Friday, April 9, 2021

A Student's Reflection From The March For Life 2021

 


7th grade student, Austin, had a chance to attend the March for Life in Lansing with his mom this year. 

The March for Life in Lansing was for unborn babies. There was a bagpipe player who introduced the speakers, most of them were adults but there was one 16 year old who spoke about how young people can make an impact too. The Knights of Columbus led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem and then we walked one lap around the capitol building.

According to Austin: It was inspiring to hear a teenager talk about her experience leading a pro-life group for her peers and encourage all listeners to do something no matter their age. 




Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Web-a-Thon Recap



Our 2021 Spring Web-A-Thon aired live on March 13, 2021 and was a huge success. From over 130 donors and 13 sponsors, we raised $67,250 for teacher wish lists, tuition assistance, and our ASA endowment! You can watch (or rewatch) the entirety of the web-a-thon on Youtube. 


We started the evening with having every teacher wish list already fulfilled. These wish lists were filled with items that enhance our students' experiences in the classroom. The time, energy, and personal funds our teachers put in to help their students exceed is exceptional, and a donation to these wish lists also supported our teachers in gratitude for all their hard work.


John Matlak, our recently retired Development Director, and Sam Cummings, a former ASA parent, lead us through a series of exciting videos and announcements throughout the evening. We highlighted student talent, watched 8th graders go head to head in minute-to-win-it challenges, and showcased classroom performances. Eddie the Eagle even made an appearance! We also drew our raffle ticket winners live, after hitting a record number of raffle sales, selling 4,491 tickets and raising $22,455.

Congrats to our Raffle Ticket Winners

Congratulations to all buyers and sellers who won in our raffle ticket drawing. In case you missed it, our raffle winners were:

  • $1,000 Grand Prize: Yvonne Denoo

  • $500 Second Prize: Melissa Giles

  • $250 Third Prize: Travis Olsen


Our seller prizes went to the following:

  • Top Two Selling Families: Adeline Miller with 257 tickets, and Henry & Lena James with 209 tickets

  • $50 Cash Prize: Grant Fein, Every Meyer, & Lucy Malecki

  • Open Gyms: Henry James & Nick Moll

  • Principal for the Day: Finley Kowalski & Elly Hulett

  • Comfy Clothes Day coupons for families who sold 25 or more tickets will be passed out this week to students. Each student whose family sold 50 or more tickets will be able to pie an ASA staff member. The date for this will be April 16.


Challenge Updates

All of our challenge goals for the evening were met! Since the Web-A-Thon, these challenges are being fulfilled in a variety of ways: Mr. Kress, Mr. Debri, and Ms. I shaved their heads into a Mohawk; a handful of teachers, including Mrs. Beckwith, Mrs. Kapustka and Mrs. Patterson dyed their hair; Mrs. Bowman, Miss Ojenus, & Mr. Kress agreed to teach as Eddie the Eagle; and a handful of teachers will be sleeping on the roof of the school this May! Check social media for continued updates and pictures of these being accomplished. Save the Date for April 16th as the awarded color day for students (and teachers in ASA uniforms).


Announcements: April 30th, Campus Names, & T-Shirt Reveal

We made three exciting announcements during the web-a-thon:

  • April 30th: There will be no school nor child care on April 30th. In order to honor the hard work of our staff members and students in the midst of the challenging year of the pandemic, we are giving everyone the day off.
  • New Campus Names: When the 3rd grade moved campuses we set out this year to find a way to refer to our two different buildings that both describe their location as well as the age of students on site. After a few rounds of gathering insight from the community and discussion with the Board of Directors and ASA Pastors we have settled on building names that combine the 2 most popular suggestions. We are happy to share that the ASA Elementary Campus will now be referred to as the ASA Lower Campus at Diamond and the ASA Middle School will be referred to as the ASA Upper Campus at 4 Mile.
  • New T-Shirts: Thank you to all students who submitted a design for our new t-shirt. We are excited to announce that our t-shirt for the year was designed by Wes Lehmkuhl! These t-shirts will be distributed to students and staff in the next few weeks. Additional shirts will be available for purchase for $16. We also had a large number of t-shirt designs that included the “Be Like Christ” tagline. We will combine these designs into a new t-shirt that will come out at All Saint’s Day 2021! 

Eagle Award

We are honored to have awarded the 2020 Eagle Award to Mr. John Matlak. There are a handful of people in the All Saints Academy community who can say they have made an impact on every single child at ASA. John Matlak is one of these people. John is someone who truly believes in the value of a Catholic education and went beyond his duties as the Development Director by helping in any way possible. Congratulations Mr. Matlak! You can watch Mr. Debri give this year’s eagle award to Mr. Matlak in the recording of the Web-A-Thon. A summary was also shared on a previous blog.


Last Supper Drawing

Congratulations to Denise Hyde for winning the stained glass last supper ornament! This ornament was created by Karen Szczytko, one of our ASA staff members.


Web-A-Thon Social Media Drawing

Thanks to the 17 families who posted on social media this weekend while they were watching the Web-A-Thon live! The winner of our $50 Amazon Gift Card is the Franceschi Family! Congratulations!


Save the Date for Eaglefest 2021
We hope to gather together again on November 13, 2021 after a year break from Eaglefest, our traditional yearly auction event.







 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Behind the Scenes at the Web-a-Thon

 


On Saturday March 13th, the ASA Upper Campus at 4 Mile Holy Family Learning Lab was transformed into a Television Studio. With the help of Peter Johnson and his team, lights, cameras, and soundboards were brought in and set up in preparation for us to "go live" from ASA. Marks were taped and our hosts were introduced to stage microphones while we reviewed directions, scripts and details for the evening. 




In the weeks leading up to March 13th, ASA community members and friends submitted various videos for our "variety show" and a script was written to tell the story of ASA in the year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the lens of our 4 Core Values:  Faith, Learning, Loving and Serving, we received encouraging messages, talent videos and class performances. The Web-a-Thon committee was introduced to the process for building a TV timeline so that these videos could be edited and lined up for the broadcast. 


At the same time a second portion of the Web-a-Thon committee was hard at work designing watch party "swag" gift boxes, collecting sponsors for the event, building website pages, and designing the Greater Giving platform for the event.  "Thank you!" to the committee members: Eileen DeWildt, Ashley Wilson, Susan Zarzecki, Patrick Ellis, Philip Mitri, Tim Stafford and Tom Vos. We could not have done this without them! This group meets just about every Monday, from September through March, brainstorming and planning for this event. 



On the night of the Web-a-Thon there was a lot going on behind the scenes! We had Miss Arbaugh and Mrs. Mitchell hosting a "watch party" for the representatives from 8th grade that participated in our live Minute To Win It segment! We also had Mrs. Zarzecki answering phones and providing the Greater Giving team (and hosts) live updates throughout the night! 




Thank you to everyone who donated and watched our web-a-thon live on Saturday! We raised $67,250 throughout the weekend! You can watch (or rewatch) the entirety of the web-a-thon on Youtube










Thursday, March 18, 2021

Eagle Award 2020


The Eagle Award is presented each year by the Home and School Association to a member of the ASA community in acknowledgement of his or her extraordinary contribution to the success of All Saints Academy.  We began a new tradition in 2018, presenting this prestigious award on our school’s feast of All Saints Day. Of course COVID had us reroute our plans with this as well, so this year we awarded the Eagle Award at our Web-A-Thon on March 13, 2021.

 

This award enhances the culture of All Saints Academy by drawing attention to those who are living our Catholic faith and supporting our school mission by holding them up as an example for others to follow.

 

Prior recipients of this award have included: 

  • 2011-Chris Burns
  • 2012-Pete and Peg Gonzalez
  • 2013-Mariae Firlit
  • 2014-Christine Jarecki
  • 2015-Linda Kozminski
  • 2016-Judy Hardy
  • 2017-Jon Fournier
  • 2018- Deb Westveer
  • 2019-Jenny LaPonsie 

Along with a trophy for them to take home, the recipient’s name will be added to a perpetual plaque that is displayed in the halls of both the ASA campuses for all to see.

 

While it is true that no great achievement is accomplished by the work of one person, a significantly great work like the creation, building and operation of All Saints Academy requires talented and committed people. The winners of this award reflect the characteristics we hope for in our students and need in our school family.


There are a handful of people in the All Saints Academy community who can say they have made an impact on every single child at ASA. John Matlak is one of these people. If we had a time machine and could go back six years ago and walk our halls, classrooms, and other learning spaces they would be almost unrecognizable. Each classroom has been outfitted with the most updated educational furniture. Students and staff are safer because of the security upgrades throughout both campuses. Even the decor of the walls has changed substantially. 


Beyond the material improvements, John became a public voice of ASA. Whether at Eaglefest or Eat Pray Run (and even coming out of retirement tonight!), when John spoke, people listened. But what the public may not have seen was the hours he spent prior to any of these events transporting tables, mapping out 5K courses, or tying balloons. John has a lot of sweat equity into ASA.


John was also someone who went beyond his duties as Development Director and helped in any way possible. Whether it was holding the door or answering the phone in the morning at the Elementary Campus or subbing for sick teachers and even teaching an elective at the Middle School Campus, John was always willing to help.


Finally, John is someone who truly believes in the value of a Catholic education. Of course we would know this from attending Eaglefest or any other time John emceed. But what I always valued most was our private conversations about the importance of Catholic education for our families. He cared so deeply about bringing this mission to everyone.  Congratulations Mr. Matlak.




Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Student Chromecasting Update

 


Thanks to a grant from the St Alphonsus Education Endowment we have been updating classrooms with Chromecast access for students. This upgrade allows students to present work on their device from their seats. It also makes the transition between teacher devices and student devices for presentations a little more smooth. Here we have a few pictures from the 3rd grade as they practice this new skill. 



Presentation skills as well as Cross Content Literacy standards are woven into our curriculum standards in all subjects. We are so thankful to the St. Alphonsus Education Endowment Board for helping us add this simple technology upgrade allowing us to easily integrate the practice of these important skills into our daily routines! 



Friday, February 19, 2021

4th Grade Collaborative Rube Goldberg

 

It was really fun - Myles

While exploring motion, forces, and energy in science 4th grade students designed their own Rube Goldberg machine. Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist known for his popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets performing simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. 


After presenting their designs to the class the group took on the challenge of linking all of their ideas together into one machine: 


Students' reflections on the experience: 
  • It was pretty easy to set up - Leo
  • There were alot of energy transfers moving through the steps of the machine - Mary
  • It was FUN - Grayson
  • It was hard work but fun to watch - Edmund
  • There were many ideas and it was fun all together - Lucas
  • It was hard and very fun - Lexi
  • It was tricky at times but fun - Elly
  • It didn't work the first two times, but then it work on the third try - Tristan 
#Creativity and #Innovation 


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Celebrating 100 Day

 

Every year, we celebrate the 100th day of school! This year is a little different because we celebrated the fact we’ve been able to grow our brains together in person for 100 days! 


We celebrated the 100th day of school for the 2020-2021 school year on January 29th! 



Kindergarteners made their special 100th day of school capes.  The capes had 100 objects on it ranging from stickers to baseball cards. One cape even had 100 packages of fruit snacks! 


In the morning, the kindergarteners counted by tens completing a dot-to-dot of Zero the Hero! Throughout the day, the kindergarteners joined the Count to 100 Club! They worked on writing numbers to one hundred and did a 100 dot project!


The Kindergarten classes sang the Day 100 song, practiced writing and counting from 1 to 100, wrote about what we would do if we had 100 dollars and finger painted 100 dots!  The students really enjoyed their pizza and cookie party which is a tradition here at ASA!


Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12)

A Message from the Principals

Day 100 is always a fun celebration at All Saints Academy, especially for our younger students.  Projects on display throughout the school, such as capes, jars, and models, not only signify we’ve been in school for 100 days, but also the tremendous growth that has taken place thus far.  Think about your child back in August. Think about what they knew (or didn’t know). If you are like us, you are probably asking yourself how they got so smart and so old so fast. 


Day 100 this year signifies so much more in the midst of the pandemic. What we are celebrating today is something that is nothing short of a miracle. As Nelson Mandela reminds us, “It always seems impossible until it is done.”  In some ways, reaching day 100 seemed impossible on day 1. Maybe it even seemed impossible on day 50.  But here we are. Day 100. And for the first time since the beginning of October, All Saints Academy has exactly zero staff members or students in quarantine or isolation (this has been the case since Tuesday!).


We have reached these milestones because of our belief that we are one. Parents, students, and staff members have sacrificed so much to allow for learning to happen effectively and face to face.  We have said “no” to social gatherings and other fun events, we have continued to wear our masks (as annoying as they are), and we have worn skin off our hands from washing and sanitizing tirelessly, all out of the love and care for our community.  

Please celebrate with your children this weekend in some way. They deserve it. They’ve persevered through so much.  Yet at the same time, we know we aren’t quite done. If we want to make the next 80 days as fruitful as the first 100, we will need to keep our guard up and continue to press on.  As challenging as this pandemic may continue to be, we believe all things are possible through Christ. Thank you for your partnership in making these first 100 days a success. We look forward to finishing this school year with you together!




Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Farm Days with the Fifth Grade


The fifth grade was blessed to enjoy three educational and fun-filled days in Lowell at the Franciscan Life Center a few weeks ago. 


What I enjoyed most was learning about the animals. Cows are easily scared, goats can be really loud, and the chicken’s poop can actually keep their house warm in the winter. Can you believe that?” Chloe shared when thinking back on the experience. 


Isa really enjoyed feeding the animals, too. “Yeah, I didn’t expect to get licked by a cow or get my zipper almost chewed off by a goat either. The animals were amazing!”



But the animals were not the only draw. “My favorite thing to do was the games that Sister played with us that also taught us about the animals we were learning about. One game taught us how animals can survive, or not survive, depending on what it had in its habitat over the winter. It was so much fun,” shared Leah H.



Spending lots of time outside was a big part of this adventure. An hour and a half hike was a high point for some students like Alex. “The hike was crazy fun. We found a hole and I wanted to explore it because I was hoping to find a racoon in it. But I also loved the art projects, too.”


Leah K agreed the outdoor time was the best part of the experience. “One of the things I liked best was the Little Portions where we got to pick a small piece of the land and go and sit there every day. My group sat in the tree there and watched the birds.”




Add sledding, making butter from an antique churn, and hot cocoa and that about sums up the three day adventure. “It was just such a comfortable place to be,” reflected Grant.





Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Welcome Ms. Ring, 3rd - 8th Grade Art


 I was born and raised in the Grand Rapids area. I started my schooling at a Catholic school called Sacred Heart of Jesus (now Sacred Heart Academy). I ended up moving to the Coopersville School district which is where I graduated from in 2015. Immediately after high school I started college at Eastern Michigan University. In April 2020 I graduated from EMU with my Bachelor of Art Education. My favorite forms of art at painting, photography and printmaking. 

Becoming a teacher wasn’t as easy as I had expected, but there is nowhere else I’d rather be. The fulfillment and joy that teaching brings out weighs all the hardship.I enjoy teaching my students new art techniques and skills, but not as much as I love learning from them. I’ve found through my practice that learning how students use artistic materials is far more interesting than anything the way that I was taught. I hope to discover more about media and subject matter while in this school environment. 

 

I’m very lucky to have found my way back to my Catholic roots by being ASA Middle’s new art teacher. I look forward to learning more about the school community and becoming a part of a great team. 

 

Cheers!

Ms. Ring

Thursday, January 21, 2021

4th Grade Virtual Career Museum

 



The fourth graders engaged in a career awareness project that was presented virtually this year. The fourth grade students explored their interests and hobbies then discovered a variety of careers that connected within their personal interests. They explored Michigan’s six Career Pathways and discovered many careers falling into each category: Arts & Communication, Business Management, Marketing and Technology, Engineering/Manufacturing and Industrial Technology, Health Sciences and Human Services. 



The students put their research skills to work to investigate more about, and become an expert about, their identified career to present virtually. Students dressed for their chosen career and were ready with their sharp presentation skills! With our virtual format, students were able to share their presentations to family members and other grade levels. 



The students' creativity shined through with their tri-fold poster presentations they made for their virtual presentation. It also created an avenue to raise career awareness for our 5-8th graders as students enjoyed a gallery walk to view, read and learn about many careers. 


Visit the fourth grade Virtual Career Museum:

Virtual Career Museum


Quotes from some of our fourth grade students:


Edmund: “Researching my career was fun.  It was fun because you learned things that you didn't know.  Presenting was fun!”


Max: “I learned that I like engineering in the end.”


Cooper: “I am so surprised that I had lots of things to work with as an artist.” 


Evelyn: “When I was researching my career it was fun.”


Mary: “I was not surprised I got a teacher.  It was fun to research.  I didn’t know that teachers had that much work.” 


Sam: “We were all excited for presentation day.” 

Special thanks to Mrs. Livingston and Mrs. Stoner who worked hard with students to complete this project and make some updates to allow for appropriate social distancing. 

With the addition of a technology element this we are are excited to be able to share the 4th grade's work with a wider audience! Enjoy: 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Thank you!

 


 

Dear ASA community, 

 

Thank you for coming together as a community. We don’t let uncertain times get in the way of serving others and this year it showed through your generosity of providing our most needed items for our center with your Advent collection. Many families will be helped by the many diapers, bottles, formula and infant clothes. HELP happens because of your dedicated support and together we will create a ‘culture of life’ for everyone.


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas season and may the blessings you bestow on us return to you a hundredfold.

 

Thank you,

Paula Veneklase

Paula Veneklase, Executive Director

HELP Pregnancy Aid