November 18, 2020

Dear Parents,

SJB continues to grow! We welcomed our 153rd student and 98th family to SJB on Monday this week. Nora joined the four year old prekindergarten class. Welcome to the Loonam family. We are so delighted that you are a part of the SJB family.

Congratulations to St. John the Baptist’s first trimester honor roll students. All students in 6th-8th grade are eligible for the Honor Roll. We commend the following students for their hard work and encourage them to continue to endeavor in their scholastic efforts. We’d like to recognize the following students for their academic achievement:

2020-2021 First Trimester Honor Roll

Grade 6 Honors

Isabella Aschauer

Phillip Cabrera

Mia Grantz

Jack Kozlowski

Grade 6 High Honors

Brielle Borner

Augustine Cin

Anthony Emlen

Kim Nguyen

Faith Owens

Connor Parkitny

Aaliyah Silva

Sofia Soriano

Tyler Stith

Lucia Vang Nu

Joseph Zagotta

Grade 7 Honors

Sophia Resendez

Delaney Starmach

Thomas Weber

Roman Zolota

Grade 7 High Honors

Isabella Garcia

Abigail Goddard

Calise Matzke

Elizabeth Zitnik

Grade 8 Honors

Thomas Cabrera

Lauren Ludovice

Alyssa Zagotta

Grade 8 High Honors

JT Barrett

Makayla Grantz

Emily Hanania

Christopher Momot

Lisa Soppi

Elizabeth Weitz

Isabella Zagal

Honor Roll recipients will be recognized tomorrow during announcements and receive certificates to honor their accomplishment.

As you know, there has been a matching gift campaign for Illinois’ Tax Credit Scholarship Program for the past six weeks. Yesterday afternoon, Fr. Chris and I were notified of the success of the campaign at St. John the Baptist. My heart is indeed full with gratitude for the generous donors and the anonymous donor who made the matching opportunity possible. St. John the Baptist raised $22,700 during the past six weeks, which will be matched by $25,000. Noteworthy is that we had 5 new donors to our school’s Empower Illinois fund! Following the conclusion of the match deadline, the campaign had some surplus grant funds. The donor decided that the remaining funds should be split among the schools that reached their fundraising cap and successfully generated new donors. Because St. John the Baptist met those two benchmarks, SJB is receiving $19,560 in bonus funds. Our total matching funds will be $44,560. To date, fourteen scholarships have been awarded through Empower Illinois at St. John’s. In the next two weeks, about 9 more scholarships for students on our waiting list will be awarded. In total this year, nearly $95,000 has been donated to our EIS fund. I am ever so grateful for the generosity of the SJB family, the anonymous donor for initiating this wildly successful campaign, and all donors throughout the year. God indeed has blessed us!

This morning we tested our emergency notification program, School Messenger. You should have received a phone call and an email notifying you of the test. If you did not, please contact the office so that we can make the necessary adjustments.

Looking for a virtual parent workshop about navigating children’s use of technology? We have a wonderful opportunity available for you. Liz Repking, author of CASE Curriculum which SJB uses for online safety, will offer virtual parent workshops at 7:00 pm via Zoom on the following dates: Thursday, December 3; Thursday, January 7; and Wednesday, February 10. In the 90 minute session, Liz will address how parents can balance some of the great advantages and opportunities of technology with how to protect our children in a hyper digital age. She will also offer some helpful tips and strategies to manage screen time, implement successful eLearning strategies, address the isolation children feel while trying to stay connected to the outside world, and how parents can create healthy family tech time. Advanced registration is required. Please see the posting for registration information for the session that works best for you.

Thank you to the many parents who participated in parent teacher conferences on Tuesday. You should have received a Zoom invite from your teacher if you are scheduled for a conference tonight. If you did not, please reach out to your child’s teacher.

Besides finishing our virtual parent teacher conferences tonight, there are two notable events. Grab some pizza from Caliendo’s in Winfield between the hours of 4:00 and 9:00 PM and cozy up with a book afterwards to join in the state of Illinois’ Family Reading Night sponsored by Jesse White, Secretary of State; the Illinois State Library, and the Illinois Center for the Book. You can find some SJB teachers and Fr. Jim reading some picture books or sharing poetry and jokes on our school YouTube channel which can be accessed here: . The videos should appear when you go to the school YouTube channel. You can also go to the Family Reading Night Playlist to access the stories. Bookmarks promoting the night were distributed to our students this week promoting Family Reading Night. Please see the posting for the Caliendo’s flier. 20% of the profit will be donated to the SJB Athletics program. Thanks to Chuck Zydek, our Athletic Director, for organizing the fundraiser.

This is just a reminder that tomorrow is an Eighth Grade Council sponsored Dress Down Day. Tomorrow is Business Casual Day.

As a reminder, there is no school next week, November 23 – 27 in celebration of Thanksgiving. School is scheduled to resume on Monday, November 30, 2020. In this time of Thanksgiving, I can’t but help think of a quote from St. Therese. Therese is my Confirmation name and she has been ab inspiration to me for many years throughout my life.

“What most attracts God’s grace is gratitude, because if we thank him for a gift, he is touched and hastens to give us ten more, and if we thank him again with the same enthusiasm, what an incalculable multiplication of graces! I have experienced this; try it yourself and you will see! My gratitude for everything he gives me is limitless, and I prove it to him in a thousand ways.” Therese of Lisieux , The Way of Trust and Love

The gifts and graces bestowed upon us at St. John’s is undeniable. Please know that as we approach Thanksgiving, my gratitude for you and yours is great. You are all true blessings to the entire SJB family. I also ask that you join me in praying for those in our community who are experiencing difficult times or have been affected by coronavirus. 2020 has been a very different year and many have experienced hardship and loss. Please lift them in prayer.

Wishing you the blessings of family, health and safety this Thanksgiving,


November 12, 2020

Dear SJB Families,

Yesterday on the annual celebration of Veterans Day, we had the opportunity to pay tribute and honor some veterans within the SJB family for their patriotism, love of county, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for our Nation’s freedom through conversations both virtual, in person, and through pictures and video. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to the following family members and parishioners who met with our students: Enrique Arroyo, Air Force, father of Addison Arroyo (PK-4); Ryan Darin, Marine Corps, uncle of Aislyn King(K), Shaina East, Navy, and Sam East, Army, parents of Calise Matzke (7th) and Greg Matzke, Navy, Calise’s grandfather. Currently serving in Florida for the Coast Guard, Mrs. Seay’s nephew, Dan Bowen, was introduced through photographs and video. Tom Brown, Army, SJB parishioner, spoke to 6th grade and shared resources used in other classes including a video interview for K-5 students. Thank you to Mrs. Gudanick and our Kindergarten class for adorning our front windows with patriotic themed student colored pictures and Mrs. Seay for making the Thank you Veterans lawn display. Please join me in offering prayers of thanksgiving and appreciation to these brave men and women as well as all Veterans and those in active service who risked and are risking their lives to make our lives better and afford us the blessings of our country. “The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” – Psalm 29:11

SJB is 152 strong! On Monday, we welcomed another new student. Welcome, Luke Murray, to our eighth grade class. He joins his sisters, Alexa in sixth grade, and Audrey in Kindergarten. As we welcome new students to our school, we bid a fond farewell to Johnny Humes in fourth grade. The Humes family is moving and Johnny will be attending a school closer to his new home. We wish nothing but the best to the Humes family. They have been a longtime SJB family and we are grateful for the friendships and memories we have made with all of them. We so appreciate the many gifts of time, talents, and treasures that they have given to the SJB family. Best wishes to you all – Chip, Sara, Grace, Isabelle, and Johnny! You will be missed!

With the colder weather here, it is important that we are prepared to notify you in the event that there would be a snow day, or another type of “emergency” closing day. We will be sending a test message through School Messenger on the morning of Thursday, November 19, to ensure that the phone call and email settings are accurate and are functioning properly. If you don’t receive a message, please contact the office.

Additionally, it is also that time to make sure that your children are prepared for going outside for recess, PE, and walking over to Mass. Hats, gloves or mittens, snow pants, and boots are necessary for children to play in the snow on days that are 10 degrees or above and there is snow. Please note that on days when the temperature with the wind chill is below zero, our students will not go to Mass, and students will go to their classrooms after being dropped off.

It’s not too late to take advantage of a 75% Illinois Tax Credit on your 2020 Illinois State Taxes. Donations made by December 31 through Empower Illinois will receive a 75% credit on your state taxes and help fund scholarships for students who qualified. Thirteen scholarships were awarded so far this year as a result of generous donors. So far, over $42,000 in donations have been made. We still have nineteen students on our list and any donations made by November 30 will help fund a student for this school year. Please consider making a donation. For more information, questions can be directed to the donor Helpline (800-616-7606, or ).

Thank you so much for your generosity with our Parent Club organized and sponsored Scholastic Book Fair. We will be earning Scholastic Dollars which translate to books and materials for our school. Thank you to Book Fair Coordinator, Erica Cabrera, and the following parents who helped set up, sell, or close the book fair: Tanya Ayala, Allie Borner, Andrea DeMola, Amy Goddard, Marcie Kozlowski, Gretchen LeMay, Teri Momot, Sunshine Silver, Lauren Weitz, Elizabeth and Jason Woodbury.

Congratulations to our Football Mania Week 8 and Week 9 winners: Natalie Burnette, Debbi Vermillion, Michelle Nasuta, and Christie Baldner. They all won $25.

Our second trimester began on Monday and first trimester report cards will be published and available through SchoolSpeak tomorrow at ~ 3:30 PM. Don’t forget that Parent Teacher Conferences are set for Tuesday, November 17 and Thursday, November 19 for Preschool through Eighth grade and will be conducted virtually through Zoom. A link will be sent to you closer to conferences and teachers will let you into the conference at your assigned time. It’s not too late to sign-up. To access the conference sign-up, go to SchoolSpeak and scroll below the school section to your child’s grade level. As a reminder JH teachers will be meeting as a team.

Two events are taking place next Thursday, November 19. There will be a Cook’s Night Out at Caliendo’s from 4:00 – 9:00 PM. 20% of the proceeds will benefit our Athletic Department. Please present the flyer found in the posting. The state is also sponsoring their annual Family Reading Night and the theme is Dig Deeper: Read, Investigate. Discover. Book marks will be sent home. So grab a book and join in on the reading fun. We will also be posting videos of a few familiar community and SJB faces on our school You Tube Channel – they will be reading books of their choosing.  The link will be sent in next week’s Thursday letter.

As we approach our Thanksgiving break, we have so much to be thankful for at SJB. First and foremost, I am thankful to you for choosing SJB for your children. I am beyond grateful that we have been together for in person learning since August 19. Everyone’s assistance in keeping us safe has really paid off! Please continue to contact me if your child had been exposed to COVID19. As we head into Thanksgiving, please be cautious with your travel and continue to wash your hands, wear a mask, and watch distance to keep your families, friends, and our school community safe and healthy. Your continued vigilance lends us to remaining together at school.

Until next week,