As we head into the Holiday Break, I’m reminded of some of the wonderful things at St. Francis that make me grateful to be part of this community (maybe this should have gone out before Thanksgiving, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me).

In this week before the two-week holiday vacation, these three things have made an impression on me:

  • Two alums came to visit us on Monday: Madison Ebel G’12, ’16, who is a senior at Centre College, and Lorenzo Mahoney G’16 who is at the Gatton Academy for Math and Science at WKU. Madison is finishing a degree in music education and came back to shadow Bob Bertke and Kim Rash to watch them teach music as well as to visit. Both alums addressed the kids at Middle School Morning Meeting and clearly loved being back on campus (and seeing the new front lobby and theater!). And in January, we have another alum scheduled to visit, Lilly Dine Young G’14, who is currently attending Smith College and is also considering a career in education. It warms my heart to see these wonderful young people wanting to come back to our School.
  • Secondly, we received the initial results from a survey of our new parents about their experiences in their first semester at St. Francis, and their comments were overwhelmingly positive! Here are a couple: “It has been everything my son was missing, this has been the best decision for his education I have ever made!” and “Each child is treated as an individual. A tailored educational approach which maximizes learning and performance. The student body is diverse and your child will find friends with similar interests.” I think it’s easy for us to forget how special our environment is, as we are immersed in the day-to-day details, and this feedback from folks new to St. Francis is a much needed reminder for all of us.
  • At Middle School Morning Meeting Wednesday, Shelly Jones honored 6th grader Sydney Shoemaker for a new initiative she helped get off the ground. As Sydney explained to all of us, she attended a social justice camp last summer and talked about many of the concepts to which she was exposed. One that stood out for her was “Menstrual Equity” which, in short, involves schools or other institutions providing access to menstrual products in their restrooms. Sydney wrote a letter to Alexandra advocating for this cause, and as of this week, we now have baskets hanging in our bathrooms with these products! I am grateful to work in an environment and learning community that would spur one so young to pursue an idea like this, seek out social justice, and take meaningful action! Go, Sydney!

Add to that the simple joys of this festive week and I think you can see why I’m feeling immense gratitude to be a part of St. Francis. Happy Holidays to the whole SFS community!