The Gospel of Life

Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life) is the 1995 encyclical of St. Pope John Paul II, written to reaffirm church teaching around the value and sacredness of every human life.  This month, our SMSA Ledgers for Life and Campus Ministry have taken special care to promote awareness of life’s sacredness.  They have thoughtfully educated classmates about making choices that respect, protect, love and affirm the dignity of every human life. The church’s teachings regarding human life are at the heart of Jesus’ entire gospel message. We know that “life, especially human life, belongs only to God: for this reason whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God himself” (EV 9).  Not only does our Christian tradition teach us about the sanctity of life through the unborn and their right to life, but also by condemning practices like euthanasia and capital punishment. Pope Francis has ordered a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to assert “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” and to commit the Church to working toward its abolition worldwide.


A year ago, our Ledgers for Life visited Washington DC and represented SMSA at the annual March for Life. Not only did they participate in the rally and its related events, but they also intentionally included time in their itinerary to honor fallen soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery and the National War memorials along the Mall that commemorate the sacrifices made in American wars.  They also visited a Catholic food pantry serving vulnerable and homeless men and women, and the Holocaust Museum, which documents the effects of racism and genocide in many poignant and horrifying exhibits.  Our students produced an impressive slideshow video presentation to share what they learned in our Nation’s Capitol last January.  I am grateful for their love of life and one another.  I am impressed with how they continue to share their faith in the dignity of all human life. 


This month and all year long, our goal is to help our students grow in character and virtue.  Understanding the sanctity of all life and all people is fundamental to our identity as Catholics and as Ledgers. I am grateful to our Ledgers for Life, their generous moderators and all who have shared their voice and talent to promote God’s greatest gift on the Ledge this January. 


Our Lady of the Ledge, pray for us!


Be well, God bless. 

Eamonn O’Keeffe, Principal Grades 9-12

Upcoming Dates

Add/Drop Deadline for Semester II - January 29th

Friday, January 29th is the last say to add/drop a class(es) for Semester II.


Catholic Schools Week - February 1st - 5th

The National theme of this year’s Catholic Schools Week is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” Next week at SMSA, we plan to celebrate what it means to be a Catholic school community!  In the spirit of charity, each day will be an opportunity for students and staff to provide needed supplies to various ministries locally and around the State.  In addition, students will be invited to participate in theme days by dressing in the theme  of each day, which will be revealed by the Student Council.  Many thanks to our SMSA Student Council for collaborating with Campus Ministry to coordinate a fun and meaningful Catholic Schools Week.

Catholic Schools Week - Day of Giving February 2 - 3, 2021

As we prepare to kick off Catholic Schools week, we are excited to announce our participation in the fourth annual “Many Gifts, One Nation: A Day of Giving” beginning Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. (CST) and continuing through 11:00 a.m. (CST) on Wednesday, February 3rd.   


Remember last year we gave away a 50% tuition credit?!  Well, this year, one lucky student will receive a 100% tuition credit when we reach our “Day of Giving” goal of raising $10,000.  That’s right, a 100% tuition credit for the 2021/2022 academic year will be awarded to one lucky SMSA student when we reach our $10,000 goal! 


For every $100 donation made to our “Many Gifts, One Nation: A Day of Giving” campaign, your name will be entered for a chance to win, or gift, a 100% tuition credit for the 2021/2022 academic year.  


Donations must be made by clicking here to qualify.  

To view full tuition credit rules please click here.

Singing Telegrams - February 14th

Tired of flowers and chocolate?! This Valentine’s Day (February 14th), St. Mary’s Springs Academy’s Music Department, will offer a fun way to virtually show your loved ones how much you appreciate them. 


Music students will prepare a personalized message for your loved ones, as well as serenade them in song. This personalized video will include students dressed in formal attire, singing three love songs, in a lovely three-part harmony that you can enjoy for years to come.


Your payment of $35 must be received by February 11th, 2021.  


Click here to order your Virtual Singing Telegram today!

Click here to view the flyer.

Mark Your Calendars - No Classes on February 12th & 15th

As President Stacey Akey communicated last week, there has been a change to the school calendar for the month of February.  Parents should please note that both Friday, February 12th and Monday February 15th are no longer school days.  No classes will be held on either day.

We Need Your Help- Ledgerfest Class Auction Baskets - due February 26th

Planning has begun for our annual Ledgerfest fundraising auction and we are in need of your help! Last year we collected money from each grade level and put together some amazing auction baskets, which went over very well during our auction held this past summer. This year, we are asking each grade level to contribute again to putting together a basket around a specific theme. This will then be a part of the silent auction which will run in April.


If you would like to contribute towards your child(ren) class basket, please send your cash contribution in a sealed envelope with your child’s name, grade level and Ledgerfest Donation written on it. Your student can then give it to their homeroom teacher or drop off in the North or South office. If you send in a check, please make it payable to Andrea Nuss. Please note that if you have more than one child attending SMSA, you can send in one envelope but please note each child and the amount you are donating for them, along with their grade level on the envelope.


If you are interested in helping by being a point person for your child’s grade, please contact Andrea Nuss at Each point person will be responsible for putting together the class basket once the money is all collected. If you have a theme or package idea or would like to donate an item please contact us ahead of sending items to school with your child. This is SMSA’s largest auction and the money raised makes a direct impact towards the greatest needs of the school.


Please have all contributions in by Friday, February 26, 2021. If you have any questions, please contact Andrea Nuss at


Thank you so much for your willingness to help make this year’s Ledgerfest a success!


Andrea Nuss and the Ledgerfest Committee

News and Information

Registration: Schedule Request Worksheets for 2021-22

Beginning this week with juniors, students will receive Counseling Office presentations around requesting classes for the 2021-22 school year. Schedule Request Worksheets will be distributed and students will be sharing these forms with parents to be signed. In February the process will continue to sophomores and freshmen.  We encourage parents to engage with their teens in discussions around course offerings, academic goals, and graduation requirements.  For your reference and convenience, the 2021-22 Curriculum Guide has been posted on the SMSA Website, found under Family Resources 

Please review the 2021-22 Curriculum Guide course offerings and academic policies.  Of course, parents are encouraged to reach out directly to our high school counselor Mr. Tallen Mahaffey with any questions about the forms or curse selection process.  Finally, please make sure students are following deadlines for submitting their Schedule Request Worksheets.  This is a first step and essential aspect of preparing for next school year.

Safe Social Network Update

Please visit,  SAFE SOCIAL NETWORK – Tik Tok & Young People, to view the episode on Tik Tok.

Thank you for supporting Big Money Raffle!

Thank you to everyone who supported the 35th Annual Big Money Raffle drawing last Friday, January 22nd. We raised $98,850, selling 1977 tickets! The winners from last Friday’s drawing are:

1st Place – $20,000 Roger Rammer

2nd Place – $5,000 John Goebel

3rd Place – $2,500 Aaron Everson

4th Place – $1,000 Kris Bosio

5th Place – $500 Janet Coon

6th Place – $500 Phil Kubichka

7th Place – $500 Jon Petersen


Thank you also to our top selling families who collectively sold over 80 tickets!

– Steven and Andrea Wagner Family

– Jeffrey and Amy Wilcox Family

– Erin and Jennifer Beaty Family

Snow Days/February Schedule Change and Policy Updates

Below are three important updates regarding snow days for the remainder of this academic year, two February schedule updates, as well as a few policy updates to the Return to the Ledge operational plan.


Snow Days/February Schedule Change

As required each year, SMSA submits an official Academic Calendar to the Archdiocesan Office for Schools and to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI).  Each official Academic Calendar must comply with instructional hour requirements set by the DPI.  For the current year (2020-21) SMSA has submitted an Academic Calendar that includes six (6) extra days of instruction to account for any potential instructional time that may be lost due to “snow days.”


During this year of the pandemic and with virtual learning as a new and legitimate option, some have asked if “snow days” are now a thing of the past, no longer necessary due to advancements in learning technology.  Our Leadership Team has discussed this question and we are now prepared  to share our decision with SMSA parents/guardians, faculty and staff. Therefore, for your planning and preparation: 


For the remainder of 2020-21, should inclement weather require a “snow day” declaration by school Leadership, SMSA students will NOT be expected to attend classes virtually, and the campus will be closed.  Our Leadership team believes that, given the unusually demanding circumstances of the current year and unique strain placed upon families, students, faculty and staff, allowing the mental and physical break which accompanies a “snow day” is most appropriate.  Should all six available “snow days” be used in the next term, only then may SMSA elect to activate virtual learning for any subsequent inclement weather event, thus maintaining fidelity to instructional hour requirements. 


Related to this decision, the Leadership Team also believes that it is appropriate to make the following adjustment to the Academic Calendar for Semester II: 


  • SMSA will utilize a “snow day” for Friday, February 12. NO CLASSES will meet, childcare is closed as well as the entire campus.
  • SMSA will utilize a “snow day” for Monday, February 15. NO CLASSES will meet and childcare is closed.  However, on February 15, campus is open as faculty and administration will be engaged in a full-day of professional development.


We recognize that it is significant to make changes to the school’s Academic Calendar, and we do not make this change frivolously.  Creating this mid-term break opportunity speaks to the value we place on the wellness and holistic balance of students and their teachers at a time year that requires a little more care of the soul. 


Return to the Ledge Update

The Return to the Ledge operational plan (RTTL) was designed to guide our planning, preparations, and ongoing operations for in-person and virtual learning during the healthcare crisis caused by COVID-19. This is a working document, and upon completion of the first semester, we have made some adjustments, including:

  • increased opportunities to celebrate Mass
  • additional library, playground and locker access
  • enhancements to art and music education
  • increased opportunities for performing arts participation


Please click here to view the RTTL addendum, effective January 18, 2021. 


We will continue to monitor and evaluate operating protocols and safety measures, making course corrections which align with the commitments identified in our plan.


We thank all of our parents and guardians for the many sacrifices and adjustments already made in 2020-21 to support SMSA planning, programs and protocols.  We are grateful for your continued flexibility and goodwill.  Thanks in advance for supporting the decisions and changes outlined above.  As always, we are all in this together! 


SMSA Virtual Learning Guides and Information

With more students electing to learn virtually at this time of the year, I suggest parents of virtual learners review the links provided here. These are resources for better understanding virtual learning at SMSA. 

  1. SMSA Ledger Learning Guides Home Page
  2. HS Expectations for Virtual Learners DOC 2020-21
  3. Expectations for Virtual Learners Slide Deck

High School Counseling

From the Office of Tallen Mahaffey, 9th - 12th Grade Counselor

Seniors:  Complete any college applications as soon as possible. Now is a great time to update your acceptance status for all of your college applications in Naviance.


The next phase for moving on to higher education at colleges/universities/technical/trade schools is to look for scholarships on the financial aid/scholarship sites of your potential colleges and in Naviance under Scholarships.  If your parents work at a large corporation, they may want to check with their Human Resources Department to see if there are scholarships available to children of employees.


Seniors, if you have received Award Letters from colleges you have been admitted to, please send a copy of your award letters to Mr. Mahaffey in the School Counseling Department at


Juniors: Information about taking the ACT this spring will be shared with you at the end of January.  You may want to begin looking at the ACT website if you have not done so already.


Attention all Parents of current Sophomore and Junior students who may be interested in the Youth Apprenticeship Program:  There will be an online information session for you to attend so you can learn more about the program.  This information session will be held on four different dates to make it more convenient for parents to attend.

Click here for meeting dates and more information.


All High School Students


Fresh Start to a new semester:  The beginning of the new year and the second semester gives us all an opportunity to set goals and make positive changes in our lives. Let’s all work with a renewed focus on learning and earning the grades you have set as part of your goals.  The opportunities you will have after high school depend on how hard and how smart you work to prepare yourself now.


Please contact your school counselor to discuss ways to improve your learning and reach those goals you have set in each class.  You will also find a full list of study tips posted in the Google Classroom for Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors.


The counseling department will begin a Stress Management group for high school freshmen students during the spring semester. This group will meet once a week during lunch for 8 weeks. Topics include: coping tools, relaxation techniques, self-care, and more! Space is limited. Please contact Ms. Rusch ( for more information.


A new Study Skills group for high school students will begin soon.  Space is limited.  The group will meet in the evenings from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.  Please contact Mr. Mahaffey for more information.


Scheduling for the upcoming 2021-22 school year will begin soon with presentations in classrooms.  Now is a great time to begin having discussions at home about your plans for next year and beyond.  More information will follow soon!

News and Information

Learn While you Earn College Credit – Marian University

Marian University is offering 100% online pre-college courses to help high school students get ahead!  Click here for more information.

Upcoming Dates

Wisconsin Education Fair – February 10th

Wisconsin Education Fairs is offering access to nearly 160 Colleges, Specialty Schools, and Military Branches. Get registered today and explore options!


Explore the Marian University booth and receive a special gift!


Visit 10+ schools and be entered to win a set of AirPod Pro’s. Three sets will be awarded on Monday, April 12, 2021.


Click here to register or log back in! Chat live with reps on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. CST, but please explore the booths at any time.

Career Exploration

No news at this time.

Job Opportunities

Boys and Girls Club

The Boys and Girls Club is now hiring.  Please click here for open positions.

Scholarship Opportunities

Elks Legacy Awards – Deadline February 5th

The Legacy Awards provide $4,000 scholarships for children and grandchildren of dues-paying Elk members. Please click here for more details and the application link. Deadline is Friday, February 5, 2021.

The Senate Scholar Program – Deadline February 8th

The Senate Scholar Program is an intensive week-long educational program offered by the Wisconsin State Senate. Admission to the program is highly competitive and is limited to 33 academically exceptional high school juniors and seniors from around Wisconsin. Each Senate Scholar receives a hands-on, up-close view of the Legislature’s role in our democracy.


For more information and application, please go to


Applications will have to be received no later than February 8th, 2021.

College/University SMSA visits

No updates at this time.

College/University Virtual Visits

None at this time.