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!
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:
Congratulations students! Well-done!!
Our Fall team sports are underway. Coaches please send information to post in the Angel Express!
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!!!
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!