Our Good News

Our Students are Well-Prepared for High School

posted Mar 10, 2015, 12:52 PM by Cara Koen

Congratulations to the more than 200 8th grade students who were recently accepted into their high school of choice and will soon be completing their elementary school career at our 8 Federation schools. Students who graduate from our Federation schools are well prepared for the next step in their educational career. Here are some great examples of how our students are thriving at our local Trinity Catholic High School:

Trinity Catholic students compete in Chemistry contest


A pair of teams from Trinity Catholic High School competed in the Battle of Burets Chemistry contest February 26 at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Senior Alan Scheibel (St. Angela Merici) and junior Xavien Walker (Hazelwood West Middle) finished 10th out of 17 teams from and juniors Nicole Jedding (St. Rose Philippine Duchesne) and Yen Quach (St. Norbert) would up sixth out of 17 teams. Each team had to perform a chemistry experiment within a time limit.


Trinity Catholic duo shines in Engineering competition


Trinity Catholic seniors Chris Payeur (Sacred Heart) and Jacob Klump (Christ Light of the Nations) placed second out of 25 teams at the Truss Bridge Civil Engineering competition held February 28 at St. Louis University. The pair’s model bridge supported more weight before failure than any other team in the competition, however Payeur and Klump missed first place narrowly because of the final efficiency calculations. Also competing for Trinity Catholic were juniors Sam Araujo (St. Norbert) and Michael Schaller (Christ Light of the Nations); juniors Nick Noonan (Sacred Heart) and Ben Sanfilippo (St. Angela Merici); junior Matt Quick (Christ Light of the Nations) and senior Nick Wuelling (St. Rose Philippine Duchesne); seniors John Hilmes (St. Ferdinand) and Matt O’Donnell (St. Rose Philippine Duchesne); juniors Devin Collins (St. Norbert) andNick Wallace (St. Rose Philippine Duchesne) and juniors Jackson Compas (Christ Light of the Nations) and Grant Fisher (Christ Light of the Nations.


Trinity Catholic WYESE teams moves to state finals


In the Sectional round of the Worldwide Youth in Science & Engineering (WYSE) state tournament March 6 the Trinity Catholic team finished second in the Small School Division. The runner-up finish pushed the Titans into championship round April 15 at Missouri University of Science & Technology in Rolla. Trinity Catholic finished behind Notre Dame and in front of Linn, Mo in the team rankings. Individually standouts for the Titans were seniors John Hilmes from St. Ferdinand (third in English and second in Physics), Alan Scheibel from St. Angela Merici (first in Physics and first in Chemistry), Dan Jedding from St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (third in Chemistry) and Matt O’Donnell from St. Rose Philippine Duchesne(first in Graphics); junior Nicole Jedding from St. Rose Philippine Duchesne (second in Math) and freshmen Kyra Walsh from St. Angela Merici (second in Computer) and Greg Hilmes from St. Ferdinand (first in Computer Science).


One Body in Christ: St. Norbert Hosts Ecumenical Service Celebrating Christian Unity During CSW

posted Feb 19, 2015, 6:13 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Feb 19, 2015, 1:47 PM ]


St. Norbert Ecumenical Prayer Service

      On Wednesday of Catholic Schools Week, St. Norbert Catholic School hosted an Ecumenical Prayer Service in celebration of the parish's 50th anniversary.  Father Jim MItulski, St. Norbert's pastor, along with Deacon Bill Twellman, pastoral associate, invited neighboring pastors from the community to join them in leading the student body and many visitors in prayer with the theme: "We Are One Body in Christ."  
      Many of the pastors have church members, or even family members, who are current students at St. Norbert. Dr. Freddy Clark, Pastor of Shalom Church (City of Peace) has grandchildren who attend the school.  During his sermon, Pastor Clark joked that his grandkids had given him strict instructions not to embarrass them.  He did not disappoint.  He spoke of the parable of the Good Samaritan, and noted that our neighborly behavior should help build up our community in response to recent struggles.  "Ours is a calling to get involved," said Pastor Clark. "We are one body in Christ.  We find common ground when we understand that our diversity gives us strength." 
      The St. Norbert School children participated with several songs and prayers of intercession. Several other ministers joined the prayer service.  Pastor John Higgins of John Knox Presbyterian Church led an opening prayer of unity.  Deacon Bill Twellmann of St. Norbert, Minister David Howard of Ark of Safety Christian Church and Pastor Bob Levin of North County Community Church proclaimed scripture readings.  Dr. Rance Thomas, President of the North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice, read the gospel (John 17:20-26). Dr. Freddy Clark delivered the sermon, and Rev. Renee Fenner, Rector at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, concluded with benediction and sending forth. 
     Dr. Kurt Nelson, the new Superintendent of Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of St. Louis attended the prayer service and spoke for a few minutes about how Catholic schools cherish unity.  He noted that Catholic Schools week is always the last week in January, probably because that is when the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas falls each year.  St. Thomas Aquinas was the first to make the connection that the world around us, science and technology, can teach us about God.  Dr. Nelson noted that in Catholic Schools we have the fantastic privilege of being able to keep Jesus with us throughout our studies of all things - we can truly unify our faith and knowledge and grow in both.  He ended with a quote on unity from St. Thomas Aquinas: "How can we live in harmony? First we need to know we are all madly in love with the same God."

Families Take Roller Coaster Challenge at Christ Light of the Nations’ STEM Night

posted Feb 18, 2015, 2:45 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Feb 18, 2015, 2:45 PM ]

Students at Christ Light of the Nations School invited their families to join them for a special “night out” during Catholic Schools Week 2015 (Jan. 25-31). Parents and students gathered with teachers in the auditorium on Tuesday evening to learn more about the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs that their students have been experiencing at school.  Teachers from CLN have been participating in the unique STEM professional development program made possible by a grant from Monsanto through the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation and the Catholic Education Center.

Teachers participate in weekend workshops to gain new skills and ideas for bringing real-world connections into their classrooms.  The workshops are held throughout the school year at renowned local organizations such as the St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Science Center, Missouri Botanical Garden, the Missouri Department of Conservation and Maryville University.  The teachers come away with the tools they need to implement hands-on lessons in their classrooms that encourage students to apply science and math concepts to solve real-world problems using engineering and technology.

For example, CLN students have been learning about and building zoo habitats.  Teachers guided them through the Design Process using a variety of skills to identify the problem, design possible solutions, construct and test, and then go back and revise as needed.  “Students are gaining skills and knowledge that are essential to success in the 21st Century Workforce,” said Sue Geiseke, program director. “These STEM projects facilitate use of a variety of skills, which help with understanding and retention of the concepts.”

At the Family Fun STEM night, families were challenged to build the fastest marble roller coaster using foam tubing and masking tape.  They began by drawing designs of possible solutions, then built their models using materials provided, tested them and made revisions and adjustments to the model as needed until the marble would roll from top to bottom successfully.  Each team’s final design was timed by a teacher and the fastest marble roller coaster was recognized at the end of the event.

For more on the STEM program, read this recent article in the St. Louis Review: http://stlouisreview.com/article/2014-07-09/connecting-principles

Bishop Rice Celebrates 8th Grade Mass for Catholic Schools Week

posted Jan 26, 2015, 10:02 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Jan 26, 2015, 12:07 PM ]

On Monday, January 26th hundreds of 8th grade students from 10 Catholic schools from Region 2 gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church to celebrate Catholic Schools Week with Mass. Bishop Rice celebrated the Mass, and in his homily reflected on the theme for this week: Faith, Knowledge and Service.  He noted that what is unique about our schools is not so much that we do service, but that we serve in the name of Jesus Christ. Catholic schools help students seek knowledge not just in academics but also spiritual knowledge.  And most importantly, our Catholic Schools help students grow in Faith.  He concluded with a question: "Have you opened your heart?" asking students to reflect on how they have responded to the call of faith, knowledge and service during their time at their Catholic elementary school.

The Region 2 Schools Include:
  • Academy at St. Sabina
  • Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
  • Christ Light of the Nations
  • Holy Trinity
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Sacred Heart
  • St. Ann 
  • St. Angela Merici
  • St. Ferdinand
  • St. Norbert
  • St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
A student from each school read a brief summary and token of their school's patron at the beginning of Mass, and after Communion placed a rose near the portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe while singing "Lady of Roses."

Catholic Schools as Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service

Here are some photos from the Mass:

Catholic Schools Week in the News

posted Jan 23, 2015, 9:37 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Jan 23, 2015, 9:19 PM ]

Check out the Federation of Catholic Schools featured in our two local North County newspapers this week:

Community News - January 21, 2015
The Independent News - January 22, 2015
St. Louis Review - January 21, 2015

Christ Light of the Nations 4th Graders Share Creativity with Younger Students

posted Dec 8, 2014, 2:11 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Dec 8, 2014, 2:11 PM ]

Fourth graders at Christ Light of the Nations share their creativity with younger students.
The fourth graders at Christ Light of the Nations School spent the first quarter reading a chapter book and rewriting it into a children's book with illustrations for their first book report of the year. Students read each chapter and summarized the main ideas into a few sentences with a drawing on each page. They tried to rewrite the plot into a format that would be easy for small children to under-stand. Last Monday the fourth grade visited the first grade and shared their books with them. It was a blustery morning, perfect for cuddling up with a good story. The fourth grade was excited to share all of their hard work with others. Thanks to the first graders for being such a wonderful audience.

News from St. Angela Merici School

posted Dec 8, 2014, 2:05 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Dec 8, 2014, 2:06 PM ]

St. Angela Merici Student Council sponsored a Food Drive for T.E.A.M. and collected 55 paper boxes of cans which is over 1,600 cans of food. We had a great time collecting -- we celebrated macaroni Monday, tuna Tuesday, wacky Wednesday, anything Thursday, cereal Friday! We also prayed each day for the poor that God would continue to bless them and aid them in finding employment.

Our Advent theme this year is "Bringing Christ into our World." We take a minute each day and ask ourselves how have we been Christ in our school community?" We then take a paper copy of a Christmas light and write what we have done, we then color the light and string the light on a piece of yarn in our hallways. We pray we are brightening our school with our Christ-like actions!

On the feast of St. Nick, our pastor, Monsignor Mitas dressed up as St. Nick and talked to the primary students about St. Nick. The students really enjoyed this and can now see that St. Nick is not the same as Santa Claus.

St. Nicholas Visits St. Angela Merici Students


Students Learn How to Be Ambassadors for their Schools

posted Oct 24, 2014, 7:01 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Oct 24, 2014, 7:02 AM ]

Middle School Student Ambassador Workshop

Students from St. St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Catholic Parish & School, St. Norbert Catholic Church, and St. Ferdinand Catholic Parish and School participated in the middle school student ambassador workshop this afternoon with several other schools from the archdiocese. They learned how to best represent their schools and themselves to visitors and when they are out in the community. Thanks to Sue Brown, the Catholic Education Center's Director of Marketing and Community Relations for providing this training for us!

SSM DePaul Health Center and Federation of Catholic Schools Establish Partnership to Support Student and Family Wellness through CatholicFIT Program

posted Oct 23, 2014, 12:14 PM by Cara Koen   [ updated Nov 17, 2014, 9:08 AM ]

NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO – October 23, 2014 – The Northeast Deanery Federation of Catholic Schools and SSM De Paul Health Center are pleased to announce plans to work together to promote health and wellness within the 8 Catholic elementary schools of the Northeast Deanery.  SSM DePaul will provide financial support for implementation of the CatholicFIT program in 3rd and 6th grade classrooms, as well as resources and professional expertise for addressing childhood obesity.

“We are excited to participate in this important project,” said Sean J. Hogan, President, SSM DePaul Health Center. “Obesity is an important disease that we all need to address as a community.  Being a health care provider who is a regional leader in weight loss, this is an area that we have particular expertise.  Also being driven by our mission and values rooted in the same Catholic teaching makes this partnership a perfect match.  We look forward to the process and the results for our kids.”

Third and sixth grade students will be focusing on the 10 CatholicFIT principles during their regular physical education classes in the spring of 2015.  The CatholicFIT program, which connects Christian values and faith with healthy and fit lifestyle habits, was developed by Dave Reddy, MS, CSCS, an expert health and fitness coach and owner of Reddy Health & Performance. Reddy is also a parishioner and school parent at St. Ferdinand Parish.  Reddy will coach the PE teachers at each school as part of their participation in the Federation’s Professional Learning Teams. 

Reddy sees a strong connection between faith and fitness, between spiritual and physical health, and notes that elementary school is an ideal time for kids to start noticing and reflecting on this connection. “Being CatholicFIT is not about being super holy and super fit—it is about offering universal, values-based programs for our children so when they struggle in either area throughout life, they look back upon this experience for guidance and support,” says Reddy. 

In addition to time spent in the PE classroom, students and their families will have the opportunity to access this health and fitness expertise through weekly e-mail messages from Reddy.  They will also be invited to attend CatholicFIT workshops at various times and locations, where they can further learn from the experts how to put the principles to work in their daily life as a family.

“By working together as a Federation to support innovative ideas like CatholicFIT, our parishes and schools can engage experts from within our communities to enhance the education we provide students,” said Father Mike Henning, pastor at Holy Name of Jesus Parish and pastor representative for the Northeast Deanery Federation of Catholic Schools.  “We are grateful for this new partnership with SSM DePaul Health Center. Together we are going to serve the needs in our community much more effectively.”

# # #

About SSM DePaul Health Center

SSM DePaul Health Center is a 478-bed, full-service hospital and a member of SSM Health Care-St. Louis located near the intersection of Interstates 70 and 270 in north St. Louis County. Founded in 1828, DePaul was the first hospital west of the Mississippi River and remains the oldest continuously existing business in St. Louis. Today DePaul is a Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, operates the only Level II Trauma Center in its service region and offers the most advanced technology and procedures available including minimally invasive heart, spine, knee, hip and weight loss surgery.. To learn more, visit www.ssmdepaul.com.

About the Northeast Deanery Federation of Catholic Schools

The Federation of Catholic Schools is a formal agreement between the pastors of the eleven parishes in the Northeast Deanery of the Archdiocese of St. Louis to work more closely together in support of the mission of Catholic education in the North County community.  To learn more about the programs and goals of the Federation, please visit www.FederationofCatholicSchools.org.

Trinity Football Coach Leon Hite Brings Message of Opportunity to Parents and Teachers

posted Oct 14, 2014, 6:54 AM by Cara Koen   [ updated Oct 14, 2014, 6:55 AM ]

Coach Leon Hite, head football coach at Trinity Catholic High School and Director of Security for Jennings School District spoke to a group of parents, teachers, principals and pastors from the schools and parishes of the Northeast Deanery Federation on Tuesday, October 7th at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Catholic Church.   The purpose of the meeting was to provide a new perspective on the events and issues that have emerged over the past two months in Ferguson.

Coach Hite encouraged attendees to not let FEAR (“False Evidence Appearing Real”) take over their thoughts and actions, but instead to focus on “WWW” –

  • “Who” are we concerned about as teachers and parents? Our student and children 
  • “When” – right now in the midst of stress and unrest in our community 
  • “Why” – because we love our kids and they are our future leaders

Hite explained that the current events and their portrayal in the media can cause fear, but by focusing on the who, when and why we have the opportunity to affirm the valuable strengths of our schools and communities and build relationships to address areas where improvement is needed.

Attendees broke into small groups for discussion and sharing about the main strengths they see in the Catholic schools and parishes of North County, along with identifying some areas where they see improvement is needed.  The groups shared their thoughts, which included strengths such as the safe and welcoming environments at each school and education rooted in Christian values, along with areas for improvement including more training for parents and teachers, continuing to share the good news about Catholic schools, and working on building relationships in the neighborhoods and communities that the schools serve.  The full list of strengths and opportunities to improve will be shared and discussed by the pastors and principals at their November meeting.

Father Tom Wyrsch, pastor at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, summarized Coach Hite’s presentation by saying, “We have to connect with the ‘why’ that we are here – in our parishes and in particular our schools and not let fear drive us off from what we believe and why we are here.  Our Catholic schools are a real prize, and we have to stay committed to that.”

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