Back to School

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

What a phenomenal first few days of school we’ve had!  I have spent this week getting to know your children, visiting classrooms and finally seeing first-hand what a friendly, supportive, faith-based community we have at St. Peter’s Catholic School.

I was touched by the pure joy I witnessed on students’ faces the very first day of school.  I have spent this summer, working away in the front office, learning the administrative duties of my new role.  I realized quickly that I missed the frequent sounds of laughter, the footsteps of busy children, and the many silly stories shared by students.  Having students back in our classrooms, filling our hallways, gives me such delight!

I ask that you please join our school’s PTO to work with us in our fundraising and community-building efforts.  PTO meetings will be held monthly and will be a collaborative process that I hope will be both engaging and meaningful.  A schedule and agenda for each PTO meeting is listed on our school’s website under “Current Families” and can also be picked up in the front office.

I’d like to remind everyone that next Tuesday, August 28th is “Back to School” night.  Please join us in Neglia Hall at 6:30pm to hear more about our school, extra-curricular programs, and for the opportunity to visit your child’s classroom and talk to his/her teacher.

Thank you for giving your child the gift of a Catholic education and for choosing St. Peter’s.

 

Sincerely in Christ,

 

Aubrey Herkert Wall

Principal

Principal’s Letter

July, 2018

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

I introduce myself to you this month with tremendous joy.  July marks the beginning of my journey as principal of St. Peter’s Catholic School.  I have been given the opportunity to work alongside Mrs. Kathy Preston during the month of June as we begin the transition into the 2018-2019 school year.  Mrs. Preston has shared a warmth and a vision for St. Peter’s School that is truly inspiring. I hope to foster her warmth and sense of community as we move forward with the development of St. Peter’s Catholic School.

This is a very exciting time for the St. Peter’s parish and community as we have recently been recognized as a Minor Basilica by the Vatican.  A church must offer historic value, the ability to host worthy and exemplary celebrations, and stand out as a center of active and pastoral liturgy to receive such an honored distinction.  In the excitement, I overheard someone describe St. Peter’s as having a “beautiful past and a glorious future.”  I believe that with this designation, we have been given a great responsibility and opportunity for growth and development, not only for our parish but also for our school.

During the 2018-2019 school year, I would also like to recognize our newly hired and re-positioned staff: Mrs. Tracie Wiggins, 5K; Ms. Alison Smith, 1st; Mrs. Ellie Russell, 2nd; Mrs. Shannon Ronald, 4th; Mr. Christopher Coller, 5th; and Mrs. Katie Labelle, academic interventionist.  Mrs. Preston and I are confident that we have developed a tremendously strong team of professionals who are going to direct our school towards our vision of academic excellence and moral upstanding.

I am grateful for the opportunity to support St. Peter’s Catholic School in this role and I look forward to getting to know each of you and your children.  I will be in the office this summer preparing for a smooth transition into the 2018-2019 academic year, so please stop by to say “hello.” Thank you for your trust, support, and warm welcome.

Sincerely in Christ,

 

Aubrey Herkert Wall

Principal

June, 2018

 

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A Final Note from Mrs. Preston

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

I write this final letter as Principal with a heavy yet grateful heart.

It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the teachers, parents and parishioners of the St. Peter’s faith community. However, what has brought me the greatest joy throughout my 20 years in Catholic education has been being a part of a child’s early development – recognizing each student as a child of God and fully embracing our mission of preparing each student for a life of faith, virtue, and excellence.

I am deeply grateful for the many caring and supportive people who have shared this mission; our pastor, Fr.Linsky, dedicated faculty and staff, volunteers, benefactors, PTO Board, Advisory Council, and friends.

I am confident this new beginning will be an exciting time in the rich history of St. Peter’s Catholic School.

Please know that each of you and this sweet school will remain in my prayers and heart.

 

Many blessings,

Kathy Preston

Principal

May, 2018

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

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

We begin this last month of the 2017-18 school year participating in an exciting on-line fundraising event, Midlands Gives. St. Peter’s Catholic School has significantly benefited from this opportunity over the past three years due to many loyal, generous donors. All money raised goes right back into our school, supporting instruction for our terrific students.

We will continue the long- standing tradition of the May Procession and International Rosary to honor our Blessed Mother on Tuesday, May 8th at 8:30am. Please join us for this beautiful prayer service if at all possible.

May is filled with many special events that highlight the student’s accomplishments and offer opportunities for fellowship. On Tuesday, May 8th our student’s art work will be displayed in Neglia Hall. This Art Show is always an impressive display of a variety of mediums and creativity.

On Friday, May 11th the PTO will host the ever-popular, end-of-the-year Family Picnic. There will be games for the children, a Book Fair that will include summer reading selections, a Used Uniform Sale, and a delicious meal. This is always an enjoyable evening.

The halls are alive with the sound of music this month! The Capella Pueri will have a concert in the church Saturday, May 5th at 7:30pm.Our School-wide Spring Music Recital will be on Thursday, May 17th at the USC Band Hall. Another wonderful music presentation this month is the Midlands Catholic School Music Festival being held at Cardinal Newman High school on Monday, May 14th at 6:00pm. We have 9 students who auditioned for this program who will join students from the other Catholic schools in the area to perform.

The Baccalaureate Mass for our 6th grade class is Wednesday, May 30th. We are very proud of this delightful group of young men and women. Please keep them in your prayers as they move on to Middle School.

Finally, during the month of May we celebrate teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-11th.We are blessed at St.Peter’s to have such wonderful, hard working professionals who see their job as a true vocation!

God bless teachers and mothers…unselfish, unconditional, and loving.

Many blessings,

Kathy Preston

April,2018

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

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

The children were bursting with excitement! Invitations had been sent, the room had been prepared, cards had been written, simple refreshments of doughnuts, coffee and juice were on the table.

In the adult world it is easy to forget what a special event “Doughnuts with Dad’s” can be to a young child. I watched as the kindergarten students physically reacted with joy-smiling, jumping, and hugging, as their fathers joined them in their classrooms, huddled around the small tables for juice and doughnuts.

I watched as one small student anxiously looked toward the classroom door, waiting expectantly for his father to arrive. Holding back tears and then breaking into a beautiful smile when his father appeared. I was filled with a sense of gratitude to all of these men who took the time to be with their child for a few moments on this Friday morning. And I prayed that they really understood how important their presence is to their child.

Recently, when speaking with parents, they humbly admitted that they wished there was some kind of handbook that went along with parenting. I remember feeling the same way when my children were young. More is required of us to get a driver’s license than to be a parent!

In Parenting with Love and Leadership, by John Rosemond, he states the following:

“In the proper raising of a child, both unconditional love and unequivocal discipline are undeniably necessary. Furthermore, love and discipline are not two different things; rather they are complements. Love is necessary to the proper discipline of a child and proper discipline is necessary to properly loving a child. Proper parenting is an exercise in leadership.”

I have also found that this most important responsibility is considerably more enjoyable when shared with others going through the same self-doubts, frustrations, and joy! This month our Assistant Principal, Mrs. Ellie Russell, and our Parochial Vicar, Fr. Andrew Fryml, are offering a special series titled “Faith-based Parenting” on Sunday mornings, from 10:15 to 11:30,in Neglia Hall. This is an opportunity for parents to learn, share, commiserate, and build a community of support and friendship. I hope you will consider joining us. To register for this free program email erussell@stpeterscatholicschool.org, or frfryml@visitstpeters.org

I smiled as I read what our K5 students had written and posted in the front of the classroom: “My Dad is as awesome as – “a popstar”, “cupcakes”, Disney World”, “dogs and goosebumps”, and “HUGS”

Let us continue to love and lead our children with God’s grace and blessings.

Kathy Preston

 

 

March, 2018

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

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

Signs of the changing season and new life are all around us; green buds on the trees, daffodils and crocus coloring the landscape. Welcome signs of new life after the dormant winter months.

Around St. Peter’s School the indicators of Spring include the excitement of the 2nd graders as they prepare the soil and plant seeds in the garden outside my office window and baby teeth falling out of the now much bigger Kindergarteners!

This focus on life was addressed in a very special presentation to our 5th and 6th grade students.

Mrs. Mary Burkett, a parishioner of St. Peter’s Church, was asked to speak to our students in conjunction with their study of World War II. Mrs. Burkett is a retired pediatric nurse with no artistic training. However, in January, 2017 she felt compelled to sketch. Searching for subjects on the internet, she was captured by the face of a little boy named Hersch. She felt as though Hersch were calling out to be drawn. In a matter of hours something quite amazing occurred. Hersch peeked out of the paper at her, “just as if he had been hiding there all along”. Mary, with no artistic training, watched as he slowly came to life under her hand, and he became not a drawing, but a little boy. What she did not know when she first saw Hersch, was that he had died in the Holocaust at Auschwitz at four years old. She also did not know at the time that his sweet face was just a beginning. There are now 27 portraits, each one unique and precious, a series of beautiful sketches, divinely inspired entitled, “Beloved Children of the Holocaust”. I watched our students faces as they viewed the sketches and listened to Mary tell the story of each child. And I was grateful that our beloved students could learn from and honor these beloved children.

Mary Burkett will present the Beloved Children of the Holocaust in Neglia Hall on Wednesday, March 14th at 6:30pm. I strongly urge you to hear Mary and view her stunning sketches. I invite you to visit her web site,belovedchildrenoftheholocaust.com, for an overview of this beautiful celebration of life.

All around us we are reminded of the amazing gift of life, most especially during the season of Lent. God gave his beloved Son, so that we would have eternal life.

Let us always be grateful for the precious gift of life.

Many blessings,

Kathy Preston

Principal’s Newsletter

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

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

It seems such an odd juxtaposition, Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday falling on the same day this month. On Valentine’s Day, shiny red boxes of chocolate, beautiful flowers and sweet cards are given to those we love as a sign of our devotion. At Mass on Ash Wednesday, black ashes are placed on our forehead in the form of a cross as a sign of the beginning of the penitential season of Lent. For forty days we focus on prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Currently we have pink, red and white valentines hanging on our literary tree in the school hallway. On these valentines the students have written about why they love St. Peter’s School:

I love St. Peter’s because it is unique. Everyone here loves God and we are all friends and we are nice to each other.”

“I love St. Peter’s because I love to learn.”

“I love St. Peter’s because of the staff. They are patient and kind. I also love St. Peter’s because of the way we are allowed to express our faith.”

These positive insights are appreciated by the faculty and staff.

As I reflected upon the season of Lent, I was reminded of a refrain my father said at each of my 5 sibling’s weddings:

A song is not a song until it’s been sung, A bell is not a bell until it’s been rung.

And so it is that love is not love until it’s been given away.”

God sent his only Son, the Blessed Mother endured the passion and death of Jesus, the apostles hid in fear after their friend had been put to death; all so that we could enter the Kingdom of Heaven. There is no greater love than the love given to us by God.

I see evidence of sacrificial love all around me at St. Peter’s; parents who work hard to send their child(ren) to a school where values and standards are shared and respected. Teachers whose love for each student is evident in their preparation, recognition of student needs and celebration of successes.

Sacrificial love does not come wrapped in a shiny heart-shaped box, but it is the love that is given away that most closely resembles God’s love for us.

Through the practice of prayer and sacrifice, may you experience God’s love during this Lenten season.

Many blessings,

Kathy Preston

 

January, 2018

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

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

The countdown to the New Year and the quieter days of January always seem to bring much needed calm after the commotion of the holiday season. Nestled between the liturgical feasts of Christmas and the Epiphany is the Feast of the Holy Family. We are reminded of the humility and obedience of Mary and Joseph, and Jesus’ childhood as a member of the most important nuclear family.

Just as the Holy Family was not typical, we know that there are no typical families. Yet the importance of a family to a child’s development is beyond compare. The family is a source security, stability, and unconditional love. By providing this to a child, he/she is better able to build healthy relationships, overcome challenges and embrace learning, Also, when one’s own physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met in a family, empathy and compassion are instilled in a child.

Demands on a family can be consuming; financial strains, work responsibilities, the ongoing needs of the children. However, God sent his Son to be a member of a family. Prominent reminders of the beginning and end of Jesus’ earthly journey are the crèche and the crucifix, signifying the joys, struggles and fears experienced by the Holy Family and also our own.

When overwhelmed by the enormity of the parental responsibilities of providing for and leading a family, whether it has been my nuclear family, extended family or school family, I have been guided by St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians in which he said the following:

“Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing one another and forgiving one another; be thankful, and over all these, put on love. “

May God’s loving presence be a part of your family throughout this New Year.

Kathy Preston

Principal

December, 2017

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

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

The beautiful season of Advent is upon us! During this time of preparation, we focus on the many gifts given to us by God -most especially, the Christ Child humbly taking on our humanity to free us from sin.

The hectic nature of this time of year seems ironic as the greatest gift we have to give and receive is the gift of peace. Know that it is the desire of the faculty and staff to provide a peaceful environment for the children at St.Peter’s throughout these weeks that are filled with special seasonal activities – rehearsals, decorations, parties, and shopping.

Speaking of shopping…I would like to suggest some gift ideas for your children that may seem counter-cultural to the electronic gifts that I am certain will be the big attraction. Please consider toys and games that will encourage active participation, socialization, cooperation, imagination and creativity.

Games: family board games such as Scrabble, Boggle, Life, Pictionary, checkers and chess and outside games that include balls, hula-hoops, bean bags, and jump ropes.

Building materials: blocks, Legos, magnets, crafts, and tools.

Books, magazine subscription, journals, scrapbooks – anything that encourages writing and reading.

Yet, it is my ardent wish that the true gifts of Christmas are simple and focused on the faith filled messages of Advent and Christmas. As a family, take time to attend church each Sunday in Advent, light the candles on the Advent wreath, read the many spiritual and beautiful versions of the Christmas story, and listen to the words as you sing Christmas hymns.

Silent night, holy night, Son of God, loves pure light

Radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus, Lord at thy birth, Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

 

Wishing you and your family the many blessings of the Christmas season.

Kathy Preston

Principal

 

November, 2017

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A Note from Mrs. Preston

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

I vividly remember the large cornucopia table decoration that was displayed on my grandparent’s dining room table around this time, every year. The colorful, artificial fruits and vegetables spilling out of the large cone-shaped basket was always an indication that Thanksgiving was right around the corner.

The cornucopia is a symbol of abundance, nourishment, and gratitude. During the month of November we will focus on all that we have in our lives for which we are grateful. As I reflect upon the blessings of the St. Peter’s School community, I am so grateful for the following:

  • A hardworking and loving faculty and staff, dedicated to nurturing each students academic, social, emotional and spiritual growth.
  • Parents and grandparents who are committed to the mission of the school
  • Volunteers who give of their time so generously
  • Our Pastor, Fr. Linsky, and parishioners who understand, support, and care for the school unconditionally.
  • Beautiful students who make me smile every day

This month we will be mindful of the needs of those less fortunate by supporting the Harvest Hope Food Bank. Collection receptacles will be in the school for non-perishable food items and toiletries.

Throughout the month of October we celebrated the lives of the Saints, culminating in the Holy Day of Obligation, All Saints Day, which included our Second Graders dressed as their special saint at our school Mass. The community of saints provides for us examples of those individuals who have lived virtuous lives for God. It was brought to my attention that November is National Black Catholic History Month and as such we will focus this month on St. Josephine, St. Monica, and St. Augustine, African saints who have had a huge impact on the history and traditions of Christianity.

The virtues of justice, fortitude, faith, hope and love are exemplified through the lives of the saints, as we strive to teach and model them at St. Peter’s Catholic School.

This Thanksgiving may you be nourished by the abundant blessings of family, friends, and faith and be filled with a grateful heart.

Kathy Preston

Principal