School UPDATE: Friday, April 3

1st Place:  Catherine Cummings.  "Big Band"1st Place:  Catherine Cummings.  "Big Band"St. Mary's Families,  

Special WELCOME to the parents of next year's freshmen who are joining us on the daily updates.  We're glad to have aboard!  

Saint Benedict the African, pray for us.
- More about St. Benedict:  
- Daily Mass readings:    

My thanks to Cyntha Tujillo-Castillo for today's attached Easter artwork.  

- STUDENTS!  HEADS UP!  We will all gather virtually MONDAY at 7:45am for prayer, Pledge and announcements (those should sound familiar...).  Every week is a 1-8 week, i.e. no every-other-week swap of 1st period and 8th period until we're physically back in school.  Also, no delayed start days, i.e. Wednesday also starts at 7:45am.
- 7:45AM LINK for the virtual gathering (please MUTE your microphone!): ***Join Hangouts Meet:  

- VIDEO CONTEST WINNERS!  My thanks to all the students who submitted a video.  We will share these videos with the community in the upcoming days.  The video "names" are mine, with apologies to the creators of these humorous and appropriate videos

  • 1st Place:  Catherine Cummings.  "Big Band"
  • 2nd Place:  Josephine and Sam Howery.  "What are the Teachers Doing"
  • 3rd Place:  Lisanne Cheatham.  "Full House"

(Winners receive a $100, $50, or $25 Dutch Bros or Scrip gift card respectively.)  

COVID-19 coronavirus.  
- I'm adding the link to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment in addition to the CDC link you've seen for a while.  Remember, use caution when consuming COVID-19 information shared from sites other than these.    

What's Next?  
- NEW NORMAL.  Here's an expression for all of us to remove from our culture:  "Once things get back to normal..."  The world is different, and the new normal is here to stay.  The experiences we are digesting in this distance learning environment are priceless.  Today is a great example.  Had today been a "normal" school day, there is a good chance we would have been on a late start because of the snow.  However, we're now working on ensuring we capture the benefits of the distance learning experience so if we have a snow day in the future, we might shift to a "distance learning day" instead of losing a day of instruction due to the white stuff.  
- SENIORS.  The counseling office is monitoring communications from hundreds of colleges.  Here's the high-level perspective.  Focus on your graduation requirements, do your best, don't stress, the colleges know the education environment has changed dramatically.  We are adapting and adjusting and so are the colleges.  

How you can help
- BE FLEXIBLE, BE PATIENT.  Mr. Hyland and I are both retired Air Force officers.  In Mr. Hyland's daily communication with the teachers today he used an Air Force expression:  "Flexibility is the key to successful air power."  In this case, he said "flexibility is the key to successful teaching."  You've now survived and THRIVED through 10 academic days of distance learning.  Understand that some things will change more quickly than you would like, so be FLEXIBLE.  Some things will change more slowly than you would like, so be PATIENT.
- RAFFLE TIX.  Well, instead of preaching about Raffle Tickets, let's announce some GIFT CARD WINNERS.  This week's winners of the drawing for delivered Lunch and Dutch Bros once we're back in school are:
   -- Alex Bodnar
   -- David Simmons
- Congratulations Alex and David!  Remember, all you have to do to be entered into the weekly drawing is sell your 25 raffle tickets (which 59 of you have already done - THANK YOU).  There are quite a few of you who have not yet sold any of your raffle tickets (yet!).  The clock is ticking, we need your help!  Thank you in advance for supporting this very important project.  

How are your students doing?  
- STRESS.  Our Admissions Director Jane Cummings participated in a webinar yesterday about the social/emotional aspects of learning.  One of the lessons shared was:  "Having a positive mindset does not remove the stressors, but it does increase our capacity to process them."  Stress is stress.  It's how we CHOOSE to deal with our stress that shapes WHO WE ARE.  Choose wisely.
- ATTITUDE.  In 2001, Jim Collins wrote "Good To Great," one of the best organizational books ever written.  Chapter 4 in that book is titled:  "Confront the Brutal Facts (Yet Never Lose Faith)."  That advice was good in 2001, it has been good advice every year since then, and it is especially good advice today.  Let's remind each other every day that we have challenges in front of us, but if we hold on to our Faith there is no doubt we will not just survive, we will also thrive.  

- (Repeat from yesterday) GET THE WORD OUT.  From Diane Torrence and Trish Faber:  "We are opening the Divine Redeemer Food Pantry on Monday (April 6), from 11 am-1 pm. It is open to ANY community member in need of food during this critical time, and will be open on a 'drive thru' basis. No one needs to get out of their vehicle, just pop open their trunk or back seat and we will put in a bag of food (or two if needed)."  St. Mary's families, if you or anyone in our community you know needs food assistance, it is available.  

***AND HEY, WE'RE WINNING.  Look around our state and nation.  Every day more and more schools announce they are basically giving up on the current academic year, shuttering their schools, and hoping things in the fall will be better.  Every day our teachers and students engage and learn is another victory.  

Prayer.  Please continue to pray with us and pray with our community:  

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy, hear and answer me.

Rob Rysavy
St. Mary's High School