Gratitude has been identified by religious leaders, scholars, poets and psychologists as a true key to happiness. When we take time to count our blessings and express gratitude, we literally increase the chemicals in our brains that produce wellbeing and joy. As a child growing up in Wauwatosa, my wise old Irish pastor, Monsignor Joseph Halloran used to preach to us in grade school that a chronically unhappy person struggled with an ungrateful soul. He challenged us to find blessings each day.
Among an endless list of blessings in my life, I am grateful to be principal of the high school at St. Mary’s Springs Academy! The students, staff and families of this special learning community on the Ledge have quickly found a way into my heart, welcoming me last year and continuing to support me and my colleagues in the work of Catholic education. I thank you parents especially for supporting all of us at the Springs during this tumultuous and challenging year. Your kindnesses and support will not be forgotten, or overlooked. May God continue to bless your families with good health, goodwill, hope and love. Lots of love!
Staying Healthy During the Holidays
During the last two weeks, we have observed a significant surge in positive cases of COVID-19 in the State of Wisconsin and in our Springs community. Healthcare pleas for all of us to be mindful of masking and social distancing at all times are becoming more determined. The increased volume of positive cases and deaths has stretched hospital resources across the State, and a shortage of care workers due to quarantines is placing even more stress on our communities. Along with health care providers, civic leaders and our partners at the Fond du Lac Health Department, SMSA leadership strongly urges our families to be vigilant about limiting large gatherings with people who are not a part of your household at this time. In order for SMSA to continue offering in-person instruction we rely on the whole community doing its part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We are so very interconnected.
As I have shared recently, my own family has and will continue to make intentional sacrifices so not to compromise the vulnerable in our family and community as well as the in-person learning goals of three school communities in which we interact each day. My family will not be celebrating Thanksgiving under the same roof with extended family members for the first time ever. This year, family storytelling will occur on Zoom! While not ideal, it is a little thing we choose to do to maintain healthy Jones and O’Keeffe families…as well as the school communities for which we care deeply.
Jesus tells his disciples: “This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you” John 15:12. May the Springs community be ready to show our love through the sacrifices necessary to protect the health of our community during this most difficult time. Our Lady of the Ledge, pray for us.
Farewell Mr. Petrie
Tuesday, November 24th will be the final day for Mr. Kollin Petrie, our Campus Minister and freshman Theology teacher at SMSA. Mr. Petrie has been given an opportunity for a career change that will benefit his growing family. The whole Springs community offers our best wishes and prayers for success to Mr. Petrie during this time of transition. Mr. Petrie’s many contributions to strengthening the Catholic mission and identity of SMSA have made us a better school. The generous way that Mr. Petrie shared his deep faith, his leadership, and enthusiasm for building community will be missed.
The search for Mr. Petrie’s replacement has been underway and potential candidates are being vetted. As soon as we have news to share, we will be updating parents.
November 20 – No School
Friday, November 20 is a scheduled day off for all students.
Our Lady of the Ledge, pray for us. Be well, God bless.