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Dear Holy Spirit Prep family,
As I write this, I've just come from the Preschool's Bring Your Dad to School day, where I got to spend some time with Cora in her classroom making crafts.
I owe many thanks to our Lower School principal, Peter Schultz, who continues to serve as interim Preschool Director this school year while we undertake a search for a new Preschool Director.
Several weeks ago, Holy Spirit Prep released its full job description for a Preschool Director, and is planning preliminary interviews of qualified candidates later this fall. To view the job description or to share it with qualified candidates, please click here.
Thank you for your prayers while I traveled to Philadelphia to see Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families. It was a remarkable journey, and I was excited to bump into some HSP families while I was there.
October: what a busy month! Fall sports are in full swing: congratulations to our football, volleyball, and cross country athletes on all of your recent successes. C-Pride!
This week, we are kicking off our 2015-16 Annual Fund. This is our largest and first fundraising priority, which supports resources and educational initiatives for our students and teachers not covered by tuition alone. The success of our Annual Fund depends on the participation of every member of the school community. This school year, we aim to raise $535,000 with 100% participation from our current parents by Christmas. Please make your gift today!
Thank you very much to the PVA for sponsoring the C-Pride Pumpkin Patch! They kicked off the pumpkin patch with pumpkin sales, raffles, a petting zoo, face painting, and food -and you probably saw them selling pumpkins at Friday's football game and Saturday's soccer games. The PVA raised over $5,400!
See pictures from the Pumpkin Patch
One of our community's favorite events of the year, the Family Fun Run and Picnic, is Saturday, October 17. We'll have a 5K race, 1 Mile Fun Run, games for the kids, and amazing food. Buy your tickets today. Proceeds from this year's Fun Run will benefit our athletics booster club: if you'd like to make an additional gift to the athletics booster club, you can make one here.
Watch the fun from last year
I am excited about a new Mass time at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. They will offer a 7:00pm Mass in St. Mary's Chapel on Sunday evenings beginning on Sunday, October 18, the day after the Fun Run. Holy Spirit Prep will help support the various liturgical ministries of this Mass: our students will serve as lectors, Eucharistic ministers, and altar servers, and the Upper School liturgical choir will sing. Please join us for the first Mass on the 18th!
We also enjoy every opportunity to celebrate Mass as a community as often as possible. If you haven't yet this semester, take a day this October to celebrate Mass with us, whether it's at a Lower School grade level Mass, the Upper School's weekly Wednesday Mass, or morning Mass in St. Joseph's Oratory on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. You can find the Mass schedule here.
Yours in service,
Dear HSP Community,
The past eight weeks have been amazing and a great start to the school year! Since the first day of school, we have welcomed many new students to the community, celebrated one All-school Mass, kicked of fall sports and tied the fifth- and new sixth-graders.
So far this year, the House system has been very successful. All the new leadership is working hard and having great fundraisers every week. My personal favorites have been doughnuts, Chick-fil-a, and Smoothie King sold every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday!
On September 25, we welcomed in the newest members of the House system at the tying ceremony. This has been a long held tradition at HSP where the fifth (and new sixth-graders) become official members of a House. They are given a House tie and pin and then have the privilege of walking up the spiral staircase for the only time as Holy Spirit Prep students. This is always a much anticipated event and it did not let down this year.
Upcoming on the calendar is Homecoming, hosted by the House of Chalcedon on October 23. We invite everyone out to the game to enjoy tailgating, welcoming back our alumni, and watching some Cougar football!
God bless you all,
The Annual Fund is the school’s largest and first fundraising priority, which supports resources and educational initiatives for students and faculty not covered by tuition alone. The Annual Fund allows the school to respond to immediate needs and make improvements that directly benefit our children.
The success of our Annual Fund depends on the participation of every member of the school community – parents, grandparents, trustees, faculty, staff, former parents and grandparents, alumni, friends, foundations and corporations. This school year, we aim to raise $535,000 with 100% participation from our current parents by Christmas 2015.
Make your gift
The 1996 Level
$19,960 and higher
The Donoghue Level
The Donnellan Level
$5,000 - $9,999
The Dillon Level
$2,500 - $4,999
The Paraclete Level
The Gold Level
The Green Level
Up to $499
RSVP to Tracy Jones at email@example.com
Buy Your Fun Run Tickets ->
Adult Race Fees $25
Student Race Fees $20
Lunch Ticket $5
Family Max $100 ($125 with Lunch)
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The 2015 Pumpkin Patch was a huge success despite the wet weather! Our Holy Spirit Prep community helped the PVA net in excess of $5,400. Big THANK-YOUs to our fabulous adult and student volunteers who worked so hard at the Patch and to those who worked behind the scenes to create, produce, and clean-up the patch. A special note of appreciation to our Preschool moms for baking and donating all the delicious goodies sold at our bake sale!
And, of course, a HUGE thank you to Brandi O'Haren, who led the charge in directing this year's Pumpkin Patch. Thanks, Brandi!
In anticipation of the Columbus Day holiday, all campuses will dismiss early. No after-school activities, including ESP, will be held. Please make arrangements to have your child picked up at dismissal time.
12:30pm, Lower and Upper Schools
School will resume on Tuesday, October 13.
Your Holy Spirit Prep varsity volleyball team returned to the winning column while playing a critical Conference match against the Atlanta Girls School Hurricanes last Tuesday. HSP had to go on the road to play AGS, but had great support from a large group of parents, family, and fellow students. Led by great serving, HSP defeated AGS 3 sets to 1, strengthening our 3rd place position in the Region. The forecasted hurricane turned out to be nothing more than a light dew once our Lady Cougars were done with them! #CPride!!!
The Lady Cougars traveled to Brandon Hall this past Monday and won 3-0, securing a trip to the GISA State Tournament. Go Cougars!
Also, on Wednesday, Sept. 30th, Sister Miriam James Heidland took a few moments from her day to speak to our Varsity Volleyball team. When our Lady Cougars found out a nun, who formerly played Division 1 Volleyball in college, was leading a mission at the church they quickly invited her to speak to them. Sister Miriam spent about 20 minutes with our Lady Cougars asking them what they like about volleyball and sharing what she enjoyed. She emphasized the importance of not getting down on yourself and always getting back up.
The words of this former competitive athlete, whose life is now dedicated to Christ, should resonate with all:
"Seek excellence in your sport and give yourself fully at practices and at games. Learn the lessons God is trying to teach you in your daily life and have fun. But always remember that sports are not the final goal of our lives. It's very important to have balance in life. Many times we worship at the altar of sports rather than God. Sports will pass away, God never will."
-Sister Miriam James Heidland
Last Wednesday the middle school cross country team competed against 15 other schools on a 2.15 mile course of rolling hills and narrow rocky paths. A HUGE congrats to Jack Voss, who came in 1st place. He ran the 2.15 mile course in 13:21, scorching the competition! The next closest runner was a full 16 seconds behind (a lifetime in distance running!). Way to go Jack!
For the girls’, Julia del Bosque finished 6th overall with an impressive 16:47.
The team had a great race, including our newest member Hector Pallida, who competed for the first time this year.
Individual and team results can be found at http://ga.milesplit.com/meets/216360/results/398326
This Thursday, October 8, Holy Spirit Prep's cross country team will host its first-ever invitational! The meet starts off at 4:00pm at the Upper School's track. HSP will host schools from across the metro area, including:
Atlanta Girls School
Cristo Rey Jesuit
Our Lady of Mercy
This Thursday, 10/8, our Pre-K4 students will spend a morning at the Lower School, meeting their third-grade buddies and seeing what a day in the life of a Kindergartner will look like for them next year.
Students will be dropped off at the Lower School and meet with their class, while parents meet with Mr. Schultz and other school personnel about what next year will look like for their students. Parents will drop their students off at the Preschool at the end of the morning.
This week and next, our Preppies are bringing their parents to school!
This Friday, October 8, Pre-K3 and 4 dads will spend some time in their student's classroom, working on a project together and enjoying a snack! That's from 8:30am-9:30am.
Next week, Preppies bring their Moms to school from 8:30am-9:30am. The Pre-K2s' event will be on Thursday, October 15, and Pre-K3s and 4s bring their moms on Friday, October 16.
In celebration of the Memorial of the Guardian Angels, our kindergartners and Pre-1st students dress up as angels, perform songs for their families, and parade through the halls of the Lower School. The performance begins at 8:30am in the cafeteria.
You can now search for books in the Lower School library online!
Go to the Lower School library book catalogue
The new online catalogue is accessible from the Quicklinks menu on HolySpiritPrep.org.
The Lower School Book Fair is coming! Preview days for the book fair will be Thursday, October 15 and Friday, October 16. Purchase days start on Monday, October 19 and run through Tuesday, October 27.
The book fair needs volunteers, so if you are able, please email Kristen Ciprari at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy fall, y’all! Are you getting as excited as we are about that Fall chill in the air? ‘Tis the season for apple picking, pumpkin patches, trick-or-treating, and -- YES! -- the HSP Fall Festival! 2015 HSP's Fall Festival is October 30! This year we continue our annual tradition, but with some great new changes and additions. Here’s what you need to know:
• First, we are no longer asking for classroom prize donations. To make the most of our resources, we ask that parents make a small cash donation toward one large, school wide, bulk prize order. This will allow the Fall Festival committee to purchase premium quality prizes/party favors for this event, at a much lower price per item. (It also means parents don’t have to shop, and teachers and class coordinators don’t have to manage donations boxes.) Watch for donation flyers to come home in your child’s Friday Folder on October 2. We will be collecting donations from October 5 – 7. The more money we raise, the better the prizes will be!
• Second, instead of candy and “penny” prizes at each booth, we are creating party favor bags for every student. At the classroom booths, students will have the opportunity to compete for raffle tickets, and raffle prizes will be awarded by our DJ (another great addition this year!) throughout the event. We hope to utilize any corporate resources that HSP parents may have, so if you have in-kind items you would like to donate (Spirit items, toys, sporting goods, gift cards, etc…) for the raffle, in lieu of a cash donation, please contact Fall Festival Co-Chair, Kathryn Martini at email@example.com.
• Third, while Halloween costumes are not allowed at school, on October 30, fun Halloween or Fall themed uniform enhancements (such as socks, tights, hair accessories, or jewelry) are ENCOURAGED!
The 2015 HSP Fall Festival is right around the corner, so please plan ahead to help make it a fun event for our kids!
Students in grades 8-11 will take the PSAT next Wednesday, October 14, 2015. This is an important test that colleges and other organizations use as a benchmark and a deciding factor in granting awards and scholarships! Most notably, students who excel on the PSAT have the opportunity to be recognized as a National Merit Scholar, with its accompanying scholarships.
Below is a reprint of an email sent from Mrs. Sotomayor to Upper School families on Monday, September 28:
Dear Upper School Parents,
The beginning of this school year has been wonderful and so far we have been able to accomplish much during the first six weeks of school. Thank you for the support you've given to your student and to our school community.
As I promised at Parent Night back in August, I would like to inform you about some important additions to our academic program.
Starting this semester, progress report cards will be sent home at the end of each semester, in December and May, instead of quarterly. Having semester grades allows more assessments to accumulate, which will more accurately reflect your student’s performance. At the midpoint of each semester, the school will send you an email reminding you to log in to PlusPortals to check grades, so you can review your student’s progress. The way the school reports grades to colleges will not change.
The Upper School will also be implementing a new Academic Probation Policy to help remediate students who struggle academically. The purpose of Academic Probation is to ensure that we pay close attention to each student's academic performance. We would like to identify students who are struggling early on in the semester and put a mechanism in place for the students to improve and finish the year strong. Each semester will be considered independently as grades reset at the beginning of the second semester. The logistics of the policy are as follows:
1. Grades will be checked at the following times:
a. At the end of the 4th week of each semester;
b. Every two weeks after the 4th week.
2. Students can be placed on Academic Probation at any time during the year at the discretion of the Student Success Team.
3. Students with two Ds or an F in any subject, including electives, will be placed on Academic Probation for a minimum of two weeks.
a. The teacher will inform the student.
b. The administration will inform the parents via email.
4. Students on Academic Probation will be required to attend a mandatory study hall after school for two weeks.
5. After two weeks of Academic Probation,
a. If the student no longer has two Ds or an F, he/she will no longer be on Academic Probation and will not have to attend the mandatory study hall.
b. If the student still has two Ds or an F, he/she will be deemed Academically Ineligible, will be required to continue attending study hall, and will not be allowed to participate in school-sponsored extracurricular activities for two weeks (at which point the student’s grades will be reviewed again).
c. A student who ends the 1st semester on the Academic Ineligibility list will not be allowed to participate in school-sponsored extracurricular activities until the first day of the 2nd semester.
Lastly, the final exams exemption policy has been revised. Starting this December, all students will be required to take final exams, with the exception of seniors in The Order of Gownsmen during May exams only. All seniors are required to take exams in December. For more information about The Order of the Gownsmen, please refer to the Student Handbook. Our students need to be exposed to this type of assessment, which they will inevitably encounter in college. Having them take final exams while in high school will provide them with a higher level of confidence in their ability to prepare correctly and effectively for final exams in college. As in the past, junior high students will have final tests in their classes, not final exams. All high school students will have final exams, worth 20% of their semester grade.
Please know that we are in the process of updating the Student Handbook to reflect these changes.
Thank you for allowing us the privilege of educating your child. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
God bless you!
Upper School Principal
Be sure to check out the Campus Ministry section of the website for an ongoing list of up-to-date service opportunities, in addition to our year-round apostolates.
1) Help is needed at Holy Spirit Catholic Church's nursery, during the Sunday Masses. Upper School students may volunteer to earn service hours or may work for $8.50 an hour. Contact Samatha Zavala to sign up.
2) We need responsible Upper School students to help run the concessions stand at our home football games: two students for each half of the game. Contact Ms. Van de Voorde to sign up.
3) Students can now earn service hours for filling the following liturgical ministry roles at their parishes: (1) altar server, (2) lector, (3) Eucharistic minister, (4) usher, and (5) choir member. One service hour is earned any time a student attends Mass and fills one of these roles during the liturgy. N.B. Only one hour may be earned per Mass even if the student fills more than one role.
4) Volunteer at the Family Fun Run and Picnic on October 17.
HSCC Sunday Night Mass
St. Mary's Chapel
Beginning October 18th, Holy Spirit Catholic Church is piloting a new Mass time, Sunday evenings at 7:00pm. This Mass will be held in St. Mary's Chapel.
Holy Spirit Prep has offered to assist with the Mass, and will coordinate its various ministries, including music. If you attended the first all-School Mass, you know it will be inspiring worship with our students serving in various ministerial roles!
The HSP Community is invited to Holy Spirit Catholic Church’s Wednesday Night Dinner + Family Date Night on October 14 at 6:30 p.m. in McDonough Hall. Dinner will feature a menu of pasta with and without meat sauce, salad, rolls and dessert. The cost of dinner is $7 for adult and $5 for children. Please RSVP by midnight on Monday, October 12.
This month’s Family Date Night is themed “Fall Art Night with the Saints.” Come create images of your favorite saint in time for All Saint’s Day! Please be sure to RSVP so that we have enough art supplies. For more information or to volunteer, contact Clara Olguin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holy Spirit is pleased to be hosting the major relics of St. Maria Goretti on Monday, October 26. The youngest canonized saint in the Catholic Church in modern times, Maria Goretti was 11 years old when she was killed on July 6, 1902, after being stabbed 14 times in an attempted rape. Maria’s last words on her deathbed were of mercy towards her 20-year old attacker: “I forgive Alessandro Serenelli… and I want him to be with me in heaven forever.” Serenelli reported receiving an apparition of Maria in prison. That occasion began a conversion process – in his words, “Maria’s forgiveness saved me.”
The visit of the relics of St. Maria Goretti is part of an effort by the Church to prepare the lay faithful for the Year of Mercy which begins December 8. Veneration will be held from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. in the Church with a special Mass at 7:00 p.m. Learn more at http//mariagoretti.org.