Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Loving, A Core Value at ASA

"This is what school should be. Everyone loving each other!" - Julia 

“I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10b

Some thoughts on love and abundant life on Valentines Day 2018, as we start Lent this year:

On January 24, 2018 we shared a story about our 7th graders spending time with the St Alphonsus Senior Group. Today we are honored to share some reflections from the seniors: 

  • "It was a JOY to see all the smiling faces and the fun the students had." Mary Lou W
  •  "Helping the boys make pizza was a riot." Char S
  •  "Watching the kids play with the puppets was uber-entertaining." Char S
  •  "It was fun. They were very polite." Pat A.
  •  "It was a wonderful opportunity to meet such well behaved and courteous students. It gave us reassurance we have some terrific leaders of the future." Pat R
  •  "It gives me such hope to see the quality of these fine students. It gives me hope for the future, especially in light of all the stressful news. It brings light and warmth to my heart." Jan S

During Catholic Schools Week this year students reflected on ASA’s core values. Here are some of their thoughts: 

  • “I Love the ASA Core Values!”
  • “ASA has helped me be a better person in faith, friendship, and kindness.” 
  • “Loving is when we feel like family.” 
  • “Faith means to have love for God.”
  • “Love means learning and knowing new people and new faces.”
  • "I love how teachers have us solve our problems by our selves.” 

Recently the 7th grade spent some time in religion reflecting on “What makes life good” through scripture, the catechism and papal encyclicals. Here is a summary of their discoveries in their own words: 

  • Life keeps getting better, it’s a journey of becoming.
  • Our freedom (free will) reveals God.
  • We are meant for Heaven.
  • We are made in God’s image.
  • God’s love shines through our relationship with others.
  • We area a sign of God’s presence in the world.
  • We have faith and God forgives.
  • God can bring good from bad (and even evil).
  • By seeking and loving we find true good.
  • Life is good because we have God in our lives.
  • God loves us. We were made to love Him and each other.
  • God has a plan for our time on this planet.
  • Our life is a trace of God’s glory and a sign of his promise.
  • Life is the most precious thing ever. It can be hard, but it is a very beautiful thing.
  • We get to experience God everyday. 

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
 - John 16:33

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Two Time Chili Cook Off Winner!

St. Al’s Chili Cook Off

by Monica Hormuth

On Saturday, January twenty-seventh St. Alphonsus parish held their fifth annual chili cook off. After winning last years cook off, I decided to enter again. Every year they have a different theme that you base your decorating on, and this year they chose Grand Rapids to be the main theme.

Now, I don’t know about you, but whenever I think of Grand Rapids, I think of cherries, maple syrup and Yesterdog. Yesterdog is a restaurant that serves chili dogs and was also used in a series of films. Whenever my family is in town, we always stop by and grab a few chili dogs for lunch. On Friday, as me and my parents were discussing a recipe to use , and my mom brought up that one of my grandmas had a chili recipe that was used on most hot dogs.

With this in mind, we ran to the store to buy the ingredients. We borrowed a roasters from my grandma and got started. Since my mom had a crossfit competition on Saturday, we left the hamburger to cook at home. Once back at my house, we added the rest of the ingredients and cut up some vegetables to use as condiments so people could make it like a perfect chili dog. Since the theme was Grand Rapids, my dad and I found a baseball cap and a shirt from the Michigan blood drive that he did a while back. After everything was cooked, we headed out for the church. One of the most nerve wracking things was we thought it spilled in the back of his SUV as we rounded a sharp corner, but luckily it didn’t and everything was fine.

Once inside the parish center, we got our table set up and everything plugged in. I was the youngest there, but when I stepped inside, I was basically considered an adult. I had ‘beef’ with a few people who lost last year and, thanks to my dad, I now had a feud with another person whom he was good friends with. We had a little time before they allowed people in, so we went around and tried other chilis and soups. There were some really good ones, and I was getting kind of nervous. Luckily, once they let people in, I was fine. I had many people come up for seconds, and even thirds!

Overall, the night was amazing, and everybody was extremely nice. Around eight o’clock they called the chefs up on stage to give out the prizes. Everybody got a gift card to a restaurant called Electric Cheetah and a thank you note. For people’s choice I came in second, but I came in first for judge’s choice. It’s always cool to see how well I do and find ways to improve my culinary skills for next time and even beyond that, but I can’t take all the credit.

My dad had a huge role in this by helping me cook the food and add the right amount of servings to make it taste amazing! He plays a major role not only in the cook offs, but in my life by helping me be my best and put my best foot forward, so a massive thank you to him and to everybody who has helped me this far. You mean a lot to me.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Catholic Schools Week 2018

Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed

This year’s Catholic Schools’ Week celebrations at All Saints Academy were extra special as we tied in our yearlong 10 years of ASA celebrations throughout the week also! 

We started the week with our first Pack the Pews Mass at St Alphonsus at 11 am. It is always a great pleasure to serve and celebrate with our parish communities!

The school week started with crazy sock and hat day and a trip to St. Anthony for the middle school students for a praise concert with John Angotti on Monday. Three Grand Rapids Diocese schools gathered together in their respective uniforms with crazy socks and hats to pray and praise God together! It was a joy-filled celebration of our root belief that We Are One Body in Christ! John challenged students to consider how they will be Christ to those they meet.

On Tuesday of Catholic Schools Week our 3rd grade joined representatives from all of the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids for Mass with the Bishop. Students also shared a special 10 years of ASA cookie as a special snack on Tuesday!

Tuesday afternoon students listened to Mr. David Wodarek talk about the design of the ASA logo. They learned about the meaning of colors in the tradition of religious iconography as well as the great mysteries of our faith symbolized in our Red, Gold and Black ASA.

Throughout the week students participated in special fun “10 minute” games like “Minute to Win it” and “Breakout Eddy.” They also wrote letters to their classroom seminarians and ASA Core Value reflections.

Wednesday of Catholic Schools Week is a special all school celebration day for ASA! Kindergarten through 8th grade gathered at St Alphonsus and started the day with an all school rosary for our country. At the same time throughout the diocese the other Catholic schools offered up rosaries of their own! 

After the rosary students shared a small snack and worked together to use inspiration from Tuesday’s logo talk to design a rock for a path in our ASA community garden.

Before celebrating Mass together students at St Alphonsus gathered for our special #10 school picture. Back at the elementary campus preschool students celebrated with a Catholic Schools Week parade and teachers created a special preschool #10 pic as well!

It is always a great pleasure to gather our k-8th grade students and pastors together to celebrate Mass. It is a wonderful reminder that We truly Are One community in Christ.

Thursday of CSW 2018 was a special day as the Ott brothers lead both of our campuses with great zeal as Principal for the Day! 

They were given the great privilege of making a very special announcement on behalf of Fr. George:

Thursday was also a school spirit Red, Gold and Black day as the middle school students again gathered for Mass; this time with the parishioners of St Jude! 

On Thursday afternoon middle school students participated in a nationwide Catholic Schools Week Kahoot Game! 

Thursday night of Catholic Schools week was our traditional 8th grade vs. staff community basketball game. Eddy made an appearance, families enjoyed pizza and cheered on their favorite team. The staff remains undefeated!

Friday the celebrations of active and creative learning, leading and serving continued with and kindergarten through 3rd grade trip to Shrek The Musical and the 8th grade and staff rematch.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

4th Grade Top Ten List 2017-2018


4th Grade’s Top 10 List 2017-2018

10) Lansing trip
9) Mileage club
8) Teachers
7) Friends
6) Eat, Pray, Run
5) Math buddies (8th grade)
4) Pajama day
3) Capture the flag (PE)
2) Field trips

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Why Red, Gold, and Black?

All Saints Academy

The Meaning Contained Within The ASA Logo

Did you know the ASA logo was designed with great care and lots of prayer during the formative days of ASA? From the colors to the shape of the the letters, everything has a meaning. 

During Catholic Schools Week 2018, David Wodarek, father of 5th grader Cadan and recent graduate Rhiannon, spoke with ASA students about the work that he and the design committee did during the creation of All Saints Academy to select colors, a logo and even a mascot. Mr. Wodarek shared the inspiration he received in prayer and the rich mysteries of our faith revealed within our 3 little letters and ASA’s school colors! 

Inspired by religious iconography and the importance of meaning contained within color choice, ASA’s  gold, red and black was intentionally selected. The gold of the cross represents intellect and learning. Red is the color of blood and zeal. It was selected to visually connect us to our Eucharistic Community, confirmed in our more recent defining of our root belief that We Are One. Black ties the logo together and symbolizes the works of the Holy Spirit, and the sacrifice and work our community did to create ASA and continues to do together to Form Saints to Serve All! 

These colors also speak to us about the mystery and love of The Trinity as well as our call to discipleship. The Cross points us to God the Father who sent us his Son. The red of the letters remind us of the love of Jesus, God the Son. The black of the All Saints Academy connects us to the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The point where the cross connects to the “S” reminds us that as disciples of Christ we, too must pick up our cross and follow him. 

The shape of the logo also reminds us of the mysteries and many graces of our faith. The cross and letters of the logo are designed to look like the top if a Baptismal Fountain, connecting us back to our baptismal promises and foundational Catholic beliefs. As Mr. Wodarek reminded us, our baptism was the beginning of our journey to become Saints and serve all. 

As we celebrate 10 years of All Saints Academy we look back on all the learning, the sweat (and blood), and sacrifice that has gone into building this great Catholic school community. This year we added a 10 to the logo to commemorate the growth and trials, as well as the successes and community built in this first decade of All Saints Academy. At the center of the 10 the cross keeps our focus on Christ as we eagerly look forward to the next great 10 years of ASA! 


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

7th Grade & St Al's Senior Group Form Friendships

All Saints Academy’s seventh grade and the St. Alphonsus Senior group got together for a day of fun, food, and fellowship the week before Christmas break. “One of the reasons this day was developed was to begin to reach out to our parishes without students on site to bridge that visual gap. Knowing St. Al’s has a very active senior group, I thought that was a good place to start,” explained Mrs. Zimelis, seventh grade homeroom teacher. After contacting Virginia Scholten, St. Al’s Senior Group Coordinator, the planning began. 

“We started the day off with a game of Yummo, complete with prizes! I had a great experience with the seniors. I thought they were very nice and friendly. I especially enjoyed Mrs. Nawrocki who was doing Yummo! She was very energetic and I would love to be like her when I’m a senior. One senior who made an impact on me was the guy who was wearing a rainbow mohawk. He was really funny in many different ways. He kept shouting out different things during Yummo! and his nametag said Rat even though his real name was Pat, which I couldn’t stop laughing about! I thought this was a very good experience for our class, and it was nice to be able to go on a different type of field trip than normal.”  Maddie 

A ventriloquist was the next activity introduced, and there were many puppets to go around!  Students jumped right into this creative activity as the seniors encouraged them with role plays and scenarios.  A short while later, when some joined in the kitchen to make pizzas and decorate cupcakes for lunch, others played card games and learned a little bit more about one another. 

“One of my favorite moments was when one of the seniors and me got into an ‘argument’ about who would win the chili cook-off at St. Al’s this year because I won last year, and she came in second (I think) and it was a lot of fun! Who knew she would be here and we would actually meet!  I can't wait for their trip to middle school this spring!”   Monica

After lunch and games, karaoke was most definitely a hit! In fact, the students would have kept going had we not stopped and moved on to whittling trees (practicing on bars of soap) and tying knot scarves. 

“Going to spend time with the senior citizens was fun and a fantastic social experience. Just talking is one thing and that is sometimes what we limit ourselves to when facing a social situation, but getting to know someone on a personal level is more than enough to get ourselves used to some of the curve-balls that life may throw and some of the windows of opportunity that are left open. Having the seniors come to our school will help shed some more light on our lives and how we spend our days.” Owen 

Noelle pretty much wrapped up the seventh graders’ thoughts with this final quote. “I think this was a good experience for our class because it was nice to get to know other people and people of different ages.  I didn't even know what a senior group was. They had so much energy!” 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Meet the Malinzaks!

Getting to Know Our ASA Family - We Are One

When Chris and Summer Malinzak moved back to their hometown of Grand Rapids this past July, the question arose of where their children would attend school in the fall. It was a little easier decision for their older children, Tobee and Zoe, but the more difficult choice came for their younger two kids, Max (1st Grade) and Poppy (Kindergarten).

Nine years ago the Malinzaks moved from Grand Rapids to Ohio.  They found a home for their children at St. Rose of Lima and fell in love with the Catholic school from the beginning.  Summer was very involved, volunteering wherever she could.  “Whenever there was a new family, I was the one they called to be an ambassador for them,” she explained as she discussed how well she knew the ins and outs of the school.

Upon their return they decided to test the public school waters in the hopes of offering their children something different. “That lasted about seven school days,” Summer recalled. “We knew in our hearts that this was not going to be the place for Max and Poppy.  It just wasn’t the right fit.”

After discussing their options, they chose to visit All Saints Academy. Chris, a St. Jude alum, was familiar with the ASA Middle School but not as familiar with the Elementary Campus located at Blessed Sacrament Parish.

After ultimately enrolling at All Saints Academy, they found a welcoming community.  “I couldn’t believe how easy it was to become a part of the community!  It was everyone. The other moms would stop me in the hall, the teachers made sure we had everything we needed, even the kids wrote cute little notes to us!”

Fast forward to January and the Malinzaks feel like they’ve always been members of the All Saints Academy family.  They have joined Chris’s home parish of St. Jude. Summer volunteers every Wednesday on the playground and in the lunchroom.  She and the other kindergarten moms get together about once a month to socialize and talk about what moms mostly talk about...their kids.  Max and Poppy have made new friends and seem to always have big smiles on their faces.

“I love it here. There seems to be a lot more emphasis on Catholic identity than we have experienced before.  And the teachers take the time to make individualized plans for the students.  When it comes to our children, Chris and I take the approach of what do you need from us and how can we work together?”

 “I think we were worried about finding the same thing we had at St. Rose of Lima in Ohio, and we have found it at ASA!”