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08-05-2018Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Wake up all the teachers time to teach a new way, Maybe then they'll listen to whatcha have to say,Cause they're the ones who's coming up and the world is in their hands, when you teach the children teach em the very best you can, The world won't get no better if we just let it be, The world won't get no better we gotta change it yeah, just you and me. -Wake Up Everybody sung by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

Well, school starts this week, at least our Parish Grade School, as it has every year since 1945. For most of us who started school on the traditional day after Labor Day it seems like there is way too much summer left for the first day of school to be upon us. The reason for earlier and earlier start times, is as usual, not about the children but all about the adults. Adults like the long fall, Christmas, err—Winter Holiday and Spring breaks. So be it. The other challenge is that most of our schools, grade schools and high schools are on different schedules. This makes it hard on parents who have children in both an elementary and a high school. One week the third grader is off and the next week the high school freshman is off. Childcare can be difficult and expensive to arrange. Though over the years I have tried to get at least the Catholic elementary and High Schools on the same schedule, I found out it is like trying to take candy from a baby, not happening without a meltdown. The best we have been able to do is have all of our Catholic elementary schools on the same schedule. Not much help to parents with a 5th grader and 10th grader. The reason I always am given for not being able to sync the schedules is, believe it or not, not academics but sports. Sports rule on the High School level. Seems like the cart before the horse but you would have better luck trying to stop a speeding train with one hand than changing the Sporting schedule at the High School level.

Don’t mean to sound like a killjoy and I do understand the tremendous value of athletic competition for young people. Over the years I have had the privilege of celebrating the funerals of many coaches, high school and college level and have witnessed the incalculable impact so many coaches have had on young lives. Maybe we should consider moving sports out of schools and placing them on the community level. So, Tempe would have sports leagues as would the other municipalities. This way our children would be playing and getting to know children not just from their school but from their neighborhoods. The same with families; maybe this would help create more cohesive communities with stronger neighborly bonds. There could be lots of benefits and the schools would be able to focus mainly on education.

Anyway, our school is ready to go and begin the year! Our teachers are ready to teach! I am happy to announce Mrs. Kelly Shewbridge (Ph. D candidate) as our Principal. Her mother was also a fantastic teacher and the family has teaching in their DNA! Mrs. Shewbridge has been with us for the past 10 years, first as a Third Grade teacher and then as Assistant Principal. We also welcome Mr. Tony Grosetta as our new Assistant Principal. Mr Grosetta is a graduate of Brophy High School and the Catholic School Leadership Program at Notre Dame University. He previously taught in Santiago, Chile and in a local Public High School. Also, this year in addition to our Reading Specialist, we have added a Math Specialist to help our students, (who like me) are not always best friends with numbers. We are also working with Dr. Anne Borik to introduce her Prayer in Motion Program (www.prayermotion.com) to help students be more mindful and prayerful. We also have EEG Biofeedback available with Dr. Monica Breaux at the Parish. This is a tremendous and simple way to help students with their challenges in attention, focus, behavior, overactivity, autism, and other issues.

Remember there are many ways you can support our School. Volunteers are always needed and welcomed, whether you have a particular skill or would like to help in the Lunch Room, just contact the school for details. Don’t forget to use Gift Cards from our Food-4-Thought Program (on sale every Sunday or you can order online at olmctempe.com) the proceeds all help support our school families. You can even earmark a specific family to receive credit for your FFT purchases.

Finally, please support the Arizona Tuition Tax Program. There are many ways to do that and when you do you are eligible for a Tax Credit on your AZ Income taxes. There are many Student Tuition Organizations (STO’s) and the one that we suggest you support is Catholic Education Arizona. Our School or Parish Office is happy to answer your questions on how the Tax Credit works and how you can participate. This program is vital to helping our families afford the cost of a Catholic School education.

Love,

Fr. John B.

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