Dear Parents & Colleagues,
Due to the uncertain weather conditions and the likelihood of dangerous driving conditions for many traveling to school, Villa Academy will be closed today, December 20, 2013.
I hope you all have a safe and relaxing Christmas break… I’ll see you in the new year!
John K. Milroy
Head of School
December first marks the first Sunday of Advent, a time of waiting and preparation for the birth of Jesus. During Advent, we wait in joy, in hope, and in anticipation for the wonderful event we are about to experience-the feast of Christmas, the coming of Christ into our lives in new ways. This waiting is far from empty; rather, it is full of the hope that God promises us as we prepare for Christ in the feast of Christmas.
At Villa, we will be preparing too-with special prayers each day, decorations including advent wreaths and outside lights, Christmas programs with stories, poems and carols, and the traditional Villa Christmas tree and manger scene in the main hall foyer. But most important during the Advent season are the helping hands extended from Villa Academy to people in need outside our community. Everyone helps-from our youngest preschoolers to the oldest eighth graders as well as our families. Mother Cabrini said, “We must be bearers of Christ’s love to the world.” Our “giving” makes that love real. So, what does our outreach look like during Advent?
Preschool and Kindergarten help children in need all year long. Preschool works with a three different agencies, and Kindergarten partners with Ronald McDonald House. During this Advent season, Preschool students are invited to bring in warm hats, gloves and scarves for First Place School, a school that serves homeless children. They call their drive the “Mitten Tree Project”, named after a lovely children’s picture book. Look for the very real “mitten trees” that will decorate our preschool classrooms and hallway very soon!
Kindergarten also collects hats, mittens, gloves and scarves for children, donating them to the families at Ronald McDonald House. They call their collection “Garlands of Gloves”. Watch for the donated items to be strung in the Kindergarten hallway very soon. Specific information about each drive will be sent home to preschool and kindergarten families. These two drives really make sense for young children because they understand what it is like to be cold.
Students and families in grades 1-8 are once again invited this year to be part of the Adopt a Family Project, assisting families in need through Providence Regina House. In early December, each grade level is assigned a family with multiple members from Providence Regina House. Classes or advisories get together and brainstorm possible gift ideas for each family member, and students then volunteer to bring in particular items. Sometimes the choosing of a gift will be left up to the gift giver! Wrapped and labeled gifts are brought to school by Monday, December 16th this year, assembled in family groups, and then delivered to Regina House by our Student Council Officers and parent drivers on Wednesday, December 18th. Often, these are the only gifts an “adopted family” will receive. Look for information the first week of December about your student’s adopt a family, communicated by either the homeroom teacher in Lower School or your child’s advisor in Middle School.
From preschool through eighth grade, we encourage families to have children be a part of the giving: earn some of the money for gifts doing jobs, go to the store and help pick out the gift(s), wrap them (grades 1-8), and finally bring them to school themselves. Classes will often make cards or decorations to accompany the gifts, and thus making them truly gifts of love. Through this season of waiting and joyful anticipation, your child will begin to understand what it means to be a “bearer of Christ’s love to the world” by extending a helping hand. Happy Advent!
- Jody Elsner, Lower School Director
It was a special morning for fifth graders as they participated in Jump Up to Middle School and got a glimpse of what the future holds for them as middle schoolers at Villa Academy. The event kicked off with a fun and informative presentation from a group of eighth grade ambassadors on the differences between lower school and middle school. Lockers, laptops and dances generated the biggest excitement, while homework and dances were the areas of greatest concern! The fifth graders then visited a variety of middle school classrooms where they were able to observe and ask questions of teachers and/or current students. This also gave them a taste of what it’s like to transition between classrooms on the upper floors of the school. After a special pizza lunch and ice cream sundaes with the eighth grade ambassadors, fifth graders were presented with their Villa “Class of 2017″ t-shirts.
See more photos of Jump Up to Middle School on the Villa Academy Facebook page.
Congratulations to the Villa 6th grade girls soccer team on winning the CYO Championship! Despite wind gusts that blew the actual ball at times, the Vikings, led by Katie O. with two goals and Rachel R. with another, defeated St. Francis 3-0. Goalies Lizzie K. and Katie O. combined for the shutout, marking the third time this season the Viking defense blanked its opponent.
The team was excited, but not surprised by their victory. Going into the game “we were confident in our skills,” said Cate B. Players give credit to their coaches, Steve Tanaka and David Sommerville, for pushing the team to train hard and believe the amount of running they did in early season practices was one of two key factors in their success. The other being the bond they share as teammates, many having played together since kindergarten. “It’s the most supportive team I’ve ever had,” said Lucy T. The Vikings finished their season with 8 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw.
Our annual Villa Halloween Parade for Kindergarten through Grade Eight will begin onThursday, October 31st, at 8:45am! Led by Mr. Milroy, Mrs. Elsner and Mr. Joseph, the parade will wind through the halls and classrooms of Villa. We will travel only on the second and third floors, making it safer for everyone to show off the truly creative costumes that have become legendary in our school. A great place for viewing the parade will be in the main foyer or along the second or third floor hallways. The Parlor is reserved for Kindergarten students and their Grade 8 buddies only. (Preschool students will have their own parade for just their classes.)
As we think about the school Halloween celebration let’s review the Villa Academy costume guidelines:
1. Costumes should be appropriate for a Preschool through Eighth Grade audience in a school environment. Excessive “blood, gore, and wounds” are to be left at home and saved for trick-or-treating. Although these can be fun for older students, they can be frightening for little ones.
2. Also to be left at home for the school day on October 31st are all weapons, pretend or real. These include, but are not limited to: guns, axes, scythes, knives, pitchforks, sticks, light sabers, etc. These can be great fun when children go trick- or-treating or attend family parties, but can be dangerous at school.
3. Costume accessories should be tasteful and appropriate for a Preschool-Eighth Grade audience. Such things as fake cigarettes, pipes, and lighters should not come to school.
4. Masks and headpieces should also stay at home, unless the wearer’s face is completelyvisible. They should also allow the owner to easily navigate halls and stairs.
5. Finally, we ask your help in making sure that costumes are age appropriate for Villa students, and are not overly revealing (length of skirt, neckline, see-through, etc.) or offensive. Costumes should be comfortable enough (including shoes) for students to parade up and down stairs as well as sit in class.
Students are welcome to wear their costumes all day, or change into “free dress” after the parade. Thanks for your help in making sure ALL students have a fun, safe, and happy Halloween!
Race To Nowhere features the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids, Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired. After the screening there will be a discussion with a panel of local educators including Villa’s own James Joseph.
This event is open to the public. Advance tickets are available online for $10 or at the door for $15.