News for the Week of 9/10/14

"Back to School Night" for Parents is tonight - Wednesday, 9/10/14, beginning at 6:30pm in the parish center.

News from Mrs. Gannatti - Mrs. Gannatti has sent out a letter via the family email distribution today (9/10).  If you did not receive this email, please advise Donna Hatch at

First grade students have begun their Family Life series. Working in cooperative teams, students brainstormed about the qualities of "family" and about what families "do". 

 Individual Student Photos for Students in Prekindergarten, Kindergarten - Grade 7 will be taken by Lifetouch Photography on Monday, 9/15/14.  A photo will be taken of every student in these grades for publication in our school's yearbook.  Students in grades K-7 may wear "business casual" attire, appropriate for school, on picture day. You do have the opportunity to purchase a photo package if you choose.  An order form was sent home with each student on Friday, September 5th.  If you are purchasing a photo package, the order form and payment should be brought to school on picture day - Monday, 9/15/14.   Please do not send in your order and payment before picture day.  You may also order and pay online  Click hereNOTES - Eighth grade students will have their individual student pictures and group class photo taken by Paul Cryan Photography on Friday, 9/26/14.  Group Class Photos for grades Prekindergarten, Kindergarten - 7 will be taken by Lifetouch Photography in November when the formal uniform is being worn.

Senora Puerta's  Spanish Blog is now available.  Click here to access this blog or use the link on the right navigation bar.  Please consider subscribing by email so that you receive a copy of all of her blog posts.

Virtus Training for New Volunteers - All volunteers at SMS are required to complete the Virtus "Protecting God's Children" program and have a background check completed in order to volunteer for any activities at St. Mary's School. This is an Archdiocesan requirement. If you have already done this and submitted your paperwork to the school office, you should be all set. If you have completed this at a previous school, we must have a certificate on file in our office.

If you need to attend a training session, Mrs. Ginny Gore will be holding a training class on Wednesday, September 17th at 6:00pm in the Grade 5 classroom. You may RSVP for this class through Mrs. Gore at or Tammy Budnick at If you are unable to attend this class, you must go to the archdiocesan website ( and find a class that is more convenient for you. 

You must provide proof of attendance at a Virtus session and the completed background check form before you can volunteer at school. If you do come to volunteer and you have not obtained the training, we will have to ask you not to volunteer at that time. Please understand that we must follow the guidelines put in place to protect our children.

Show your St. Mary’s School Pride!  The SMS oval car magnets are back.  They are available to purchase for $5.00 from the school office.  They will also be available for purchase at the St. Mary’s HSA Fall Festival. 

Grade 8 Fundraising

The 8th Grade is also having a car wash on Saturday, September 20th from 9am-2pm in the North (Playground) parking lot.  The rain date is 9/27.  Your car will thank you and so does our 8th grade!

School Board NewsThe Saint Mary’s School Board is excited to begin our work during the new school year. Our first meeting is scheduled for September 24th at 7:00 pm in the Lower Church. All are welcome to attend our school board meetings. We are looking to enhance the development of our meeting agenda items. With that in mind we would ask that members of the Saint Mary’s community that would like to address the board during the meeting submit those inquiries to the School Board Chair, Claude Howard (, for review one week before our scheduled meeting. This will allow us to plan our meetings accordingly. Click here for a list of our upcoming meetings and our current board member roster.

Home & School Association News

Minutes from the September 4th Home & School Association have been posted to the school's website on the HSA page.  Click here to access the minutes.

It's almost time for the Fall Festival!

Volunteer Handbook - Click here to review the helpful handbook for HSA Volunteers.

Fall Festival 

The Fall Festival is quickly approaching!  Please mark your calendars and save the date for this years event on September 19, 2014 from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.  There will be food, games, arts and crafts and other fun activities.  This is a great opportunity to meet new friends and socialize with our school community.  We will be collecting non perishable foods for the Simsbury Food closet.  They are in need of the following:

toilet paper
coffee and tea (Reg & Decaf)
canned chicken
canned stew
canned or bottled juices
canned fruit
spaghetti sauce
maple syrup
pancake mix
cereals and oatmeal

Ladies’ Night Out

We hope you can join us for a night of painting and FUN on October 3rd in the Parish Center!!  Visit with old friends, make new friends or bring a friend with you.   You will bring home an original wine glass painted by you!  Click here for more information.

Collecting Box Tops

Box Tops is such an easy way for parents to get involved in their child’s education. When you purchase Box Top products, simply clip the Box Top coupons and send them into school.  It’s that simple! Saint Mary School will earn cash that can be used to purchase items that will benefit our school. 

You can send Box Tops to school at any time.   The Box Tops will be collected in your child’s classroom.  To learn more about Box Tops and track our school’s progress, you may register on-line at:   Thank you for supporting this easy fund raising opportunity.  

HOPES Dinner

The HSA is happy to announce that we have chosen Claude and Michelle Howard as our candidates for the St. John Neumann Award for Volunteer Service.  Claude has served on the school board for the past two years and is currently the Board Chairman.  Michelle has chaired and co-chaired the St. Mary's Auction for the past two years.  These Auctions were fun, community building events that also provided the funds for our beautiful new playground.  The Howard family has also been involved in multiple other events generously offering their time, talents, service and ideas to help strengthen the St. Mary's School community.  We are blessed to have them here.

Book Fair

Mark your calendars!  Our first book fair of the year will be October 7th – 12th in the Parish Center.  This years theme is Sir Readalot’s Castle.  More information to follow as we get closer to the date. 

St. Mary's Gardening Club

 Do you have a green thumb? Come help make St. Mary's as colorful on the outside as it is inside! Our first meeting is scheduled on October 16th at 9:00 a.m.  We will be doing a clean up, planting bulbs and sharing our friendship.  Contact Jennifer Pavlonnis if you are interested in being involved!

Trail Walking/Running

Do you like to run or walk on trails, but need a partner to go with while the kids are at school?  Come meet at McLean Game Refuge on Salmon Brook Road in Granby (Rt. 10 - Hopmeadow Street becomes Salmon Brook Road when you cross into Granby) on Wednesday mornings right after drop off.  We hope to have several groups running and walking various distances and paces.  Our first walk/ run will be on Wednesday September 17th at 8:50 a.m.  Hope to see you there!  If you have any questions, please contact Amy Lillis at


Dunkin Donuts gift cards are now available in $25 denominations. We will have them in stock for daily sales beginning this Friday. Also, just a reminder that we do have a newer restaurant available, Attilio's/Maple Tree comes in $25's. CHOICE sales are MondayWednesday and Friday mornings from 8:30-9:30am or through "kidmail". Orders sent in through kidmail will be filled on the next scheduled sales day.

An Update from St. Catherine's regarding Father Whyte and his donor - St. Catherine's Parish has shared the following update with us.  We join with this parish in prayers of gratitude and continued requests for a speedy recovery for both Father Whyte and Mrs. Domashinski.

"It is with a great sense of relief, thanksgiving and peace that this news is being sent to you.

Father Michael has had a VERY successful kidney transplant operation and is recovering peacefully and well. Equally our parishioner donor Maggie is also doing very well.

Please understand that due to family privacy sensitivities and personnel limitations daily updates cannot be given. Many thanks for your participation in St. Catherine's Community Prayer event and your ongoing prayers for Fr. Michael and his donor and their families."

If you are interested in helping the Domashinski family with a home cooked meal or transportation assistance for the children, please contact Jen Pavlonnis ( or Amy Lillis (

Alumni News - A number of Class of '14 alumni are beginning their high school experiences by participating in a Fall sport.  Click here to see who's playing a sport this fall!  If you have alumni news to share, please send an email to  It is our pleasure to share news about our alumni's successes and achievements.

Boys in Grades 1-4 are Invited to Join Cub Scouts!  Join your friends for an amazing year round adventure of scouting.  More information will be shared on Friday, September 12th at 6pm in the Parish Center or contact Luigi Peluso at 860-214-4114 or

St. Mary's Parish Invites All Moms -

Dedication of New Sign for School & Parish Center -The new sign that was given to us by the Class of 2013 has been installed and will be dedicated and blessed on Sunday, October 26th after the 11am Mass.  All are welcome to join us for this special ceremony.  We also extend our special invitation to all members of the SMS Class of '13 and their families. If you are in contact with any of these alumni, please share this information with them.

OCS Announces Search for Director of the Connecticut Federation of Catholic School Parents  - An exciting and rewarding opportunity exists for a full-time director, with an office in Hartford, CT, who will be responsible for maintaining a comprehensive statewide parental alliance and legislative advocacy for Catholic schools in Connecticut.  Click here for more information.