Fall has been moving along so quickly here at St. Gabriel Catholic Parish School. We had a very busy month in October. October, of course, is the Month of the Holy Rosary, with the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary celebrated on October 7th. In honor of Mary, the school community prayed the Rosary over the course of the month during our morning and afternoon prayers.
October also is Respect Life Month, in recognition of the sanctity of all human life from ‘womb to tomb.’ At St. Gabriel, this great respect for one another is part of the fabric of our daily school experience. We emphasize with our students the need to be respectful not only of the adults with whom they interact but also their classmates and, so importantly, themselves! Each of our students is a precious child of God, and we want them to internalize this essential truth. With this great confidence and assurance of their own value, they are equipped to learn to value others as well and to fulfill their purpose--as explained by St. Bernard and echoed by Fr. Tim so frequently--“to live a holy life!”
This respect for self and others plays out in all kinds of ways, large and small, on a daily basis at St. Gabriel. In addition to the care they demonstrate for each other, our students also demonstrate respect for others beyond our community through various service activities. During October, student service activities included assisting at St. Ben’s Community Meal in Milwaukee and conducting a clothing drive for the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.
Our emphasis on respect for one another dovetailed perfectly with another national theme for the month of October, Anti-Bullying Month. St. Gabriel follows the policies of the Archdiocese of Baltimore in emphasizing that all students are entitled to learn in a community that is free from intimidation of any kind.
This year, we are emphasizing with our students monthly the cultivation of positive ‘Saint Traits,’ as we wish to strengthen the culture of care already so evident in our school community. Our eighth graders are assisting in this effort, taking the lead as our Positivity Club, promoting kindness and positive behavior among the student body. We believe in taking a proactive approach to prevent intimidation and bullying before it starts, and our goal is to ensure that all students experience a nurturing school environment that they help to create! We want to educate all of our students to respect one another, to be positive peers, to “make good choices.”
Several evening events that we hosted during October highlighted important components of the positive culture we promote here at school. On October 3, we hosted an Archdiocese of Baltimore Safe Environment training course for parent volunteers. We had excellent attendance from our parents at this event. On October 17, our middle school students were treated to an amazing Carnival dance by the HSA. The students had a fantastic evening, and the number of parents on hand to assist was astounding! On October 23, we hosted a Washington County Sheriff’s Department Internet Safety parent presentation with excellent conversation and information-sharing amongst our attendees.
In all of these events it has been abundantly clear that parents are vital to our success here at St. Gabriel. We are so thankful to have the support of parents who are willing to give their time in making all students’ experiences so positive. What a tremendous gift to our school community!
October has come and gone--first quarter and first snowfall included--and November has arrived. We are looking forward to an equally blessed and productive month ahead!
With blessings to all of the St. Gabriel community,
Mrs. Bridget Bartholomew