry and Song on the evening of May 1st at St. Patrick’s parish hall to your calendar. The event will begin at 7 P.M followed by a light reception. The music and poetry recitations along with a brief but lovely May Day Procession to crown Our Lady should be a memory for the ages. One young man in the high school told his mother the other day after music practice, “The music was so beautiful I nearly cried!.” Be sure to join us for this lovely evening.
Well, that is all for the evening. Have a blessed upcoming week. May your Lent continue to be a renewal in mind, body, and spirit as you await our Risen Lord.
Miss Catherine Neumay, Principal
P.S. I will let you know when the BBC show is available to be viewed as soon as I receive word!
March 23rd, 2014 by Catherine Neumayr
Dear HRA Families and Friends,
This week brings Cardinal Dolan of New York to give spiritual direction to our priests and seminarians (all four just flew in to participate in the priestly meeting)! Our own high school students are blessed to have an opportunity to meet with Cardinal Dolan at Lumen Christi Monday, March 24th in the afternoon. I look forward to sharing with you their experience in my next blog. In the meantime, you may want to consider attending the Monday, March 24th evening Cardinal Dolan talk at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish hosted by the organization Catholics United for the Faith. The event is free but donations are welcome.
Well, the sun has heralded in spring so beautifully. Happy birthday to Miss Verreux (first/second grade teacher) who shares her birthday with the first day of spring. As the light and the warmth increase, so also do the high spirits of our teachers and students.
This past week we enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day immensely. The faculty and the students were all in green! Tuesday, we were blessed with retired priest, Fr. Brunet, who said mass for the elementary students. Wednesday, Mrs. Schirda organized our St. Joseph Feast Day. Fr. Augustine led us in prayer and the upper school students went on a pilgrimage to sing a St. Joseph song to each of the elementary school classes as well as distribute a prayer card to each. The event was topped off with a delicious potluck of Italian pastas, Mrs. Schirda’s famous white bean salad, and plenty of feast day desserts. Thank you to choir director, Mrs. Colleen Carter-Duncan, for preparing the students to sing on this great event. Thank you to seventh grader, Joseph Bjelland, for carrying around the portrait of St. Joseph during the pilgrimage You have an amazing namesake!
On Wednesday the entire school raced over to the Dome off of Raspberry and ran around the track as Mrs. Pearce is testing them for the Presidential Fitness Challenge. It was such fun to see the students run and release any stress of the week. Thank you to the students for your good natures and good behavior on this outing! Thank you to the many parents who chipped in to help drive. (Mr. Pope, Mrs. Neavill, Mrs. Koop, Miss Bell, Mrs. Miller)
Thursday brought Fr. Mark Francis, O.P. to say mass for the upper school. Thank you to the sophomores for providing meatless soups for lunch. Thank you to Mrs. Erin Furby for organizing the upper school out in many directions for our last month of Community Service this school year. Thank you to the students who helped with kindergartern art and who put down ice melt and cleared the walkways on campus especially. The combination of the sun and long days seemed to move the week along at a very speedy pace.
The Centurion Project is going very well. We have collected almost $5,000.00 in the very first week! Thank you to all our wonderful donors. You may check out our progress on the school website page. I update it daily! Please submit names and addresses if you have not already done so.
The students returned from spring break in good spirits and ready to begin the fourth quarter and rapidly complete the school year! Thank you to the teachers for all the help in making the transition back to school so smooth and joyful.
This upcoming week is quite out of the ordinary. Be sure to consult your child’s teacher if you have any questions.
- Monday, March 24th – high school goes to Lumen Christi H.S. for the Dolan talk
- Tuesday morning at 8 A.M. Fr. Paul Raftery O.P. will day the Dominican Rite mass in St. Dominic’s Hall in honor of the Feast of the Annunciation (all-school mass). Parents and friends are welcome.
- Tuesday through Friday, the upper school is dismissed at noon for Presentations in the afternoon. Each student is afforded twenty minutes to speak to their parents on three areas they wish.
- Friday, March 28th – NO SCHOOL for the Elementary. Elementary students are required to bring their parents to a scheduled appointment to make their presentations.
- After School Care will be available except on Friday. Upper School students staying after school must stay in the school library while they are waiting for their presentations.
My shoulder contiues to improve but prevents me from typing too much. Enjoy the coming week as Lent continues. Consider attending the Dominican Forum by Brother Justin Gable O.P. on Dante’s Comedy or the Friday Frozen Friars Concert (free). Both events are at Holy Family Cathedral.
Finally, Happy Birthday to Helen Marie Schirda, daughter of Mrs. Schirda, who turned one on March 23rd!
Miss Catherine Neumayr, Principal
March 15th, 2014 by Catherine Neumayr
Dear HRA Families and Friends,
Please read the following letter. A hard copy will also be sent home with the students:
Dear Upper School Parents,
On March 19th at 11:30 a.m. we will be celebrating the Feast of St. Joseph. In 1870 Pope Pius XI decreed that this feast be celebrated throughout the Church as a first class feast. In honor of St. Joseph who gives our school so many blessings, we will have a “St. Joseph Table” that Fr. Augustine Hilander, O.P. will bless before lunch.
Since we are celebrating this feast with Italian food, please consider bringing menu items that are symbolic of the life of St. Joseph. Here are a few suggestions: a pasta dish with breadcrumbs to symbolize the sawdust from the carpentry of St. Joseph, a fava bean salad to remind us of the powerful intercession of St. Joseph who saved the people of Sicily from starving during the Middle Ages by providing them with a favorable fava bean crop, and bread/pastries in the shape of St. Joseph’s staff and carpentry tools. The table will have white candles and white lilies to symbolize the purity of St. Joseph. If you have a statue of St. Joseph that you would like to bring to the altar for a blessing, please bring it on Wednesday. Since today is Monday, I thought simple desserts and pasta dishes would complement the students’ lunches on Wednesday.
In honor of St. Joseph,
I do hope you have all enjoyed a very relaxing break. I rested and then rested more. The range of weather from warm and sunny to the Great Blizzard of March 14th 2014 has been breathtaking. I finally went to the doctor to check out my arm. The verdict: strained rotator cuff and tricept. Recovery: gently exercise it and hope it stops hurting and use the brace sparingly. So, you will see me rest my arm sometimes, but I plan to improve dramatically in the next six weeks!!!! I will not be held down, but I will need the gentleman to help me with the heavy lifting! I will also write a more limited blog as the typing puts a particular strain on my upper arm.
The coming week is already quite busy and I wanted to forewarn you:
Many apologies to the kindergarten parents and students in Mrs. Verbout’s class. She will be spending another week with her daughter whose husband is in the military and was sent on a mission taking him away from his newborn. Never fear, however, we are blessed with Early Childhood Development Teacher Certificated, Miss Paige Corona, who has been substituting for two weeks and who will continue on with Mrs. Verbout’s class this coming week. Thank you, Miss Corona!
The Centurion Fundraiser has officially begun! We have mailed out the initail 750 letters. Please submit addresses if you have not already done so. Please pray that the many friends and family will be generous with us this year. Thank you to Miss DiCiero, Miss Brittain, and Miss Viens for all the work they have done preparing the huge mailing! I am so grateful. An ongoing tally of what has come in can be found on our website hraak.com on the Centurion page!
1) Monday Assembly – March 17th (Declamation Awards)
2) St. Patrick’s Day Monday, March 17th
3) Tuesday, Mass at 2:15 for the Elementary
4) Wednesday – St. Joseph Feast Day – 7-12 potluck (see included letter by coordinator, Mrs. Schirda)
5) Trip to the Dome – Mrs. Pearce is organizing the whole school to go for distance running testing for the Presidental Athletic program she completes with the P.E. Students. Any parents who can help drive between the hours of 1 P.M. and 3 P.M. are most welcome!
6) Thursday Board Meeting at 7 A.M.
7) Thursday Mass for the Upper School at 10:15
8) First Draft of Junior and Senior Theses Due to Advisor
8) Friday – Community Service for the Upper School
9) Next week – Upper School Presentations beginning on March 25th – half day for the Upper School. All Day presentations and NO School for the Elementary students on Friday, March 28th!! Be sure to sign up for your meeting time this week.
SCIENCE FAIR AWARDS
Congratulations to all of the participants from grades 6-10 for great presentations. The judges were particularly impressed this year. The following students were awarded ribbons for outstanding boards, research, and presentations by Science Fair coordinator and mother, Mrs. Jacki Rose. Thank you to Mr. Welsh, Mr. Haggard, Mr. Coldiron, Mrs. Furby, and Mr. Shaut for preparing the students so well.
1st Place for the first ever Science Thesis Presentation went to sophomore, Richard Maloy. He discussed Whether Artificial Intelligence Can Ever Recognize a Higher Being? It was an excellent paper and spurred on a spirited discussion with the science teachers in particular. Richard fielded the questions with maturity, wit, and wisdom. Bravo Richard! You are a true pioneer.
1st Place – Sophia Rose
2nd Place – Aine Nakada
3rd Place - Alexander O’Neill
1st Place – Chistopher Knox
2nd Place - Felicity Hart
3rd Place – John Lastimoso
1st Place – Stephen Woyte
2nd Place – Forrest Rose
3rd Place - Samuel Jemmings
1st Place – Anna Berry
2nd Place - Evangeline Dooc
3rd Place – Mary Tappel
1st Place – Sang Nguyen
2nd Place – Arianna Fouch
3rd Place - Therese Knox
Bravo to all of you! I was the most pleased in all my twelve years at HRA. The science teachers are preparing the students well and the result is evident in the quality of the work and the presentations. All students are encouraged and welcome to participate in the State Competition as well.
Thank you to all of the wonderful field trips the teachers had planned for the last week before Spring Break! The 3/4 class went to the Anchorage Museum as they have been studying North American Exploration and Geography. The kindergarten enjoyed great success Ice Fishing with Mrs. Shaut and Miss Corona and lots of great moms and dads. This is a favorite annual event!
Thank you to the Upper School Faculty for providing meatless soup on Ash Wednesday, to Fr. Augustine Highlander for saying such a beautiful Ash Wednesday mass, and to the juniors and seniors for providing meatless soup on Friday. Thank you also to Mr. Welsh and Mrs. Furby for coordinating the Stations of the Cross in the chapel for the Upper School and to the Elementary teachers for exposing their students to age appropriate Stations. Such a beautiful Lenten Practice for all of us to practice as we await the Triduum and Easter.
Thank you to St. Patrick’s Parish and St. Andrew’s Parish for welcoming me so warmly at their parishes for marketing. I had a wonderful time with both parishes and thank the priests for allowing me to say a few words to their parisioners. God bless you wonderful priests!
Finally, congratulations to fifth grader, Jenessa Lorenz, who spent her Spring Break in Mexico serving the poor with the Foundation for His Ministry with her family. We are proud of you for your missionary zeal and selflessness, Jenessa.
I will sign off for the week to give my arm a rest, but I could not finish the vacation without bidding you a fond greeting!
May your Lent be filled with spiritual growth and renewal in your love of the Lord!
Miss Neumayr, Principal
February 28th, 2014 by Catherine Neumayr
Dear HRA Families and Friends,
Chip Chennault has returned to us and has completed his chemotherapy for now. Continue your prayers for dear Chip. We are so very delighted to have him return to seventh grade and regular life. Thanks be to God that he can be with us to share his smile, humor, and insights. Welcome back Mr. Chip. The whole school rejoices in your return!
What a week of events. My arm is not 100% but much improved. Thank you to all of you who have wished me well. In particular, I thank the kindergarteners who have gently patted my arm and offered me their heartfelt hopes that I improve. The brace is off for the most part, but I am going to keep my comments brief again this year in the interest of continuing to improve.
Thank you to Father Patrick Brosamer and Fr. Augustine for saying our elementary and high school masses respectively. We are so blessed to hear your insightful homilies and so grateful that you bring us The Sacrament!
The week’s focus was on the Science Fair. We were blessed on Thursday to have fanstastic judges (engineers and scientists) rounded up by Mrs. Jacki Rose. The students created some of the best displays I have seen at HRA and presented with confidence and poise. The winners for each grade will be announced on Monday at the morning assembly should parents wish to join us from 8-8:20 A.M. in the Kolbe Lobby. I will include the names of the winners in next week’s blog. Thank you to the HRA science teachers led by Mr. Welsh. You prepared the students well!
I am so happy that so many of you have re-enrolled your children for next year and have received the $100.00 discount. The last day to receive the discount is this Monday, March 3rd. Please call or come into the front office to pay the amount by the end of the school day. After that time, we will no longer offer the discount but will be in touch with you to find our your intentions for the coming year. The re-enrollment fees will be due on May 1st to save a spot for your child for the coming year.
Please note that we have a tentative calendar of the coming school year in the Kolbe lobby if you have not yet received one. The major event that may change on the final calendar is spring break. Currently, we have the calendar stating that we will take the week after Easter off. That may be waiting too long to give the students some time off for rest. The faculty and I will watch closely to see how this year works as we are taking the same spring break as the Anchorage School District. We may do the same next year. The other dates, however, are likely to remain.
Thank you to Miss Paige Corona for substituting for Mrs. Verbout in the kindergarten. You are doing a super job and the students already adore you! We are so glad you will remain with us for all of next week as well!
I spent Friday morning at the State Spelling Bee competition. I want to thank Miss Aine Nakada (Grade 6) for representing HRA so beautifully. Although Aine was eliminated in the first round (amongst 144 contestants!), she handled herself with grace and poise. You were an excellent ambassador for the school Aine. I am so very proud of you for your courage in participating in this prestigious event. Thank you also to Mrs. Nakada, alumni, Patrick Nakada, and alternate speller, Miguel Garcia (3rd Grade) for accompanying me to cheer for Aine. Next year might just be your year, Aine!
Today, February 28, we received some tragic news. The brother of our beloved high school teacher, Miss Therese Syren, passed away suddenly this morning. I would ask that you keep the entire Syren family in your prayers and the repose of Stephen Syren uppermost in your thoughts in the coming week. It is likely that Miss Syren will be out much of the week. We send you our love and sympathy, Miss Syren. May Stephen now rest in peace with your dear mother, father, sister, and brother.
Thank you to Mrs. Furby for leading an excellent handwriting review for the junior high this Friday afternoon. The upper school is committed to helping our students handwrite well for the rest of their time at HRA. We hope they will carry that skill on for the rest of their lives. The methodical, careful precision of handwriting is instrumental in developing the students’ small motor skills but more importantly for helping them to write and think carefully and purposefully.
Similarly, I would like to thank Mr. Dominic Le for presenting on finance to the high school on Friday afternoon! Mr. Le (father of two and uncle to two of our students) presented the history of ancient counting and finance practices through the ages until today. He spoke to students about the debt crisis of today and the importance of carefully approaching their own financial decisions. We hope to have Mr. Le return to deepen the students appreciation of practical economics before the end of the semester. Thank you for doing a superb job, Mr. Le!
I will be at St. Patrick’s Parish this weekend for all the masses to advertise HRA. Do stop by to say hello if you are attending mass there. Thank you to Mary Tappel (9th grade) for assisting me at the 11:30 mass!
Thank you to Justin Klump and Jacob Owens for organizing a GAME NIGHT for the junior high and high school this weekend. I will enjoy being in attendance with teacher, Mr. Matthew Krepel, and Office Manager, Miss Jordan Brittain, along with older alumni to enjoy the nerf gun wars, Apples to Apples etc… this Saturday!
The upcoming week will be our last before spring break. It looks to be a very smooth week. Please join us on Wednesday for the All School Mass at 10:15 for Ash Wednesday. The children will receive ashes. As Lent begins, please consider sending your child to school on Fridays with meatless lunches to honor and respect the Catholic custom of abstaining from meat on Lenten Fridays.
As always, I remain, gratefully yours,
Miss Catherine Neumayr, Principal