Christmas break will be here shortly, so I’ve compiled a list of nuts and bolts, as well as some suggestions for joy and rest.
Nuts and Bolts
Pre-arranged Absences: We have modified our pre-arranged absence procedures. If your daughter plans on missing three or more days of school, she will need to bring a note and get a pre-arranged absence form from Nicole Foran. If she plans on missing one to two days, she still needs to bring a note, but she will no longer need a pre-arranged absence form. In either case, she needs to come with a note from a parent that has her name (first and last), the dates she will be out of school, the reason for the absence, and a signature of a parent. For longer absences, it is helpful to the student if this comes a week in advance of the absence to allow her time to get signatures from her teachers.
Oregon Residents and Drivers Permits: If your daughter is taking her driver’s permit test during the holidays, she should plan to get a “Proof of Enrollment” form from the front office before she leaves for Christmas break. The front office will be open for three days during break (December 21–23), but it’s better to be safe than sorry! Please be aware that these forms need to be completed in person; we do not fax, email, or mail these forms.
Safety and Emergency Procedures: We have recently updated our Safety/Emergency procedures as St. Mary’s. I will be sending out a letter before Christmas break that details our revised protocols. If you’ve visited St. Mary’s, you’ve noticed that you now need to sign in and wear a badge while you’re in the building. Thank you for partnering with us to ensure that our community is safe.
Joy and Rest:
TA Christmas Baskets: Our annual Adopt-a-Family program is underway and your daughter should have details about how she can help provide food or gifts for the Christmas family adopted by her TA. These families were provided by St. Vincent DePaul Society, an organization that screens families and provides us with a list of families in the Portland area who are in economic need. Our delivery date this year is December 17. Thank you for your generosity in helping make the holidays joyous. These families are very grateful for whatever we can do for them.
In addition, we have a giving tree in our lobby. We’ve partnered with JOIN, an organization that helps people get into permanent housing. The items on the tree help provide some basics to get families started on a new life in a home. Again, thank you for your generosity.
Mugs of Love: The Season of Advent began on Sunday, November 29. Advent, which comes from the Latin word for “arrival” or “coming,” is a four-week period of preparation for the recalling of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. For a special Advent project, Patty Gorman once again is collecting clean, chip-free, new or used mugs for the St. Francis Dining Hall. St. Mary’s students have volunteered at St. Francis since its beginning years and this is one small thing we can do to bring a bit of Advent joy to the Dining Hall. If you’d like to contribute, please bring your mugs to the front office between November 30 and December 16.
Christmas Break Rest: Our juniors have just spent time studying the Transcendentalists and contemplating how to live a reflective, balanced and fulfilling life. Perhaps we can all take some of their suggestions and truly rest over the break. We are all very “connected”—not just our students but parents as well. As our juniors suggested to the student body, “have a conversation with someone, ask questions, really listen, take a walk, let yourself be bored, have a family dinner.” Beautifully put, juniors. Give yourselves a break and be together without electronic devices during the holidays.
I hope that the holidays have many moments of delight and joy, and that your families take time simply to be together. May your New Year be filled with many blessings. Thank you for sending your daughters to St. Mary’s. We, as a faculty and staff, feel truly blessed to be a part of their life’s journey.
Nicole Foran, Assistant Principal of Student Life