Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Advent is a time of . . .

Advent is a time of . . .





Or as our Preschool students all know - preparation!

During Advent, our students learn about the narrative stories of Jesus's coming in Atrium, our Catechesis of the Good Shephard program, starting with the Annunciation. Students are invited to think about what Mary would have been doing in her house when Gabriel appeared, how Mary would have felt in that moment, and in what ways Mary would have prepared for the birth of Jesus.

Mary was present to the present moment. She pondered in her heart what was stirring. She was attuned to God's presence. Mary also would have prayed with the Psalms, and Psalm 46 may have been a source of comfort: 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear . . .
He lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us . . .
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God.

Mary prepared for the coming of Jesus in patience and stillness. Does your family prepare for Jesus's birth in the same way? Or are you filled with the secular hustle and bustle of gifts, lights, and parties? 

As many families experience during Advent, Advent doesn't feel like a time to slow down, it's a time to speed up. There are gifts to be bought and wrapped, cookies to be baked, parties to attend, and rooms to be decorated. What if you lived this Advent differently? More simply and liturgically and less doing? What would that look like for your family?

At All Saints Academy, we do a few things differently during Advent to highlight the liturgical season. This year, K-2 students have a special advent prayer and reflection every Monday and Upper Campus students are lead by the 6th graders through a Jesse Tree reflection at morning prayer each morning. Our early childhood friends have created a paper advent wreath near the cross, with each candle on each pillar. Lastly, families are invited to participate in Advent at home with Loyola Press's Advent Calendar

To enhance a spirit of giving, students are invited to participate in $1 color days each Friday of Advent. The money raised through our $1 color days supports be nice. , the mental health foundation of West Michigan. All students are also invited to bring in different items for St. Alphonsus' Food & Clothing Center: Week 1 is canned foods, week 2 is packaged food items, and week 3 is toiletry items. 

There may be a lot going on this time of year, but we hope your family can take some time to slow down and prepare, physically and mentally, for the coming of Jesus this Advent. Take this Advent to "come and see what the Lord has done" (Psalm 46:8). He may just surprise you.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Come on Down: Eaglefest & Eagle Award


The price was surely right at this year's Eaglefest. With a strong community presence, a record breaking total and the perfect Price is Right theme, Eaglefest was again one to remember. 

This year's Eaglefest had the traditional elements of Big 5 games, Best Chance, 50/50, Bucket Raffle, Grab Bags, Live Auction, & Raise the Paddle. However, there were some new elements with our Big 5 games to ensure our Price is Right theme was used to the fullest. 

Each game was newly named to fit a classic Price is Right game: 5 Card Draw was simply renamed to the The Card Game for a chance to win a Beer & Wine Fridge. Jewel Quest was renamed to Let 'em Roll where players got an extra entry for every five rolled on the dice. Taste of Grand Rapids became Plinko with three prizes that you could be entered into depending on where your Plinko chip fell. Hole in One provided extra entries depending on your putting skills to win the perfect Backyard Game package. And lastly, Heads and Tails took a break as the Showcase Showdown took it's appearance. The top 20 spin amounts, which ended up being $1 and $0.95, spun again upstairs. The top two then went head to head to determine the face market value of the Showcase Showdown's prize of a Broil King 3-burner propane grill.

This year we had over 20 live auction packages. Some new favorites were the Torch River Fourth of July Getaway & the Authentic Taco dinner provided by ASA's very own Guerrero Family. Half way through the live auction, we raised our paddles for the second phase of our Upper Campus play space. 

Mr. Debri made the following comments: "Last year we raised the paddle for Phase 1 of our Upper Campus play space. There was a lot of heavy equipment on our grounds this summer. We extended the ball field and regraded the outfield for better drainage. A new irrigation system was installed and new grass was planted. Additional fencing was installed for the safety of our students in the dugouts. A number of dying trees were also removed and the infield was completely redone with new stone dust.  We are looking forward to later this spring when our students can have full access to the play space! 

We know how important it is for our students to be active, enjoy the fresh air of the outdoors, and simply partake in good old fashioned PLAY. With your help tonight, we can make great strides in this effort as Phase 2 of our plan is for a new Upper Campus Playground. " Mr. Debri's comments finished with a video that showcased ASA's mission of transformative education. This video will become public next Fall.

Thank you to everyone who supported Eaglefest this year, whether through your time or money. Eaglefest would not be the celebration of Catholic education at ASA without the strong community we have. 

In total, we raised over $115,000. We look forward to updating the blog with our final gross and net amount once all expenses and income are finalized.

Eagle Award

One of the many parents who ensure Eaglefest is a success is our beloved Spanish teacher and parent of three, Señora Zarzecki. Señora Zarzecki was also this year's 2022 Eagle Award winner. 

Señora Zarzecki was nominated by three different individuals this year. If you are a part of the ASA community, you have probably been impacted by the kind, selfless, generous and hilarious Susan Zarzecki. She is truly deserving of this year's Eagle Award.

Señora Zarecki knows how to bring the community together, whether she is teaching in her classroom, directing the musical, or planning Eaglefest. She has a heart of giving as one nomination described: "Susan embodies and lives out ASA's core beliefs of faith, learning, loving and serving in her everyday life and through her daily interactions with our students, parents, and fellow community members. Susan is always giving back in any and every capacity and deserves to be recognized for her amazing efforts."

Congratulations, Señora Zarzecki! This community would not be the same without you.

The Eagle Award is presented each year on All Saints Day 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. 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. 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. 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 
  • 2020: John Matlak
  • 2021: Jill Ott

Friday, November 11, 2022

All Saints Day 2022

All Saints’ Day is a celebration of all the saints in heaven, known and unknown. At All Saints Academy, we are blessed to commemorate this day with the union of our four parishes: St. Isidore, St. Alphonsus, St. Jude, and Blessed Sacrement. This year was extra special because it is the 15th anniversary of our school’s founding.

We began observing All Saints’ Day by coming together, both Upper and Lower Campus, to pray the Rosary. The Rosary is very important to our prayer life, as it allows for the saints and Mary to intercede for our prayers.

Then, students partnered with another class and enjoyed reading a story and eating snacks together.


In honor of ASA’s 15th anniversary, we took a school picture. Can you guess what we are making?

We gathered for Mass at St. Isidore, and sang the Litany of Saints as a community!

We ended our celebration with a Praise and Worship Concert, where we gave thanks and glory to God. We are so grateful to be part of a community that “forms saints to serve all.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Social Emotional Health Grant

In the spring of 2021, All Saints Academy received a $15,000 grant from Kamminga & Roodvoets, Inc., a local Heavy Highway Contractor with ties to ASA.

Still dealing with many of the changes and uncertainties that the pandemic brought along, the goal of the grant aimed to address the social and emotional health of our students. Check out all the ways All Saints Academy has made social-emotional learning (SEL) a priority for our students through the partnership with Kamminga & Roodvoets, Inc.!

Second Step SEL Curriculum
2021-2022 School Year and Beyond

Second step is a holistic approach to SEL and supports children’s and educators’ social-emotional well-being in and outside of the classroom. When implemented with a coordinated approach that’s centered around the child, SEL can help build stronger communities and support inclusive, safe, and equitable learning environments. The second step curriculum is implemented by ASA Counselor, Lynne McMahon.

Bucket Filler Assembly (PreK-2)
September 2021

 Bucket Philosophy helps all ages grow in kindness, self-control, resilience and forgiveness, all leading to a happier life by teaching the three rules that lead to greater happiness:
1. Be a bucket filler. Be kind.
2. Do your best not to dip. Don’t be mean.
3. Use your lid. Protect your bucket and the buckets of others. 

October 2021

The Gatekeeper Program is a school-based suicide prevention educational program with the primary goal of reducing youth suicidal behaviors by training youth to identify at-risk peers and get them to helping adults. It is skill-based and evaluation-based, and uses a variety of teaching methods.

Jeff Veley Assembly (3-8)
October 2022

Jeff Veley was born to entertain and educate. His natural talent to command an audience of any age has brought him before 1 million people. He’s been honored with two international awards and recognized as a Peace Ambassador by the United Nations for his effectiveness in conflict resolution. A social misfit turned social skills educator, Jeff is able to connect with kids from all walks of life and provide the skills necessary to overcome life’s challenges.

Protect Young Eyes Digital Citizenship Curriculum
2022-2023 School Year and Beyond

 Most digital citizenship curriculum uses outdated content and age-splits, and avoids spiritual matters. Protect Young Eyes Digital Citizenship Curriculum is built on eight key Scripture passages. The latest digital trends, including “tricky people,” pornography, social media, cyberbullying, sexting, reputations, and digital footprints are all addressed. Content is strategically split into grades K-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, so that kids receive age-appropriate instruction on delicate topics.