News for the Week of November 12, 2014

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the organizer, who gave us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."–   Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC

 Our school community gathered on Veterans' Day to remember the service and sacrifice of all veterans.  In prayer and song, we offered our gratitude for all the freedoms our veterans have served to protect.  As Mrs. Gore eloquently observed, "from the cobblestone streets of Concord to the hills of Fallujah, our veterans have served so we can be free."  Our grateful thanks to all veterans and to all who serve in the military today.

Chilly Weather is on our Doorstep - Please keep in mind that unless the temperature drops below 20 degrees or the weather is wet and inclement our students do wait outside at morning arrival and do go outdoors for recess.  Please be sure your students have the appropriate outerwear for the day's conditions.  Please also remind your students that they should wear their outerwear so that it can keep them warm.  Girls are encouraged to wear uniform knee socks or tights beneath their jumpers or skirts.  Girls that choose to wear wind pants, sweatpants or flannel pants beneath their jumpers or skirts while outdoors must remove them during the instructional day.  Thank you all for your cooperation.

Mrs. Jehning's fabulous first graders made owls in Art class with Mrs. Mortillaro and then they wrote something that they have learned so far in first grade. They will be perched on the first grade classroom door. Please be sure to take a peek at them during conferences. They are a "hoot"!

Parent/Teacher Conferences will conclude tomorrow - Thursday, 11/13/14.  This will be the final 12:45pm early dismissal this week.  Again tomorrow there is PreKindergarten Enrichment available but no Aftercare.  Friday, 11/14/14, is a regular full day of school with both PreK Enrichment and aftercare available.

Calling all SMS Yard Signs - Were you nice enough to display a sign on your lawn to publicize our recent Open House?  If so, please return it to the school office at your earliest convenience. We will reuse them in the spring.

Parents of Cadet Band Students are invited! - Our Cadet band open house will be held on Thursday, November 13th from 11:30am-12:15pm in the Music Portable. Parents are invited to come and sit next to their beginner student and see how the band learns to prepare for concerts and how they should be practicing at home.

LAST CHANCE SKI SNOWBOARD CLUB: If you are sitting on the fence or procrastinating now is the time.  Registrations have been re-opened for students and parents to participate in our Ski and Snowboard Club and the late fee will be waived.  

If you already have a season's pass at Ski Sundown you can ride our bus to and from there.

When its dark, cold and snowy what better way to stay active and engaged with our wonderful students than by skiing or snowboarding with them.

We are short on our participation level this year, so this last chance is being offered with the late fee waived.  Its a great time and students and parents alike consider it very worthwhile.  Click here for more information and registration forms.

 Lifetouch Photography will return to SMS on Monday, November 17th to take group class photos of students in Prekindergarten, Kindergarten - Grade 7.  All students in Kindergarten through grade 7 should be in formal uniform for this photo.  Students may bring sneakers if Monday is  PE day. Lifetouch will also do retakes on this day and take photos of any student(s) that may have been absent on picture day on September 15th.  Click here for more information.

Athletic News 

Just a reminder that fees are now due for basketball.  Please make your checks payable to "SMS Booster Club" with "Basketball" in the memo section.  Fees are as follows:
3rd-8th grades - $150 per athlete.
2nd grade -  $50 per Athlete
Max $275 Per family
Players will not receive a jersey until payment is received!

LET GRADE 8 HELP YOU PREPARE FOR CHRISTMAS!The annual Poinsettia Sale to benefit St. Mary’s School 8th grade class is underway and continues through November 17th. Please consider a purchase for your family, a friend or your business. If you care to make a donation, we will be happy to donate your flower purchase to McLean Center or the Governor’s House Care & Rehab Center. These beautiful plants are a wonderful way to bring cheer to others in our community! Poinsettia pick up will be in the Parish Center on THURSDAY, December 4th from 2PM - 4PM and after all Masses on Saturday December 6th and Sunday, December 7th. Thank you for considering a purchase! Click here for your poinsettia order form.

Annual Coat Drive - Grades 7 and 8 are hosting a coat drive on behalf of the Hispanic Health Council of Hartford. We are collecting new and gently-used, washed or dry cleaned coats or winter jackets of all sizes. The coat drive is underway and will run through Monday, December 1st. Donations may be sent into your child(ren)'s classrooms. Eighth grade students will collect donations each day. Thanks in advance for supporting this important community service project.

Annual Senior Luncheon Will Be Here Soon!  St. Mary School is hosting our annual Thanksgiving Luncheon for Senior Citizens  on Wednesday, 11/19/14 in the parish center. Again this year, each grade is being asked to contribute specific items to help prepare the meal.  A Sign Up Genius has been setup for each class to make it easy for you to see what is needed and to sign up to help. Click here to access the Sign Up Genius. Non-perishable items should be sent in by Monday, November 17. Please be sure that they are clearly labeled for the Senior Luncheon.  Non-perishable items should be sent in by 9am on Wednesday, 11/19.  Your contributions are  vital to our success.  If you know of an area senior citizen that would like to attend our luncheon, please tell them to sign up by calling the Simsbury Senior Center to make their reservation at 860-658-3273.  Seating is limited, please encourage them to call ASAP!


It's time to start thinking about Yearbook!  
The 8th Grade Yearbook Committee is looking for your photos for this year's copy of the SMS Yearbook. The SMS Yearbook is a great way to remember all of this year's special highlights and contains photos of every child in the school.  Yearbooks are sold on a pre-order basis and this year, on-line orders are strongly recommended.  Click here to order your yearbook. Deadline for orders is March 15, 2015. To submit photos for publication consideration, please email Gina McDonald at

Home & School Association News

Thanks to everyone who sent in Box Tops for Education for the fall contest.  Thanks to your clipping, $406.40 was earned for St. Mary's HSA to benefit our students.  Our second collection contest will be held in February 2015 - start clipping and saving now!

Our next HSA meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 18th. The meeting will be at 6:30pm in the grade 8 classroom. All are welcome!

Save the Date - Fundraiser at the Shoppes at Farmington Valley, Canton
Let your Christmas shopping help St. Mary's. We invite you to come to Barnes and Noble, Dish N Dat and Ben & Jerry's in Canton on Thursday, December 4th from 4-9pm. A portion of all sales from each of these establishments will benefit St. Mary's Home and School Association. Come join the fun and get some Christmas shopping done at the same time!

Mark your Calendars -Thursday, December 11th from 4 - 7pm. is family fun night. Please join us at Blue Fox Rock N Bowl on the Simsbury/Granby town line for some bowling and laser tag fun. More details to follow in the coming weeks.

Mark your Calendars - Fundraiser -Another opportunity for Christmas shopping! We invite you to come to Neckers Toy Store in Simsbury on December 11th. A portion of all sales will benefit St. Mary's Home and School Association. More details to follow in the coming weeks.

CALLING ALL ARTISTS! The deadline to submit artwork for the Logo Contest for the school’s new trail race is extended to this Friday, November 14th. All SMS students are eligible. Please send completed artwork with the accompanying paperwork to Amy Lillis via Sophie Lillis in Grade 1. Click here for contest details and entry form.

RUN/WALK GROUP The weather is still nice, the trails are beautiful, and the company can’t be beat. Come join the walkers and runners at McLean Game Refuge (entrance on Rte 10/202 just north of Stop and Shop) at 9:00 on Wednesday mornings for some exercise and conversation.

HSA Nominating Committee  - The HSA is looking for a Nominating Committee to help fill the HSA roles for next school year. The Nominating Committee is responsible for finding nominees for each open position and presenting them at a spring meeting. If you are interested in serving on the committee, please contact Jennifer Pavlonnis at or Amy Lillis at

Community News

Annual Turkey Trot Non-Perishable Food Collection - Again this year, our school will be collecting non-perishable food items to benefit the Turkey Trot food drive.  Donations may be sent in beginning on Monday, 11/10 until Tuesday, 11/18.  Please be sure all donations are clearly marked "Turkey Trot" so they do not get confused with Senior Luncheon donations.

Student Volunteers Needed -

The Hartford Children's Medical Center will be conducting a Mass Casualty Exercise on Tuesday, December 2nd.  Click here for more information.  All volunteers must RSVP to NLT Tuesday, 11/25/14.

Wreaths Across America will be celebrated for the 6th consecutive year on Saturday, Dec 13th in Simsbury Cemetery on Plank Hill Rd. This ceremony, hosted by the Abigail Phelps Chapter DAR, with participation from the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War, will begin promptly at 12 noon followed by cookie reception in the Simsbury Library and all are welcome. For more information or for a form to purchase a wreath, please click here.

Students in Mrs. Jehning's first grade class worked at home with their families to create Cultural Pizza Project. Students created a 6 slice "pizza" that represented all 6 patterns of culture. The 6 patterns are:

1. The ways we act together
2. The ways we worship
3. The ways we speak
4. The ways we earn a living
5. The things we make and use
6. The ways we express ourselves