Your weekly guide to school news, information, and events.
A Message from the Principal
As we approach Catholic Schools Week, I find myself contemplating my own journey through Catholic education. Someone once shared with me that to be an educator in Catholic schools is not just a career, it is a vocation. I can personally attest that it is indeed that!
Back in 2004, a good friend of mine approached me asking what I thought about trying to open a Catholic school in Gillette, where I lived at the time. I was thrilled at the idea! I didn't have the privilege of a Catholic education. I was born and raised in Gillette, so I had never even been exposed to Catholic education. I could only imagine what it would be like to offer a faith-based education to the kids of our community. We managed to wrangle together a group of like minded folks to approach our pastor about it. He in turn reached out to the Bishop, who recommended conducting a feasibility study. That was where it all began. Three years later, we opened the doors of the newest school in town...John Paull II Catholic School.
I have been an educator for many years, starting my career in 1993. However, at the time we undertook this endeavor, I had been out of the classroom for over 10 years, choosing to stay home and raise my children. My license had expired, and I didn't really have plans to return to education. I was out of practice and had settled comfortably into the world of accounting. That was about to change though! They say that sometimes a vocation comes as a whisper in the back of your mind from the Holy Spirit. Not for me....God sent it through a priest....Fr. Cliff Jacobsen, who persistently nagged me to renew my license...I was just the person they needed at the new school he said. He even went so far as to literally get down on his knees and beg! Who can say no to a priest on his knees begging?
After teaching at JPII for 12 years, my husband came home one day and handed my a piece of paper that showed a job posting for his "dream" position here in Cheyenne. He had stumbled upon it by chance while researching wage rates to present to the City Council in hopes of securing raises for the linemen who worked under him in the Electrical division. Moving from my hometown had never really crossed my mind...other than the dreaming we did together of our retirement. However, without thinking, I simply said, "Can't hurt to apply!" So he did, and was offered the position. Now it was a reality...at the age of 49, I was moving away from my hometown, my family and friends...in a way, starting over! I was terrified!
But God sent whispers again...an old high school friend lived in Cheyenne and had just gotten his real estate license. He would help us find a home. I put in an application at St. Mary's, having a love for Catholic education kindled at JPII. I had started my graduate degree in administration at Creighton a year earlier, something a previous principal had been encouraging me to do for almost 10 years. Over and over again, things just fell into place. I was supposed to be here.
When Fr. August asked if I could step in as interim principal just a few short months later, I was completely caught off guard! I wasn't even finished with my graduate degree yet! Granted, I was only a few months shy of completing my master's in Catholic School Leadership, but I never anticipated beginning my time as an administrator before I had even finished my coursework! By God's design, I'm sure, I happened to be taking a class on strategic leadership when I accepted the interim position. My professor was over the moon for me and the coursework I was taking integrated perfectly with what needed to be done...especially when Covid hit and we were forced to close the school for the remainder of the year.
Over and over again, my last few classes at Creighton matched up perfectly with the work that needed to be done...solidifying in my mind that God was calling me to this position. My husband teased me saying that we thought we were moving to Cheyenne for his job, but really, God just called me here through my husband's circumstances!
Catholic schools did not form me as a child, but they have certainly formed me as an adult. My faith has grown exponentially since I began this journey. I can only imagine what it will do for the children we work with every day! I pray that your journey in Catholic education, whether it be from your own childhood, or through your children's experience here at St. Mary's, brings you as much joy, faith, and peace as it has for me! I celebrate our school next week for the special family it has created for me here in Cheyenne. Each and every one of you make St. Mary's a special place to be. Thank you!
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK
During our weeklong celebration, we have many events planned around the theme : Catholic Schools: Faith, Excellence, Service. Each day during the week, we celebrate a different aspect. The daily themes are:
Sunday - Celebrating our Parish
- School families will speak at masses in all 4 churches, giving their testimony about St. Mary's
- School families will host fellowship at all parishes and visit with parish families about our school
- Students are being asked to wear their uniforms to mass this weekend
Monday - Celebrating our Faculty, Staff, and Volunteers
- Eucharistic adoration will take place all day in the school chapel to pray for our school, and the faculty, staff, and volunteers who make is special. You can sign up for an adoration time slot at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0F49A5AC2FAAFDCF8-eucharistic
- Teachers will receive a special blessing during our morning prayer service.
- The PTO will provide goodies for the teachers and decorate the windows of their CLS rooms.
Tuesday - Celebrating our Country
- There will be a flag ceremony at 8:10 a.m. performed by the East High School Jr. ROTC color guard to honor members of the military and veterans.
- Following the ceremony we will have muffins and coffee available to all service members and veterans who attend the ceremony.
Wednesday - Celebrating Vocations
- Students will hear the vocation story of one of our local priests during prayer service
- Classes will write letters of appreciation to all of the priests, deacons, and religious brothers and sisters in the Diocese of Cheyenne.
Thursday - Celebrating our Community
- Students will make and sign "Thank You" posters for various community agencies such as the Police department, Fire departments, our public library, the Chancery staff and many others.
- We will host an Open House at the school from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. showcasing the work of our students to our community. Parents are encouraged to invite friends and family to come and see the amazing things that happen in St. Mary's School!
Please note: Aftercare will close at 4:30 p.m.. for the Open House!
Friday - Celebrating our Students
- Students will be served the lunch that was voted their favorite, French toast sticks
- Students will attend and perform in our annual student Talent Show in the gym at 1:00 p.m.
- We will have cake for the students 2:30.
Saturday - Celebrating our Families
- Priority registration for our current families begins for the 2023-2024 school year. They will have 2 weeks of priority registration before it opens to the public.
We hope that you will join us in celebrating St. Mary's School!
Volunteer Opportunities During Catholic Schools Week
PTO is organizing volunteers for the following
We still need some help with volunteering for next week's activities! Please check out the PTO's sign up genius linked below to see where you can help! Thank you so much!
On Sunday, January 29, as we “Celebrate Our Parishes," we need the following:
- We are asking all students to wear their school uniforms when they attend Mass the first weekend of Catholic Schools Week (January 28 and 29).
- Families to volunteer to speak at the masses listed below. We have a script prepared for families who are willing to speak at a Mass to make it less stressful!
- Volunteers on January 29 to help host Fellowship after all Sunday morning Masses at all four Cheyenne parishes.
- Families who will not only be willing to help serve donuts but, more importantly, be there to represent the school and answer any questions about the school. The times and locations of the Masses are as follows:
Cathedral of St. Mary: 8 AM, 10 AM, and noon
Holy Trinity: 9 AM and 11 AM
St. Joseph’s: 8 AM and 11 AM
Holy Family (on base): 9:15 AM
On Monday, January 30, as we “Celebrate Our Faculty, Staff, and Volunteers.” we need volunteers for:
- decorating classroom/CLS doors and/or create signs/posters/banners in honor of our teachers, staff, and volunteers on Sunday, January 29 from 1-4 PM at the school.
On Thursday, February 2, the Third and Fourth Grade Classes will be sponsoring the Bake Sale. Needed:
- Volunteers to work the Bake Sale in the morning from 7:30 AM to approximately 11 AM
- Volunteers to run the bakes sale in the afternoon from 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM.
If you can help with any or all of these events, please sign up on the PTO’s Sign-Up Genius via the following link:
The PTO thanks you in advance for all your help! God bless!!
Father - Daughter Dance
Next Week at St. Mary's
Monday, Jan 30
- CSW celebrates faculty & staff! Join us for adoration!
- 7:10 a.m. Morning Songbirds rehearsal
Tuesday, Jan 31
- CSW celebrates our Nation...come for our flag ceremony at 8:10 in the gym!
- 7:10 a.m. Fellowship of the Ringers (Handbell choir) practice
- 3:15 p.m. Guitar Society
Wednesday, Jan 25
- CSW ... we celebrate Vocations...Fr. Linh will share his vocation story at Prayer Service
- 7:10 a.m. Morning Songbirds
- 3:15 p.m. Cigar-Box Guitar Studio - grades 5 thru 6
Thursday, Jan 26
- CSW...we celebrate our community...invite a friend to Open House!
- 7:10 a.m. Fellowship of the Ringers
- 7:45 a.m. Mini Bank in the atrium
- 3:15 p.m. Ukulele club
- 4:30 p.m. Aftercare closes for the day
- 5:00 p.m. Open House!!!
Friday, Jan 27
- CSW...we celebrate our students!
- 7:10 a.m. Theatre club
- 9:00 a.m. School Mass
- 1:00 p.m. Talent Show followed by cake!
- 3:15 p.m. French Watercolor Club