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Shamrock Fall Sports Wrap Up

January 23, 2021

There have been many unique and unusual things thus far about the 2020-21 school year. One of these unusual items is that I am writing the fall sports wrap up column in the middle of January when we should be approximately halfway through our winter sports season. I could lament this fact, but instead, I […]

There have been many unique and unusual things thus far about the 2020-21 school year. One of these unusual items is that I am writing the fall sports wrap up column in the middle of January when we should be approximately halfway through our winter sports season. I could lament this fact, but instead, I choose to do what we have been doing at St. Patrick School this school year and that is to count our blessings at every opportunity we are given to have as much of a normal school year as possible.

Our fall season was successful in the fact that we were able to host all our sports as we have in the past and be able to complete our cross country, volleyball, and football seasons. Sometimes new challenges give us new opportunities. This year, for the first time in a number of years, we fielded a full cheerleading squad. This was not just any cheerleading squad as we had a school record 36 cheerleaders go out and cheer for our football team. This fall season has definitely been one for the ages and truly without comparison.

The cross-country program set the stage for a successful season by coming out of the gate strong. Freshman Laynie Meredith and sophomore Cozette Brown qualified for states. This is the first time our program had two state qualifiers in the same season. The football team followed that up with their third trip to the state finals in four seasons finishing as the 8-Player Division II runner up with a record of 10-1.

We would like to congratulate all our teams and student athletes for their efforts throughout this fall sports season! A lot of time and hard work was put forth in the gym, on the field, and of course in the classroom by our student athletes.

Our cross-country program was unable to field a girls’ or boys’ team, but as previously mentioned, we did have a solid group of runners representing our school’s cross-country program. Individual honors include the following:

  • Laynie Meredith: 2nd team CMAC, school record holder, LSJ All DIV Area, and state qualifier
  • Cozette (Cozie) Brown: Honorable Mention CMAC, LSJ DIV All Area, and state qualifier

As previously mentioned, the Shamrock football team had a strong season winning a regional championship trophy and advancing to the state finals where they played in a fun and exciting game.  Our football coach, Mr. Patrick Russman, was the 8-player Division 2, Region 2, Coach of the Year.  Individual honors include the following:

  • Connor Cross: All-County, All-Region, and All-State
  • Chase Fitzsimmons: All-County, All-Region, All-State Honorable Mention, and Academic All-State
  • Brice Cook: Academic All-State
  • Brian Kwiecinski: Academic All-State
  • Jacobe Hayes-Dunning: Lansing State Journal Student Athlete of the Week
  • Derec Fedewa: All-County, All-Region, All-State, and Portland Beacon Athlete of the Month for November
  • Shane Cook: All-County and All-Region
  • Braxton Teachworth: All-State Honorable Mention

The varsity volleyball team had another solid season finishing in 4th place in the league in a very strong Central Michigan Athletic Conference (CMAC) and received team Academic All-State recognition. Individual awards include the following:

  • Karley Beachnau: 2nd team CMAC, Ionia All-County Volleyball Team, Academic All-State
  • Aurora Beckhold: Honorable Mention CMAC, All-Region, Academic All-State
  • Natalee Teachworth: 2nd team CMAC
  • Marlie Bengel: Academic All-State
  • Avery Zimmerman: Academic All-State

 

Our freshman and JV volleyball team also had a successful season showing much growth and improvement throughout the season.

We would like to thank Portland Public Schools and the City of Portland, including the Portland Police Department, Fire Department, and Ambulance Department. Our fall sports season would not have been nearly as successful without their assistance and support.

As a Catholic School, we expect our student athletes to represent our school in a positive manner, bringing Christ to everything they do, and making us proud with their sportsmanship. Without a doubt, they have done so in what turned out to be an extremely successful fall sports season despite all the challenges we faced. Our high school student athletes did an excellent job representing our school mission statement: We Pray! We Learn! We Achieve!

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Celebrating the Successes of 2020

December 31, 2020

While many people would like to forget the year 2020, St. Patrick School would like to look at many of the major accomplishments we had despite the major challenge of educating our students during a pandemic. So, before we ring in 2021, let us look back at the top events for St. Patrick School during […]

While many people would like to forget the year 2020, St. Patrick School would like to look at many of the major accomplishments we had despite the major challenge of educating our students during a pandemic. So, before we ring in 2021, let us look back at the top events for St. Patrick School during 2020.

It would be impossible to rank them in order of importance, so I have placed them in chronological order instead:

  1. On Thursday, March 12, 2020, Governor Whitmer ordered all schools closed. St. Patrick School was ready. Our students only missed one day of school as our teachers continued to teach remotely through packets that were sent home and by teaching virtual lessons using Google Classroom.
  2. On Sunday, June 14, the St. Patrick High School Class of 2020 became one of the first senior classes in the State of Michigan to host an in-person commencement. They are the only senior class in St. Patrick history to have commencement in June, outside, and in a tent.
  3. At the end of August, St. Patrick School students returned safely to in-person education for the 2020-2021 school year. Our return to school plan was created over the summer months in conjunction with the State of Michigan Return to School Roadmap, the Diocese of Grand Rapids, and the Kent and Ionia County Health Departments.
  4. In September, Mr. Luis Arturo Araujo joined our teaching faculty as the K-12 Art/Technology instructor.  Mr. Art brought a great resume to the position, and his positivity and energy is contagious!
  5. Our school counselor, Mrs. Jenny Garcia, and senior Emma Scheurer, as a part of her senior Capstone Project, created the Mind Over Matter group to work on boosting student morale, to problem-solve any challenges our students face, and to promote mental health awareness, and a positive school culture.
  6. St. Patrick Elementary School ordered 150 Chromebooks in case elementary students are forced to learn remotely again. Once they arrive in December and are available for use, our schoolwide 1:1 Chromebook initiative will officially be complete. We also purchased the GoGuardian program to monitor student use of Chromebooks to help ensure our students are safe while working online.
  7. At the beginning of November, Laynie Meredith and Cozette Brown both qualified for the state meet in girls cross country. This is the first time our cross country program has had two runners qualify for the state meet in the same year.
  8. The varsity football team is currently 9-0 and has advanced to the state semifinal game for the third time in five years. They are awaiting information from the governor and the MHSAA to see if they will be able to finish the season.
  9. Senior Brice Cook kicked off the giving season by offering to have his head shaved if we raised $500 for Positive Solutions Informed Choices (PSIC). Brice allowed the top donors to shave his head after we raised $987. Not to be outdone, our K-8 students filled 91 shoeboxes as a part of the Shoebox Initiative. Finally, despite having the high school learning remotely, we collected boxes and boxes of canned goods, 219 toys for Toys for Tots, and many diapers and pull ups for PSIC.
  10. The St. Patrick School Advancement and Development team began The Former Pastors’ Shamrock Endowment Fund with $76,000 from a previous St. Patrick Parish pastor as well as $8,000 in donations from other various benefactors. This endowment will be used for tuition assistance for future generations of Shamrocks.

“We Achieve!” is the third and final part of our mission statement and it is evidenced by this list. Many hours of work by a great number of individuals were completed to make all these events happen throughout 2020. Our students and staff, with great support from our parents and donors have made this year a huge success. We are excited about these accomplishments and are even more excited for the prospect of bigger and better things to come in 2021. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at St. Patrick School!

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It’s Time to Recognize the Need of Those Around You

December 4, 2020

This past weekend at Mass, our pastor, Reverend Michael Alber, spoke about how we frequently defer to organizations to help those around us who have some type of need. How often do we donate our money to some charity and never give it another thought about those in need? We donate money; therefore, we have […]

This past weekend at Mass, our pastor, Reverend Michael Alber, spoke about how we frequently defer to organizations to help those around us who have some type of need. How often do we donate our money to some charity and never give it another thought about those in need? We donate money; therefore, we have done our part. The thing that most resonated with me was the idea that maybe it’s time for us to stop passing the buck to organizations and to start looking around our own community and helping those who have some need.

 

For most individuals, 2020 has been a year with many challenges, which makes it even more important for us to be aware of the needs of those around us. Take a moment to think of those living right in your neighborhood, or right here in your own community who may have some special need at this time. I am sure it is not too hard to find any of the following:

 

  • A widow, widower, or an elderly couple who is feeling isolated and alone. Find a way to reach out and let them know you are there, whether it is a nice chat on the phone, sending a card or letter, or if they are tech savvy, help them set up a Zoom meeting.
  • The single parent who has been working long hours trying to make ends meet. Go shopping and purchase things that help meet their most basic needs such as cleaning supplies, groceries, and laundry detergent; and a little extra cash would be most welcome.
  • Medical personnel who may not have a financial need but may be exhausted from working long hours dealing with COVID Make and deliver a meal with all the fixings.
  • Police, fire, and ambulance personnel who can never be thanked enough for all that they do for their communities. Send a thank you note and let them know they are appreciated for their service.
  • Teachers and school support staff who have been working under extreme stress since last March. A note of thanks with any little gift of appreciation goes a long

 

We, as individuals, or in small local groups, can go out of our way to say “thank you” to those who have been under a lot of stress throughout 2020. Shop locally keeping in mind that many small business owners are struggling as well, and then use those purchased items to build up and show appreciation to those living around us. Who doesn’t appreciate a gift certificate to eat at a local restaurant, a cup of coffee or hot tea, a bottle of wine, some type of service, or other treat?

 

By taking the time to go out of the way to recognize those who may be struggling in some way, you give the greatest gift you can possibly give this holiday season, and that is the gift of hope. We all can be that person; we do not need others to do it for us. May God bless your holiday season and go make a difference.

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Advent is a Time to Prepare

November 27, 2020

While the secular world has already started counting down the days and basically celebrating Christmas, decorating their houses, putting up Christmas trees and doing their Christmas shopping, the Christian world will celebrate its new year with the beginning of Advent on Sunday, November 29. The word Advent derives from Latin, meaning ‘coming’ or ‘arrival.’ Jesus […]

While the secular world has already started counting down the days and basically celebrating Christmas, decorating their houses, putting up Christmas trees and doing their Christmas shopping, the Christian world will celebrate its new year with the beginning of Advent on Sunday, November 29.

The word Advent derives from Latin, meaning ‘coming’ or ‘arrival.’ Jesus is coming, and Advent is intended to be a season of preparation for His arrival. The Catholic Church’s liturgical season of Advent is a sacred time for prayer and quiet reflection as we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth.

However, Advent is much more than recalling the humble beginning and birth of our Lord and Savior. We are also preparing for His future coming as we anticipate and look toward Christ’s second coming as judge of the world at the end of time.

During a normal school year, each Monday we would gather around the Advent wreath in our school gymnasium. We would light the candle for the week and take time to sing, pray, and remember exactly what it is we are preparing for on Christmas Day, when the church begins the season of Christmas.

The Advent wreath serves as a powerful visual reminder of the holiness of the season. It is shaped in a perfect circle to represent the eternity of God. The four candles used, three purple and one pink, mark the Sundays of Advent before Christmas. The purple candles are reminders that this should be a time of prayer and sacrifice to prepare us for the second coming of Christ. On the third Sunday, the pink candle is lit to announce Gaudete Sunday, a Sunday of rejoicing for Christ is coming near.

As you prepare for the coming of Christ on Christmas morning, remember to put time aside to participate in Advent. It is a time for charity and generosity for those in need. Make sure to reserve and put aside special time for extra prayer and reflection. Advent is also a time to fast, focus on one’s own spirituality, and reflect on how we can make ourselves and those around us better, especially during these challenging times. Finally, Advent is a time to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and take a renewed interest in and a focus on the beauty of the Liturgy.

When the final candle is lit on the wreath and Advent comes to a successful completion, it will be time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the beginning of the Christmas season.

 

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Second Marking Period Off to a Busy Start

November 11, 2020

After a very exciting and busy first marking period, the second marking period has left no room for the weary. We are off and running with another exciting and busy marking period. At the end of October, middle and high school students decorated their section of the hallway as a part of a contest. The […]

After a very exciting and busy first marking period, the second marking period has left no room for the weary. We are off and running with another exciting and busy marking period.

  • At the end of October, middle and high school students decorated their section of the hallway as a part of a contest. The 7th grade class took first place and the 9th grade class took second. Elementary teachers did not want to be outdone, so they decorated their classroom doors for fun.
  • The Friday before Halloween was an extremely busy day. Middle and high school students could wear a costume to school. They held a contest with winners in a variety of categories. The winners from the hall decorating competition smashed pumpkins in the parking lot as a part of their reward for winning. Elementary students wore their costumes in the afternoon and celebrated in their classrooms with a party. Students in grades 6-9 had a lip synch contest as a part of their English class.
  • Senior Brice Cook volunteered to have his head shaved if St. Patrick School raised $500 for Positive Solutions Informed Choices. We successfully raised the money right away. On top of the $500 that was raised, another $397 was raised which will be used toward supplies for our Day of Giving the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Break. On Thursday, November 5, the three individuals who donated the most money to the cause, had the opportunity to shave Brice’s head.
  • On Friday, November 6, our school held a parade around the school for freshman Laynie Meredith and sophomore Cozie Brown. Both runners advanced to the state finals in cross country. It is the first time St. Patrick High School had two runners advance to the state finals in the same season. Laynie finished 77th and Cozie finished 82nd out of 245 scheduled runners.
  • Our football team currently has a record of 8-0 and has advanced to the quarterfinals in football.
  • On Friday, November 13, St. Patrick School will host a “Relax” Day. The purpose of this day is to encourage healthy coping strategies for stress and anxiety. Activities will include crafts, games, guided mindfulness, mindful stretching, a free hour, and watching the movie Inside Out.
  • Our next event is our Day of Giving which will take place on Tuesday, November 24. We are hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive in our Parish Hall that is scheduled to take place from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We also have other activities planned for this date which include preparing shoe boxes for the Christmas Shoebox Giving program, and making blankets for foster kids and to donate to Sparrow Hospital.

Our students, teachers, and school families continue to put their best foot forward as we try to give our students the best educational and extracurricular opportunities possible despite the challenges we face. We continue with the goal we had at the start of the school year which is to find the safest and best way to keep our students in school and still maintain as much normalcy as possible.  Together We Pray! We Learn! We Achieve!

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St. Patrick School Creates Mind Over Matter Committee

October 22, 2020

Recent studies are showing that with the Covid-19 pandemic, many students are facing increasing issues of anxiety and depression, which unfortunately, had already been growing over the past decade even before the pandemic hit. Being aware of this increase in students struggling with mental health related concerns, St. Patrick School is daring to be different […]

Recent studies are showing that with the Covid-19 pandemic, many students are facing increasing issues of anxiety and depression, which unfortunately, had already been growing over the past decade even before the pandemic hit. Being aware of this increase in students struggling with mental health related concerns, St. Patrick School is daring to be different by creating a new group to face this challenge head on.

 

Our school counselor, Mrs. Jenny Garcia, working along with senior Emma Scheurer as a part of her senior Capstone project, have created this new group to work on boosting student morale, to problem-solve any challenges our students face, and to promote mental health awareness and a positive school culture.

 

We have ten high school student representatives and nine middle school students representing our school’s efforts to promote mental health awareness. Our mental health awareness group had the opportunity to create their own name, and they chose to be called the Mind Over Matter (MOM) Committee. The group will meet each Monday during lunch in our parish hall so they can properly social distance. The Mind Over Matter Committee will plan a variety of activities throughout the school year including our second annual Mental Health Awareness Week and other activities for stress relief.

 

The Mind Over Matter Committee has been brainstorming a number of events for the 2020-2021 school year. The first event will begin this week. Each grade, 6th through 12th, will decorate their hallway section in a fall themed decorating contest. The class that wins the hall decorating contest will get to smash pumpkins to relieve their stress and anxiety.

 

We are very appreciative to Mrs. Garcia, Emma Scheurer, and our Mind Over Matter Committee student representatives. We are excited to see all the educational, as well as fun and exciting events they are planning throughout the school year.

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8-Player Football Continues to Bring Excitement to SPS

October 14, 2020

Beginning with the 2012 football season, St. Patrick School made a big decision to begin playing 8-player football.  It was a move that has provided much excitement to the Portland area as the Shamrock football team has been successful year after year.   Because of the success of our program and due to the low […]

Beginning with the 2012 football season, St. Patrick School made a big decision to begin playing 8-player football.  It was a move that has provided much excitement to the Portland area as the Shamrock football team has been successful year after year.

 

Because of the success of our program and due to the low number of 8-player football teams in our area, scheduling has been a challenge for our athletic director and varsity football coach Pat Russman.  The Shamrocks have continued to do much travelling, even making several trips to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

 

While many schools might not be impressed with the amount of distance their football team has to travel, the Shamrock faithful seem to have embraced our many journeys. They take these opportunities to get away with their families for some quality time and to sightsee around our beautiful state.

 

This past weekend was no different with a two-and-a-half-hour trip to Manistee to play Manistee Catholic Central. Many of our school families chose to stay at hotels in town, camp at an area campground, or stay in a cabin. With Michigan’s colors reaching peak, many were treated to a spectacular display of colors on the drive north.

 

When I reached the game, I discovered there were at least as many Shamrocks as the hometown crowd, despite the fact it was their homecoming game. This should not have been a surprise to me. Last fall was no different when we had many more fans than our opponents when we travelled to Bellaire for a game. Even when we played as far away as Engadine, our fans outnumbered the home crowd at least four to one.

 

Right from the onset, we have travelled to places up north such as Engadine, Onekema, and Marquette, and there have also been trips down to some of our southern areas of the state such as St. Joseph. All of these games are viewed as an opportunity to get away, sightsee, learn something new, and spend quality family time while supporting their sons’ endeavors on the football field or their daughters’ endeavors as they cheer on the sidelines.

 

It has been surprising to note that it is not just parents and our student athletes that make these trips to watch our team play. It is not uncommon to see parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, other family members, alumni, and friends attend the games and cheer on the Shamrocks.

 

Finally, our school spirit and the sportsmanship of our football players has been noted by many of our opponents over the years. When we went to a game in Engadine early in our 8-player career, one of their fans commented that “the Shamrocks brought more fans to the game than we have people living in our entire county.” The sportsmanship of our players was noted again this week when the coach of MCC posted the following on our Facebook page: “Great game Shamrocks! You played like gentlemen warriors and showed the most class that we have seen in some time. Good luck the rest of the season.”

 

Eight-player football has been a blessing to St. Patrick School by providing our students and our school families with many unforeseen opportunities as well as much success on and off the field. Over the past eight seasons, our teams have played in the semifinal game on four occasions and twice reached the state championship game. Our teams have also consistently been academic all-state, with multiple top ten finishes as well as placing first in the state one year.

 

We look forward to the remainder of the 2020 football season and to the many games that lie ahead for our football program, and all the future opportunities this will provide for our students and our school families.

 

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Courses Offered by St. Patrick High School

October 7, 2020

I am often asked about the courses we offer at St. Patrick High School. We are very blessed to be able to offer a wide range of courses which include a myriad of in-person classes as well as a wide range of courses that are offered online.   Like any high school in the State […]

I am often asked about the courses we offer at St. Patrick High School. We are very blessed to be able to offer a wide range of courses which include a myriad of in-person classes as well as a wide range of courses that are offered online.

 

Like any high school in the State of Michigan, we follow the Michigan Merit Curriculum for our minimum graduation requirements. We have also added several of our own requirements. Students must take four years of math, English, and Theology. They must take three years of science and social studies courses, two years of World Language, and one semester each of health and physical education

 

Three additional courses we have added which are required for graduation are the Dave Ramsey Personal Finance course, Career Development, and our Capstone Project class. We are one of the few high schools in the State of Michigan that require Personal Finance for graduation. Career Development allows our students the opportunity to research careers they may be interested in and to begin working on skills such as creating a resume and skills needed for a successful interview. The Capstone course provides our seniors with an opportunity to showcase the skills they have learned throughout their high school careers and to leave a lasting legacy of service to our school or community.

 

Our in-person elective courses include the following: Statistics, AP Calculus, Physics, AP Biology, Human Anatomy, AP U.S. History, Teacher/Library Aide, Peer to Peer Mentor, Yearbook, School to Work Cooperative, and Art II and III. For the first time in many years, we offered Choir as an opportunity for our students for the current school year.

 

We also have an agreement with Aquinas College where we host some of their courses on our campus during the school day. Students may take courses through Lansing Community College or Montcalm Community College virtually and can also attend on their campus if they prefer. Our students have the opportunity to attend Heartlands Institute of Technology and take any of the courses offered there as well. These include the following: Aviation Technology, Computer Network Administration, Construction Technology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Diesel Technology, Health Occupations, Healthcare Foundations, Machine Tool, and Plant and Animal Science. Finally, we have an agreement with Michigan Virtual High School for our students to have the opportunity to take any of the courses they offer.

 

Our goal is that our seniors will use their final year of high school to get a head start on the training and education they will need after graduation. When they graduate and leave St. Patrick High School, they will have the necessary skills and  preparation for whatever vocation and for whatever career they are called to by God.

 

If you are seeking more information regarding the curriculum for St. Patrick High School, please feel free to contact high school principal Randy Hodge by calling (517)647-7551 or by email at randyhodge@portlandstpats.org. To review the St. Patrick High School curriculum, please visit the Diocese of Grand Rapids website at

https://catholicschools4u.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/9th-12th%20Grade%20Curriculum%20Standards%20DOGR.pdf.

 

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St. Pat’s Prepares for Safe Return to School

August 6, 2020

St. Patrick is committed to doing all it can to return our students safely to in-person education for the 2020-2021 school year. We are sharing our return to school plan which has been created in conjunction with the State of Michigan Return to School Roadmap, the Diocese of Grand Rapids, and the Kent and Ionia […]

St. Patrick is committed to doing all it can to return our students safely to in-person education for the 2020-2021 school year. We are sharing our return to school plan which has been created in conjunction with the State of Michigan Return to School Roadmap, the Diocese of Grand Rapids, and the Kent and Ionia County Health Departments.

While we know every stakeholder will not necessarily agree with every measure and precaution that has been taken, everyone needs to understand these steps are being taken to ensure our students can safely return to in-person learning.

If we are in Phase 3 or lower of the State of Michigan’s reopening plan, we will need to engage our students remotely. This remote learning will not be the same as it was in the spring. All grades will use Canvas, our new learning management system. In grades K-5, teachers will not be sending packets but will have a combination of whole groups and small groups that will meet online at scheduled times throughout the week. Assignments will be downloaded through Canvas.  Grades 6-12 will have a weekly schedule that includes scheduled class time and a teacher will be on the other end of the student’s screen. A printer/scanner is highly recommended if we are in phase 3 or lower.

If we are in Phase 3 or lower, we will not have preschool. Once we return to Phase 4 and have preschool, tuition will be paid on a prorated basis.

If we are in Phase 4 or higher, we will host in-person classes at St. Patrick School for grades PS-12. The highlights of our Phase 4 plan include the following (please go to our website at portlandstpats.com to see our Phase 4 and 5 plans):

  • It is extremely important that parents complete a wellness check on their student(s) before school each morning. A student who is running a fever or does not feel well needs to stay home for 10 days after their symptoms first appeared and for at least 24 hours with no fever and not taking any fever reducing medication.
  • Drop-off and pick-up: Before and after school latchkey drop-off and pick-up will remain the same. For elementary students, parents will pull into the parking lot between the school and the church and drop-off outside the main office door. Students will then proceed directly to their classroom (like we do on rainy days). Elementary after school pick-up will remain the same as it was in the 2019-2020 school year (pick-up location may change for some families). Elementary students may not enter the building until 8:30 a.m. and must be wearing masks upon entering the building. Middle school students will enter and exit at door #7 and high school students will enter and exit at door #8 (please do not park in the bus loading zone). Middle and high school students may not enter the building until 7:15 a.m. and must be wearing a mask upon entry.
  • Masks: All staff must wear masks all day unless they are by themselves or eating. K-5 students must wear masks in common areas such as the hallway and bathrooms only, and 6-12 must wear masks all day except when eating.
  • PS-8 will be staying in the same classroom throughout the day and teachers will be coming to the classrooms as scheduled. 9-12 will move classroom to classroom. Learning stations will be cleaned and sanitized after each class period.
  • Lunch: Hot lunch will be brought to classrooms for students who do not bring a sack lunch, and students will eat in their classrooms. Recess time will still be provided.
  • Students will be separated by grade level whenever possible, and preschool, lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school students will stay in their quadrant of the school whenever possible.

Please let us know by August 10 if your child will not be coming to school for in-person classes and will be doing remote learning so we can get everything set up to ensure they have a solid learning experience. Parents will be committing to remote learning for the first nine weeks. They can continue to make the decision to continue remote learning or switch to in-person at the end of each marking period.

We ask for your patience and support as we face the challenges and restrictions created by COVID-19. We will continue to do everything we possibly can do to ensure the safety of our students and staff. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our plan, please contact preschool through 8th grade principal Mrs. Cortney Smith at cortneysmith@portlandstpats.org or high school principal Mr. Randy Hodge at randyhodge@portlandstpats.org.

 

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Saying Goodbye to the Class of 2020

June 15, 2020

When I began my tenure as administrator of St. Patrick Catholic School, the students from the Class of 2020 were in 1st grade. After 12 years with them, we said goodbye on Sunday, June 14. On that day, they entered a new phase of their lives.   Our goal at St. Patrick is to ensure […]

When I began my tenure as administrator of St. Patrick Catholic School, the students from the Class of 2020 were in 1st grade. After 12 years with them, we said goodbye on Sunday, June 14. On that day, they entered a new phase of their lives.

 

Our goal at St. Patrick is to ensure that when our seniors receive their diplomas on graduation day, they have a rock-solid foundation for a successful life–a life that our Lord has prepared for each one of them. Our goal is that they will continue to serve as living representatives of our school mission statement: We Pray! We Learn! We Achieve!

 

While many events were similar to those of other classes that have come before them at St. Patrick High School, this class had a unique and memorable experience to say the least. The year started off like any normal school year and included our annual Spirit Week and homecoming celebrations, and our football team made it to the state finals with a trip to the Superior Dome in Marquette. Our school year continued to proceed without incident as any regular school year. The Class of 2020 had a great senior trip to Boyne Mountain Resort in February and were looking forward to winding down the school year with prom, senior banquet, graduation Mass, and commencement on the horizon.

 

Suddenly, the rug was pulled out from underneath them. School was closed for three weeks beginning on March 13 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This eventually led to the cancellation of the remainder of in-person classes and all extracurricular activities for the remainder of the school year.  The many traditions and events we take for granted were now looking like they might not happen. Instead, new events were created to give everyone an opportunity to recognize them for all they worked for and achieved.

 

We had pictures of each student posted on the window of our school, videos of and for the Class of 2020 made, and an awesome parade through our town. Finally, graduation Mass and commencement arrived, albeit with limited attendance and taking place in a tent instead of the church and school gymnasium.

 

Graduation began with Mass celebrated by our pastor, Reverend Michael Alber, who provided inspiring words during his homily. After Mass, it was time for our first outdoor and live streamed commencement in school history. I began by sharing the major achievements of the Class of 2020 which included the following:

 

  • 13 of the 26 students are members of the National Honor Society.
  • 17 were recognized as CMAC Scholar Athletes, meaning they had at least a 3.4 GPA and lettered in at least two sports, one of which was in their senior year.
  • Twenty-five out of the 26 have plans to go on to some form of higher education. One is joining the National Evangelization Team (N.E.T.) for a year or two.
  • One is discerning her vocation as a religious sister, and one is planning to attend seminary.
  • Two have signed a National Letter of Intent to participate in college volleyball.
  • Twelve are graduating with honors (3.79 GPA or higher) with six having a weighted 4.0 GPA or higher. Twenty-three have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

 

Bishop David Walkowiak opened our commencement ceremony with prayer and Fr. Mike followed with some thoughts about the Class of 2020. Salutatorian Jeffrey Davlin and valedictorians Tyler Coyne and Bret Weller addressed their classmates, talking about the family atmosphere of St. Patrick School, sharing accomplishments, memories, good times together, and all the possibilities for a great future. Following the speeches, the graduates were called forward to receive their diplomas from Bishop Walkowiak.  One by one, they turned their tassel, and the Class of 2020 joined a group of more than 2,200 living Shamrock alumni around the world.

 

Fr. Mike closed the ceremony with prayer and the Class of 2020 processed out of the tent and into the future. They followed our annual Shamrock tradition of getting a post-graduation class picture on the steps in front of the school gym, and finally, they ended their high school career with the annual tossing of mortar boards (caps). It was an official ending to a great school career by a great group of students.

 

They are leaving with a rock-solid foundation of values, knowledge, wisdom, and faith. I can say with the utmost certainty that they prayed, they learned, and yes, without a doubt, they achieved. May God bless every one of them and their future endeavors as they move to the next phase of their lives.

 

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