St. Mary's News
By: St. Mary of the Assumption School
By Doug Heckler
It’s January and that means Catholic Schools Week cannot be far away at St. Mary of the Assumption School. The week of Jan. 25-31 has been designated for the annual, week-long celebration of the value represented by Catholic Schools nationwide.
Sunday kicks off with a pancake and sausage breakfast sponsored by the School Council from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.. The week officially gets started at the 10:30 a.m. mass assisted by students. After that, an open house of sorts will have booths set up in the Gym exemplifying activities at the school.
Monday sees Mayor Don Farmer offering a proclamation to the school for Catholic Schools Week, and the first round of the Quiz Bowl, (10:20-10:50 a.m.) with an awards ceremony recognizing the specialness of each student. Tuesday offers grandparents and parents the opportunity to share lunch with their students and round two of the Quiz Bowl (12:30-1:00 p.m.). On Wednesday, a representative from each class will visit the Hospice Center and present blankets that were made by their class. Thursday finds student representatives taking lunch to the Van Wert Fire Station employees along with semi-finals at the Quiz Bowl (12:30-1:00 p.m.) and in the evening (6:30-7:30 p.m.) Science Fun Night for ages 4-10 years with their parents. At noon on Friday, students will be allowed to change into jeans with blue and gold shirts as a part of St Mary of the Assumption Pride Day. The week’s activities conclude on Friday with the finals of the Quiz Bowl (12:30-1 p.m.) and an afternoon movie with popcorn in the gym.
By Douglas H. Heckler
On Sunday, I had the opportunity to spend “An Old Fashioned Christmas” with the voices of the St. Mary of the Assumption School student body.
This musical presentation offered the mix of children’s voices in renditions of “Deck the Halls”, “O Christmas Tree”, “ Angels We Have Heard on High”, “Joy to the World”, “ Jingle Bells”, and one tune I STILL cannot get out of my head… “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”.
Even Santa, in the form of a student, made an appearance during the performance of “Santa Claus”. As the finale, the lower grades came down off stage and offered further musical arrangements culminating in “Silent Night” as the curtain was drawn back on a scene taking us back to Bethlehem and a small stable at the edge of town, where a child is born.
Directed by Erin Stokes (who has taken over the musical direction and education for the school) and accompanied on the piano by Kathy Stewart, this event was very well attended as even the “media” bench was re-apportioned for guests and family members. Even Fr. Stan was part of the “standing room only” crowd. A big thank you goes out to all who participated in adding to our enjoyment of the Holiday Season.
By Douglas Heckler
On Thursday, Nov. 13, St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic School held their annual Scripps Spelling Bee for fourth, fifth and sixth grade students. Students prepared for this local spelling bee by using materials provided by National Scripps Spelling Bee and Merriam-Webster.
The winner of this year’s event was fourth-grader Annie Renner. She correctly spelled “hazelnut” to become champion. She will now advance to the county level competition to be held at the Marsh Foundation in February. Finishing first runner-up was fourth-grader Emma Hatcher, who will serve as an alternate should Annie not be able to participate.
On Oct. 15, students at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic School took part in a Mini Career Fair at their school. Student ambassadors from Vantage Career Center came to the school and demonstrated how they used science, technology, engineering, and math in their respective career schools.
St. Mary’s students were treated to presentations in the careers of welding, computer network systems, health technology, precision machining, electricity and carpentry.
Young students need additional exposure to careers that use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and these Mini Career Fairs demonstrate in a short amount of time how STEM skills are used in local jobs. These demonstrations are often a “spark” to get students started talking about the kinds of things they like to do and what interests them.
By Douglas J. Heckler
St. Mary of the Assumption School students participated in the Van Wert County Apple Festival art contest and the Mile Fun Run October 17 and 18. Art students created three different art types for the show: grades 1-3 entered “In the Tall, Tall Grass” mixed media collages and ceramic turtles, grades 4-6 entered cast concrete leaves and Autumn tree drawings.
St Mary’s students who participated in the Mile Fun Run won first and second place in the girls’ 8 and under, first and third in the boys’ 8 and under, and second place in the girls’ 9 and 10 year olds.
By Douglas J. Heckler
On Thursday, Oct. 9, St. Mary of the Assumption’s Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade students took a field trip to the Fort Wayne Children’s zoo. The students are starting their science units on animals and their habitats and used this opportunity to see some animals up close and in their own environments. The classes had assignments to visit each of the 3 different areas of the zoo; Australian Adventure, Indonesian Rain Forest, and African Safari. At each of these locations the students had to find 3 animals and identify them and their habitats. Students brought this information back to school and are working on some different project based learning activities in the classroom.
By Douglas Heckler
On Wednesday, Oct. 8, St. Mary of the Assumption’s fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students visited Johnston Farm and Indian Agency in Piqua.
The students began their day learning about the historical way of life for Native Americans in Ohio and their interactions with Europeans. They also examined artifacts from this time period and viewed models of shelter the Native Americans used. Students were then taught about the canal system in Ohio.
They enjoyed a canal boat ride on the Miami-Erie Canal, while learning the advantages and disadvantages of the canal system. Lastly, the students toured the homestead of John Johnston, an Indian Agent during the 1800s. The students were informed on what life was like without all of today’s necessities and the amount of work it took to make a home in the 1800s operate smoothly.
Recently St. Mary’s of the Assumption fifth and sixth grade classes embarked on a 5-day field trip at YMCA Camp Storer located in Jackson, Mich. Students participated in several classes dealing with natural sciences, environmental issues, cultural history, and team building through active participation. Students spent significant time learning how past history effected how society is shaped today by going through an Underground Railroad experience as a slave.
The Storer Outdoor School has 1,200 acres around Stony Lake with 15 unique ecosystems to build a custom outdoor classroom program around a school’s needs. The Storer Outdoor School is a hands-on total immersion learning center serving more than 15,000 students from over 130 elementary and middle schools each year.
“The Great Outdoors” makes science and related curriculum come alive, and significantly more relevant, for each student. The importance of outdoor experiences reported in independent studies that show OEE programs raise science scores by as much as 27% and that OEE programs have a positive effect on student achievement in general.
In addition, studies show that outdoor educational experiences positively impact student behavior and interaction with peers as shown through improved conflict resolution skills.
The St Mary of the Assumption School Fifth and Sixth grade classes invite the public to a pancake and sausage breakfast on Sunday Sept. 21 between 9:30 A.M. and noon. Tickets are $6 and provide a serving each of sausage and hash browns, with all the pancakes you can eat. The tickets may be purchased at the door in the gymnasium, or in advance from any Fifth or Sixth grade student of the school. Proceeds are to help support student attendance at the Storer Outdoor School.
The Storer Outdoor School is a hands-on learning camp, serving thousands of elementary and middle schools students each year. Students and teachers spend 3-5 days and nights on-site at the Outdoor School learning facility. Storer’s staff of educators offer courses that include natural sciences, environmental issues, cultural history, and team building through immersive participation.
By Douglas Heckler
The Second Annual Science Fair was recently held at St. Mary’s of the Assumption School. The students were placed into six groups that consisted of students from grades 4 through 6, with a 6th grade student as the group leader.
Students were challenged to find a project that has affected society in a positive or negative way and to develop the scientific method that demonstrates the impact of their project on society. Students worked on their projects for six weeks at school and among group member’s homes. As the event drew near, students’ anticipation grew for the presentation of their project and poster boards.
Three judges scored the projects: Taylor Loomis, Denny Hesseling, and Dan Finch. After the scores were tallied by Dustin Hesseling (6th grade teacher), two groups’ projects emerged as winners. In first place was “May The Magnetic Force Be With You (Homopolar Motor)” and in second place, “The Heat Beneath Your Feet (Geothermal Energy)” project.