“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” (William Cullen Bryant)

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” (William Cullen Bryant) As we approach the crisp days of autumn, we at St. Mary’s Catholic School have many wonderful blessings causing us to smile. Our school celebrated 130 years of Catholic education in our community. Much has changed in the past 130 years at St. Mary’s, but our core values of faith, high quality education and commitment to serving God and others, remain the same. Our 130th anniversary was honored with a beautiful Mass, followed by an enjoyable evening complete with a delicious dinner prepared by the St. Mary’s Catering Ladies, entertainment by our current students and alumni and testimonials by two of our alumni, Dr. Adam Armbruster (’00) and Sally (Salfer) Svoboda (‘46). Many, many generous donations surpassed our expectations for the evening, demonstrating the tangible support that our benefactors have for our Annual Appeal and our goal of raising teachers’ salaries. The celebration day also included a golf tournament for our alumni and friends, a successful and always popular event. We smiled, too, this autumn as our student body celebrated Homecoming.

As always, it is a time of camaraderie, of friendship and of cooperation. The week began with the coronation of the Homecoming king and queen, Mike Hirsch and Larissa Helget. Each day included special dress up days and activities, planned by the Student Council. We were blessed to have Bishop John LeVoir celebrate an all-school Homecoming Mass with us on Tuesday, Sept. 24 and to pray a living rosary on Thursday, Sept. 26. The annual pepfest also took place on Thursday, giving our students and faculty an opportunity to share their talents, laugh together and generate excitement for the Homecoming football game against New Ulm Cathedral. With the mid-term of the first quarter occurring on Sept. 26, our students and teachers continue to focus on academic excellence. The students took NWEA tests and our teachers carefully analyzed the results in order to best fit each individual student’s needs. On Friday, Sept. 27, we smiled as we came together as the Diocese of New Ulm to learn and grow in our faith. The catechists of the diocese gathered at St. Mary’s to better understand how we are “Forming Disciples.” Peter Herbeck of Renewal Ministries shared the opening keynote: “Forming Disciples in the Light of the New Evangelization.” A variety of break-out sessions included topics such as “Discipleship in Mary,” “Discipleship and the Beatitudes,” “Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies” and “Cultural Fluency for Today’s Catholic Schools.” It was a day filled with excellent speakers and a renewed understanding of the mission of the Catholic school teacher. As autumn continues to change the color of the leaves, so too will St. Mary’s continue to work and change to carry out our mission: to assist the parents in passing on the Catholic faith while providing a high quality education in a safe and positive environment.

And, we too will smile.