“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” This proverb perfectly exemplifies this season of snow and ice.

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” This proverb perfectly exemplifies this season of snow and ice. With numerous snow days, late starts and early outs, it was never quite certain what the school and extracurricular schedule would be from day to day. However, as all hardy Minnesotans do, our teachers and coaches are adapting to the weather and waiting for the promise of spring! St. Mary’s will be making up the instructional time lost by the snow days by extending the school day to 4 p.m. on March 3-7, March 11 and March 13. In addition, school will be in session on March 21 (previously a teacher workday) and April 17 (Holy Thursday). Our students’ education is our primary goal and we believe the additional time in school will be extremely beneficial to both the students and their teachers.

At St. Mary’s, spring also means the opportunity to meet the newest members of our school family. On March 3, there will be a Learning Tree Preschool Registration Night for parents who want to register their children for preschool (3, 4 and 5 year olds not in kindergarten). Transportation for preschool is available. Registration Night takes place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Mrs. Judy Mathiowetz’s preschool classroom. We also look forward each spring to greeting our new class of kindergarteners! On March 3, there will be a parents only information meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Mrs. JoAnn Schumacher’s kindergarten classroom. The potential kindergarteners will have their own chance to visit the school at Kindergarten Round-Up on March 13, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Parents and students are invited to learn more about St. Mary’s and its kindergarten program! One change for the 2014-2015 school year is that our kindergarten students will be attending school all five days from the very first week of school. By having an additional day (Friday), our kindergarteners will be able to delve even deeper into their curriculum. It promises to be a positive experience for everyone!

For Catholics, Ash Wednesday, on March 5, can also be an affirming opportunity as it marks the beginning of Lent which is meant to be a season of internal change. During Lent, the students work to offer up sacrifices as well as to deepen their own faith lives. Our elementary school will be collecting money for Operation Rice Bowl, an aspect of Catholic Relief Services that aids countries in need, especially after natural disasters. In addition, no snacks will be purchased on Fridays during Lent, a small sacrifice to remind us of Christ’s tremendous one. We will pray the Stations of Cross each week as well as continuing with weekly Mass and regular Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. It is our hope that each of our students has a good Lent in order to be ready for the joys of Easter and of spring.

In the junior/senior high, the promise of spring also brings many exciting opportunities. The Sacrament of Confirmation takes place on March 9. The juniors and their sponsors have spent months preparing for this significant day in their faith lives and we congratulate them on the important choice that they have made. Spring also means play-offs for our winter sports teams; we are so proud of their dedication and the efforts that they expend on the courts and ice rinks at every practice and every game. With the coming of spring also comes the production of the St. Mary’s musical, “Shrek” on March 28-30. The sets are being built and decorated, the costumes are being made and ordered, and the students are practicing on a daily basis. It promises to be an amazing show! It will also be Julie Neubauer’s final production as director. Her musicals have become legendary because of the incredible high quality work that she demands and receives. The gifts that she has generously offered to the school through her musicals are indescribable and she will be missed beyond words.

In addition, Jerry Neubauer has decided that this will be his final year at St. Mary’s. His legacy of faith, his commitment to the students and his belief in Catholic education, will continue on in the multitude of lives that he has impacted in so many positive ways. It is impossible to even begin to list all that Jerry has done for St. Mary’s and its faculty and students, but he has been an outstanding leader. Although Jerry will be greatly missed, St. Mary’s has hired current social studies instructor Andrew Bach as the new junior/senior high school principal. Andrew has a strong devotion to both St. Mary’s and his Catholic faith. He will do an excellent job of serving the school and its students.

We also will say good-bye to high school secretary Judy Maurer. She had dedicated countless years to St. Mary’s and has been a strong role model of what true commitment means. Judy began her work at St. Mary’s in 1974 and it will be difficult to fill her shoes!

Although our spring will be filled with many amazing opportunities and events, a bit of the sadness of the chills of winter will linger as we face difficult changes. However, as always, we trust in God to bring forth a beautiful spring from the frigidness of winter and to help guide our changes so they will truly benefit St. Mary’s and its students and teachers.