August 8th began the 2016-2017 school year. Many schools in the Midwest and East Coast are still enjoying summer vacation while most of us in Arizona are back in school. Thank goodness for air conditioning. Here is the temperature in the shade on our first day back.
We begin every morning at 7:55am with prayer, announcements, birthdays of the day and Pledge of Allegiance.
As we began the new school year, I hear comments like this from the students : “Sister, did you call us 3rd Graders? We are in 4th grade now.” And I also heard – ” Sister, we are in First Grade now-not Kindergarten. ” They are all so proud that they have moved up a grade.
We are blessed to have two active priests at our parish who are involved in our school. Fr. Alan came the first day to bless all of the classrooms. For some of our new students we had to explain what it means to have holy water sprinkled on them.
Classrooms were blessed on the first day and on the 2nd day at about 8:30am as I was in the 5th grade room teaching Religion, I get a call from my secretary – ” The police just called and told us to be on lock-down. A prisoner from the work crew cleaning the park by school escaped and ran right towards our school!” We hadn’t even practiced this yet but everyone from last year knew what to do once I went on our new P.A. to announce it. Impressive!
Fr. Ariel, our pastor, came to visit before morning prayer when students were playing in the courtyard waiting for the 7:55am whistle. Whenever he enters the grounds, a crowd gathers around him.
Hopscotch is still in style! Great way to stay agile!
The new game – Pokemon is popular here. In the evenings, when I am walking in our neighborhood at the convent, I see a mom and her son spending “quality family time” as they tell me, searching for Pokemon. One night, they were with their phone behind all the mailboxes-but Pokemon was not there.
In the courtyard, before school began, a 3rd grader came up to me and said, “Sister, they aren’t following the rules!” “What are you playing? ” I asked. “Pokemon in Real Life!” (this is without a phone) How creative students are on their own.
As we begin our 3rd week of school, I stopped off at school on Sunday morning to prepare for two subs already. A street lady that I often meet in the alley by St. Vincent de Paul or she is sometimes going through our dumpster looking for items for the children who live in the trailer court, was sitting on the step outside our cafeteria smoking a very long cigarette. She said, ” Hi Sister! ” I replied, ” Hi, how are you today. ” ” I am good. I sure love seeing you in your um, um -” I finished her sentence, “Habit.” “Yes, that’s it. ” Then she told me, ” You won’t be seeing me for awhile. ” “Why is that?” I asked. ” I am going to jail for awhile. ” she told me. ” I replied, “Why?” She told me, ” To get rid of some of my bad habits. ” I told her, ” I will pray for you. ” “Thank you, Sister. I really appreciate that. I will come back and see you when I get out. ”
The conversation was a quick reminder to me that we never know how we impress people, affect them in the short conversations we have with them as we pass them in an alley, in front of church etc. We are messengers of God -and at times without us knowing it.