The Arc- SJA's School Blog
Each May, SJA 8th grader girls are given a prompt to write an essay in Religion class. This essay is voted on by the SJA faculty and staff to select one 8th grader to crown Mary.
Yesterday, Katherine L. was selected to crown Mary during our May Crowning celebration. Here is her essay:
Mary is my spiritual mother that I strongly admire. Not only is she an inspirational figure in our faith, but she's also a guide for my journey through life. Mary has influenced my life in so many ways. She's been, and will continue to be, my guide through everything that I do, and will do, in my life. I look up to Mary for a plethora of reasons. She's influenced my life in ways that I'm just beginning to comprehend. She has influenced me to trust in God and never doubt His plan for me. The fact that Mary didn't say no to being our Savior's mother is a prime example of how much she believed and trusted in God. I truly admire how strong Mary's faith was, and I aspire to gain some of her qualities and virtues.
My mom is someone that exemplifies Mary and her virtues. She also guides me, alongside Mary, on my path through life. She's taught, and continues to teach, myself and others about the importance of our faith. My mom also has a stong and well-built faith, which allows her to be a role model for me and my faith. I am so blessed to have both of these strong and lovely women in my life, to give me the strenght and guidance that I need to fulfill my faith journey through the life that our Lord has created for me.
-Katherine L, SJA 8th grader
SJA's Power of the Pencil Club has been working on many types of creative writing including mysteries, poetry, self-portraits, and much more.
This week, they focused on childhood memories. Even though they are still children, becoming young adults, they have many wonderful childhood memories that I hope will stick with them as they grow up.
Today we have a piece from SJA 6th grader, Marin:
Ode to Amelia
When I was little, my cousins moved to Switzerland. I was so sad. My mother didn’t like to see me sad and she was sad too because she wasn’t with her sister. So my mom and I planned a trip. We went to Switzerland for about one to two weeks. It took us two flights to get there and two to get back! We weren’t able to get a direct flight so instead we had to fly to Amsterdam and then to Switzerland. When in Switzerland my family and I did so many fun things. I have this picture where my best friend (a.k.a Amelia) and I were holding hands and walking to a restaurant. We are cousins but more importantly close friends, even though we seem like polar opposites sometimes. In the photo I wore all greens, blues, and purples, but she wore all reds, pinks, and oranges. If you looked at the picture not knowing we were friends you could think, “They can’t be friends, they can’t even agree on colors.” You could think that, but if you knew us you would know that is not how we roll. When my mother and I got to their house I came to a wonderful smell. It was my birthday and my aunt made a cake and put stickers on the door that said, “Happy Birthday Marin!” I didn’t even care about the presents she got me; the greatest present I got that day was the cake! Just kidding! Actually it was being with my family whom I hadn’t seen in a while. Two years later they moved back to Toledo and I was so happy!
Lent is a special season that offers us a time to prepare our hearts for the pinnacle of our faith—the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. At SJA, we use this time as a reminder to change the things in our lives which separate us from Jesus. Some of our students will choose to give-up something like candy or TV. Others may choose to add something to their daily lives that will bring them closer to Jesus, like extra time given over to prayer or volunteering extra time in the community. Whatever the case, the students learn that keeping our resolutions are difficult and that sometimes we may slip, but it is a good lesson to keep on trying and not to give up. Within each classroom, our students, faculty and staff also take the time to focus on Lent in some special ways to develop a greater appreciation of the life that God is calling each of us to lead.
- Mrs. Guzman, SJA Principal
Preschool is learning that good deeds can bring us closer to God. Our students write down their good deed with their parents and then bring it in to fill our Easter basket. It is almost full already! Our students learn that even the smallest of size can do a good deed.
-Mrs. DeDad, preschool teacher
Kindergarten has been working on "covering our classroom with love". The students earn hearts (tying into our parish theme of 40 days to a new heart) both at school and at home for doing acts of kindness or love. If we are able to fill our classroom door, we look forward to spreading our hearts down the hallway! How neat it would be to cover our SCHOOL with love!
- Mrs. Shinaberry, Kindergarten teacher
First grade is learning the Stations of the Cross and each student is making a book that depicts each station. We also are making footprints (tracing our own feet) so that we can "Follow Jesus" through the desert these 40 days of Lent. We have made stained glass crosses to put behind our footprints to remind us that Jesus will bring us the bright new life of Easter.
-Mrs. Ponzi, first grade teacher
The Lenten journey has begun in 2nd grade! During this time of prayer and reflection, the students of 2nd grade will be completing Stations of the Cross books, writing letters to our Unbound friends, and collecting cans for the Church food pantry. We will also focus on several Good Shepherd works including the Cenacle and City of Jerusalem.
-Mrs. Savage, second grade teacher
Third grade is completing a page each day in our journals about our Lenten journey. Each student takes some quiet time each day to reflect and write in their journal.
– Mrs. Siebenaler, third grade teacher
Fourth grade reflects and fills in a Lenten poster to count down this special time to Easter. We also made our Lenten promise on a foot, and then we put them on the wall leading to the cross to show that our Lenten promise leads us closer to God.
-Mrs. McKinnon, fourth grade teacher
Fifth grade have been helping their kindergarten buddies with Lenten activities including making bookmarks and creating materials to help them understand and follow the Stations of the Cross.
-Mrs. Donnelly, fifth grade teacher
Sixth grade students created a 40 Days to a Better Heart bulletin board and each day they add hearts to it. These hearts reflect on what the students have done with good deeds, extra prayers, and sacrifices that they have completed.
-Mrs. Bombrys, sixth grade teacher
Seventh grade visited with Sister Valerie to learn about the historical roots of Lent and how the season has changed over the centuries. Among other things, students learned that Lent used to be much longer. We say the Rosary weekly, reflect on our Lenten promises, and will be writing a thank you note to someone who has helped us. A special project that all seventh grade students work on is a cross project. Using a variety of materials, students create a cross that incorporates symbolism and is three dimensional.
-Mrs. Baker, seventh grade teacher
Eighth grade has a very special role in our school Lenten activities. They will lead and perform in the Mime Stations of the Cross. The students prepare for many hours both in practice and in prayer to have the right mindset for this type of Stations of the Cross. Their hope is to connect with our entire student body and have even the youngest student realize what Jesus did for all of us.
-Mrs. Cain, eighth grade teacher
Dear SJA Family,
Lent is a special season that offers us a time to prepare our hearts for the pinnacle of our faith—the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We use this time as a reminder to change the things in our lives which separate us from Jesus. Some of us will choose to give-up something like candy or TV, remembering each time we deny ourselves of the huge sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins. Others may choose to add something to their daily lives that will bring them closer to Jesus, like extra time given over to prayer or volunteering extra time in the community. Whatever the case, we know that keeping our resolutions are difficult and that sometimes we may slip, but it is a good lesson for our students to keep on trying and not to give up. It is my hope that by all of us taking time from our busy schedules to develop our relationship with God, we can use the Lenten season to develop a greater appreciation of the life that God is calling each of us to lead.
Below are daily challenges we are encouraging the students to do
40 Days to a Better Heart!
Feb. 14 – Make your Lenten promise
Feb. 15 – Pray for your parents today
Feb. 16 – Fast from eating meat
Feb. 17 – Spend 5 minutes sitting or walking in silence today. Invite God to join you.
Feb. 18 – Go to Mass and say a special prayer for your grandparents
Feb. 19 - Be EXTRA kind today!
Feb. 20 – Pray one decade of the rosary today
Feb. 21 – Reflect on your Lenten promise- How are you doing? Do you need to start again?
Feb. 22 – Drink only water all day
Feb. 23 – Fast from eating meat
Feb. 24 – Go the whole day without television, video games, and cell phones
Feb. 25 - Go to Mass and say a prayer for the poor and homeless in our community
Feb. 26 - Give a sincere compliment to three people today.
Feb. 27 - Write a thank you note to someone who has helped you.
Feb. 28 - Reflect on your Lenten promise- How are you doing so far? Pray for the strength to continue to keep your promise!
Mar. 1 - Pick one small thing you do the same way every single day and do it differently today. Part your hair on the opposite side, use a different color pen, sleep on the other side of the bed; just to shake things up.
Mar. 2 - Fast from eating meat.
Mar. 3 - Cuddle with your mom or dad and read your favorite picture book- even if you think you are too big.
Mar. 4 - Go to Mass and pray for the first person you meet (outside of your family) today.
Mar. 5 - Go a whole day without complaining about anything.
Mar. 6 - Make a list of ten things you appreciate in your life. Say a prayer of Thanksgiving for the things on your list.
Mar. 7 - Reflect on your Lenten promise: How are you doing? Spend 4-5 minutes in prayer and reflection.
Mar. 8 - Make and send a card to a family member you haven't seen in a while.
Mar. 9 - Fast from eating meat.
Mar. 10 - Clean your bedroom today. Find one toy/item you can ask your parents to donate to charity.
Mar. 11 - Go to Mass and pray for our military.
Mar. 12 - Write a letter to your Unbound friend.
Mar. 13 - Smile all day!
Mar. 14 - Reflect on your Lenten promise- How are you doing? Spend 4-5 minutes in prayer and reflection.
Mar. 15 - Bring in $1 donation for our Unbound friends.
Mar. 16 - Fast from eating meat.
Mar. 17 - Do an extra chore at home without being asked.
Mar. 18 - Go to Mass and pray for the elderly.
Mar. 19 - Sit with someone new at lunch.
Mar. 20 - Pick up and throw away litter- be sure to wash your hands after!
Mar. 21 - Reflect on your Lenten promise- How are you doing? Spend 4-5 minutes in prayer and reflection.
Mar. 22 - Pray a decade of the Rosary.
Mar. 23 - Fast from eating meat.
Mar. 24 - Help make dinner.
Mar. 25 - Palm Sunday: Go to Mass and pray for our priests and teachers.
Mar. 26 - Do something nice for someone in your family today- without telling.
Mar. 27 - Listen to only Christian music today.
Mar. 28 - Reflect on your Lenten promise- How are you doing? Spend 4-5 minutes in prayer and reflection.
Mar. 29 - Holy Thursday- School Retreat Day
Mar. 30 - Good Friday
Mar. 31 - Make special Easter cards for your family members.
Apr. 1 - Easter Sunday- Go to Mass and celebrate with your family!