January is a month full of celebrations!

January is a month full of celebrations! Some are quite traditional such as New Year’s Day (1st) or Martin Luther King Junior Day (20th) while others are extremely unusual including National Pharmacist Day (12th), Penguin Awareness Day (20th) or Inspire Your Heart with Art (31st). At St. Mary’s Catholic School, we also have numerous reasons to celebrate through the month of January! One of our favorite weeks of the school year is Catholic Schools Week which we will celebrate Jan. 26 through Feb. 1! It is a special celebration to acknowledge what it means to be a Catholic school and to take pride in all that our students and staff are accomplishing.

This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” The week is filled with exciting plans to celebrate that theme, including inviting our many volunteers to a special lunch of gratitude; Grandparents’ Day when grandparents are invited to Mass, to lunch, to visit classrooms and to an all-school talent show; our annual Family Fun Night; a MSU Theatre production for the elementary students; a comfy/cozy day combined with a shared activity between the elementary and the junior/senior high; and a Donor Appreciation Dinner. It is a wonderful week, dedicated to a strong Catholic school system and the many administrators, faculty, parents, students, alumni and benefactors who so generously offer their gifts to it.

On the 16th of January, our kindergarten through eighth grade students celebrate the exciting opportunity to meet the Minnesota Twins Caravan as they visit St. Mary’s from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m. This promises to be an exciting event, although it is certainly difficult to think about baseball in these frigid temperatures! As difficult as it is to imagine, the second quarter of the school year concludes on Jan. 17. Our students and teachers strive to do their best which is extremely evident in the high number of students who achieve a position on the honor rolls each quarter.

The second graders’ year of religious study also partially comes to fruition as they, along with their parents, attend Learning Centers for First Reconciliation on Jan. 11 and then celebrate the reception of the sacrament for the first time on Jan. 19. Their teachers and parents have worked hard to prepare them to receive this special gift of God’s grace.

Our 7th graders will also have a powerful opportunity to put their faith into action as they visit the Capitol on Jan. 22 in order to demonstrate their pro-life beliefs and their opposition to Roe vs. Wade.

In addition to these special events, January is also a time of preparation. Our basketball teams and hockey teams continue to practice hard and play even harder in their many games and tournaments. On Jan. 18, St. Mary’s is hosting a 6th grade basketball tournament while, on Jan. 25, we will host the area 5th graders in a tournament. Our elementary students will also celebrate their talents during the basketball half time shows that combine their efforts in phy-ed and music with the 4th graders performing on Jan. 30 and our 5th and 6th graders on Feb. 3. Our musical cast and crew continue to put in countless hours, perfecting every detail of Shrek: The Musical and we all look forward to celebrating their efforts when we watch their production in March.

We also celebrate our teachers who strive to work on new and innovative ways to share their curriculum and our students continue to do their best in order to understand many new concepts. One such example is, in our anatomy class, a massage therapist was invited to the class to speak with the students. This real world connection to the curriculum is an outstanding opportunity for the students.

Many elementary classes began work with the Junior Achievement program, a chance opportunity for local business people to come into the classrooms. Similarly, our high school students (grades 9-11) will be having On the Job Training (OJT) with approximately 13 businesses coming to St. Mary’s on Jan. 7 for a local job fair, sharing career opportunities in Sleepy Eye.

And, most importantly, each day we celebrate as we witness our students growing in faith through prayer, classes, service and Mass. Although we may not acknowledge Opposite Day (25th) or National Popcorn Day (29th) this January, what we do have to celebrate at St. Mary’s Catholic School is truly remarkable.