"Laborare est orare." ("To work is to pray.") Latin motto derived from the Rule of Benedict monks. Now here is a quote to ponder on those "hard to get out of bed" mornings.

 

IMPORTANT BUSINESS

Thanks to everyone who attended our Open School Night on Monday, September 9th. Here are some of the highlights:
 
1. Kevin Vallerie, School Board President, spoke on our new Academy school model and the different board committees that you are invited to join. The open committees include the Marketing/Enrollment Committee chaired by Kathryn Lupoli, the Catholic Identity Committee chaired by Mara Fleming, the Facilities Committee chaired by Father Reggie, the Academy Parent Association Committee and Fundraising Committee chaired by Clara Taveras, and the Strategic Planning Committee chaired by Kevin Vallerie. For the continued success of our school, we need your talents and help on these committees. Please see either Kevin or the Committee Chair if you can help.
 
2. Clara Taveras then told the story of how when she first came to our school with her family, they did not know any other families, but through volunteering at our school and helping at school events she and her husband, Gerry, have met and made life-long friendships. Clara also spoke on bringing back the Parent Association which will have its first meeting on Wednesday, September 25th at 7:00 p.m. in Mrs. Rooney's religion room. All are welcome and all are needed!
 
3. Rob Benedetto, our school's AD (Athletic Director), next described the range of different athletic activities and how to get your child involved in one of our sports programs.
 
4. I spoke on how this year we are combining our long and proud school tradition and our new cutting edge school initiatives such as our commitment to Personalized Learning, how we are incorporating technology in our classrooms, on our new middle school STEAM program, and the benefits of our commitment to the multi-grade model.
 
5. I also spoke about the need for every family to give 20 hours of service to our school this year to meet the fundraising goal for the year. You can do this in a very wide variety of ways:
 
a.Volunteering at school
b. Serving on a committee
c. Coaching a sports team
d. Helping at a school activity
e. Working your shift at the Something Special Store
f. Attending a school meeting
 
6. The parents then spent the majority of the evening visiting the classrooms and learning about teacher procedures, curriculum information, and classroom expectations. All and all, it was a wonderful start to our school year.
 
 
EASY FUNDRAISER: 
Halloween fundraiser! Parents are collecting gently used Halloween costumes to benefit OLF. The costume sale will take place at the school on October 5th between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. This will be advertised to the public. So dust off your old costumes and consider donating them to the fundraiser. Any questions or if you would like to help out. Please reach out to Tina Stapkowski at Stapkowski@optonline.net.
 
YEARBOOK: 
Speaking of volunteers: We are looking for a new parent to take over the role of Yearbook coordinator. Ms. Becky Gammardella has agreed to be the faculty point person. Please let me know if you are interested.
 

ENRICHMENT

MUSIC:
We are very fortunate to have at Fatima a strong academic and sports program, but also a strong music program. Mara Fleming in a few short weeks has transformed our music program and brought the beautiful singing of our children's choir to our weekly Mass. In addition to Mara's chorus program, we offer two other music programs.
 
On Wednesday, September 11th, Mr. C and friends gave a brief concert to our grade three through eighth-grade students and he described his Tuesday afternoon band program. Students are offered lessons on a range of instruments including saxophone, flute, trumpet and snare drums. If you are interested in your child learning a band instrument at school this year his flyer is in the office
 
On Tuesday, September 17th Andrew Knoeble gave a concert for our Pre-K through Third-grade students. Andrew works for Music for Kids and they offer violin, guitar, or piano lessons to our primary students. If you are interested in this program for your primary child, registration information is in the office
 
CHESS: 
Coach Dan has started his fall Chess team practices on Tuesdays for grades first through fourth, and on Friday for grades fifth through eighth. This is another great learning opportunity for our students.
 
CROSS COUNTRY:
Also, Cross-Country practice began on September 18th for all interested 5th-8th-graders. Yea!
Basketball practices are starting soon. Please contact Mr. Rob ASAP if you have not yet signed up your 3rd through 8th-grade child to play.
 

HIGH SCHOOL

Fall means it is Catholic High School recruiting season. You as parents are blessed in that we have happy and successful Fatima graduates attending a number of local Fairfield Catholic high schools. This week Lauralton Hall and Fairfield Prep guidance counselors were here presenting their respective high schools to our 8th-grade students. Mrs. Galasso has also arranged for St. Joe's High School to be here on September 30, Immaculate High School to be here on October 7, and Notre Dame High School to be here on October 10. All these high schools are scheduling October Open Houses. Please visit their websites to see the dates and times.
 
Also, at a Coffee with the Principal last spring, several parents wondered about any high school fairs to learn more of their options after Fatima. I have spoken to St. Aloysius School and they have invited any 7th and 8th-grade Fatima parents who are interested to attend their high school fair on September 27th. Local Catholic high schools attending include Fairfield Prep, Lauralton Hall, St. Joseph, and Notre Dame High plus a number of private high schools. The fair is from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. and just call St. Aloysius at 203-966-0786 if you are interested in attending.
 

HOUSEKEEPING

SUPPORTING OUR TEACHERS: 
We are creating a volunteer teacher support team this year. We need your help in our S.T.E.A.M. room, art room, and primary classrooms and during recess. Your role will be supporting the teaching staff and/or monitoring student activities. Do you have ninety minutes of time, or do you know someone, who has ninety minutes of time on a weekly basis to volunteer at our school? No experience is necessary and the schedule and hours are flexible. Just contact the school office.
 
REMINDER: 
As the weather is starting to get a little colder, please make sure your family name is written on all coats and your child's fleece jacket. Once they are in the Lost and Found, they all start to look the same!
 
FYI:
I am away at a Principal's meeting next Thursday and Friday, September 26 and September 27. Please don't have any fun without me!
 
 
"Shout Out I"
Mara Fleming. Ms. Fleming as you know is our school's music teacher this year and continues as the Parish's Youth Group Director. She has in a few short weeks transformed our music singing program with her enthusiasm and energy! In addition, Ms. Fleming has brought Theatre Week to us with the delightful and fun show "Pied Piper West Show" which will take place tonight at 7:00 p.m. in the gym. It is a treat! Ms. Fleming also spends time with her passion as the Director of the famous Primary House, "Pep Squad." In addition, Mrs. Fleming serves on our school board and is the Chair of our Catholic Identity Committee. Finally, she and Liz Carbin have found the time to plan a Fatima parent adult Halloween Party called "Monster Mash" on October 26at the Trackside Youth Center. More details to follow. What does Ms. Fleming do in her free time? Oh yes, Mara and Michael are the proud parents of the five wonderful children known affectionately as the "Fleming Tribe." Thank you, Mara, for all you bring to our School!

COMING EVENTS:
September 20 - The Pied Piper's Wild West Show play at 7:00 p.m.
September 25 - First Academy Parent Association meeting at 7:00 p.m.
September 30 - St. Joe's High School here presenting to our 8th-graders
Coaches meeting at 7:00 p.m.
October 1- First day of Sodality
October 3- Children's Choir
October 5 - Halloween Costume sale in the school lobby
between 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
October 4 - First Day of Children of Mary
October 6 - Grades 7/8 selling Bake Goods at the 9:00 Mass
October 7 - Immaculate High School here to speak with our 8th-graders
October 8 - School Board Meeting
October 10 - Living Rosary in the Church
Notre Dame High School here presenting to our 8th-graders
October 14 - No School for Columbus Day
October 15 - Lifetouch here for individual pictures
October 16 - Lifetouch here for group pictures
October 19 - Family Halloween Bingo
October 25 - Catholic Schools Walkathon
October 25 - K-8 Halloween Costume Dance
October 26 - Community Parent Halloween Party
October 31 - Halloween
November 1 - Last day of fall uniforms
November 4 - First day of winter uniforms
November 3 - Grade 6 selling Bake Goods at 9:00 Mass
November 5 - Professional Development for teachers
November 8 - Veterans' Day Assembly
November 9 - Youth ministry trip to NY Wolf Conservation Center
November 12 - School BOE meeting
November 12 through November 19th - Pie sale
November 12 - CPR training for Sodality youth
November 14 - 11:30 Dismissal for Parent-Teacher Conferences
November 15 - 11:30 Dismissal for Parent-Teacher Conferences
November 16 - International Family Night Dinner
November 28/29 - Thanksgiving Break
December 2 through December 19 - Christmas Ornament Sale*
December 2-19 - Collecting for Malta House
December 2-19 8th-grade candy gram sale
 
And Finally, something very special:
Over the summer, Vic Ugolyn sent me this amazing poem written by his son, Tyler when Tyler was an 8th-grade student at Our Lady of Fatima School. Vic said in the letter, "The young man he grew up to be thanks in many important ways to the life education and faith values he was fortunate to have received while a student at Fatima. His love of God and God's love of him."

As you all know, Tyler tragically lost his life on 9/11. Vic Ugolyn said that he never understood Tyler's reference to a rose in the poem. Vic Ugolyn wrote that then NYC Mayor Giuliani invited his family to attend the initial dedication ceremony for the 9/11 Memorial. The Mayor wrote in his invitation letter that each family was being asked to place a single rose in memory of their loved ones at the memorial site.

Here is fourteen years old Tyler's beautiful poem as we remember in a special way this month Tyler, and all those who lost their lives on 9/11:

"FAITH
Painted rose,
Of your memories.
Holding the candle,
Until it burns your hand.
Seeing,
Until you go blind.
Hearing the sounds that drum away your life.
Inside of you: bitterness,
And on the outside; your fate.
The choice you'll never forget,
To stay,
Just one more breath longer."