Tiger Talk! April 30, 2021

God Bless our Second Graders! Tomorrow our Second Grade class will receive the Sacrament of First Eucharist (First Holy Communion). They have been preparing with Ms. Lofink and are looking forward to this day. I had the privilege of hearing them practice “Jesus Has a Home in my Heart” this week with Mr. Colligan. I always say things happen for a reason. I was actually off on Monday but stopped by school at just the right time. The sun was shining. They were all sitting on the Kindergarten patio, socially distanced, with Mr. Colligan playing the guitar. It made my entire day. I was so happy to hear the song once before tomorrow, when I will inevitably cry as they sing it in church. To me, this is one of those little traditions and first rites of passage that I cherish about our school. My adult children sang that song, and it is at a time in our young children’s lives when they are the most faith-filled and in awe of our faith. That is one of the things I love best about my job.  Please keep them in your prayers tomorrow on their special day.


Congratulations and Thank You, Joni Kurylo! I am very pleased to announce that Joni was appointed to the Board of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Wilmington. I nominated her, and she filled out an application. That application was reviewed by the current board. After reviewing all applicants, Joni was selected to represent the Catholic schools in our diocese. I am so proud to have one of our own parents on this board. I have wanted that for years. Our Board Liaison for this school is my friend, Dr. Valerie Denton. I had never met Dr. Denton until she introduced herself to me and asked to come see the school, meet our staff, say hello to the children, and participate in some way to support our school community. That was the first time in my 20 years here that I was aware of a board member reaching out to actually take time to get to know his/her school. We instantly became friends. She is a wonderful woman with many gifts and talents. She is one of the sweetest people I know. She came to Barnes and Noble Nights, our food fundraisers, and even worked the festival with me in the money room. Dr. Denton reached out this year to me about trying to get a more diverse board. Our Board of Catholic Schools is comprised almost entirely of Caucasian members. She and I agreed that our board should better reflect our school. I began speaking to a few parents here at school and invited them to apply. Father Wrightson and I nominated them, and the rest is history now. Joni is a very humble woman, but she will bring many gifts to this board. I am excited to have one of our parents representing us and speaking on behalf of our schools in a much broader picture. The mission of the Board of Catholic Schools is “to promote the educational ministry of the diocese as articulated by the bishop and advise and assist the bishop and superintendent of schools with related policy issues. The board conducts its business in the spirit of collaboration with and service to the pastors, school administrators, teachers and parents/guardians for the benefit of the children.” They work as a collaborative board and discuss issues affecting our schools and parishes with the goal of assisting Dr. Louis DeAngelo who relays their deliberations to Bishop Malooly. I, like Bishop Malooly and Dr. DeAngelo, am very grateful for their input.

Thank you to Jeanette Perez! Thank you to Ms. Perez, mother of Phu Nguyen in Seventh Grade. Phu’s mother donated enough mulch to cover our school, rectory, and church flower beds. Mulch arrived on Earth Day which was nice and also very timely. Our Cub Scouts used it this past weekend to surround our statue of the Blessed Mother with flowers on the corner of 10th and DuPont Streets.


Our baby chicks have hatched! This week, our students were able to participate in a fun science activity/observation. Mrs. Achenbach, our middle school science teacher, arranged for us to participate in the University of Delaware’s 4H Embryology Project. We have happy and healthy baby blue hens in our science lab. They are so precious and have brought a lot of joy to our students. Several students were able to observe the actual hatching process. Follow us on Facebook for photos of this and our daily activities; St. Anthony of Padua Grade School Families, Alumni & Friends.


Order Spring Photos Today! Spring photos were taken by Tina Gwynn today. She always does a fantastic job. Be sure to order online quickly, as there is only a small window of opportunity to order. The information was sent home via School Messenger. Tina’s website is www.kgwynnphoto.com All orders are made by parents, directly through the website, and independent of our school office.


Renaissance Testing! Our last benchmark testing window for this year will be May 17th through May 27th. Please be sure that your child gets a good night’s rest, eats a good breakfast, and arrives for school on time. This last testing cycle is very helpful. It will be able to show us your student’s individual growth over the course of this school year. There will be no makeup testing this time.


Calendar Planning for 2021-2022: I have excellent news. For the first time in my 10 years as principal, our school calendar aligns perfectly with the diocesan calendar. We will be able to start and end at the same time as our other schools, and we will have a full Easter break and Christmas break. The calendar is being finalized now and will be submitted for approval by May 30th. You can expect to receive it by the last day of this school year. For planning purposes, you can plan for our first student day to be August 30th. More details will follow.


8Th Grade Graduation: Graduation will be held in our church and will be by parent invitation only. We have operated safely all year and have not held any gatherings. To be consistent and proceed with an abundance of caution, there will be no gathering after the ceremony. We will have our own internal classroom party and order lunch for the students. Therefore, 8th Grade parents can plan to be done by 7:30 at the latest.


Kindergarten Graduation: More details will follow. This will be a brief outdoor safe-distanced ceremony in the Kindergarten courtyard, close to their regular dismissal time. Stay tuned for information from your child’s teacher.


Academic Scholarship Recipients: Congratulations to the following students for receiving academic scholarships to high school, based on their Diocesan High School Placement Test scores: Liam Hannan, Richard Jakotowicz III, Andres Lorenzo, Hannah McGuigan, and Gabriel Welsh. For such a small class, we were so pleasantly surprised and proud of them for all of their hard work this year. It certainly “paid” off. I am sure this entire class will accomplish great things.  I could not be more proud of all of them.


The month of May: May is always my favorite time of year. I love the Blessed Mother and pray to her constantly. May is one of the months where we traditionally honor Mary in our school. We will begin this month with First Holy Communion. Typically we would have a large May Procession in the middle of May. It is my favorite day. Our students typically line up and process reverently up to the church and we fill the church and pray as an entire school community. I am sad that we will not be able to do this in May. This year, we will be having schoolwide recognition of Mary, over the PA system and in individual classrooms. During the month of May, feel free to send in any fresh flowers. We will have a smaller statue of Mary in the main lobby for all to appreciate and revere.  Feel free to let your children pick flowers (your own of course) and bring them to school for the lobby prayer table.

Yesterday I mailed home a prayer card to each virtual student. Look for that in the mail. It is a small visual representation of the Rosary, containing elevated dots to pray along with. This will be nice for the children to use at home when their class prays the Rosary, if they do not have their Rosary on hand. If any virtual families wish to have a blessed student Rosary, please email Mrs. Kee at lkee@stanthonynet.org and you can stop by to pick one up in the lobby.

I can’t believe I am typing this, but the final school year Tiger Talk! will be May 14th. After that, I will do more regular communications via School Messenger with timely information about upcoming events. This has been a very unique year for sure. Thank you for staying with us on this mission of Catholic education. Our students have done so well this year considering all of the worldly disruptions and “noise.” I believe you made an excellent choice for your child’s education this year, and I hope you feel the same way.


Springtime blessings,

Mrs. White


“Have the courage to be truly happy.” ~ Pope Francis