December 10, 2020

Dear SJB Families,

This week we have been blessed with having two school Masses. We attended Mass on Tuesday and celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Yesterday we joined together for our weekly School Mass on the Feast Day of St. Juan Diego. Father Chris shared the story of Juan Diego in his homily and reminded us of the miraculous appearance of Mary as he was walking in Mexico and highlighted the beautiful picture of Our Lady in the church to aid him. This year the feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe is on Saturday. Our students have been learning about both feast days in their Spanish classes as well.

On Tuesday next week, December 15 at 7:00 PM, we will be having a virtual Open House. Please help spread the word and participate in our refer a friend program. If the referred student registers and enrolls in our school, and your name is mentioned as the referral source, you will receive a $500 tuition credit. Please see the posting for more information about the Virtual Open House.

Thinking about enrollment and next school year, the preschool teachers and I sent an intent to return letter to parents in our preschool program to determine the number of spots we will have available in our preschool classrooms and to get an idea of what our kindergarten class will look like. If you have a child who will be three by September 1, 2021, and are planning on sending them to our wonderful preschool program next year, please let me know so we can save a spot for your child. Registration will be in January, but with the upcoming Open Houses, I want to make sure that we give priority to our current families.

Empower Illinois Reservation Date

Reservations for the 2021-2022 Empower Illinois tax credit scholarship will open on Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Again this year the reservation form will be available at 6:30 PM to give families time to enter their information before the submission time at 7:00 PM. The reservation will have two pages. On page one; basic information will be entered, such as parent name, student name, and contact information. After clicking submit on page two, the first come, first serve timestamp will be given. Has your family been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? Please go to empowerillinois.org/apply for the COVID-19 Income Documentation and Cheat Sheet. Please let me know if you need any assistance. We are happy to help.

Classroom composite photographs were received today and should be in your child’s backpack. These are extra special this year as we rejoice in the fact that we have been together in school since August 19. We are praying that we will be able to take the annual panoramic picture in the spring. We will keep you posted if we are able to safely do it this year.

Congratulations to our Week 14 Football Mania Winner! Brittany Jones won $25.00! There are a few weeks left of Football Mania…good luck to all those participating!

Santa’s Secret and Sweet Shops were a hit! It was a joy to see our students delight in all the choices, shop, and decide what gifts would be purchased. Thank you to Tanya Ayala and her elves for their time and work before, during, and after to make it an enjoyable event for our students! I will have a more complete list next week with crafters and bakers and Friday workers, but thank you to our set-up elves and Thursday workers: Tanya Ayala, Erica Cabrera, Gretchen Le May, Jessica Owens, and Elizabeth Woodbury . Thank you to Faith Owens, too, for her assistance setting up on Wednesday night. Don’t forget that classes will also be going to Santa’s Secret Shop tomorrow.

Next week is our last week before Christmas break. We have a special treat planned for Thursday night. Our Eighth Grade Council is preparing luminaries, and our classes will be lining the walk from the school to the chapel with them. It’s our way of bringing light to the darkness and preparing the way in this season of Advent. What a beautiful gift this will be to the community and to those who go to Adoration on Thursday night. Next week, I will provide details about the service project that our school will be participating in for the parish. We will be making luminaries for Christmas Eve. The final day of school is Friday, December 18. Please note that we will dismiss at 11:30 AM and the extended day program will not be open afterschool. Our day will begin with a school Mass. Following Mass, as in year’s past, the first grade class will be presenting a simple story of the Nativity which will be livestreamed on the school You Tube channel at approximately 9:00 AM. They have been practicing, and are very excited to present the story! More details forthcoming. And, of course, our classrooms will be having holiday parties on Friday morning before they leave for break.  

Speaking of practicing, all our students have been working and practicing so hard for our virtual Christmas program with our music teacher, Ms. Christina Bernardoni. “Dress rehearsals” have been this week, and next week during their music classes (with a few exceptions), they will be taping their performance. The videos will be compiled into the final presentation. You will receive a link to view A Virtual Christmas Gala, most likely on December 22. Please send students to school in Sunday best with Christmas colors on their music day next week/ per the schedule below. Know that students will not be changing back into their uniforms. With our practice of only allowing one person in a bathroom at a time, this change from the original plan will help us maintain our ongoing goals of practicing social distancing and protecting our instructional time.

Schedule of classes for recording the Christmas program the week of December 14:

Tuesday

Preschool (3s) and Prekindergarten (4s) Combined

Second grade

Third grade

Eighth grade

Thursday

Kindergarten

First grade

Fourth grade

Fifth grade

Sixth grade

Seventh grade

The results are in for our Eighth Grade Council sponsored door decorating holiday contest. Congratulations to the following classrooms:

PK- First Grade Category: First Grade

Second – Fourth Grade Category: Third Grade

Fifth – Eighth Grade Category: Sixth Grade

As a result, tomorrow is a dress down day for first grade, third grade, and sixth grade. This was a great contest which was fun for all! Thanks Eighth Grade Council for spearheading this school-wide event. The school halls look so festive!

Lastly, if you haven’t been to a Knights of Columbus Fish Fry COVID or the traditional style, consider taking part tomorrow night from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. You can order by phone, order online at www.stjohnwinfield.org by 1:00 PM on the Friday of the Fish Fry, and walk up to place your order. Please see the posting for more information. The food is outstanding and money raised from the dinner is for the KC Charities. Our school has truly benefited from the generosity, time, treasures, and talents of the Knights. In fact, they will be leading us in a decade of the Rosary tomorrow morning, and we will be distributing family prayer cards donated by the Knights next week.

Have a fantastic weekend…until next week,

Joanne