Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Rock Your Socks!

On March 21st, we wear either mismatched or colorful socks to celebrate the things that make us unique!

Why rock our socks? While most people are born with 2 copies of their 21st chromosome, people with Down Syndrome are born with 3 copies-a piece of your genetic makeup that looks like a sock!

While Down syndrome may affect how a person looks, learns, or speaks, they are more alike than everyone else than they are different. Many go on to college, find jobs, and get married. Many compete in the Olympics and have become actors or actresses.

The upper campus ROCKED THEIR SOCKS when they pulled on a pair of unique socks to support Down syndrome!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Thank You, Coaches!

Sports are an essential part of All Saints Academy. Participating in sports programs encourages exercise and character development, and athletes enjoy playing on a team with their friends while building confidence and skills. Our sports programs are an extension of the classroom as our athletes learn teamwork and Catholic attitudes of fair play.

ASA is a member of the Grand Rapids Area Catholic Elementary Athletic Council (GRACEAC) which oversees the athletic programs for the Catholic and Christian elementary schools in the Grand Rapids area. All Upper Campus students in grades 5-8 are eligible to participate in various sports including Cross Country, Football, Soccer, Volleyball, Sideline Cheer, Basketball, Competitive Cheer, Baseball, Lacrosse, Downhill Ski, Softball, Track & Field, Tennis (6th-8th only). This year, GRACEAC expanded its offerings to include several grades 3-4 programs, including cheer, lacrosse, flag football, track & field, girls' soccer, and basketball.

All of these sports would not be possible without the help and dedication of our coaches. We have been very blessed over the years to have parents, staff members, alumni, and other community members offer their time and talent to coach to make our sports programs a success. Here are some reflections from just a few of the many coaches who help make our programs possible:

“Students at ASA benefit from school sports because it helps build camaraderie outside of the classroom. They are tasked with learning how to support one another and lift each other up to play at their highest potential! As a coach, it is a true gift to be a part of that learning and development in the kids.” - Coach Matlak

“Coaching means a lot to me because being a positive role model can make a huge impact on our kids' lives. Sports is a great way for students to gain confidence, learn teamwork, learn to be leaders, learn that you can work hard and still have fun doing it, and a great way for them to learn that practice makes progress.” - Coach Oteto 

“I am and always will be so grateful for youth athletics. I also love the special bond that sports teams provide students and coaches alike. Going out and showcasing your God-given talents in competition with one another creates a bond that is unlike another other. There are so many life lessons taught on a nightly basis that help our students as they navigate adolescence.” - Coach Gietzen

“Coaching is really just an extension of teaching. We work hard to not only help athletes to become more solid in their skill development but also teach them good sportsmanship and how to play together as a team. It is so much fun watching these athletes grow together and persevere through the hard stuff. I love celebrating those first points, tough defense, and wins with my team; while also taking those losses as opportunities to grow.” - Coach LaPonsie

Some of our student-athletes offered their gratitude and shared valuable lessons they learned from their coaches this year.

“Coach George helped me with my stick skills.” - Stella

“Coach Gietzen taught me a better mentality toward sports.” - Leo

“Our coach was very encouraging!” - Lexy

“My dad helped coach this year, and he helped me with my jump shot form.” - Max

“Our coach helped us grow.” - Maddie

My coach helped me learn how to meet new people and showed me how to play a new sport.” - Andrew

“Thank you to all of my coaches for helping me have the courage to shoot and not be afraid of the ball.” - Esperanza

“My coach helped me learn plays and what to do on the court.” - Cooper

“My coach helped me figure out a lot of the different positions I played this year.” - Mia

“Coach Vos is helping me get better at pitching, and he helped me with my form.” - Fletcher

Coaches and athletes are recognized at our annual All Saints Academy Sports Banquet which will be held this year on Thursday, June 1, at 6:00 p.m. in the Brophy Center. From our students, parents, staff, and community, we say “thank you, coaches!”

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Growing Shamrocks in Preschool 3

A shamrock is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrocks grow all over including Ireland where St. Patrick is from. St. Patrick is known for teaching others about the Trinity. He explained the Trinity to the people of Ireland with a Shamrock. Although there is just 1 shamrock, there are 3 equal parts, the Trinity is one God existing in 3 divine persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The preschoolers grew some Shamrocks in their classroom after learning about St Patrick and his teachings.

Planting the Shamrock Seeds

Watering the Shamrocks

The Shamrocks Have Sprouted!

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Knowledge Is A Seed That Grows When You Read

March is the famous Dr. Suess's birthday! To celebrate such a birthday, March has been known as National Reading Month! It also provides a month to celebrate the joy of reading. This year, ASA has chosen a theme of growth: Knowledge is a seed that grows when you read! 

There are a handful of celebrations throughout the month of March to celebrate March is Reading Month. Lower Campus students will again be able to submit reading tickets to enter into our bike drawing. We have to extend a huge thank you to Kiwanis Club for donating two bikes for this drawing! At the Upper Campus, students can turn in their reading menu board for drawings of snacks and gift cards!

This month also includes comfy clothes day, bingo for books, and dress as a book character day. Our Lower Campus classrooms may also have various other fun events such as reading buddies, mystery readers, and pi day math literacy celebrations.  Make sure to check out our Facebook and Instagram throughout the month to see pictures from these events.

This year, we've been bless with Mrs. Jill Ott as our librarian who has put together various fun lessons in Library. At the Upper Campus, they are learning about various genres and have been doing a novel study in grades 6-8. At the Lower Campus, they just completed a study about the Caldecott Medal. Students are even noticing illustrations in other books, according to Mrs. Ott. Mr. Ott's lessons continue to help our student's literacy knowledge and growth throughout the entire school year.

As Dr. Seuss said, "The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go." We hope everyone has a wonderful March full of reading!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Lent: Connecting with Jesus

This first reading from Ash Wednesday Mass is from Joel and reads, "Return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God.." This passage calls out to us the whole purpose of the liturgical season of Lent: to return. The ashes on our foreheads remind us of this as well. Ashes represent what is leftover from the consequences of our sin, but we choose to be marked by them year after year to acknowledge our weeping and acknowledge this world is not how it should be. Each year, we receive this reminder to return to the Lord and to repent of the distance that has become between our life and the Lord. 

This return asks something of us. This return is demanding. It requires 40 days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as a way to return to the Lord, both in body and soul. It requires an examination of our daily life. It requires us to journey with Jesus on the cross. 

Fr. John Burns further explores this idea of returning in his video about Ash Wednesday: 

How do we return? By connecting with Jesus. Both in the suffering and in the joy to come. By engaging in prayer, to be reminded of God's love and to examine where we wandered off. By engaging in fasting, to put our own indulgences aside and to reorder our lives with the Creator ahead of the created. By engaging in almsgiving, to direct our hearts towards generosity and to push against our own selfishness.

This theme, Connecting with Jesus, will continue throughout Lent at ASA. Lenten reflections and activities will include:

Prayer - A printed copy of the Loyola Press Lenten Family Calendar will be sent home with students as a tool for families to use during the Lenten season.
  • Preschool:  Students will be building a Lenten prayer chain. Each link will contain their prayer reflections:  How can you connect with Jesus? What was a way you were kind like Jesus today?
  • Grades K-2:  Students will be building a Lenten prayer chain. Each link will contain their weekly prayer reflections. 
  • Grades 3-8:  Students will participate in a confessions service. Students will be building a Lenten prayer chain. Each link will contain their weekly give up, take up prayer reflection, led by the 7th grade class.

Fasting - Avoiding hurting words, actions, and turning kind words into actions.
  • Preschool:  Students will be prompted to give up a favorite toy or activity.
  • Grades K-2:  Students will give up a free choice time to write cards to seminarians, parents and grandparents. 
  • Grades 3-8:  Students will give up snacks as often as appropriate per age group.

Almsgiving - $1 color days with proceeds benefiting be nice., and weekly food drive donations, outlined below, to be delivered to the St. Alphonsus Food & Clothing Pantry.
  • Pre-8:  Make cards for their partner class, and bring weekly food drive  donations (see donation schedule below). 
  • Food Drive Donations:
    • Week 1:  Canned food items (veggies, fruit, soup)
    • Week 2:  Boxed food items (granola bars, fruit snacks, cereals)
    • Week 3:  Toiletry items (toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion)
    • Week 4:  Juice boxes
    • Week 5:  Paper/Storage items (ziplock bags, paper towel, tissues)

Stations of the Cross - 8th graders will perform living stations of the cross on Via Dolorosa Day, March 31, 2023.
  • Preschool:  On March 31, K-2 students will welcome preschoolers back as they return from their shorter Via Dolorosa walk on the sidewalk near the playground. 
  • Grades K-2:  Students will participate in Via Dolorosa Day and walk on March 31. They will also walk through the stations of the cross in Blessed Sacrament Church at another time. 
  • Grades 3-8:  Students will participate in Via Dolorosa Day and walk on March 31. 

Journey with us this Lent in your homes by engaging in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, but most importantly, by connecting with Jesus on His journey to the cross.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Day 100!

Can you believe we have been in school for 100 days already? 

On February 6th, we celebrated the 100th day of school. In kindergarten, we go all out for day 100 by making capes and parading around the preschool classrooms to show off our counting collection capes.

We spend all year counting how many days we’ve been in school! On the 100th day, each kindergartener counts all the way to 100 by themselves.

On top of counting to 100, kindergarteners tackle the big task of writing all the way to 100! (Our hands get tired, but we do it!)

We continue to celebrate through lunch. This year kindergarteners got pizza, pop, and oreos!

If you see a kindergartener, make sure to ask about their 100th day of Kindergarten and how high they can count!

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Wrapping up Catholic Schools Week

 If you've been keeping an eye on our social media, you would have seen last week was busy busy busy here at All Saints Academy. It was Catholic Schools Week (CSW) , a week dedicated to celebrating the beauty and goodness of Catholic Schools.  Below is a quick recap of the many celebrations and activities that occurred throughout the week:

Monday - Saint or Vocation Day

Tuesday - Jersey Day
Tuesday was a busy day! First, the Rolf family took over as principals of the day and announced there is a special color day this Friday (Feb. 10). The third graders attended the Diocesan CSW Mass downtown with the Bishop. Lastly, our 8th graders took on the staff in our annual 8th grade vs staff basketball game. The staff won with a score of 60 to 53.

Wednesday - Dress Up for Jesus
On Wednesday, all students started school at the Lower Campus. The Lion King Jr gave everyone a short preview of their performance upcoming this weekend (Feb. 10 & 11)! Students then worked with different grades on various projects before our K-8 students attending Mass all together at St. Alphonsus.

Thursday - Catholic Schools Shirt Day
Thursday ended with pieing teachers in the face! Any students who sold over 50 raffle tickets got to pie a teacher in the face.

Friday - Comfy Clothes & Crazy Hair Day
Our upper campus students cheered on the 8th grade as they rematched the UC staff. Our students also finished painting tiles for the new tile design that will appear by the back of the water fountain in our preschool hallway.


You can view more pictures on our Instagram & Facebook and learn more about what CSW looked like throughout the diocese on the Catholic Schools blog.

Thanks for making it a great week and we can't wait to celebrate with everyone again next year!