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

may 2013 children with balloons resizedokd

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

January 2016

Christian Private School

Dear Parents and Friends,

We begin this New Year in St. Peter’s School celebrating the feast of the Epiphany. During Morning Prayer we spoke about the gifts brought to the Christ child by the Magi and we discussed the gifts that we have to give Jesus. These gifts are not purchased but come in the form of patience, kindness, and a generous spirit. We also recognized “broken gifts” that we can bring to Jesus taking the form of anger, frustration, or laziness.

However, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the many generous financial gifts given to the school during the Christmas season. Parishioners, parents, and friends of St.Peter’s Church and School have donated over $30,000 to our Tuition Assistance Fund. Ten ‘gently used’ computers were given to us from the Legislative Service Agency at the State House. Mr. and Mrs. Michael Loncon, parishioners and parents pf graduates Dillon and Russell, gave a generous donation for instructional technology. We even received a lovely note from Sr.Judith Stojhovic,RSM, Principal of East Catholic School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania stating the following:

Dear Mrs. Preston,

I had the opportunity to attend Holy Thursday services at St.Peter’s Church. In the fall, when all of the flooding was occurring in South Carolina, I immediately thought of that wonderful service. I wanted the students in my school to do something for the students in South Carolina. So we had a Dress Down Day and collected money for your school.”

And of course the many thoughtful gifts given in such a joyful manner by the students to their teachers, office staff, and principal at Christmas are truly appreciated.

The last Sunday of this month, January 31, we begin Catholic Schools Week with a school showcase in Neglia Hall. It is an opportunity to share with our parishioners the great gifts afforded by the Educational Ministry of the church- a rigorous education that meets high standards and the opportunity to learn every day, across the curriculum, the importance of Jesus being at the center of our lives.

Faith formation and a sound education-thank you for supporting our mission and choosing these two great gifts for your child at St.Peter’s Catholic School.

May the gifts of 2016 be those of peace, good health, and happiness.

Kathy Preston

Principal

December 2015

A Note From Mrs. PrestonChristian Nativity scene

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

This month we celebrate the beautiful season of Advent, prayerfully preparing and waiting for the birth of the Christ child. It is such a blessing to be able to focus on the true meaning of Christmas with our students, helping them to understand the gifts of obedience and patience that Mary and Joseph exemplified, the humility personified by the shepherds, and the glory of the new born king as acknowledged by the three Wise Men.

The sounds, sights, and smells of the season are all around at the different events taking place in the school during December. First, congratulations are in order for the terrific job done by our Capella Pueri at the Nutcracker performances at the Township Auditorium the last week of November. Their hard work was evident in their professional performances under the direction of the St.Peter’s Choral Master, Mr. Mark Husey. We are sorry to see Mr.Husey leave us at the end of this month. Please make every effort to attend a parish celebration for Mr.Husey after the 6:00pm Mass on Tuesday, December 8th in Neglia Hall.

Our students will be attending Mass on Tuesday, December 8th to celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception. On Monday, December 14th, all are invited to the Strength and Movement showcase in Neglia Hall at 1:00. This is an opportunity for the students to share what that they have learned from their amazing teachers from the Columbia Conservatory of Dance. All of our students in grades K4-6 will then be able to fully appreciate the discipline and beauty of body strength, balance, and movement at the Columbia City Ballet’s educational outreach performance of Frosty the Snowman at the Koger Center on Friday, December 11th.

A popular tradition takes place Thursday, December 17th at 7:00pm in the church. Our music teachers, Ms. Erika Hubbell and Mr. Joshua Day, have been preparing the students for the annual Christmas music program, a true gift of the season. There is plenty of seating in the church so be sure to invite family and friends!

Finally, our students will be dismissed at 11:30 on December 18th for the Christmas holiday.

If, over the next few weeks you start to feel stressed, I invite you to come walk the halls of St.Peter’s School. Take in the wonderful signs of the season… the Advent wreaths in the classrooms, the “living” manger scene in K4, the 3rd grade reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and our 1st graders singing Christmas carols to the parish ‘50+ Club’, just to name a few. You will quickly be reminded of what makes this time of year truly special.

Wishing you and your family the peace, joy and blessings of Christmas!

Kathy Preston

Principal’s Newsletter, November 2015

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

This time of year, the end of our first quarter, our teachers and parents meet to review report cards and discuss how the academic year has begun. I also meet with each of the classroom teachers to review my observations and evaluations of their instruction.

November 10th is our school visit from the Director of Education, Mrs. Sandra Leatherwood, from the Diocesan Catholic Schools Office.

All of these evaluative processes can be nerve-wracking and stress inducing. I know as a parent, there were many parent/teacher conferences I nervously sat through with my child; as a teacher being observed by my principal, I was suddenly more aware of my frailties, and as I prepare for our visit with Sandra Leatherwood, I hope she will be able to see in one day all the wonderful things going on at St.Peter’s School every day!

In each of these situations our Catholic faith guides us. It teaches us not to judge, but to serve. When parents and teachers meet to discuss a child’s progress, it is an opportunity to share information that will better serve the child’s academic and emotional development. When a principal meets with a teacher, it is an opportunity to determine if teaching methods are serving our students and the principal is supporting the teacher in these efforts. When our Director of Education makes her school visit, the pastor, principal, teachers and Advisory Board pause to review with Mrs. Leatherwood the effectiveness of the school in fulfilling its mission and serving as a ministry of the church.

Evaluations are necessary for continuous improvement. Whether this is a program evaluation or a self-evaluation, I truly believe that as stewards of God’s gifts we have a moral imperative to diligently look for ways to improve. It is how we show thanks to God for all that we have been given.

Thanksgiving blessings to you and your family,

Mrs. Kathy Preston, Principal

Principal’s Newsletter, October 2015

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

Flooding of historic proportions has a way of putting life’s small matters into perspective.

I began formulating this letter last week, focusing on all the special events we had planned for the month of October. Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi with our Pet Blessing, Grandparent’s Day, our 3rd grade class visit to the Statehouse and meeting with our Governor, Nikki Haley, and the PTO Halloween Party filled the calendar.

Now, as we wait to see what the ramifications of the water damage will be to our city and state, we pause to say a prayer of gratitude for the safety of family and loved ones. We look beyond our own preoccupations to the needs of others.

I am grateful that our school appears to have incurred no major damage, but know of many whose homes have been destroyed. We watch as first responders, our mayor, city manager, and numerous volunteers work tirelessly for the good of all in our wounded, but not defeated, community.

When the water recedes and the sun returns, let us not forget those deeply affected by this devastating flood.  Let us be grateful for routine and for God’s many graces in our lives. Our state is strong, and we will move forward with faith, love, and great hope for the future.

Many blessings to you and your families,

Mrs. Kathy Preston, Principal