Search Results for: catholic

Weekly Letter (Jan 14, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

I hope your Christmas vacation was filled with family time, some fun activities, and finding joy in the simple pleasures of life such as watching a beautiful sunset, getting some extra sleep, or biting into a crisp, juicy apple.

January 27th marks the beginning of Catholic Schools Week. I invite all of our families and those interested in Star of the Sea School to join our staff at the 9:30 am mass on Sunday, February 3rd. Following the mass, Star will have an Open House for families interested in seeing all of the wonderful things our school has to offer. During the Open House, families will have the opportunity to tour the school and meet our excellent faculty. This is a great opportunity for you, our current Star parents, to spread the word about the positive qualities of our school to friends and neighbors who are interested in sending their children to a school that instills strong academic excellence and a place where we grow closer to Christ each day. In addition, our Preschool will also be open to tour as well.

The 8th grade students have all completed their High School Placement Tests. We are all very proud of them and know that they will be accepted to our many excellent Catholic high schools.

Our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Stella Maris CrabFest and Auction, will take place on Saturday, February 23rd in the gymnasium beginning at 6 pm. Do not forget to sell and/or purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a Mercedes Benz. Quite a prize for just $50!

I cannot thank you enough for allowing our teachers and staff to educate and guide your children.

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Jan 7, ’19)

Dear Parents and Students,

Happy New Year!

As we begin this new year many of us engage in the ancient practice of making New Year’s resolutions. According to History.com, the ancient Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions about 4,000 years ago. They were also the first to celebrate the new year, although for them the year began in Spring when crops were planted. During their massive celebrations, they made promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any objects that they had borrowed from their neighbors, what we might call the first New Year’s resolutions. If the Babylonians kept their resolutions, then their pagan gods would favor them for the coming year. If not, then they would fall out of the gods’ favor.

The ancient Romans, under the rule of Julius Caesar, established January 1 as the beginning of the year. For the early Christians who lived during that era, the first day of the new year became an occasion for thinking about past mistakes and resolving to do better in the future.

Despite the tradition’s religious roots, New Year’s resolutions today are mostly a secular practice. Instead of making promises to the gods, most people make resolutions to themselves and focus mainly on self improvement, such as getting  organized, traveling more, spending less time with a screen, or losing some weight. However, making a new, healthy habit is only half of the battle. Going to the gym five days a week is a great habit to start but it can be difficult to sustain unless we also let go of some of the bad habits from the past, such as being overly indulgent.

Perhaps this year, we should think more along the lines of the ancients and make our New Year’s resolutions more faith based. For example, we can become more involved with our parish by singing with the choir, joining a bible study group, or volunteering to lector at mass.

As Catholics, we should always be striving to strengthen our relationship with Christ. One of the best New Year’s resolutions we can pledge is to strengthen our bond with Him.

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Dec 17, ’18)

Dear Parents and Students,

Thank you all for attending last Wednesday’s spectacular Christmas concert. A special thank you to our wonderful music teachers, Mr. Kraehling, Miss Ascoff and particularly, Mr. Gresens, for practicing so diligently with the students. And of course, thank you to the real stars of the evening, our students, who sang so beautifully and reverently in the church, and so joyously and vigorously in the auditorium. That was a fun night, as I have heard so many parents tell me. If you see Mr. Gresens around school, be sure to thank him too.

It is difficult to believe that January is fast approaching. The last day of class is Thursday, December 20 and we will resume school on January 7, 2019. On either January 5 or 12, our 8th grade students will take their High School Placement Tests. We wish them much luck on another important milestone in their journey towards high school.

On Sunday, January 27th, we will kick off Catholic Schools Week with a family school mass at 9:30 AM, followed by our Open House from 10:30 until noon. Please continue to spread the word about our fantastic school.

On behalf of all the teachers and staff of Star of the Sea School, I wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and joyous New Year.

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principa

Weekly Letter (Dec 3, ’18)

Dear Parents and Students,

“Look, I am going to send my messenger in front of you to prepare your way before you. A voice of one that cries in the desert: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Mark 1:1-3)

Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent and our first family school mass of the year. How wonderful it was to see so many parents and students at mass and what a wonderful time of the year this is to be Catholic. All around us we see lights and decorations and hear music that prepares our hearts and minds to celebrate the Christmas season – the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

But let us remember that preparing does not happen through the adornment of evergreen conifers and the exchange of gifts alone. Our attitudes toward others must testify to the spirit of Christmas. We should also provide spiritual and corporal works of mercy to bring the joy of Christmas to the less fortunate. There are many ways to do this: volunteering to help the homeless or the elderly, going Christmas caroling at a hospital or nursing home, donating to a toy drive, or simply smiling and saying “Merry Christmas.”

One more way to spread the joy of Christmas is to participate in Star of the Sea School’s Adopt-A-Family program by purchasing a gift (or gifts) for members of the Star Community Home. Unwrapped gifts can then be brought to your child’s classroom no later than this Friday, December 7.

So, let’s not hold back. Let’s spread all of the joy and love we can this holiday season.

Happy Advent,

 

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Nov 26, ’18)

Dear Parents and Students,

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. I enjoyed reading about what the first graders were thankful for through a lesson that their teacher, Miss Skoblick, conducted with them this past Tuesday. So many of them are thankful for their families, friends, teachers and their school. It has been very endearing to hear them talk so lovingly of their families and the various aspects of their lives for which they are grateful. Thank you for allowing us to educate your children every day. We are reminded daily of the blessing that they are to us.

December is an exciting month at Star of the Sea School. Breakfast with Santa and our Holiday Boutique will take place on December 9 at 10 a.m. and students continue to prepare for our upcoming Christmas program. The program will take place on Wednesday, December 12, at 6:30 p.m. We ask that parents go directly to the church. The children should be in their classrooms no earlier than 6:15 and will walk to the church with their teachers. After the program, parents should pick up their children from their teacher in the church. We look forward to sharing the Christmas joy with you on the evening of December 12.

Finally, as we enter into the season of Advent, which begins on Sunday, December 2, it will be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of Christmas preparations: shopping, baking, decorating, party planning, more shopping, or perhaps all of the above. As Catholics, we understand that Advent is a season of preparation, of conversion for the heart. So remember to spend more time this season feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the immigrant, reading scripture, attending mass, receiving the sacrament of reconciliation, and preparing our hearts for Christ’s coming.

Take care and God bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Nov 19, ’18)

Dear Parents and Students,

As firefighters gain more ground in containing the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, more residents displaced by Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles are being allowed to return to their homes. Both fires started November 8, but authorities have not yet determined a cause.

We know that the Camp Fire was fueled by low humidity and strong winds and has destroyed over 11,000 buildings across over 140,000 acres. The entire population of Paradise, about 30,000 people, were forced to evacuate on November 9. Their  town was destroyed and nearly 1.000 people are still missing.

The Camp Fire has also ravaged parts of the Diocese of Sacramento including schools and churches. Please keep the families in Paradise and the surrounding communities affected by the fires in your prayers.

Pray also for the brave men and women who have responded to this disaster and battled the fires.

We have a short week this week, just Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday there is no school and Thursday is Thanksgiving which is not really a holy day for Catholics but maybe it should be, at least for American Catholics.

The Puritans who came to Plymouth in 1620 almost did not survive that first harsh winter. In fact, about half of them died. They were saved by a Native American named Squanto, who taught them how to hunt, fish, and grow corn.

In 1614, Squanto was taken by English settlers led by Captain John Smith and taken on a ship to Spain where he was sold as a slave. He was rescued by some Dominican friars who taught him in the Catholic faith. Squanto told them that he wanted to go back to his tribe in America so they helped him get to England, where he met John Slaney, who taught him English and arranged for him to get to Newfoundland. Squanto then served as an interpreter for the English and the Native Americans and crossed the Atlantic Ocean six times. After he came to the aid of the Plymouth settlers, helping them grow their own food, he arranged for a joint harvest feast with the local Wampanoag tribe. It was this event that is the basis of our Thanksgiving holiday. So remember, Thanksgiving was started by a Native American Catholic.

Also, remember that Monday, the 26th, is a 12:30 dismissal.

Take Care and God Bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Oct 15, ’18)

Dear Parents and Students,

There is a lot going on at Star of the Sea School over the next couple of weeks. Our next Open House, our most important admissions event, takes place on our campus on Thursday, October 18th, from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.  Please encourage all family and friends with prospective kindergarten students to attend this amazing event. As we move closer to the month of November, keep in mind that we will have two more Open Houses on the 1st and the 15th.

Children and teens love to sing. It is an expression of emotion and helps bring us closer together. We have three wonderful music teachers this year in Mr. Gresens, Ms. Ascoff, and Mr. Kraehling who are doing some great work with our students. In addition, during the week of October 29th we have a great opportunity for our students to learn the Catholic Church’s original style of music: chant.  That week we will have a chant teacher from the Benedict XVI Institute, an organization dedicated to sacred music and art, come to Star of the Sea School to teach our students chant which they will then sing at our All Saints Day Mass on November 1st at 2 pm. Towards the end of the school year we have the opportunity to be included on the professionally recorded CD Children Chant SF. Proceeds from the CD will be returned to every school or parish that participates in order to support our music program.

Our Halloween Party will be on the 26th of October in the auditorium and we will have our annual Halloween Parade and Costume Contest on October 31st at 2:00 pm. Students are allowed to dress in costume on that day but we do have some guidelines. These guidelines were sent home with the students but I will reinforce them here. Please avoid any gore, violence, or blood. Do not dress up as characters from horror films and there are no weapons allowed as a part of a costume. What we would like to see are students dressed as people that we look up to and admire such as a scientist or inventor, a fictional character from a  book, someone famous from history, a great athlete, or maybe even…a saint.

Take care and God Bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Oct 09, ’18)

Dear Parents and Students,

The month of October is one of two months dedicated to Mary. The month of October is also dedicated to the Holy Rosary. The Rosary calls to mind the most important events in the life of Jesus. October 7 is the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary.

According to an account by a fifteenth-century Dominican priest, Mary appeared to St. Dominic in 1206 after he had been praying. Mary praised him and then gave him the Rosary. She explained its uses and effectiveness to St. Dominic, and told him to tell other people about it.

Praying the Rosary regularly encourages us to slow down in our very busy lives. This, in turn, should encourage us to live life at a slightly slower pace than most people. We learn from Mary how to look at an experience and think about what it means for us. This slower pace also allows us to be present, to notice when someone needs help, to wait patiently for our turn, to focus on what is happening now. The Rosary will teach you this and that is why all Catholics should pray the rosary, especially during the month of October.

Report Cards will be sent home on November 5th and parent-teacher conferences will be held on November 6-9. Please sign up for times and days using our online scheduling system. Parent-teacher conferences last for fifteen minutes and are mandatory for all parents. If for any reason, you are unable to schedule a conference during that week, send an email to the teacher to schedule an appointment for a suitable time. There should be no “surprise” grades because progress reports went out last week and report cards will be given out before conferences.

Thank you for your support in every area of our school. Our parent volunteers have given so much of their time so far this year and have many fun, community building events planned for the coming months.  A special word of thanks to the those of you who volunteered at our first Open House of the year last Thursday, especially to our 8th grade tour guides, Vincent, Sinead, Johann, Aubry, Leia, Bailey, Kianna, Kay, Eva, and William.

Take care and God Bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Oct 01, ’18)

Dear Star of the Sea Families,

Our mission at Star of the Sea School is to form Catholic leaders. Family and school represent the primary environments in which our children grow and develop, and at Star of the Sea, we value your involvement as parents. The foundation for good parent-teacher relationships includes frequent and open communication, mutual respect, and a clear understanding of what is best for each individual student.

We will host our first Open House of the school year this Thursday, October 4th, at 9 AM in the auditorium. We will have subsequent Open Houses on the 18th of October and the 1st and 15th of November. Open Houses are generally for families who are looking for a quality Kindergarten program. So why am I informing parents whose children are already enrolled in our Kindergarten through 8th grades about our Open Houses?

The reason is simple: Word of Mouth. Even though the school has an active marketing committee and has dramatically increased its presence on social media (check out our Facebook page), Word of Mouth remains the most valuable form of marketing—the one that parents trust above all others and the one that is most likely to increase enrollment for the school. If we want to generate interest in and publicity for all the great things that we do at Star of the Sea, we need to unleash the power of word of mouth. According to a Nielsen Consumer Survey, 92% of the people surveyed believe recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising. That is pretty powerful. So spread the word about what a great school this is. Like that old shampoo commercial from the 80’s said, “It was so good, I told two friends about it, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on…”

Thank you for the sacrifices you make and for your constant support of Catholic education and the mission of Star of the Sea School. Let us ask God for the conviction to live our Catholic faith and to carry Jesus’s message into the lives of our children, creating Catholic leaders and ultimately – saints!

Take Care and God Bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal

Weekly Letter (Aug 20, ’18)

Dear Star of the Sea Families,

I am very excited to introduce myself as the new principal of Star of the Sea School. It is an honor to have been selected to succeed Mrs. Poon and lead an educational institution which is known throughout the City as a Catholic school dedicated to academic excellence, but more importantly, to the formation of virtue in children.

I will spend a lot of time with the students of Star of the Sea, getting to know their personalities, learning styles and interests. I will celebrate their successes, small and large. I will encourage them every day and let them know they are valued as children of God and have a special place in our school community.

Not only am I excited to begin working with your children, but I also look forward to the work we will do together. I cannot wait to share with you the great things they do throughout their days here at Star of the Sea. And of course, I will be here to work with you should they need any help navigating any aspect of the school day. My goal is to ensure that all children are healthy, happy and safe, so that they learn as much as they can.

This has been my philosophy since I began my career teaching with the Castro Valley Unified School District twenty years ago. I worked in Castro Valley High School for three years where I taught Freshman English and American Literature. I then moved here to Star of the Sea where I was the sixth grade teacher for six years. I supervised Student Council and coached basketball. I then moved up to eighth grade where I was given the honor and privilege to support students as they prepared for the high school entrance process. I developed a High School Placement Test preparation class, started a summer school with Mrs. Poon and ran that for ten years, prepared students for Confirmation and graduation, and was appointed Vice Principal in Charge of Testing.

I will work to ensure that your children have the best possible experiences while at Star of the Sea. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to bring all that I have experienced and learned with me in my new role as principal. I look forward to getting to know you and your children. I have been working with our faculty, staff and parents this summer to ensure a smooth transition and opening on the first day of school, August 22. We will also be having an informal gathering that morning in the auditorium after classes begin. There will be light refreshments so  please stop by to say hello and have a cup of coffee. I look forward to meeting you soon.

Take Care and God Bless,

Mr. David Gallagher
Principal