January 15, 2021
Happy New Year to everyone! I hope this email finds everyone happy, healthy, and well. As we begin Ordinary Time in our liturgical calendar, I think it is safe to say there is nothing “ordinary” about the times we are living in right now. I was reminded last week at Mass of the very wise advice of our patron saint, St. Francis de Sales. “Do ordinary things extraordinarily well and with great love.” As I reflected on this quote, my entire staff came to mind. This fantastic group of very talented and caring people decided to spend their lives in the service of God and others. Despite a pandemic, family jobs lost, personal tragedies, sickness and loss, and having a 5% pay reduction in their salaries, everyone still comes to school each day smiling and ready to get to work. They collaborate and learn from each other. Never, in my 20 years here, has there been a time of such love and support shown for our students and for the common good of our parish school community.
When you enter our building, you are welcomed like family. We are a team. Our enrollment is stronger, because the word has gotten out. We currently have a waiting list in 4 grades (partly due to us limiting class size for safe distancing). I ask that you help us spread the good news of our school and of Catholic education. As we plan for next school year, I reflect once again on our school mission. We paid close attention this year to specific words in that mission; “safe haven,” “compassion,” “respect,” “support,” and “nurturing.” I believe we have done those ordinary things extraordinarily well. Our teachers are “called to serve” and have answered that call. I thank them once again for their dedication. They make my job so much easier!
Catholic Schools Week – Catholic Schools Week will be celebrated the week of January 31st. Once again, some traditions will have to be altered. We have a new theme for Catholic Schools Week this year. It is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” We will try to plan some activities around that new theme. For the “Service” part of the new theme, we would still like to do a canned food drive this week. Typically we use that donation as admission to our parents versus students volleyball game; a tradition for 8th Grade students. We will sadly be unable to host a volleyball game, but we do have a back-up plan. If you are an 8th grade parent, please try to be available on Friday, February 5th at 2pm. More details will follow. Please feel free to start sending in canned goods from now until February 5th.
Celebration – On Saturday, January 9th, I had the joy and honor of celebrating Mateo Ahumada’s last chemotherapy with his family. Mateo is a former student (current Salesianum student) who has battled leukemia for three years. It was a wonderful day, with many St. Anthony friends and staff stopping by for a car parade. Mateo made the news on ABC, WDEL, and the Dialog. Mateo was my son Christopher’s church buddy here. When Mateo was diagnosed, Chris went to visit and offer support and encouragement. The two became friends. As God (not luck) would have it, both boys ended up with the same nurse. Nurse Blake was able to be there on Saturday and hand Mateo his last chemo pill. God is good! Having gone through a cancer diagnosis and treatment with my son, I know that cancer is something that can make many that are touched by it loose their faith and their hope. But I do believe in having hope, always staying positive, finding the bright side of life, and praying. This is a big beautiful world. We have to see past ourselves and look at all of our blessings. There are many!
I know these times continue to be extremely challenging for a lot of people. I am aware of multiple job losses and personal family losses that our school and parish community are experiencing. Just know that our school family is always here for you. I am always here for you. We have a strong prayer group that I believe is capable of miracles. Continue to be kind to each other. Everyone is battling something.
SCHOOL IS CLOSED MONDAY – School will be closed this upcoming Monday, January 18th, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School will resume Tuesday, January 19th.
Re-registration will open soon – We are confirming tuition rates this week. It is imperative that you re-register as soon as paperwork comes home. We will be filling spots on a first come, first serve basis. Priority will ONLY be given to current students for one week, so please return your forms immediately. We currently do have new potential families waiting. There is a risk that your child’s spot could be filled, as we plan to re-open with our current social distancing precautions in place. Again, forms can be sent electronically and a credit card payment can be made by phone.
Lunch Menu reminder – We really need your help with lunch menus. We MUST have payment attached to lunch orders. Please DO NOT send in a lunch menu without the payment included. Serving lunch here daily is a courtesy, and this is not a program that ever makes money. It takes a loss which we are willing to assume in an effort to keep cost low. I personally went through the menus this month, and it is a bookkeeping nightmare. Names are not on envelopes. Payments are not attached. We then have to copy and send the menu back to families to request payment. PLEASE follow the directions so we can continue to provide this service. If you do not have cash or a check to attach, you may call the office (the same morning) and give a credit card over the phone.
Welcome Back, Mrs. Jill Orensky! We are so happy that Mrs. Orensky has returned to teach physical education. During her healing, she attended several workshops and professional development opportunities. She returned with new equipment and fresh new (pandemic specific) ideas.
With Sympathy – Please keep Mr. John McMillan in your prayers. Mr. McMillan’s mother passed away recently and services were held this past weekend. We extend our love, prayers, and condolences to Mr. McMillan. He works tirelessly to keep us up and running and has been amazing since all of this craziness started in March 2020. Because he was prepared and proactive, our students never missed a beat. Virtual learning started on day one. For that reason, there was really no transition necessary to provide in-person and virtual options to our families. We thank John for his diligence and work ethic. We hope his cherished memories of his mother will help him during this grieving process. Losing a parent is never easy. It is like losing a part of your heart.
Mass for Life – Join our diocese and Bishop Malooly in prayer on January 29th at 10:00 A.M. Go to www.YouTube.com/DioceseofWilm for the livestream option or visit cdow.org for more details.
Water Refill Stations are coming soon – Prior to the Christmas break we ordered automatic water refill stations to replace our 3 water fountains that were disconnected due to COVID 19. We hope to have them installed soon. This is being done by National HVAC, which takes care of all of our HVAC needs. More details will follow. We hope to save you money on the purchase of water bottles very soon.
Thank you for keeping us safe! I want to take a minute to thank all of our parents for being so honest and forthright with COVID 19. It is touching all families. No matter how careful we are, we are bound to be exposed to someone with COVID 19. Thank you for notifying Mrs. Russell when this happens and notifying other families you have been in contact with outside of school. In order for us to remain open, we have to stay focused on this together. We still remain in safe cohorts here. Children stay in their classrooms, and teachers rotate. We do not mix classes. Please reconsider play dates and carpooling. Keep masks on and open all car windows if carpooling is an absolute necessity. We have windows open all day in school. Our heat is on full-strength, but fresh air is circulating. Keep screening your children! Our school nurse, Mrs. Russell, received her first of 2 two vaccinations on Tuesday night. Our entire staff should be vaccinated at some point in the next month. We continue to have monthly COVID 19 testing for all faculty and staff. We are all doing our part, and that is evident by our numbers. I hope and pray that it stays that way.
Stay well and be safe!
“Health is one of the most valuable gifts desired by all . . . The fathers of the Church used to refer to Christ and His work of salvation with the title ‘Christus medicus.’ He is the Good Shepherd who cares for the wounded sheep and comforts the sick.” ~ Pope Francis