December, 2016

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

Dear Parents and Friends of St.Peter’s School,

It was a rather presumptuous Christmas gift, but at the time I thought it was brilliant. I was in college and had purchased 4 tickets to the Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, despite the fact that we lived in Washington, DC. Upon opening the cleverly wrapped gift on Christmas morning, my mother and sister were thrilled. My father, however, was a bit bewildered. He was anticipating that these gifts of mine were going to cost him a bit more from an already stretched Christmas budget! After all, someone was going to have to pay for the train ride to New York and a hotel room. My father was a dear, patient man who would never make someone else feel bad (or crazy) for a decision made with the best intentions. So while one of my 4 brothers grumbled, “Man, next year I’m getting Dad tickets to a Miami Dolphins game!” Dad simply smiled as my mother exclaimed that she thought it was a wonderful idea.

I share this story because I still consider this as one of my best Christmas gifts ever received. I cherish the memory of this trip to New York with my parents and sister. It taught me that experiences, whether brief and simple or unexpected and extravagant, are truly the very best gifts when done with love.

I encourage you to keep this in mind during this season of Advent as we prepare for the arrival of the Christ child. Visiting a friend or loved one in a Nursing Home, making cookies for a neighbor, reading the story of Jesus’ birth as a family, these are experiences that are far more valuable than anything purchased in a store. And I can assure you that this time with your child will be remembered.

As it turns out, that was my mother’s last ‘healthy’ Christmas, as she battled lung cancer. The following Christmas she spent in the hospital and within two years she had died at the age of 51.

There is no greater gift bestowed on us by God than the gift of life. That is the beautiful message of Christmas. God gave us His only son, so that we can have eternal life. At St.Peter’s we will keep God’s love at the forefront of the Christmas preparations.

Wishing you and your family a season filled with peaceful moments and cherished memories.

Kathy Preston

November, 2016

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

Dear Parents and Friends of St.Peter’s School,

Words matter. We teach our younger students to use words to express their needs, frustrations, thoughts. Our older students learn how to formulate their words into well-constructed sentences, paragraphs or essays.

In a Catholic school the word of God is incorporated across the curriculum. The Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the Holy Scripture teach us and direct our conscience, values, and behaviors.

This month we come to the end of an especially vitriolic Presidential campaign season, where words spoken by adults have been bombastic, dishonest, unkind and not even close to reflecting our Catholic values. Yet, faithful citizenship is a moral and civic obligation. It is imperative that our children understand the privileges we enjoy as citizens of the United States and the responsibility this citizenship entails.

On November 11th, the entire school, grades K4 through 6, will attend the Veterans’ Day Parade. This is a long-standing tradition where our students can celebrate and show respect for the men and women in the Armed Forces.

Our Third grade has the great honor of meeting the Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, and touring the Statehouse on November 10th. I am confident our students will be a wonderful representation of St. Peter’s School and Church.

Of course we end the month of November celebrating Thanksgiving; a holiday where we are reminded of the beginning of this remarkable country and the blessings we have come to enjoy because of the leadership and sacrifices of so many.

Over 200 years ago the forefathers of our great country wrote prescient and inspiring words formulating our Constitution and Bill of Rights, delineating our responsibilities and freedoms. Our First Amendment identified our Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. We can never take our freedom for granted.

The important words on the Great Seal of the United States and on most of our currency are “E Pluribus Unum”, out of many, one. This month let our prayer be that our words will bring people together in thanksgiving for the many blessings we experience. And may our words always be a reflection of God’s presence within us.

Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving,

Kathy Preston

Principal

October, 2016

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

Dear Parents and Friends of St. Peter’s School,

“Learning is hard work. People learn better when they feel valued and supported. To value and support learners we must know them. We honor learners by caring for them as they are and simultaneously expecting more of them. People learn differently. Teaching is more efficient and effective when it matches learner need. To teach academically diverse learners well, teachers must teach flexibly. Virtually all learners benefit when they learn in places with high instructional ceilings and lots of ways to climb to the top.”

The above quote is taken from an article given to our faculty at the start of this school year. It speaks to what is important at St.Peter’s Catholic School. As we begin the second month of the 2016-17 academic year, I am impressed by the efficiency at which the faculty has come to know their student’s learning styles and respond to student needs by collaborating with parents, Guidance Counselor, and support services. Goals have been established and high standards are understood. At the end of this month, Parent-Teacher Conferences will be another important opportunity to monitor student progress and work collaboratively to support student success.

Speaking of success, our first fundraiser, World’s Finest Chocolate, was a resounding success, raising over $5,000. Thank you to all who participated so willingly, to our PTO President, Nichole Storey for acquiring the prizes, and to our Chairman, Mr. Michael Schrenker for leading this effort. The prize winners are:

First: Dale Robinson – Fire Tablet

Second: Carter Schrenker – FujiFilm Instax Camera

Third: Carmen Hudson: – $25 Frankie’s Giftcard

Grand prize:Daryl Ellerby, tickets to a Spring Firefly game, with box seats and spending money

Top selling class: Second grade-Dress- Down Day, Friday, Oct.14

Now, we set our sights on the fun, fellowship fundraiser, The Angels in the Vista Auction! Stay current on exciting auction items shown on the school’s web site and Facebook page. The Auction Committee is still accepting acquisitions and please add an item to your child’s theme classroom basket.

Please be mindful that the success of these fundraisers in the past has enabled us to keep our tuition at the same rate for the last five years. Your participation does make a difference!

The month of October is filled with many special events-Grandparents Day, Scholastic Book Fair, Pet Blessing, and the ever-popular PTO Halloween Party. These events are the perfect complement to the hard work of learning.

Peace and blessings,

Kathy Preston

September, 2016

A Note from Mrs.Preston

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Dear Parents and Friends of St. Peter’s School,

It has been a busy and successful start to the 2016-17 school year. Thank you to all who attended our Back to School Night and to those who have taken the time to read the school’s handbook. Having done this, you are well informed of the rules, procedures, and expectations of St.Peter’s Catholic School which will make the school year productive and pleasant for everyone!

I also appreciate everyone’s patience and consideration with the afternoon carpool procedures. Please be sure to use the cross walk along the Hampton Street side of the parking lot when walking with your child.

Our first fundraiser, World’s Finest Chocolate, is progressing exceptionally well. There are a few boxes remaining which need to be sold before the end date of September 13.

The first of three PTO meetings will be held on Thursday, September 22, 5:30-7:00pm in Neglia Hall. Our PTO President, Mrs. Nicole Storey reminded us that the PTO is for fundraising and fellowship! Please be sure to join us for dinner and to hear about upcoming school events and plans for the academic year.

The week of September 26-30, our students in grades 2-6 will take the standardized ITBS test and students in grades 1 and 4 will take the CoGat. Our teachers use the results of these tests to help direct instruction for the year. Please support your child’s success by making sure he/she gets a good night’s rest and a healthy breakfast.

At the end of this testing week, on Friday, September 30, all of our students will be treated to a performance of “The Tortoise and the Hare” by Porkchop Productions. We are grateful to Mrs. Genevieve Sullivan ( Ava, 4th grade) who has arranged this assembly for our students.

It is such a joy to have the students back in the school after the summer months. On behalf of the faculty and staff, know that we look forward to working with each child and supporting you in the mission of developing each child’s God-given potential.

Many blessings,

Kathy Preston

 

August 2016

A Note From Mrs. Preston

Dear Parents and Friends,

The bright binders, clean notebooks, and fresh backpacks displayed in the stores throughout the city remind us that a new school year is about to begin!

I look forward to welcoming the teachers back in the school on August 10th and our students on August 17th. We are excited to welcome two new faculty members to St.Peter’s School. Mrs. Lisa Hart will be joining Mrs. Pam Robinson in the K4 class as the lead teacher. Mrs. Hart has an MA in Early Childhood Education, over 4 years of teaching experience and two lovely children, Caleb and Peyton.

Our new second grade teacher, Mrs. Shelli Horabik, has a BA in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina.  Mrs.Horabik has worked for the Lexington School District and she, too, has two lovely children, Mark and Mackenzi.

We are also pleased to welcome Dr. Andrew Kotylo, the new Director of Music and Liturgy for St.Peter’s Church. Dr.Kotylo looks forward to continuing the outstanding work done by our students in our choir, Capella Pueri, and leading all of our students in the church music ministry.

I have noted on numerous occasions how fortunate we are to have the support of our parish family. A wonderful example of this support is the happy, generous spirit of parishioners Andrea and Ken Headley. You will see this lovely couple the morning of the first day of school. Mr.Headley is our ‘parish photographer’ and he and Andrea make a point to be here every year on the first day of school to capture the moment, and welcome the students. I have come to look forward to this tradition, as much as I enjoy seeing the students walk back into the school.  Mr. and Mrs. Headley’s gifts of time and joy are truly appreciated.

While it is nice having the summer months to get caught up, a school is a very different place without the students. I am confident I join our faculty and staff in expressing our excitement in starting up the 2016-17 school year!

Many blessings,

Mrs. Kathy Preston, Principal

 

 

 

June & July 2016

A Note From Mrs. Preston

Dear Parents and Friends of St. Peter’s School,

Closing out a school year is a jumble of activities, celebrations and emotions. On the faces of students, teachers, and parents you see expressions of excitement, anxiety, happiness, and exhaustion.

Tears were shed as we said good bye to those not returning to St.Peter’s, families that are moving and our graduates who are moving on. It was very hard to let this 6th grade class go. They are a delightful group of young men and women whom we have watched grow over the years.  As they came to the end of their time at St.Peter’s, they wrote eloquently about their memories and the impact that St.Peter’s School has had on their young lives.

Coming to the day of Graduation is not easy. I have mixed feelings of sadness and happiness. I am sad because I have to say good bye to all the teachers, students and the staff that I deeply love. I am happy that I am going to use what St.Peter’s School has taught me to meet my future challenges and goals.”

Now, as the school has emptied for the summer months, we focus our attention on preparations for the 2016-17 academic year.  Classroom supplies are ordered,  a fresh coat of paint goes on the walls of some classrooms, and all carpets and floors are cleaned. Meetings are held addressing curricular developments, campus security, instructional technology, and facility upgrades.

Our Auction Committee has met to organize acquisitions for the Angels in the Vista Auction, already scheduled for Friday, November 11th.  Be sure to get this on your calendar! Also, as you are out and about this summer, if you should come across a fun auction item, or destination, please be sure to contact our Auction Chairs, Mrs. Stephanie Hall (theHalls@sc.rr.com) or Mrs. Jennifer Penso (jenpenso@yahoo.com).  St.Peter’s Angels in the Vista Auction is known for its terrific and varied auction items…and for being a lot of fun!

I am especially proud of our teachers who are using these summer months to further enrich their teaching skills. Four of our teachers attended a week long program that completed a yearlong Nature-Based Inquiry Professional Development Initiative through the University of South Carolina. Our Technology teacher attended Googlefest in Charleston;  three of our teachers are attending Diocesan Curriculum Committee meetings.  Also in Charleston, two of our teachers attended a seminar on special needs modifications and accommodations in the classroom and two teachers will be attending an Educator’s Workshop presented by Richland County Storm Water Management Division. This time spent on professional development is a testament to our faculty’s dedication to excellence.

However, I believe that these warm,  summer days serve a higher purpose. This past spring, while at the Diocesan Principal’s retreat, I learned of a very special virtue, Eutrapelia. This virtue spoken about by Aristotle and St.Thomas Aquinas teaches us the importance of relaxation and  “re-creation.”

This rest from  work reminds us that it is God’s world,  not ours. The progress of the world depends on Him before it depends on us. Human life is a gift and a grace to be received and lived with joy.  The human being needs time to relax and to rest,  time for enjoyment and games, for  witty and warm conversation with friends. If we are to be useful to our friends, family and co-workers,  we need to respect the limitations of our energies. We need to  know  when to stop and relax.

Eutrapelia is the virtue that enables us to give ourselves fully to the very serious business of enjoying the delights of friendship and love, family and friends, books and games, music and laughter.

Wishing all of the St.Peter’s faith community slow, peaceful summer days and joyful moments with family and friends,

Mrs. Kathy Preston

 

May, 2016

 A note from Mrs.Preston

Dear Parents and Friends of St.Peter’s School,

According to Webster dictionary nurture is defined as “the care and attention given to someone or something that is growing or developing.”

During the month of May at St.Peter’s Catholic School our teachers, Mothers and school are all especially nurtured.

We begin the month with the beautiful tradition of the May Procession and Rosary. Throughout the month of May we honor the Blessed Mother who has the amazing distinction of nurturing the Son of God. She exemplifies unconditional and sacrificial love, and sets an example for us to follow.

The first week of May is Teacher Appreciation Week. Our classroom teachers, assistants, special area teachers, after school program staff, and wonderful volunteers give so much of themselves to the students at St.Peter’s School. Every day I see concrete examples of our students being nurtured cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually. Frequently as I take visitors through the school, comments are made about how ‘Happy” the school environment is. I credit our committed faculty and staff for nurturing this culture of care and attention.

We also turn our attention to our Mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, and friends who are like mothers, who nurture like no other. The patience, attention, support, understanding and love provided by these wonderful women in our lives affect healthy growth and development that we often can’t truly appreciate until we are much older.

Finally, the Midlands Gives Campaign, on Tuesday, May 3, is an opportunity to nurture St.Peter’s Catholic School in a 24 hour fundraising event which this year includes 100% matching funds from an anonymous donor. This is an exciting event that our Development Director, Mrs. Emily Hero, and her fantastic committee have been working on for months. We are blessed by families, parishioners, alumni, and friends who support our school generously and celebrate our successes with joy.

The month of May is filled with special events and celebrations which are reminders of the love that surround us; love of family, love of community, love of our God.

Many blessings,

Kathy Preston

Principal

April, 2016

A note from Mrs.Preston

Dear Parents and Friends of St. Peter’s School,

This is such a beautiful time of year in South Carolina. Dogwoods, azaleas and daffodils are in bloom. The grays of winter give way to the vibrant colors of spring.

New life abounds!

Of course this aligns with our ongoing Lenten journey. Bishop Guglielmone stated in his letter to his parishioners, the Diocese of Charleston,

The purpose of Lent is not to achieve success in our Lenten practices, but to allow those practices to influence some change in our lives-in a sense to rise to a newness of life at Easter as we celebrate the resurrection: newness in life in Jesus and newness in ourselves.”

 As our students return from Easter break, they too look as if they have grown over the week, a culmination of the school year. Growth in academic skills is evident on all grade levels. Interpersonal and social skills have developed, exemplified as students greet teachers by looking them in the eye, and using their name. And a mature awareness of the needs of others was reflected in the positive response to our Lenten service project, the Rice Bowls.

The life of St.Peter’s School is vibrant, reflected in the strong enrollment for the 2016-17 school year, up 23% from last year at this time. Over the next eight weeks we celebrate this healthy, fun school community at a variety of events including our final PTO meeting, April 21, the Family Picnic, May 13, the Student Art Show at the Springhill Suites, April 13, and the Spring Music Recital, May 19.

A very special event, our largest fundraiser of the year, Midlands Gives, takes place May 3rd. There will be a celebratory event for adults that evening in Neglia Hall so that we can watch the leaderboard together. We have an anonymous donor who believes so strongly in the mission and growth of St. Peter’s School, that the donor has offered to match all donations 100%!!!

We look forward to sharing all this growth and goodness with Bishop Guglielmone when he visits St.Peter’s School on April 14. This will be his first visit back to the school in seven years.

What a blessing it is to celebrate growth and new life in all forms- physical, intellectual, and spiritual.

Wishing you the many blessing of this beautiful Easter season.

Kathy Preston

Principal

March, 2016

A Note from Mrs.Preston

Dear Parents and friends of St.Peter’s School,

The experiment was implemented in the 1960’s by Stanford professor, Walter Mischel. It has become known as “the Marshmallow Experiment”. During the experiments Mischel and his team tested hundreds of children around the ages of 5 and 6, revealing what is now believed to be one of the most important characteristics for success in health, work, and life.

The children were individually brought into a room and a small treat, like a marshmallow, was placed on the table in front of the child. The researcher told the child that he was going to leave the room and if the child did not eat the marshmallow while he was away, then he/she would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. However, if the child decided to eat the first one before the researcher came back, then they would not get a second one. The researcher left the room for 15 minutes. Needless to say, the video on the subjects, the children trying to resist temptation and wait for the 2nd marshmallow, can be quite comical! Yet, the important insight gleaned from this experiment on delayed gratification came years later. The researchers followed each child for more than 40 years. They found that the children who were willing to delay gratification and waited to receive the second marshmallow ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills as reported by their parents and generally better scores in a range of other life measures.

During this Lenten season, our students are encouraged to share in Jesus’s journey by sacrificing in the form of abstinence, alms giving and prayer. We spoke in Morning Prayer about how it takes discipline to sacrifice for self and others. Much of this sacrifice is in the form of delayed gratification. I smiled as I overheard one of our students share with his mother at the end of the day that there had been a birthday celebration in his classroom that day, but he did not have the cupcake because he had given sweets up for Lent. Students are encouraged not give their “extra” coins to the Rice Bowl, but to give what they would have spent on themselves; and instead of watching tv or playing a video game, they are encouraged to spend that time in prayer. Mr. Mischel’s series of experiments proved that the ability to delay gratification was critical for success in life. Our Lenten journey should strengthen us by bringing us closer to God through sacrifice and prayer so that we can fully participate in the joy of the Resurrection.

Whether from a perspective of social science or faith, our students are being prepared for success.

It is my hope that you are finding time with your family during this Lenten season to prepare for the joyful celebration of Easter.

 

Many blessings,

Kathy Preston

February 2016

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A Note from Mrs.Preston

Dear Parents and Friends of St.Peter’s School,

Across the nation, Catholic schools will begin the month of February celebrating the history and achievement of Catholic education. Over 200 years ago Catholic schools took a largely immigrant population of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and brought that population into the mainstream of American life so that today it is one of the best educated and most successful groups in the United States.

Here at St.Peter’s, we have been educating Catholic and non-Catholic students for 163 years. Our students continue to be a reflection of the world; currently we have students in our classrooms from China, Guam, Mexico, India, Viet Nam and Syria. We have held steadfast in the mission of Catholic education which is to support families in developing the whole child – mind, body and spirit.

Catholic schools are known for exceptional academic standards and research has proven the importance of high expectations for student achievement. St.Peter’s embraces this culture of continuous improvement and high expectations. As a teacher who loved being in the classroom, I now take such joy in witnessing all that is going on throughout the school-consistent, well defined structure, loving discipline, interactive coursework, creative lesson plans. The teachers at St.Peter’s are dedicated professionals who are committed to the achievement of every student’s level of excellence. Ultimately the goal of St.Peter’s is to produce capable, ethical, citizens of the world; moral decision makers whose actions reflect the Gospel values. In a Catholic school we have the privilege of developing the students to be Christ like. This requires the ability to accept responsibility for one’s actions, show respect to others and participate in service to others. This is foundational to the mission of St.Peter’s Catholic School.

Catholic schools have done more for evangelization than any other American church institution. For over 200 years, they have been the most effective means of helping youth grow in their faith. Today this faith formation becomes more of a challenge for children as cultural influences contradict moral teachings that influence healthy cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual growth. Providing an environment where children know that they are safe, loved and cherished as a child of God, is more important than ever.

With the support of our pastor, parishioners, parents, alumni and friends, and most especially, God’s good grace, we will continue this important mission at St.Peter’s Catholic School for another 160 years!

Blessings,

Kathy Preston