Angel Express | January 2018

Dear Parents,

I hope that your New Year is off to a great start! I pray that you and your children have remained healthy. The flu this year has been quite nasty.  The teachers and staff continue to encourage the students to wash their hands and use hand-sanitizer throughout the day.  We ask that any students who are exhibiting flu symptoms remain at home.  Stay well!

Our school has had and will have much going on during these first few months of the year, so I will get right to it…

Spelling Bee

Student qualifying representatives from each class competed in the annual SLM Spelling Bee on January 10th. Two students will be competing in a championship round this week. Those students are Payton Hofilena (4th Grade) and Adrian Vilca (3rd Grade). The SLM Spelling Bee Champion will then compete in a local spelling bee and the winner of that round will enter into the Scripps National Spelling Bee. We congratulate all of our Spelling Bee qualifiers and wish Payton and Adrian well!!

The SLM Spelling Bee contestants are the following:
1st Grade - Miranda Vilca & Chelsea Volkman
2nd Grade - Mercury Cox & Brendan Rivas
3rd Grade - Cate Cansino & Adrian Vilca
4th Grade - Payton Hofilena & Madison Viera
5th Grade - Brooke Banfield & Kaelyn Hanson
6th Grade - Jiselle Lime & Aleyna Pirie
7th Grade - Davide Ciuffoli & Auburn Thomas
8th Grade - Devan Cornelio & Karma Sarni

Progress Reports - January 25th, 2018

Grade 3 - 8 progress reports will be posted online on January 25th by 5 p.m. Please be sure to check the status of your child’s progress. For any issues logging into Gradelink, please contact Mrs. Wynne at megan.wynne@stlm.org.  (Also as a reminder -- if you have any concern with grades, curriculum, discipline, teaching methods, etc., please speak directly with the teacher. Thank you!)

Transitional Kindergarten & Kindergarten Information Night

Can you believe it is already time to think about 2018-2019 enrollment? This coming Wednesday, January 24th, at 6 p.m., we will be holding our annual TK/K Information Night in the parish hall. We feel that the best kind of interest comes from referrals by you -- our parent body. We encourage our families to “talk-up” what you love about SLM to your friends and family and invite them to join us on January 24th. 

Catholic Schools Week (CSW) - January 28-February 2, 2018

The Mass to kick-off Catholic Schools Week is on Sunday, January 28th, at 11 a.m. All SLM families are encouraged to join in on this school-wide, archdiocesan-wide event to celebrate the rich heritage and continued excellence of Catholic Education, in particular our very own St. Lawrence Martyr School. Students should show their school spirit by wearing their First Friday uniform. During the remainder of the week, the students, faculty and staff will be participating in many activities to celebrate our Catholic school. A schedule of events for CSW has been posted on School Speak.

CSW BBQ and Open House - January 28th, 2018

After the Catholic Schools Week Mass on January 28th, the school will hold its annual Open House. School families are invited to come visit the campus and their child’s classroom. We encourage our families to extend the invitation to their friends and family members, especially to those interested in sending their children to SLM School. In addition, our PTO will be holding a barbecue simultaneously during Open House. Feel free, either after or before visiting the school to stop by and grab something eat!

Much thanks to Gerry Lomas, PTO Chair, and our PTO members for organizing the barbecue!!

Scholastic Book Fair -- January 23rd - 28th, 2018

“Paws for Books” Book Fair by Scholastic Books will begin this week on Tuesday, January 23rd. Students will have an opportunity to preview the fair and create a “wish list” of items prior to sale days. Then during sale days, each grade has a time during school hours to visit the fair and purchase items. Parents and other individuals may also purchase books at the fair after school hours (check School Speak for the schedule). The fair will also be open on Sunday, January 28th, after all Masses and during Open House.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Holly Nilson, Melanie Muhl, and Maria Tymick for their time and energy in organizing this terrific fundraiser!

W’s China Bistro Restaurant Night Fundraiser - January 29th, 2018

Join us for our next Restaurant Night on January 29th, at W's China Bistro between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. If you plan to dine in, you may make reservations (which is highly recommended) by calling 310-792-1600. 15% of all food and beverage orders, including take-out, will go toward St. Lawrence Martyr School. Flyer must be presented to the server. (The flyer may be found on School Speak.) The address to W's China Bistro is 1410 PCH, Redondo Beach. 

A big thank-you to Jeff Vicario, 3rd grade PTO rep, for organizing our Restaurant Night Fundraisers!

Mariner Main Event (MME) - March 17th, 2018

Mark your calendars for our biggest fundraiser of the year, our Mariner Main Event -- March 17th, 2018. This year’s theme: “Shamrocks & Gold”. Look for more information coming from our MME Chairperson - Jamie Cary or co-chairs - Robin Lomas and Jenna Cox. Also check out the MME Facebook invitation at by clicking here.


Valentine’s Day & Ash Wednesday

This year, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day fall on the same day, February 14th, 2018. For this reason, the students will be celebrating Valentine’s Day on February 13th, a day early. Your room parent will send more information about your class Valentine’s Day activity. On February 14th, we will begin our Lenten Journey by attending Ash Wednesday Mass at 8 a.m. Parents are invited to attend this liturgy as well.

Cornerstone Retreats

Cornerstone is a 26 hour spiritual renewal retreat. There are two separate retreats, one for men and one for women. Individuals must be 21 years of age to attend. The retreats provide an opportunity to reflect, renew and strengthen your faith while meeting other men & women in our SLM Faith Community.

The women’s retreat is planned for February 2-3, 2018
The men’s retreat is planned for February 16-17. 2018
For more information about Women’s Cornerstone, please contact Robin Lomas at 310-748-7443
For more information about Men’s Cornerstone, please contact Deacon Jim Egnatuk at 310-990-7311

Gospel Reflection - Mark 1:21-28

Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are—the Holy One of God!"
Jesus rebuked him and said,
"Quiet! Come out of him!"
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
"What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him."
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

In this passage, Jesus continues to preach to crowds and the people are astonished by his words, and by his authority. Jesus’ teachings are different; they are counter to what they’ve learned, primarily his teachings on love, forgiveness and their place in God’s divine plan. In this particular passage, the people witness Jesus’ power and authority over evil. This is the first time they’ve witnessed a person teaching with authority on behalf of no one but himself. The scribes teach on authority prescribed to them through Jewish tradition. Jesus teaches with authority from God.

There are several stories in the gospels that show Jesus’ authority over things, such as calming the wind and the sea (Mark 4:35-41), the forgiveness of sins (Mark 2:10, and in this passage, over evil. Jesus’ divine authority brings him in direct conflict with worldly authority and this ultimately leads to his death. However, even in Jesus’ death his authority reigns; he has purchased eternal salvation for us and for all people. 

So what does this mean for us? We can ask ourselves, what sin or habit plagues us? What do we bring into our lives that keeps us from truly loving, forgiving and being a people of God? Is it resentment, jealousy, obsessions over people, things, work, sex, alcohol, technology, etc.? We cannot truly be free to be who God created us to be or to experience the richness of God’s grace until we are released from those bonds.  Jesus wishes to use his authority to help us, to heal us and to show us his love. To begin, we must recognize those sinful areas of our lives and seek forgiveness through Christ Jesus. Only then can we be transformed through the divine authority of Jesus.  

Let us pray for ourselves and the world, that just like the people in this scripture passage, we recognize the power of Jesus' authority.  Let's pray that we will be in awe of his authority and desire our lives to be in alignment with it.  May we seek to be people of strong faith, good deeds, compassion, forgiveness, peace and love; if for no other reason then let's proceed in this manner because our children and their future need it.

Richest blessings to you in the New Year,

Mrs. Kaiser
 

Angel Express | December 2017

Dear SLM Parents,

I hope that you’re finding a bit of time to rest and reflect during this Advent Season. I know how difficult it can be during this season to slow down. Here at the school, we have had a busy few months. The following are some highlights:

SLM Christmas Concert

Under the direction of our music teacher, Ms. Sepulveda, our students will be performing at our annual Christmas concert this coming Thursday, December 14th. The concert begins at 6 p.m. Doors to the church will open at 5:45 p.m. Students should be seated with their teachers. Come celebrate the season with us!

NOTE: Volunteers needed to set-up before the concert and then to tear-down and clean up after the concert. Please contact Mrs. Sepulveda at crystal.sepulveda@stlm.org if you are able to contribute.

Geography Bee

The school’s annual Geography Bee took place last Friday, December 8. Grades 4 through 8 participated in classroom contests to whittle the field down to two contestants per grade. Then the finalists from each classroom competed in a school-wide tournament. Students were expected to respond to questions concerning continents, countries and U.S. states. We congratulate all of the contestants for winning their classroom competitions and for our two finalists in the school-wide competition. They are the following:

4th Grade: Payton Hofilena and Marcus Pirie
5th Grade: Jenyne Ebreo and Trey Nilson
6th Grade: Julia Camacho and Noelle Nelson
7th Grade: Giselle Groe and Hadley Hanson
8th Grade: Devan Cornelio and Marcelo Long

Our school-wide Geography Bee winner is Jenyne Ebreo (5th Grade) and runner-up is Devan Cornelio (8th Grade). Congratulations students!!!

Jenyne will move forward to take a National Geographic test, and if she proceeds further will compete in a state competition in Sacramento, California. All state champions then compete for the National Championship in Washginton, D.C. The winner receives a $50,000 scholarship and a trip. We wish you the best, Jenyne!!

SLM Mock Trial Team

Our Mock Trial Team competed at the Constitutional Rights Foundation Mock Trial Competition in Downtown Los Angeles at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse on November 6th and 13th. The knowledge, poise, and quick sense of both our defense and prosecution teams, as well as our witnesses and defendant were wonderful to observe. Our team, led by their attorney coaches, Mrs. Edna Earley, Mrs. Erika Dominguez, Mr. Scott Dominguez, and Mrs. Jolina Abrena, put in many hours of study and practice to perfect their roles which consisted of witnesses, lawyers, defendants, court clerks, and bailiffs. The students gained much from this experience, such as, knowledge of the U.S. judicial system, communication skills, analytical skills, and a greater understanding of a citizen’s obligations in the U.S.

The SLM Mock Trial Team was comprised of the following individuals:

Olivia Alajian, Julia Camacho, Nolan Cary, Brynn Drye, Jack Earley, Isabelle Fuentes, Isabella Gonzalez, Giselle Groe, Emily King, Katherine Murray, Karma Sarni, Gianna Soriano, Xander Soriano, Lauren Takakawa, Auburn Thomas, Emily Tramontin, Paulina Villanueva, and Lucca Volkman.

Special Mention: Jack Earley received MVP for Prosecuting Attorney and Giselle Groe received MVP for Defense Attorney during the evenings of their trials.  Outstanding work, students!

Congratulations to our students for a job well-done and thank you coaches for sharing your valuable time and expertise in the field of law!

Mariners Of The Month

At November and December assemblies, the following students were recognized for their excellence in following these School-wide Learning Expectations:

“St. Lawrence Martyr students BECOME independent and self-motivated.” (October, 2017):

Jantzen Ebreo (8th), Giselle Groe (7th), Reagan Takakawa (6th), Alexa Wollner (5th), Marcus Pirie (4th), Sydney Sellan (4th), Adrian Vilca (3rd), Luke Banfield (3rd), Michael Flink (3rd), Cate Cansino (3rd), Natalia Nelson (3rd), Brendan Rivas (2nd), Jake Albano (2nd), Connor Smith (2nd), Megan Shimabukuro (1st), Gavin Haynes (1st), Dylan Sheedy (1st), Cailey Bryant (K), Layla Joy Buncio (K), Noa Dagampat (K), Braxton Simmonds (K), and Sophia Gibbs (TK).

“St. Lawrence Martyr students BELONG by using their gifts and talents to better their community.” (November, 2017):

Alyssa Cansino (8th), Andrew Song (7th), Talan Holladay (6th), Aidan Morais (5th), Kendall McKechnie (4th), Lance Robert (4th), Nathalie Haynes (3rd), Juliette Ruiz (3rd), Carley Medina (3rd), Logan Lara (3rd), Benjamin Volchok (3rd), Mercury Cox (2nd), Christopher Camacho (2nd), Sophia SerpaKarthaus (2nd), Stella Koch (1st), Natalia Soebich (1st), Isabel Utpadel (1st), Delaney Sheedy (K), Valentina Schneider (K), Sophia Kavulich (K), Michael Diaz (K), Reed Lyons (TK), and Fiona Bellante (TK).

Way to go students! Thank you for making it a priority to become self-starters and in using your gifts to better the community! We are proud of you!!

Sports News

Football - Congratulations to our varsity football team for a terrific season under the helm of coaches, DeLuca, Montoya and Sellan. Our varsity team finished 2nd in the South Bay league and made it into the top brackett of the CYO play-offs. They ended the season 6-2. 

Cross-Country News from our cross-country coach, Coach Vicario:

“On Friday, November 10th thirty-nine schools sent their cross country athletes to compete in the CYO Cross Country Championship at Hollydale Park.

138 Girls competed in the 3rd & 4th grade course where 3 from SLM (K. McKechnie, M. Viera, A. Olderwurtel) finished in the top 10 overall propelling our girls team to place First Overall in the Championship Meet. Similarly, 155 Boys competed in the 3rd & 4th grade course where 1 from SLM (A. Hayes) finished in the top 10 overall helping the boys to a Fourth Overall place at the Championship Meet.

Today at assembly we presented Mrs Kaiser with the Girls Championship Plaque to hang alongside the Girls and Boys Invitational 2nd Place Plaques. Chloe Nunamaker was the winner of the Brooks Sneakers in the morning raffle and each athlete was recognized with a certificate of achievement. I couldn’t be more proud of all that they have accomplished these past few months.” ~ Coach Vicario

Congratulations SLM Cross-Country Team and THANK YOU, Coach Vicario, for your time and energy training our students!

Winter Sports Teams

Basketball -Boys and Girls Basketball teams have formed and practices have begun. We wish you the best of luck this season!!

Golf - The next CYO Golf Tournament is on Sunday, January 28th, 2018. It will be held in Long Beach at Heartwell Golf Course, 6700 E. Carson St., LB, CA. Tee times begin at 10 a.m. The fee for this tournament is $45 and will be billed to your Smart Tuition account. To register, email Mrs. Kaiser at diane.kaiser@stlm.org.

Coaches

Feel free to send updates on how the teams are performing to diane.kaiser@stlm.org. AND thank you for sharing your time and talent with our students! Our success is because of YOU!

Facebook Page

For more on “happenings” at SLM School, check out and like our Facebook page titled, St. Lawrence Martyr School - SLMS *Official Page*

Advent Season

As we are in the middle of the Advent Season, the busyness of our lives seems to pick up a bit. I found this wonderful resource that has helped me to slow down and contemplate the richness of our faith and to connect with our lord, Jesus. On the following Ignatian Spirituality site there are video reflections for Advent: https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/advent. I hope you’ll join me in taking a moment to reflect and pray.

Thank Yous

As we close this year, I want to thank you for your patience with me as I continue to grow in my position as principal. I am certainly not perfect, so your support and kindness have given me strength throughout the process. Thank you!

I’d also like to thank all of our parents who volunteer their time in making so many things possible.  Thank you to our librarians, art docents, health room nurses, parking lot patrol people, athletic team coaches, academic coaches for mock trial and decathlon, volunteers who set-up and tear-down during special events, those who help make costumes or backdrops, our fundraiser chairs, our room moms and our PTO reps. All of the wonderful functions and activities that we have for our students and parents would not be possible without your help. This is an amazing community to belong!

Finally, I wish you all a wonderful, safe, and joyful break.  May the hope that Jesus brings brighten and enliven your hearts and minds this Christmas and throughout the New Year!

Peace,
Mrs. Diane Kaiser

 

Angel Express | November 2017

Dear Parents,

Thanksgiving is only a few short weeks away, and we have much to be thankful for here at St. Lawrence Martyr School.  First of all, many thanks to Mrs. Romesser and her team (including Mr. Romesser) for organizing a fantastic Fun Run.  The weather was perfect for the run, especially after a few days of high temps.  As a reminder, if you haven't sent in your Fun Run funds please do so by this Thursday, November 9th.

More thanks goes to Mrs. Wynne and our dedicated student council members - Lauren Frisancho, Samantha Liu, Caelyn Morais, Drake McKechnie, Reilly Solheim, Colton Wimmer, Jantzen Ebreo, Giselle Groe, Daven Cornelio, Gabriella Lopez, Emily Tramontin, Gia Soriano, Hadley Hanson, Emily King, Auburn Thomas, Dominic Sellan, Jack Simmons, Lauren Dunne, Mason Tymick, Jeanyn Ebreo, Jaden Commandante, Camila Besada for organizing one of the best Octoberfest parties ever!  In addition, the students that participated in the Lip Sync contest are all very talented and were fun to watch, and the activities and food were terrific. Several parents and grandparents commented that it was great to see the students wearing respectful, sweet, and sometimes silly costumes.  I had a few others say, "Wow!  The students and staff really go all out when dressing up for Halloween!"   The staff and I are also grateful that the rain stayed at bay during the event!

All Saints Day

Last week, we celebrated two very important days in our liturgical year: All Saints and All Souls Day, November 1st and 2nd.  All Saints Day is the day we honor those who have led exemplary lives in following in the footsteps of Christ.  They were "real" people who had their own spiritual struggles and difficulties with faith and with human frailty.  The saints' personalities differed as much as their struggles here on earth; however, they lived their lives with a great amount of discipline in choosing to try to avoid sin and in choosing to serve those in need, even at the cost of their own suffering.  It is important to look to the lives of the saints as role models and to ask for their prayers for us. They are our greatest allies in helping us to become holy. There are many saints with whom I have become close to over the years. St. Anne, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Joseph, St. Paul, and St. Monica are a few of my favorite saints as I have sought intercessory prayers from them when difficulties have come about in my life.  I've included a link for you to learn more about The Solemnity of All Saints Day click here.  Please share information about this beautiful day with your children and encourage them to learn about and become friends with a saint or two.

All Souls Day

All Souls Day is the day we remember our loved ones who have died.  We believe that they have only died a physical death and that their souls live on.  One of the beauties of the Catholic Church is that we remain close to our loved ones even beyond death.  We continue to pray for them as they continue to pray for us.  I have included a video link here for you to learn more about this special day.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 25:1-13

This coming Sunday's gospel reading is a parable told by Jesus about 10 virgins who are waiting to meet the bridegroom at a wedding banquet.  The virgins, since they had a long wait, took lamps with them (the kind that require oil).  Jesus goes on to say that "five of the virgins were wise and the other five were foolish".  The foolish ones did not take extra oil to refuel their lamps, fell asleep and ran out of oil.  The other five were well-prepared and brought enough oil to keep their lamps going for the duration.  While the foolish virgins went off to purchase more oil, the bridegroom came and the virgins who were well-prepared entered into the wedding feast.  When the foolish virgins arrived wanting entrance into the feast, the bridegroom said to them, "Amen I say to you I do not know you."  Jesus goes on to say to his followers (and to us), "Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

It is not difficult to understand the main point of this parable.  It is to be prepared.  The bridegroom is Jesus, the wedding feast is heaven, and we are the virgins wishing to enter into the wedding feast. Jesus is telling us to prepare ourselves every moment of every day so that we, too, main gain eternal salvation and be witnesses’ of Christ so that others may also enter into the kingdom.  It is similar to the idea of an athlete preparing to compete in the Olympics.  Athletes would not wait until the last few days prior to the competition to train.  They would be honing their craft many years prior to the Olympics.  They would train and make daily choices in order to be in tip-top condition. We can think of ourselves as spiritually training for Heaven.  Through our words and actions we can practice virtues that lead us to holiness, such as,  Prudence , Temperance, Courage, Justice, Faith, Hope, and Charity.  In addition, to practicing these virtues, the small sacrifices (and sometimes large) that we make throughout our lives, as well as seeking reconciliation with one another and with God, help us to purify our souls. This spiritual training is not easy to do in a world that is counter-cultural to all that we believe as Catholic Christians.  That is why we need each other as community to lead one anther to that which is good and true.  Our children need us, too, to guide them through the faith journey and to be role models of how to train spiritually.  So as the wisdom of Jesus calls us to in this scripture passage, let us continue to prepare ourselves for the Kingdom of Heaven.

School News

Parent-Teacher Conferences

All families by now should have received confirmation of the date and time of your child or children’s conference.   All junior high students are highly encouraged to attend the conference with their parents.   

If you have filled out the meeting request form sent home in your family envelope a few weeks ago, but have not received a confirmation date and time, please contact Mrs. Richardson, our school secretary, at 310-316-3049 or catherine.richardson@stlm.org .

PTO Meeting

The next Parent-Teacher Organization Meeting is on November 14th , at 7 p.m.  Any parents interested in attending may do so.  Feel free to drop by at 7 p.m. in the school library.

Restaurant Night

Our first restaurant night of the year is this coming Monday, November 13 th , at Rock & Brews.  Restaurant Nights are always a popular event for all families so you don’t want to miss this; it’s also a super easy way to raise funds for the school.  15% of all proceeds will be donated to SLM School.  A Rock & Brews flyer/coupon was sent home in the family envelope this past Tuesday.  The flyer/coupon must be handed to the server in order for the funds to be allocated to our school.  (Note that the flyer has the incorrect date.  The correct date of the fundraiser is November 13th.)  Thank you for supporting our school!!

Thanksgiving Drive

The school’s Annual Thanksgiving Drive is underway.  Your child received a food item to bring to school any time between now and Wednesday, November 15th .  The students may leave their items in their classrooms.  This food drive goes toward the needy in our community and all food collected will be distributed out of the St. Lawrence Martyr Food Pantry during the week of Thanksgiving.

Veteran's Day

This coming Saturday, November 11th , is Veteran’s Day.  The school will be closed on Friday, November 10th , in honor of those who have served our country.  Please join me and the SLM faculty and staff in taking a few moments this weekend to pray for our country and to express gratitude for all those who have and continue to serve our nation.

SLM Teachers

Did you know that our teachers go through at least two formal observations per year and several informal walk-throughs?  Most of the faculty had their first observation this past October.  Here are just a few of the positive remarks given:

  • Group investigation work before introducing the topic was a great way to get the students excited about the lesson.
  • The teacher is well-prepared with everything set up prior to the start of class.
  • Superb patience shown with all students and wonderful positive reinforcement given when deserved.  (This is also an excellent strategy for getting other less cooperative students on board.)
  • The teacher incorporated Christian principles by redirect students to behavior of kindness toward one another.
  • Teacher challenged the students to use “high-level” thinking by directing students to “change the question” to streamline looking up the information.  
  • Students are expected to come in quietly and begin responding to the “Do Now” prompt (Great procedure!)
  • All students knew what they were to be doing at all times (there was no confusion) as your instructions were very clear – notebooks out, pens, pencils ready.
  • Excellent hands-on activity.  (Cut out paper copies of bones and put them together to create organism.  Then draw a picture of what you think the organism looked like.)
  • Thoroughly models the learning activity to be completed
  • Retold the story to check for understanding
  • Verbal, written, and kinesthetic modalities used to teach the lesson
  • The instructional aide was used appropriately for pre-instruction and during instruction
  • Excellent positive feedback to students that speaks to specific skills.
  • Loved the bathroom signal.
  • Excellent use of parent helpers.
  • Great system for randomly calling on students to participate which keeps them engaged and accountable.
  • Students were given a choice to use the method of factoring that they liked best.
  • Great pointing out and correcting common issues with factoring.
  • Great explanation of various math terms.

We are very thankful for our teachers for the care and dedication they give toward educating the SLM students!

Other Information

Athletic Coaches

We’d love to share news about how our teams competed.  Please send any information you have to wrap up the Fall Season to diane.kaiser@stlm.org

Mock Trial Team

Won their first round this past Monday.  Their second round competition is this coming Monday, November 13th.  Full details will be sent in a separate email.  Please keep the team in your prayers!

Fun Run Funds

Please turn in your Fun Run pledges by tomorrow, Thursday, November 9th.  They may be brought to the school front office.  Thank you!!

Many thanks to you, our parents, for your continued support in educating the SLM students!

Blessings,
Mrs. Kaiser 

Angel Express | October 2017

Dear Parents,

I write this newsletter from Running Springs (just below Big Bear) at the Pali Institute. I’ve joined our sixth grade class at outdoor school and am enjoying watching them engage in science lessons and activities, such as Geology & Engineering (formation of rocks, layers of earth, plate tectonics, causes of earthquakes and designing model structures to be tested against an earthquake simulator), Weather (patterns and tools to make predictions), 21st Century Energy Dilemmas (renewable and nonrenewable resources and how to be a conscious consumer), Forest Navigation (compass and coordinates), as well as a night hike to learn about nocturnal animals (their environment and survival tactics). The weather in this part of California is gorgeous with day temperatures in the mid-sixties, beautiful blue skies above and lots of greenery below. The biggest joy for me, though, is seeing how respectful our students behave toward their outdoor school teachers and how caring they are toward their peers. At my exit interview with a Pali Institute staff member, I was told that our students are some of the best behaved they’ve ever worked with. I know this to be true as our SLM students have a great reputation for their behavior at outings such as these! Thank you for raising such great kids!!

On another, less peaceful note, two Sundays ago, we heard of the terrible tragedy that occurred in Las Vegas. I’m sure there is not one of us who has not spent time reflecting on the incident. Those sweet, innocent lives that were senselessly taken are still fresh on my mind - particularly the St. John Fisher parent, Lisa Patterson, mother of three children (who happened to be attending the concert with a very close friend of mine) as well as the young woman from South High School, Christiana Duarte, who has relatives that attend our school. I can’t help but wonder why so many incidents such as this are occurring in our country today. 

Although the founding of America separates church and state, our country’s forefathers were influenced by Christian ideas and, thus the founding of America was deeply rooted in Christian moral truths. Even the verbiage in many of the United State’s founding documents are unique to Christianity. In addition, there are 68 references to God in the U.S. code, such as, anyone who swears into any of the branches of the armed forces or into office as a justice or a judge must conclude with the words “So help me God.” The American Pledge of Allegiance states that we are “...one Nation under God…” and our national motto is “In God We Trust.” However, it seems that more and more society is forgetting those basic principles that made up the fabric of our nation. The landscape of our culture is changing and, in my opinion, I feel this is due to society moving away from God and Faith as central to the formation of each person. 

There was a time, not long ago, where attending religious services on Sundays and daily prayer at home were a normal part of most American families’ lives. In rearing children, parents made it a high priority to lead their children closer to God. It is without a doubt that in the past and now, Catholic schools have provided the environment for students to learn Christian moral values and deepen their faith in God, which leads to compassion for and service to others. However, while Catholic schools have “some” influence in rearing children toward leading better, more God-centered lives, it is the home-life that holds the greatest influence. In other words, teachers may teach about God and open a child’s heart to faith, but it takes root and is nourished by word and deed in their homes, especially by their parents. Our greatest purpose as parents is to model Christian deeds, speak God’s wisdom to our children, and care for their little souls.

In the gospel reading this coming weekend, we hear the story of The Parable of the Wedding Feast. In summary, a king sends out invitations for a great feast that he will host for his son to be wed. Those invited, initially accept the invitation. When the second invitation goes out (which serves as reminder to the event), the guests ignore and dismiss the invitation. A third reminder goes out and the guests flatout reject the invitation. In this parable, the wedding feast is the kingdom of heaven. We all want to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but what is the cost? What must we do to enter? Share our goods with those less fortunate, be kind to our enemies, forgive those who have wronged us, show compassion to the downtrodden, etc. In addition, to care for our souls we attend Mass, receive and partake in the sacraments, go to confession, pray daily. So we initially accept the invitation to the Kingdom of Heaven, because who would not want that...but often times when the “second” and “third” invitation arrives, we find our lives too busy or practicing faith too inconvenient or perhaps we feel that it is not relevant to our lives at present. We know however, that our lives on earth are very short compared to eternal time and what we do here on earth matters in the ever after.

Society can no longer afford to put aside or be inconvenienced with actions that nourish our souls and unite us with God, who longs for peace in our hearts and peace in the world. We must begin to put God back into our daily lives and we absolutely must make it our priority to care for the souls of our children by being good stewards of the faith through word and action. Please continue to pray with me that the hearts of our families, our communities, our nation and of all the faithful may be passionately driven toward a renewed sense of urgency in bringing God’s presence in the world in word and deed. We can change the movement toward a world without God by the small things we do each day within our family units. Let’s do this!

More News:

PROGRESS REPORTS:

Progress reports for students in 3rd through 8th grade will be posted on School Speak on Thursday, October 12th, by 5 p.m. For our TK - 2nd grade students, your child’s teacher will be in touch with you to indicate when those will be sent home.

MARINERS OF THE MONTH:

Each month our students are directed toward learning and living out one of the School-wide Learning Expectations (SLEs). The SLEs can be found in our School Calendar Handbook listed underneath each month. At the end of each month, their teachers choose students who have exhibited behaviors in alignment with the SLE. September’s SLE was “A St. Lawrence Martyr Student BELIEVES through understanding and living our Catholic faith. We are proud of the following students for living out this schoolwide norm:

Brook Banfield
Maggie Battle
Genevieve Bellante
Ava Brownlie
Caleb Burke
Arianna Ciuffoli
Devan Cornelio
Charles Cress
Isabelle DiLeva
Connor Guerreiro
Colin Hall
Olivia Higgins
Grayson Javier
Andrew Jensen
William Johnson
Peter Lyons
Abigail Martinez
Natalie Nilson
Rachel Oppenheim
Megan Reynolds
Sadie Smith
Reagan Vieira

Congratulations students! Well-done!!

SLM Sports:

Our Fall team sports are underway. Coaches please send information to post in the Angel Express!

SWIM:

We have results from our first ever swim meet. Here they are in a message from our swim coaches (parents - Mr. Ciuffoli and Mr. Curry):

Swimmers and Parents,
Thanks for participating to the first SLM Swim Meet ever!
Coach Curry and I are so proud of the kids, they all had a great performance, they kept cheering their teammates, they were extremely focused with lots of positive energy, always on time and ready to race at the starting block.
Some of our kids placed in top 12th overall and earned a medal, which we will distribute during next swim practice on Friday.
Bailey Solheim: 2nd 50 Breast, 4th 50 Back, 6th 50 Free, 6th 50 Fly
Jake Smith: 10th 50 Free
Jack O’Shaughnessy: 1st 50 Back, 1st 50 Fly, 2nd 50 Free, 2nd 50 Breast
Liam Curry: 6th 50 Fly, 9th 50 Free
Davide Ciuffoli: 1st 50 Back, 3rd 50 Breast, 4th 100 IM, 5th 50 Free
Ryan Oldewurtel: 8th 50 Breast, 11th 50 Free, 11th 50 Back
Reiley Solheim: 5th 50 Back, 6th 50 Free, 6th 50 Fly, 8th 50 Breast

Congratulations to all!!!

Go SLM!!!

GOLF:

Two students participated in their first CYO golf tournament this past Sunday -- Isabelle DiLeva (4th gr.) and Matthew Kaiser (6th gr.) Great effort to you both! We look forward to more SLM students participating in the golf tournaments.

UPDATES ON FOOTBALL, VOLLEYBALL AND CROSS-COUNTRY will be sent soon in a separate e-mail.

SLM MOCK TRIAL TEAM:

The SLM Mock Trial Team and coaches have been working around the clock to prepare for the competition. Keep up the excellent work and dedication, students! (Dates of the competition to be announced soon!)

Finally, please check School Speak frequently for more news and updates. 

Thank you for your continued support and generosity of time and treasure to our school. It is the partnership between parents and staff that help our students to thrive!

Blessings,

Mrs. Kaiser

Angel Express | September 2017

Dear Parents,

After the flurry of busyness these first few weeks of school, we are leveling-out and sailing along. Let’s hope the sailing ahead is smooth!

I’ll be sending out an Angel Express every few weeks to keep you on top of school happenings. Here’s the latest:

Back-To-School Night

There are two evenings for Back-to-School Night. The first evening is for parents of students in grades TK – 5 and the second evening is for parents of students in grades 6 – 8. Both evenings begin at 6 p.m. and will be held in the church building. The dates are the following:

Wednesday, September 13th – Grades TK – 5
Thursday, September 14th – Grades 6 – 8

Looking forward to seeing all of our parents at Back-to-School Night!

The 19th Annual Fun Run

The 19th Annual Fun Run will be held on October 27th. Our kindergarten teacher, Ms. Klute, thought of the theme “Go for the Gold” and students have been encouraged to draw a picture of the theme. The entire student body will then vote on a design and its image will be put on our Fun Run t-shirts. Additionally, students are encouraged to get pledges for their Fun Run laps from family members and friends. More information on this is forthcoming.

Finally, thank you to our Fun Run Chairperson, Mrs. Sharon Romesser, for making this event happen. If you’re interested in volunteering for the Fun Run, please contact Sharon at sharon.romesser@stlm.org.

The 39th Annual Msgr. Michael Lenihan Memorial Golf Tournament

Calling golfers of all levels to sign up for the SLM Golf Tournament to be held on Friday, October 6th, 2017, at Los Verdes Golf Course. This year’s golf tournament chairs are SLM parents, Brian Albano and Phil Banfield. The golf committee has, for several years, raised lots of money for the school and we are grateful for their efforts. Please support the school and use this link to sign up or to get more information: http://www.slmgolftournament.com/

Volunteers

There are many ways to make up the required 40 parent service hours. There are fundraisers, such as the Fun Run and the Mariner Main Event that need volunteers and the school programs need Art docents, library docents, carpool supervisors, playground supervisors, etc. The quickest way to sign up is to log onto School Speak and enter your name under the area that you wish to volunteer. The link to the volunteer calendar is located on the left hand side of the page; scroll down to ‘Volunteer Calendar’, click and sign up. A chairperson or school rep will contact you with more details.

VIRTUS Certification And Fingerprinting For Volunteers

All volunteers must be VIRTUS certified. Additionally, any volunteer, such as a sports coach, who will be working without a chairperson coordinator or an SLM staff member, must be fingerprinted. St. Lawrence Martyr is conducting a VIRTUS certification session and St. James VIRTUS certification and fingerprinting sessions on the following days and times:

  • Protecting God’s Children for Adults (Original Class) from 6-9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27 th in the St. Patrick and Francis rooms. Contact the parish center at 310-540-0329 to sign up.
  • Keeping the Promise Alive (Recertification) - Tuesday, September 19, 6-7:30 PM in Kavanagh Hall. Call 310-372-5228 to register.
  • Protecting God’s Children (Original Class) - Saturday, September 30, 12-3PM in Kavanagh Hall. Call 310-372-5228 to register.
  • Fingerprinting: September 14 and September 26, both 12:00PM - 7:20PM at the school (O’Gorman Center) 4625 Garnet St. Call 310-371- 0416 to register.

Yum Club

Our new vendor for hot lunches is Yum Club. You may sign up to order lunches at this site: https://yumclub.boonli.com/login. Please know that families must order lunches by 2 p.m. the day prior to the date of receipt. Parents may also choose to have their child bring a lunch from home. If any issues arise with Yum Club, families must contact Yum Club directly and not St. Lawrence Martyr School. Thank you!

Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) Meetings

PTO meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the school library. All parents are welcome (but not required) to attend. The next meeting is on October 10th.

Friday Mass

Students in grades 1 – 8 attend Mass each Friday from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Parents and other family members are welcome to join us. Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten students attend Mass on the first Fridays of each month.

Communications To The School

At present, most emails from parents come directly to me and while I enjoy communicating with our parent body, time does not permit me to respond as quickly as I’d like. Therefore, in the interest of time, please use the following directory of concerns and the contact person listed for a direct and much quicker response. Thank you! 

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More On Communication

In the spirit of charity, when communicating from parent to school or school to parent, it is our wish to assume that the best, most positive intentions between both parties are being made. There is not one among us who does not wish the best for the students and for each other. The missives shared or meeting discussions should be of graciousness toward one another, sharing points of view, and coming to a greater understanding of each other’s concerns.

In addition, it is important to keep information confidential. If you must share, it is our hope that your concern will be contained within the confines of family members (spouse, preferably, not children) and then directed to the source, i.e., teacher, athletic director, principal, etc. Otherwise what may be cause for little to no concern can often times transform into out of control rumors which may damage a teacher or other school member's reputation, as well as the reputation of the school itself.

Thank you for noting the responsible parties above. Please know that Mrs. Wynne and I understand very well the concerns parents have for their children and are here to speak with you should the need arise.

Sunday Gospel Reading Reflection

Matthew 18:21-35 (click here for the reading: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091717.cfm

This coming Sunday’s gospel reading is about forgiveness. Everyone makes mistakes and everyone behaves poorly. God knows this, yet forgives us over and over again. In this reading the king’s actions represent the benevolence and compassion of God. He forgives the servant’s debt. However, the servant does not show the same compassion to the one who has an outstanding debt to him.

The servant's unforgiving heart speaks of our own human frailty.  What keeps us from moving beyond our anger, weakness, ego and pain to be moved to forgive those who have wronged us?  It is the humble heart that can love unconditionally…that can forgive even under the most difficult of circumstances. Jesus’ last words on the cross are the greatest example: “Forgive them for they know not what they do” ~ Luke 23:34.  We are called to emulate our lord and show compassion and mercy to all we encounter.  Difficult it is, but what would our world be without forgiveness?

May your week be blessed. May we continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the U.S. who have been affected by the hurricanes and in Mexico by the earthquake. May we remember all those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. May God show mercy on us all and may our hearts continue to be open to the grace and love of Christ Jesus.

Blessings,
Mrs. Diane Kaiser