As we celebrate the season of Advent at St. Mary’s Catholic School, we eagerly await the coming joy of Christ’s birth at Christmas time.

As we celebrate the season of Advent at St. Mary’s Catholic School, we eagerly await the coming joy of Christ’s birth at Christmas time. However, we are blessed with a multitude of joys every single day. Our Knights football team, under the direction of head coach Brent Kucera and his outstanding coaching staff, earned their third consecutive trip to the elite State Tournament and their second trip to the Dome in three years. It truly was a joy to watch the school and community support these boys and their hard work.

At the fundraiser held before the trip to the Dome, over $7,000 was raised from the dinner and the silent auction. These generous donations helped to create a truly memorable experience for our team and for our school. A video of well-wishes from the school children and from many, many community members also brought us great joy as we witnessed the pride of so many for what our team had accomplished! We were also able to witness the strong support of our parents and their dedication to their children’s Catholic education at our annual parent-teacher conferences; with 98 percent attendance, it was clear that our parents take their roles as their children’s most important teachers seriously and that too brings us joy.

Coinciding with the conferences was the annual Scholastic Book Fair. Countless students, parents, grandparents and friends came to peruse the book selection and add to both their personal and the classroom libraries. It is a total joy to watch such excitement over books and both the elementary and junior/senior high school libraries benefitted greatly from the proceeds.

Few events create the joyful feeling of the holiday as the elementary Christmas program. Held on Dec. 5 and 8, the play, entitled “The Drowsy Shepherd,” features our kindergarten through third grade students and vividly exhibits the spirit of Christmas. Our elementary students also select “Advent Angels,” a secret person to whom they write a special note each week, adding joy to their Advent anticipation.

Preparing for Advent is a vital part of St. Mary’s School. The third through12th grade students have the opportunity to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a gift that fills them with both grace and joy. Food is being collected for the area food shelf, numerous students volunteered their time at Food for Kidz, packaging food for the underprivileged, a Giving Tree is set up in the high school for students to purchase gifts for those in need and a tree to “Clothe Baby Jesus” is set up in the elementary school to collect needed baby items for First Choice Pregnancy Center in New Ulm. Each act of unselfish service brings joy to both the giver and the recipient.

Just as our students continue to learn, so does our faculty. A book club is being set up in December with the teachers studying the book, “Mindset: A New Psychology,” by Carol Dweck. Witnessing their dedication to their vocation is a truly joyful experience. Each individual classroom is also experiencing the joys of the season. Our preschool students are working hard to learn the letter “T” and to understand opposites. The kindergarten invited their mothers to school for Muffins for Mom, an event consisting of singing, creating art projects and enjoying a tasty treat together. In computer class, the fifth grade is studying landmarks around the world and writing their own newspaper articles, while the sixth graders are becoming entrepreneurs. They are creating their own restaurant, designing logos, floor plans, names and menus. The sixth grade also had a fantastic visit to BizTown, a simulated “city” that the students completely run for the day – including working as bankers, shop owners, production crews and radio deejays. It was a wonderful hands-on experience in real-life commerce and economics. The juniors prepared a Middle Ages banquet, complete with authentic costumes, food, and tableware, another valuable hands-on learning opportunity. In our new elementary art program, the students are excitedly learning the elements of art through their unique projects such as color mixing with frosting, painting gourds and pumpkins and creating turkeys with texturized feathers.

Our Booster Club continues to work hard to promote school pride, offering an online store to purchase spirit items (see our website or Facebook page) and it is always a joy to see people garbed in their green and gold in support of our school!

We continue to find great joy in our students, parents, grandparents, faculty, alumni and benefactors. As we sing “Joy to the World” this holiday season, “let earth (and St. Mary’s) receive her King!”