News for the Week of October 1, 2014

Our first month of the new school year is behind us!  We've shaken off the newness, found our strides and are moving ahead with smiles, so ready to welcome October at SMS and all that means - "Walk-In Wednesday, our annual Fire Safety visit, Columbus Day, Fall Bookfair, and, yes, Pumpkin Bingo!  Be sure to read the whole blog for all the details!

October is also the month dedicated to the Holy
Rosary.  All through this month, SMS students will be praying a decade of the Rosary each day during their Religion classes.  Mrs. Work will be sharing an interactive iPad app with faculty that will enhance this spiritual experience for our students.   On October 7, we will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Pope Francis has called the Rosary our "spiritual medicine."  "Don't forget to take it," he said.  "It's good for your heart, for your soul, for your whole life."  We hope many of you will consider incorporating the Rosary into your family's prayer time, especially during the month of October.

Our October School Mass will take place on Friday, October 3 at 9am in the church.  All are welcome to join us.  Please remember that no physical education uniforms should be worn to Mass.

School will be closed Monday, October 6, for a faculty in-service and Monday, October 13, for Columbus Day.

Students in Mr. Cosham's Kindergarten celebrated Johnny Appleseed's birthday last week.  
They shared their celebration with our school chaplain, Father Santiago, near the apple tree 
behind the rectory.

"Walk-In Wednesdays" are here!  Do you know someone who is wondering if SMS might be the right place for their family?  Invite them to stop by any Wednesday in October from 9-11:30am to get acquainted and experience a typical day here at school.  No reservation is required but we are happy to make note of expected visitors if people call ahead.  There will also be an Open House for Prospective Families on Wednesday, November 5 at 6:30pm in the Parish Center.  For more information or questions, please contact Angie Connors at

Again this year, Paul Cryan is available take photos of  St. Mary's students and siblings at photo sessions that will be held on Monday October 20, 2014 at his Avon studio.

Paul Cryan Studios (located next to Riverdale Farms)
40 Avon Meadow Ln,
Avon, CT 06001    (860) 676-1350

Appointments begin at 3:45. Please contact Jennifer Pavlonnis at to book your appointments.  ***Photos are of individual students. Offer does not apply to group or family photos.

Sign Up Genius for Parent/Teacher Conferences in November is open.  Click here to sign up for your Parent/Teacher Conferences.  Please keep in mind that all conference days are 12:45 early dismissals.  Conference days are Monday, November 10 through Thursday, November 13.  PreKindergarten Enrichment will be available on conference days until 3:20pm but NO AFTERCARE is available.

Students in Mrs. Jehning's first grade were out and about on campus last week taking photos with their iPads of God's creation.  They were delighted to run into our school chaplain, Father Santiago.  What a fabulous photo op!

Educonnect Parent Portal Update - Please be aware that there was a concern regarding the security of individual student grade information brought to our attention by students.  We commend the honesty of these students and their responsible action in bringing the concern to light.  We are pleased to share that Educonnect has resolved this problem and all grading information is now strictly private regardless of  any alterations attempted in the URL line of the address.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact Donna Hatch,

Home & School Association News

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!
The Scholastic Book Fair is coming to St. Mary's!  October 7-12.

Come visit the Castle of Sir Readalot and enter the Kingdom of Books!  
Enter a raffle to win a basket full of books!
Pre-order Diary of a Wimpy Kid #9 The Long Haul due to be released on Nov. 4!  Copies will be shipped directly to St. Mary's in early November.

The Fall Book Fair hours are as follows:
Oct. 7  Tuesday 12-4p.m.
Oct. 8, 9 Wednesday & Thursday  9a.m.-4p.m.
Oct. 10 Friday  9a.m. - 3:30p.m.
Oct. 12 Sunday 9 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. (after the 8:009:30 and 11:00 a.m.Masses) Family Event with coffee and doughnuts

Again this year, students in grades Kindergarten through grade 8 will make a visit to bookfair as a group.  Teachers will advise you when this visit will take place for your children.  PreKindergarten students do not make a "class" visit to bookfair but parents are encouraged to bring their children at their convenience.

Trail Walking/Running

We would love for you to join us!  Do you like to run or walk on trails, but need a partner to go with while the kids are at school?  We meet on Wednesdays right after drop off (8:50 am) at McLean Game Refuge on Salmon Brook Road in Granby (Rt. 10 - Hopmeadow Street becomes Salmon Brook Road when you cross into Granby).   We hope to have several groups running and walking various distances and paces.   If you have any questions, please contact Amy Lillis at

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 at if you are interested in being involved!

Trail Race Committee

Good news!  Next fall, the HSA will be putting on their first annual St. Mary's School Trail Race!  We are currently looking to put together a race committee.  If you are interested in becoming involved in this exciting event, please contact Amy Lillis at

Box Tops for Education News -  Starting October 1st, we will begin the first of our three Box Tops for Education Collection Contests this year.   The grade level that collects the most Box Tops from October 1st through October 24th will win the first contest, and their teacher will receive $25 for the classroom.  The second collection contest will be in February with the winning grade level teacher receiving $50 for their classroom.  The last collection contest will be in May/June.  The October, February and May/June totals will be added together for a final overall total.  The winning grade level teacher will receive $75 for their classroom.

Please send in the Box Tops to your homeroom teacher, but please do not send in any expired Box Tops as they will not be accepted.  The contest is for all grades PreK through 8.

To learn more about the program, please visit

Last year, we collected over $1,000 for our school, so let’s work together to beat that this year.

Any questions, please email Scott Sirianni at  Thanks for your support!

Social Saturday at SMS
Saturday November 8,2014 from 6-8 pm
St. Mary’s Parish Center

Come, Sip and be Social
Wine, Beer and Food Tasting hosted by local establishments
Live music and Auction items

$35.00 PP/ $60.00 per couple
Must be 21 to enter/ no children please

Claude and Michelle Howard with Father Matera at the Annual HOPES (Help Our Parish Elementary Schools) dinner.  Claude & Michelle received 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.  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.

Congratulations to the SMS students that have chosen to perform in the FMI Regional Band this fall.  Rehearsals have begun providing these students with a wonderful opportunity to play with musicians from other Catholic schools under the direction of multiple conductors.  Our thanks to our FMI teachers, Mrs. Debbie Morse, for helping our students prepare for their auditions and to the "band parents" who are taking the time to drive their students back and forth to St. James School in Manchester on both Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. 

David Kalamarides, SMS Class of '11,
pictured front row, 3rd from left
Alumni News - Seven Northwest Catholic seniors have been named Commended Students by the National Merit Scholarship Program, based on their exceptional performance on the PSAT/NMSQTs they took in October 2013, when they were juniors.  Among them is David Kalamarides, SMS Class of '11. David's achievement places him among the 5% highest-scoring of the more than 1.5 million students who took the exam. Our congratulations to David along with warm wishes for continued success.  If you have alumni news to share, please send an email to