Student Life News

News from Nicole

Continuing Parent Education:
Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, February 9, when Doug Lyons will speak to our community about alcohol/drug prevention and education. Doug has more than 20 years of experience as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and he will address the student body during the day at an all-school assembly, and he will return for a 6 p.m. presentation geared towards parents. The presentation is followed by Junior College Night, so parents of juniors will have both events that evening.

School Safety and Security:
The safety of the members of our community is a top priority at St. Mary’s Academy, and we’d like to give you an update on our safety protocols and emergency preparedness. The safety committee meets regularly and continually reviews the school’s emergency procedures. We’ve recently outfitted each classroom and office area with emergency backpacks, which contain flashlights, radios, solar blankets and many other critical items. You may have noticed the bright orange lanyards that are now required for anyone visiting our campus. Visitors sign in at the front office and are issued a pass which needs to be worn and visible at all times. We have installed a large, convex mirror that makes the front door visible to the office staff at all times. We also have security cameras in use 24 hours a day, and our doors are locked and alarmed. St. Mary’s Academy trains staff and students to respond seriously and efficiently during emergencies. One way we accomplish this training is through our mandatory emergency drills. In compliance with the state’s mandates, St. Mary’s conducts the following drills each school year: monthly fire drills, two earthquake drills, two lockdown drills and one lockout drill. In the event of a crisis, St. Mary’s will work to get accurate and immediate information out to families and communities via the St. Mary’s Academy website, social media (Facebook, Twitter) and the local news media. Feel free to call me anytime at 503-228-8306 to discuss our school’s security measures.

“To be early is to be on time”
Many people remember a beloved member of our St. Mary’s community and former attendance secretary, Sister Pat McKenzie, SNJM. One of her favorite phrases was “to be early is to be on time.” In the spirit of Sister Pat, I would like to give everyone a friendly reminder that it is helpful for students to arrive at school a minimum of 15-20 minutes before classes begin. This gives students time to visit their lockers, check in with friends and get to class. Being ready to start class and focus when the bell rings is very helpful to students and teachers alike. While Portland’s morning traffic can be a challenge, planning to be early is also planning to be on time—such great advice from Sister Pat!

Outdoor School Leadership:
St. Mary’s has long been a strong supporter of the Outdoor School program. In fact, we send the most student leaders out of all of the participating high schools. Many students report that their participation in this program is a “life-changing event.” Registration for student leaders is now open for the spring session, and the mandatory workshop is scheduled for April 1-2. Visit the MESD website for more information and to register to become a student leader: SMA’s on-site student leaders will hold an information session at lunch on Monday, February 22, and students are always welcome to stop by my office for more information as well.

Calendar Reminders and Updates:

Feb. 3 -5:      Junior Encounter

Feb. 5:           CYO Night at SMA

Feb. 9:           Speaker Doug Lyons will make two presentations on alcohol/drugs (all-school assembly for students/an evening presentation for parents at 6 p.m.)

Feb. 10:         Poetry Outloud presentations and voting (morning activity block)

Feb. 12- 20: Mississippi Service Trip

Feb. 15:         No school, Presidents’ Day

Feb. 16-19:  Doernbecher Week

Feb. 18:        TA Party

Feb. 19:        Doernbecher Fundraiser Dance at SMA 7:00-9:30 p.m.

Feb. 23:       Rose Festival speeches and voting

Feb. 26-28:  SMA musical, The Little Mermaid

If you have any calendar questions, please contact Nicole Foran at 503-228-8306 or