Villa Celebrates Advent by Extending a Helping Hand

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.

Garland of Gloves

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.

Villa students extend a helping hand.

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

Jump Up to Middle School

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.

6th Grade Girls Win Soccer Championship

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.

Villa Halloween Parade

HalloweenOur 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!

VPA Presents Race to Nowhere

Race to NowhereThe VPA is hosting a screening of the film, Race to Nowhere on Thursday, November 14 at 7 p.m. in the Rainbow Theater.

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.

Villa Book Fair

The Villa community is invited to visit the Fall Book Fair, held in the Rainbow Theatre between October 21st and October 25th. The purpose of this event is to provide an opportunity for students to be exposed to some new literature, to generate excitement for reading, and to raise funds for the Villa Library.

This is a fundraiser for our library so please take advantage of this great opportunity to purchase new titles, classics, and student favorites.

Classes will visit the fair on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Please see the schedule for the day classes visit the fair below. During conference days, students may visit the Book Fair with their families. Preschool classes may visit with their families anytime during the week.

We are still looking for some volunteers to help with classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. If you are interested in helping please email Marta Franzen.

Schedule for Class Visits

Jones 5A, Nichols 3B, Portwood 1B, Ashwood KC, Kessler 3A, Richey 5B, Southern 4A

Brooks 7A and 8A, Reznicek 7B and 8B, Purn 2A, Downey 2B, Rutledge 4B

Calomeni 6A, O’Donnell 6B, Fisher 1A, Goetz KA, Moreno KB, Ashwood KC

We hope to see you at the fair as we work together to encourage reading and support the Villa Library!



Kindergarten: Ready or Not?

The Villa Parent Association is pleased to present 

Kindergarten: Ready or Not?
A Panel Forum on Kindergarten Readiness

Thursday, November 7, 2013  |  7-9 p.m.  |  Villa Academy  |  5001 NE 50th St.

Kindergarten has changed dramatically since we were kids and more than ever
parents are wondering”what does it mean to be ready for kindergarten?”

Join us for an evening with experts who can help you understand what a kindergarten-ready
kid looks like and under what circumstances one should consider extending the time a child spends in pre-k.

The panel will discuss academic, social, emotional, and developmental aspects of kindergarten readiness.

This session is designed for any parent whose child is approaching kindergarten.

This is event is free and open to the public.

More information can be found here.