Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Crafty Campers & Care for God's Creation

Creativity in Week 2 of 2018 Summer “Camps”  

The second week of summer camps at ASA this July was a little different than the first. 

At the middle school campus we had a group of six 7th & 8th grade girls gather with Mrs. Zimelis Monday through Thursday (July 16-19) to bake yummy sweet treats and work on “Pinterest Crafts. Below are a collection of their fabulous creations! 

During the same week at the elementary campus Miss Giroux worked with the Saints Club and Eagle’s Club crew on Creation Crafts at 10 o’clock each day. Our Saints and Eagles learned how to tell how old a tree is by decorating “tree cookies.” They learned about solar energy by creating solar art and planting seeds for our garden. Monday the group went on a nature scavenger hunt and on Wednesday the class participated in a recycling art project by coloring old plastic water bottles and then constructing a Chihuly-inspired sculpture for the Eagle’s Club Room! 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Welcome Mrs. Ockaskis - Middle School Interventionist

Dear All Saints Academy Families,

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.      -Psalm 16:11

The joy of life is always there for us to behold.  My dear mother, who died in April, 2018, taught me to recognize God’s presence in every moment.  Many years ago, as I carried on as a disgruntled teenage girl who would rather go off with friends than stand at the kitchen sink washing the daily dishes, my mother paused me to say, “Feel God’s presence in the warmth of the water at the kitchen sink.”  My mother was a child of God who recognized joy in everything; even in her final years of suffering; she was called to teach those who cared for her to recognize God’s calming presence at all times. 

As I follow God’s call in my life to return to teach, I feel richly blessed to be your new Response to Intervention (RtI) teacher.  However, it is not a response to my intervention that will create joy in learning for your child; but the call of the Holy Spirit within your child that will facilitate us in strengthening your adolescent child’s recognition of his or her potential.  Our prayers are for recognition of His pleasures forever. 

I join you with twenty-two years of teaching experience with degrees from both U of M and MSU.  So blue, yellow, green and white all work for me!  I served as a public school teacher at Godwin Heights and Northview.  I then answered the call to raise my son and daughter with my tremendously supportive husband, Todd.  Todd is a commercial architect at Paradigm Design.  My son, Alec, is a percussion student at U of M.  My daughter, Anna, is starting her first year of college at GVSU on the path to a career in the medical field.  My children are proud graduates of West Catholic High School and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary where I served as the RtI teacher for seven years.  Eager to return to the classroom, I taught first grade at Sacred Heart Academy until God’s call to be with my mother during her final months became a blessing of eternal joy with Christ.  As with all the Saints, my mother’s presence is wholly with me.

It is in partnership with you and the staff of ASA that I partake in guiding students to recognize God is truly there for them even in the most difficult challenges.  Middle school students are transitioning from being a child to becoming a young adult.  This can be a stressful time, but it should be a joyous time.  Stop and sit with your child at the kitchen table when homework or life gets them unwound.  “Feel the warmth of the water at the kitchen sink!”  God is truly present at every moment; in all things.  Remind them of this. There is no hurry.  Be calm.  Set a small goal.  “Wash one dish at a time.”  We are all children of God. The homework will get done and the pleasure of God’s presence is within, even this!

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!   - Psalm 118 24

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Welcome Mrs. Patterson

Dear All Saints Parents and Community,

My name is Nicole Patterson and I’m thrilled to be teaching 6th grade English Language Arts and Religion at All Saints Academy for the 2018/2019 school year. I’m passionate about Catholic School education and feel blessed to work with this outstanding school and community.

I grew up in Grand Rapids and my own Catholic School experience started many years ago as a student at St. Alphonsus School.  After graduating from Catholic Central, I went on to get my teaching degree in regular and deaf education from Michigan State University.  My first teaching position was at St. Thomas the Apostle School, where I taught middle school language arts. I left St. Thomas in 2003 to stay at home with my 4 children and to work on my master’s degree from Aquinas College. I returned to teaching in 2009. After working briefly as a hearing and language impairment teacher with GRPS, I took a position with Divine Providence Academy in Conklin, Michigan and have been teaching language arts to fourth through eighth graders since 2011.  

While working as a Grand Rapids Diocese teacher, I had a chance to get to know the leadership and staff at All Saints Academy.  I was impressed with their commitment to excellence and ongoing growth.  When a position became available, I felt God’s call to serve this vibrant community.  I’m eager to share my Catholic faith and years of experience with ASA.

I will not only be a new teacher, but also a new parent at ASA.  My own son, Nikolas (who goes by Niko), will be a new 6th grade student.  He is the youngest of my four kids and the only one not attending West Catholic in the fall. As a parent, I’m impressed with what ASA has to offer.  I believe this will be a good fit for both of us.

I’m excited to start setting up my classroom and getting to know even more about the All Saints Community.  I can’t wait to get to know my new students! Please feel welcome to reach out and contact me with any questions or to stop by to meet me before school starts, as I’m sure I’ll be around quite a bit.  I’m looking forward to a great year.

Nicole Patterson

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Summer STEM Camp at ASA

Building a display stand for a statue! 

Creativity and Innovation Through Teamwork and STEM

July 9th through 12th a group of creative and innovative designers from 1st through 8th grade gathered at the middle school with Mr. Fillman for STEM camp. Their first challenge was to work as a team to lift, and then hold in place, an object placed in a small ring with string. The round ball pictured above was a challenge, but they were successful with a small stuffed animal.

The next challenge of the week was to design and construct a display stand for a "statue." There were a variety of different ideas! Many stood alone and held a test plastic frog, but didn't support the weight of the final test statue.

As the quote from Thomas Edison in the front of the middle school science lab says "I have not failed. I've just found 1,000 ways that won't work." STEM campers reflected on and experienced what it means to learn from "failures." They observed and talked about where their prototypes were weak and how they could improve on their initial designs.

On Tuesday Mr. Fillman started camp by reading Beneath the Sun, a book about how animals seek shelter from the sun's heat on hot summer days. He then took campers outside and introduced them to solar beads, a craft supply that changes color when exposed to the sun.

The first design challenges inspired by this story and item was to design an animal with solar bead eyes. Then groups constructed a shelter for their animal to rest in, protected from the sun.

Groups spent time talking about their designs and sharing ideas with other campers! 

Inspired by another book and a Gingerbread Man needing a lift across a river campers assembled and testing a raft for a gummy bear. Mr. Fillman provided "hurricane" winds in te form of a fan to propel each prototype through the science lab sink.

Learning about the parts of plants with Mr. Levi! 

Doing a little weeding and planting. 
Campers worked with our friends from Urban Roots and our Master Gardener friend, Mrs. Carol Tuesday and Thursday morning! They learned about the part plants that we eat: roots, leaves and fruits. They tasted peas, carrots, and blackberries. Campers found a number of baby frogs living in our garden. They learned about various types of ground cover, like straw and pulled weeds, used to help keep plants wet and cool in the summer. They also helped to weed and plant peppers and Swiss chard.

Exploring how plants get relief from the hot summer sun AND looking for frogs! 

The final project of STEM Camp week was designing and testing a prosthetic leg for an elephant. Campers watched a short video clip about a team who designed a prosthetic leg for a dog. They learned about the many different styles and ideas the team when through until they found the perfect replacement leg. Then they read about an elephant in need of something to help her walk and set out to prototype an idea that they could test on their own limbs. Students came up with a number of great ideas and learned some valuable insights about the importance of comfort and sturdiness when building a device to help someone walk.

Throughout the week campers engaged in discussion with Mr. Fillman about the technology and real world connections to all of their STEM challenges!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

2017-2018 By The Numbers

Faith. Learning. Loving. Serving 

In 2017-2018 we: 

Practiced our Faith by

  • Started the day in prayer 180 times
  • Celebrated Mass 83 times
  • Said at least 250,000 Hail Marys 

Showed growth in Learning

Celebrated together as a Loving community

  • With 10 Year Celebrations like Top Ten Lists
  • Logging 1295 miles in mileage club 
  • Raised over $60,000 during our two fundraisers. 

Worked to Serve our Community

  • Over 1,570 recorded serve hours k-8
  • Continued the Service Corp Program in 8th grade and were present in the community. 
  • Continuing to provide the outstanding service of Summer Child Care. Over 100 students at the Elementary Campus this summer.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

ASA School Counseling

Relationship Building and Life Skills for All

ASA School Counseling

It is exciting to watch all of the students continue to grow in their social emotional and academic development, ability to problem solve and grow their personal toolbox of coping strategies to be resilient and confident.

The school counseling program at All Saints Academy is for all students and is delivered through individual, small group and classroom lessons.

Individual Counseling

ASA provides individual counseling services at the request of parent/guardian, student  or teacher/staff referral. When a structured series of individual counseling services are requested, parent permission is required. Some of the Individual counseling topics include but are not limited to: Stress, fears/worries, friendship skills, conflict resolution, self-esteem, healthy ways to deal with anger, social skills, grief/loss, changing family and study skills. 

Lunch Bunch provides an opportunity to connect with students and continue to build and strengthen peer relationships. It allows small groups of students to eat together, interact and complete an activity. During this time, good manners, social skills, listening skills, and fun are practiced. The students are excited about this opportunity and it is one of the many highlights of my day! 

Small Group Counseling 

Small group counseling is an opportunity for all students that may be requested by teachers, parents  and or interested students. Groups last about 6 weeks and allow for students to work and receive support in a certain area of interest or need. Parent permission is required prior to the group starting. Permission slips state the purpose and goals expected to achieve during the specific group. Some of the small groups during the 2017-2018 school year included: Friendship Groups, Bounce Back, GIRLS (Girls in Real Life Situations) Group, Breaking the Boy Code (Boys Group)

School Counseling Classroom Lessons

Classroom lessons are for all students and are designed to be preventive and proactive. Our Second Step Program is an evidence-based social-emotional learning curriculum that we currently use with our elementary students through classroom delivery. Second Step states, “When students are better equipped to manage their own emotions and build positive relationships, they’re better equipped to learn.”

Some of the topics of classroom lessons include but are not limited to: Growth mindset, problem solving, skills for learning, bucket filling, coping skills, empathy, listening skills, fair ways to play, emotion management, being assertive, positive self talk, career awareness.

Bucket Filling

Students at All Saints Academy learn the bucket filling language early on! It is based upon Carol McCloud’s book, Have You Filled A Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness For Kids.  A bucket filler is one who shares daily kindness through actions and words. The language taught in the classroom lessons is reinforced throughout the school year. In K-3, some students are recognized every other week for being outstanding bucket fillers and receive a bucket filling certificate. Our middle school students had the opportunity this year to pass on bucket filling positive messages with an interactive wall display to classmates, teachers or themselves.

Check out this great video that Mrs. Stoner made reviewing all the great life skills project our students participated in during the 2017-2018 school year: 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Summer STEM Camp at Aquinas College

Diocese of Grand Rapids, AQ & ND 


25 students from around Grand Rapids including many students from ASA, Our Lady of Consolation, Corpus Christi, Holy Spirit and some local home school communities gathered at Aquinas College June 18-29 for a STEM camp facilitated by a Notre Dame STEM Ed instructor, Sr Damien of Aquinas College, and our very own Mr. Fillman.

Campers created a model of a helmet to protect the brain and tested their models on a styrofoam figure head. This activity was then followed up with a sheep brain dissection to learn more about brain structures and functions.
Next participants designed a prosthetic device for an elephant leg, and tested the leg for comfort, durability, and ease of attachment. One student in each group had to walk on their designed leg. With the learning students gained from the elephant leg tests they moved onto dissecting a chicken wing and then creating a prosthetic beak for an eagle and one for a dolphin tail.

Students also designed a quarantine box for a germ outbreak. Part of this project included designing and creating a viral structure and follow that up with an anti-viral structure. Both were tested by "tossing" their design at a large cell to see if it would "stick." After testing their structure students created a PSA about a virus outbreak.

On the last day of camp parents were invited to campus to see everything the students have created and designed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Newest Saints Entering the Middle School

3rd Grade Visits the Middle School

One of the best traditions at All Saints Academy takes place at the end of the year.  Did graduation pop in your mind? If it did, you are on the right track! But instead of talking about our 8th graders graduating from ASA we are talking about our 3rd graders “graduating” from the Elementary Campus. 

Each spring the 3rd grade spends an entire day at the Middle School Campus meeting new people, catching up with old friends, checking out the lay of land, and calming any nerves they might have as they head to a new campus in the fall.

The first experience they have is Mass at St. Jude Church. While it’s not the first time they’ve been in that particular space before it is the first time they celebrated Mass with just the Middle School students.  It was a little different but they enjoyed the praise band, something that isn’t present at the Elementary Campus. 

Part of their day is a tour with Miss Giroux.  Here they are able to ask questions about what it is like to be an ASA middle schooler.  “When do you go out for recess?”  “When can we be in band?”  “Is there a lot of homework?” 

Another great aspect of the day is being able to ask questions to the current 4th graders.  What’s amazing is that just a year ago, these current 4th graders were asking the same kinds of questions and had some of the same fears and anxiety.  They have grown so much! 

Mr. Debri was able to take the students down to Lake St. Jude.  Many of them didn’t realize the size of the lake and were surprised when it was much bigger than the pond they imagined in their minds. 

Best quote of the day…

“Can we just skip summer and start at the Middle School?”

Patience 3rd grade friends. Patience. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Graduation 2018 Core Values Speeches

Faith. Learning. Loving. Serving

June 4, 2018

FAITH at All Saints Academy - Aiden McGavin 

Faith at All Saints Academy; arguably the most important core value. The one that connects all of the other of our core values.  Faith also is something at ASA we practice directly, and confidently with passion and pride every single day. Every day at All Saints Academy, since 2008, when ASA opened its doors, faith has been the center of each day. Even before ASA was a thought, the four schools were founded on the principal of faith, and to spread it on to further generations. Since the four schools combined, the faith we have, has grown stronger than ever. Together, as one, we have, and will continue to grow our faith together.

Of course, to practice, and profess our faith, we have to get it from somewhere, right? And that faith could have come from anywhere. But our faith, or at least some aspect of it comes from school. Whether it be from the people we interact with throughout the day, religion class, or any other of our many activities, faith plays a significant role; it may be obvious and it may subtle, but it will always come to play a role in our daily lives. But what exactly do I mean when I say “faith”? Trust in God. That’s what I’m talking about here. And before I continue, I should say that faith is a complete and utter trust in someone or something. We are taught that at ASA. We’re taught that everyday with examples from fellow students and from teachers. But faith might mean that we have to trust God, or have faith in God to try our best, trust a friend, have courage to do something, whatever it is, we have faith in God, with it. And at ASA, faith is profoundly promoted, and the center of our lives, now and forever, thanks to ASA. 

LEARNING At All Saints Academy - Owen Leese 

I think we can all agree that learning isn’t always the most glamorous thing, but we can also agree that teachers at this school sure do help to make it less agonizing. They make it fun. They make it easier. They make learning an experience to remember. I have a story on how Mr. Fillman, one of our wonderful teachers, made learning fun that I would like to share with you all tonight. Mr. Fillman was not expecting us for class this particular day, because we were supposed to have M.A.P.S testing during his class. At this point in the year we were learning about Newton’s Laws of Motion. So, we came up with a VERY educational game called Newton’s Laws of Motion Game. I am not going to lie…  It was basically kickball, but Mr. Fillman definitely made it a learning experience to remember. He made a rule that after every play, we would have to name the laws of motion in that were involved in the play. In one forty minute class, Mr. Fillman made learning not only fun, but also an experience that I know I will remember for some time to come. 

At any other school you will learn what two plus two is. We can all agree that the answer to that math problem is four, but at All Saints Academy I have learned much more than any other school teaches you. I have learned how to love. I have learned how to care. Hopefully everyone in this church tonight can all agree that these are all very important values to have in life. In these past ten years at All Saints Academy I have learned what I believe are the most necessary values to succeed in life.  

As many of you may know I play basketball and I love basketball very much. This year almost all of the boys in the 8th grade joined to play together for our last year to all play together. For about half of the boys that joined this was their first or second year. I thought to myself this is not what I imagined for my last season. I did not have the highest hopes for our team, but i quickly learned that this season wasn’t about winning it was about everyone coming together to bond and to know each other better outside of school. When Caleb scored 6 points in one of our games he came to school the next day telling everyone he was going to get ten points the next game. He told everyone to come to the game so they could see him score 10 points. When Tommy scored for the first time ever,  he got fouled when he was shooting so he got to shoot two free throws. He made the first one and his face lit up with joy. He was so happy he forgot he had to shoot a second free throw. He got back to the free throw line and made the second as well. By far the best moment of the season. The coaches of that basketball team (Mr Debri, Mr. Matlak, and Mr Fillman) taught me that playing sports isn’t about winning it is about the experience that comes with it with your teammates. That is a season I will remember forever. Thank you.

LOVING at All Saints Academy - Emily Morrin

One of our Core Values here at ASA is Love. Here are just a few of the many ways I have seen ASA  teach students how to build from this very important Core Value: showing someone kindness to hanging out with someone new. We all show our loving side at one point or another. In my ten years at ASA I have seen how my classmates and I have grown in our relationships. We all have a mutual understanding of each other. I still find it hard to believe that I will no longer be seeing them almost everyday. I will miss the strong bonds that we all have and our trust for one another. I will remember that if it weren't for the school that push me towards loving I may have never gotten those close bonds I cherish so much.

SERVING at All Saints Academy - Jonathan Jensen

Here at ASA, we the students have many different opportunities to volunteer, and to serve. Every year the various Fish Fries draw tens if not hundreds of Volunteers and almost every student at ASA has altar served at least once. Every year, we have our required amount of service hours that pushes and challenges us, not only to meet the requirement, but to go beyond.

I love all of the various ways that ASA challenges us to continue Volunteering, even if we don’t have. The service corp projects, that each Eighth grader did, is an amazing example of this. We were required to go out, into the community, and volunteer for six hours. Some people went above and beyond, volunteering not just on that day, but on the days after.

ASA pushes us to our best in all aspects of life, but especially in service to others. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Invention Convention

Creativity and Innovation Promote Success

The very first ASA Invention Convention was held on Thursday, May 17 in the Brophy Center. There were approximately 100 inventions on display, all of which were designed, created and built by our Middle School students as part of the Middle School STEM classes.

Students have been working on their inventions since the start of school back in September.
The focus of the Invention Convention was for students to find a way to solve a problem or just another way to do something. This was an exciting and challenging assignment because students could not go and look in a book or online to find an answer, they just had to keep an open mind (and eyes) throughout their daily life and find a way to solve the problem and build the invention.
Students were to stay at their invention throughout the night and promote it to the guests, as well as answer any questions.

There was a great turn out of support from the parents and other guests to see all the students hard work, determination and final invention.

A sample of the 100 inventions that were on display was an easier way to get peanut butter out of a jar, a trailer built to haul around a lawn mower, a quicker way to dry out water bottles, an easy way to get grease off of bacon, and a way to feed a cat from an outdoor deck.
Debriefing took place with the students after the Invention Convention to gather their thoughts and here are some that were shared:

Aiden McGavin, “I liked the critical thinking of how we needed to solve a problem, and how to do it”.

Cassie Sisk, “One thing I liked about the Invention Convention was that it was a great learning experience about entrepreneurship”.

Gavin McKinney, “People liked my invention and felt like buying it”.

Caitlin Mitchell, “I liked how creative the inventions were”.

Dave Frey, “I loved how everyone just walked around and stopped and took a look at our inventions”.

Grace Ellis, “I liked how we got compliments”.

Stephanie Ball, “ There were a lot of good inventions and the parents really enjoyed walking around and seeing the inventions”.

Andrew Bajdek, “I really like that everyone had to dig deep and think hard to come up with an invention”.

Mr. Fillman is planning on an Invention Convention next year, but with a different twist. Stay tuned for details in the Fall.

Friday, June 1, 2018

ASA Parents' Top Ten List 2018


ASA Parents Top 10 List 2017-2018

10) Daddy-Daughter Dance and Talent Shows
9) Preschool & 8th Grade Fun Days
8) Weekly School Masses and All School Masses
7) Ice Cream Social and Preschool Picnic
6) Via Dolorosa
5) Pastries with Pals
4) Music Programs, and Band Concerts
3) Whitecaps Game
2) Eat. Pray. Run.
1) Eaglefest!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Special Message from the ASA Class of 2018

2018 Leadership Mass Speech

by: Aiden McGavin May 24, 2018 

Leadership Handover 

Finally, the time has come. We, the 8th Grade Class of 2018 at All Saints Academy, the first class to go through Pre- K- 8th grade, pass over our student leadership of All Saints Academy, to our future leaders, the 7th grade.  The student leaders to this school. Our school. Your school. We now pass over the leadership to you because we are ready to go on the the next level. High school. We have completed 8th grade, and you will too. But it isn’t always easy, and I’m sure I can speak for everyone in this class when I say this. It is hard to be a leader. It really is, sometimes. Sometimes you inhibit yourself from your homework, or school work, because you feel it’s just too hard. That is just one simple example of something that can prevent you from showing leadership. Showing examples of our core values, Faith, Learning, Loving, and Serving can be stressful at times.  However, in a  few minutes we will pass our candles on to you, signifying your turn to lead.  We have faith in you. We know you will be good leaders, and will do well your last year here. 

We wish you luck on this journey. This isn't going to happen overnight, you know. This is a process. I’m still progressing in my leadership skills. We all are. Every single last one of us. So, while on this great, challenging, exciting journey  you all are about to have together, remember to  pray with and encourage each other.  We  offer our deepest prayers, support, and encouragement to all of you. Good Luck!

And of course, we’d like to say thank you and goodbye. To our priests we’d like to say thank you for your continuous love, support, guidance, and friendship.  Thanks also to our teachers and staff for your love, support, knowledge, and the pride you take in teaching us and wanting us to be successful and do great things in our futures.

Finally, we are thankful for each other. For our love for our classmates. As we say goodbye to you all, we also say goodbye to each other as we leave for different high schools. Of course this is a hard thing, and you will experience it too, but the Holy Spirit will bring us back together someday. 

After all that, I’d really like to leave you all with this: All leaders have one good quality  and it’s the ability and willingness to work with others. 7th grade, your willingness to be in this together, as one, is critical. Just think about that. I know my willingness to work with those around me to become a better version of myself, not only as a leader, but as a person has helped me grow immensely.. (small pause) Perhaps that might mean that you range out of your comfort zone, a bit. And that’s up to you as to what that means for you next year. I did that, and it benefited me greatly. This past year, I stepped out of my comfort zone and it made this year amazing for me.

In Jesus’s love, until He comes, may God be with you all.
God bless.