Monday, February 26, 2024

Snowy Survivors: First Grade Visits Blanford Nature Center

Earlier this month, the first graders had the opportunity to spend the day at Blandford Nature Center where they learned how animals survive in Michigan during the winter months.  While the students were expecting a snowy, cold outdoor adventure in February, they were greeted by warm temperatures, no snow, and plenty of sunshine.  Thankfully, the teaching staff helped them learn about animal survival, even though there was no snow on the ground.


While at the nature center, students engaged in a simulation game where they learned how bears store food during the warm months so they can survive the winter months.  Students met Tullulah the American toad who assisted in their understanding of how some reptiles burrow in mud for the winter months.  A walk through the woods and a meadow gave students the opportunity to look for clues showing an animal had been present.  And finally, students studied animal skulls and pelts to determine which nativeMichigan animals are carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores.  


The morning spent at Blandford was a compliment to the Life Science lessons first graders have been enjoying this trimester.  In reflecting on their time at the nature center, the first graders shared that they enjoyed visiting the live animals and participating in the simulation.  With the sunshine in the bright blue February sky and the smiles beaming on the faces of the first grade students, it is safe to say it was a fantastic experience for all!









Wednesday, February 21, 2024

"Willy Wonka Can, The Candyman Can"

Our performing arts program at All Saints Academy is growing steadily, as are the skills of our performers! For our third production, we welcomed students in grades fifth through eighth to try out, and we welcomed the fourth graders to join as we needed a second chorus to round out our production of Willy Wonka Jr. Our cast did not disappoint! I am so proud of them and their growth. Our costumes as well as our AMAZING prop pieces brought this show to a new level! Some of my fondest memories I have had over the last many years come from directing musicals, and it was an exciting challenge to bring musicals to ASA when I was hired three years ago to be part of the staff.



A production such as this could not come to life without the pool of talents of many. To all those who helped, I extended a sincere and deep thanks. We were blessed to have such a community at ASA. Our show had a professional backdrop rented from a production company in California, full size gates to the factory, a full size pink candy boat, a chocolate fountain, a large TV, a candyman stand, and so much more. What a cast- from our squirrels, to Oompa Loompas, the grandparents to Wonka, the Candyman to Phineous Trout, the parents and their children, they were all great. Our “golden ticket winners” were memorable. Our Augustus was delightfully round, our Violet exploded so well, our Mike Teavee appropriately screen-obsessed, our Veruca aptly spoiled and Charlie unendingly kind.  All of these memories were captured by a professional photographer and videographer. You can see a few photos here. We really felt like we were all “flying,” not just Grandpa Joe and Charlie.





We were lucky enough to receive an endowment from St. Alphonsus at the onset of our program three years ago to get us started. We are so grateful! Since then, we have created a self-sustaining program and now hold it in the performing arts center at Kenowa Hills High School. Having a production such as this at our school is such a gift. I truly believe in the transformative power of the performing arts, and I encourage all children to try it at least once. You will make so many memories and learn so much about yourself. Our cast spent endless hours learning their songs, cue, choreography, and lines. They became closer and grew in their talents. Former ASA students (and students from before I was here!) came back to help, visit, and volunteer.






From our “candy factory” concessions, to meals, to props, to hair, to make-up, to sets, and everything in between ... A production such as this could not happen without such supportive parents! Again, I extended my thanks. To our over 1000 attendees and show ticket holders, thank you! We hope you enjoyed the show as much as we did putting it on for you. As they say, the candyman can ‘cos he mixes it all with love and makes the world taste good.





Photo credit to our amazing photographer, Jamie Geysbeek Photography

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Catholic Schools Week Review

Catholic Schools Week is a week to celebrate Catholic education across the United States. Started as a joint program between the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 1974, the celebration week begins on the last Sunday of January each year.  This year NCEA's theme for Catholic Schools Week was "Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community".  NCEA encouraged the 6,400 catholic elementary and high schools in the United States to host special masses, open houses or other activities to focus on the value that the schools provide to their students, staff members, families, parishioners and communities.  

At All Saints Academy Catholic Schools Week we had a busy week celebrating our core values of Faith, Learning, Loving and Serving.  We Packed the Pews at St. Alphonsus, dressed as saints, played (or watched) staff vs students in volleyball and basketball - twice! Third graders attended mass at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew, K-8 students attended mass together at St. Alphonsus, and early childhood students had 'the big kids' visit their classrooms for snack time.  To round out the week, students that sold 50 or more raffle tickets in the fall were able to throw a pie in the face of a staff member.  

Third grade after Mass with the Bishop

Mrs. Schneider got pied!

8th grade vs staff basketball game

8th grade team huddle

K-8 picture at St. Alphonsus

Preschool dance party around the Cross

Bingo with students from both campuses

Bingo with students from both campuses

Check out our Facebook or Instagram pages for more pictures of the week.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Welcome Dr. Tyrrell!

 Hello ASA Families,


I am excited to join ASA as an instructional coach for both campuses. In my first week, I have enjoyed meeting the teachers and getting to know the students. My own children love hearing the delightfully funny stories from some of the younger students at ASA. 


My family and I moved to Grand Rapids in 2021 when my husband became the President of Catholic Central. We were excited to move to a Diocese that has schools that are inclusive of all learners. We were familiar with West Michigan since my husband’s family has a cottage in Grand Haven, which we love to visit during the summer. My children are 16, 14, 11, and 8. 


While I was most recently an Assistant Principal, prior to working in administration, I was a high school history teacher. I am currently a student at the University of Notre Dame, working on a Masters in Educational Leadership. I will finish that program this summer. I cannot wait not to have homework on the weekends!


Please feel free to reach out to me at mtyrrell@asagr.org. In just a few days, I can already see and feel the wonderful spirit and culture at ASA. It is a privilege to serve this community. 


  • Marygrace Tyrrell

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Adoration

It’s the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Upper Campus.  

St. Jude Catholic Church is quiet, peaceful, calm.  Ready.

Ready to receive Adorers.



In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked his disciples why they could not spend just one hour with him in prayer.  It was hard for them.  It’s hard for us! In a world that is constantly demanding our attention through homework, practices, television, video games, and countless other distractions, we often struggle to find even a minute of silence in our days. Spending time with Jesus in Adoration was the perfect chance for the 3rd graders to, not only reset from the business of everyday life, but, more importantly, be with Jesus, face to face.



Talking on the phone with friends is a wonderful way to catch up with somebody, but there is nothing quite like being able to spend time with them in person, face to face. The same is true for Jesus; there is nothing quite like the times when we can be right in front of Him when we are looking at Him, and He is looking back at us. Thankfully, we are blessed to get this opportunity on a monthly basis at the Upper Campus.



Often times when we are in Adoration, we stress over trying to think of the “perfect” prayer to say to Him; we get anxious when it’s too silent; we think that the world is so busy that surely Jesus is tending to other matters; and we get disappointed if we don’t hear Jesus’ voice speaking loudly right at us. We often forget that Jesus loves us so much that all He wants to do is spend time with us. We don’t need to craft the best prayer or be the smartest theologian out there for Adoration to be worthwhile. We just need to be ourselves. Our very selves that Jesus died on the Cross for. 




Making Adoration a part of our month … our week … our day, is as important to Jesus as it is to us. Our faith can only grow by spending time with Jesus in silence. Thus, by making intentional time for Adoration, the 3rd graders are making time for their best friend. The One who knows them, loves them, enjoys them, and cares for them more than they can imagine.


Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Making Models with Math

     The 7th grade class worked hard over a few weeks to complete 3D models of a room in their houses. The project included many steps as students had to measure their chosen rooms and certain objects in the room. Next, students chose a scale factor that would work for their room and used proportions to convert each actual measurement into the dimensions they would use for their model. 


In school, the 7th graders brought in materials like cardboard, clay and Legos to build their 3D models. It was great to see students problem solving through the steps of building a model and helping each other when it got difficult! As projects were wrapping up, students were adding pictures or accessories to make their projects more realistic. Creativity and hard work were on full display as the 7th grade completed some amazing 3D scale models!


What the 7th graders learned:

  • How to carefully and accurately build a model

  • Some projects are fun!

  • How to measure and use tools to construct a model

  • Work hard and pay attention to what you are doing

  • Use your time wisely

  • How to use proportions


What 7th graders enjoyed:

  • Making all of the tiny objects

  • Adding in all the details and painting the project

  • Taking all the measurements at home

  • The model starting to look more like my real room

  • All of it because it was fun!










Friday, January 5, 2024

Welcome Miss Sacha!

Hello! My name is Mary Sacha, and I am so excited to join the ASA family as a new K-2 teacher! I have been around the school for a couple years during the summer and holiday breaks helping out in the childcare rooms and the Eagles/Saints club. I was also blessed with the ability to step in as a substitute teacher at the end of the 2022-2023 school year. My involvement with ASA extends even farther back as I attended All Saints Academy when they first opened their doors in 2008. I graduated from ASA in 2015 proceeding four of my five older siblings who also graduated from ASA (Fr. David, Thomas, Andrew and Elizabeth Sacha). I then followed all my siblings to West Catholic High School, where I graduated in 2019.

My love for education started at a young age when I would volunteer at St. Alphonsus for the vacation bible school. My mother, Donna Sacha, also worked at ASA as a toddler teacher for the last ten years, and I would be in her room helping her decorate, clean or just help with the kids. She recently passed away due to lung cancer, but I have continued to pursue the passion we both shared in education. After high school I attended Central Michigan University to pursue an education degree.

During my summers in college, I did a variety of activities involving my Catholic faith and the youth. In 2020 I was a Totus Tuus missionary for the diocese of Marquette. In 2021 I was apart of the program staff at Catholic Youth Summer Camp in Centerburg, Ohio. In 2022 I worked at All Saints Academy for the whole summer, helping out where it was needed. In 2023 I returned to the diocese of Marquette as a team lead for another summer of Totus Tuus. I just recently graduated in December 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a focus in Integrated science and a minor in music.

In my spare time, I enjoy running, rock climbing, playing guitar, traveling to a new city or just spending time with my family.

I am very excited to be returning to All Saints Academy as a teacher where I can integrate the Catholic faith into every lesson. ASA has had such a crucial role in my formation as a life long learner and also as a faithful Catholic, and I am excited for the opportunity to be able to continue this legacy.