Happy Retirement Mr. Steele ~ June 17, 2021

 
 
June 17, 2021
 
 
 
 
 
Dear Fatima Parents,
 
I have some important last day of school news to share!
 
CLOSING SCHOOL HOUSE TONIGHT:
As the pandemic ends, we are coming together as a community for a cookout behind the school beginning at 6:00 p.m. Please join us if you are able to.
 
SUMMER SCHOOL PROGRAM:
Our summer program is up and running this week until August 20 for present Pre-K, Kindergarten, and first-grade students. The program is now filled and we are not accepting any more students.
 
THE FAVORITE CLASS I VISITED THIS WEEK:
The school-wide S.T.E.M. was held this past Monday. Middle school students presented a wide-range of final S.T.E.M. projects. Some of the S.T.E.M. projects included gravity demonstrations, chain reaction demonstrations, a model wind- powered car, a model hydro car, a model solar oven, model wind chimes, an electric-powered modeled airplane. Bravo, to Mrs. Highland, middle school students, and her wonderful S.T.E.M. program.
 
21/22 SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR UPDATED:
The Diocese reviewed our school calendar and asked that we do plan to have the school open on November 1st, All-Saints Day. Please find the updated 21/22 calendar with that change attached.
 
 
“SHOUT-OUT I:”
Becky Gammardella. The Pre-K program ended last week so what did Becky do this week? Becky planned, organized, and executed a great field day for all our K-7 students on Wednesday. Becky got help from alumni students, Chloe, Crina, Colin, Sofia, Jacobo, Juan, and Anais. Thank you, Becky, and helpers!
 
“SHOUT-OUT II:”
Jennifer Poku. The 20/21 Yearbooks came in last week and they are the results of all of the work all year from Jennifer Poku. Jennifer took responsibility for all parts of the Yearbook and coordinated the 8th-grade student biographies, planed the layout, and arranged each page. And they are beautiful! Thank you, Jennifer!
 
“SHOUT-OUT III:”
Tracey Bonafide. Tracey had great help but she was the driving force behind this years’ amazing 8th-grade luncheon. She was assisted by Amber Pace, Clara Taveras, Marissa Lowthert, Pina Ventrella, Jennifer Poku, and Liz Halpin. Tracey led the way planning and cooking the food, decorating the gym, and providing the 8th-graders with their parents an unforgettable closing luncheon experience. Bravo, Tracey and friends!
 
“SHOUT-OUT IV:”
Joanne Salageanu. Joanne basically on her own has kept the Something Special Store going through this past year of the pandemic. Joanne is at the store organizing merchandize, making staging decisions, and keeping the store going every weekend. Thank you, Joanne!
 
COMING EVENTS:
 
June 17 – Last day of school for Kindergarten through 7th
June 17 – Closing School Family picnic
June 21 – Primary Summer Program begins
August 20 – Primary program ends
August 30 – K-8 First Day of School – 11:30 a.m. dismissal
August 31 – 11:30 a.m. Dismissal. Teacher convocation with the Bishop at 1:00 p.m.
September 7 – First day of Pre-K
 
AND FINALLY:
 
During the five years, I’ve had the privilege of being the Principal at Our Lady of Fatima, I’ve written 124 Newsletters. This is the last one.
 
I would like to end with my speech at this year’s graduation. It was addressed to the 8th-grade but I think it fits each grade in our school during this historic year of the pandemic. I just changed, “8th-graders” to “students” for this newsletter. Here it is:
 
“Now, I told the students during the year that I had heard an interesting quote. The quote is this. Do you want to know what you are like? Take the five people you spend the most amount of time with, and the average of those five people will describe you.
 
 I don’t know if this is totally true but I am sure there is some truth to it. Now if there is some truth in this, what should we do with the fact that you students just spent six to six and a half hours a day quarantined in a classroom because of the pandemic with just your classmates as companions for 10 months. What could we say about the average of you students?
 
I think we could safely say that first of all you like to talk and you love to laugh. You find humor in the smallest absurdities of everyday life: something falling over, an unusual word, or something unexpected happening. I think we could say that you are an exceptionally smart class and the sky's the limit for you academically. I think we can say that you are a brave class. Every day in spite of the scary news of the pandemic raging around you, you got up and left your home and came to school. None of us really knew how this year would play out and If we would be safe. I think we could also say that you are a kind class, you had rocky moments during the year but you forgave each other and moved on. There can be no clearer indicator of God’s grace and presence in our Catholic school than the fact that this class could have conflict, forgive, and move forward. Not everyone could handle this most unusual educational and social experience. But through God’s grace , you did.
 
Now, if this in some sense describes you as a group, I want to pause and talk for a moment about your parents. My own father was born in a different era. There was no social media, instant communications, texting, or cell phones. He was a quiet man who did not think it was as important to talk to his children as to demonstrate for his children. He believed simply as a parent of three children that the apple would not fall far from the tree. Meaning, it is what he did that was the most important thing, not what he said. Now if what I say is true: that this is a class that is marked by being brave, by being forgiving, by being kind, and that the sky's the limit for it academically, I can only say,
 
“Well done parents, well done.”
 
I also want to recognize our teachers. First, in a special way, I would like to single out and acknowledge the immeasurable contributions of Mrs. Kirby and Mrs. Gammardella for our school. Mrs. Della and Mrs. Kirby have each made the decision not to return as full-time teachers next year, but I am hopeful they will be back helping the school in new ways. Now, as you know, when we started this school year, no one could guarantee the physical safety of our teachers. Many of our teachers have medical conditions that could have complicated any serious illness, but they put aside their concerns about their own health, and every day came to school and provided in-person education for our students. 
 
“Well done teachers and staff. Well done.”
 
I want to end with the quote from the poet Muriel Rukeyzer's. She famously said “The world is made up of stories, not atoms.” 
 
Oh, what stories you students will have from this year. While most of the world spent the pandemic isolated and alone, learning remotely from home, you had in-person education with your class.
 
 50, 60, 70 years from now, people will be reading about the pandemic and you will have your stories to tell of this year. Your stories will begin simply with you, despite the pandemic all around you, leaving home and bravely coming to school each day; having faith and trust that you would be safe.
This past year is something that you and your family can rightfully be proud of for the rest of your life. And we can all thank God for looking over us during this unprecedented time of the pandemic.
 
“Well done, students, well done.”
 
And, thank you for letting me be a small part of this story.
 
I will continue to pray for you, please remember to pray for me.”