139th EDITION: December 20, 2019

From the Desk of Rev. Jared Twenty

My family has always enjoyed short, to-the-point homilies. One time we heard what my dad refers to as “The Best Homily Ever.”

We were at Mass on Christmas Eve. When it came time for the homily the priest simply said, Merry Christmas! After all, what more is there to say?”

I’m not always good at it, but I often like to try and preach short, to-the-point homilies. A priest buddy of mine once told me, “Only say what you’re dying to say.” I try to follow his advice, because in my opinion he’s the best homilist ever.

So here’s what I’m dying to say… Merry Christmas! After all, what more is there to say?

God bless,

Fr. 20

Choose Kindness

Rachel’s Challenge All School Assembly:
Growing a Culture of Kindness and Compassion at Marian Central

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Rachel’s Challenge is a non-profit organization that exists to equip and inspire individuals to replace acts of violence, bullying, and negativity with acts of respect, kindness, and compassion. Rachel’s Challenge is based on the life and writings of Rachel Joy Scott, a high school Junior, who was the first victim of the Columbine school shootings in 1999. Educators throughout the country bring Rachel’s Challenge into their schools to help support a culture of kindness and compassion and to combat damaging behaviors that adolescents experience all too often in schools such as: bullying, student isolation, teen suicide, discrimination, school violence, and increased disciplinary actions. Through powerful presentations of Rachel’s inspiring story, students are provided simple, yet powerful examples of how small acts of kindness and acceptance provide motivation to consider relationships with others, especially peers. Rachel’s Challenge renews hope that life has meaning and purpose. Rachel’s story gives permission to start chain reactions of kindness and compassion, which positively affects the climate in schools.

Shortly after the Columbine school shooting tragedy, Darrell Scott, Rachel’s father, founded “Rachel’s Challenge”. More than two million students annually experience Rachel’s Challenge and have the opportunity to accept the challenges, modeled after Rachel’s life and writings. Since inception, over 23 million people have heard Rachel’s story in live settings around the world, at least 8 school shootings have been prevented, and over 500 suicides have been averted.

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to bring Rachel’s Challenge to our school on Wednesday, January 15 both during the school day for our students and during the evening for our parents and community members. There will be two student assemblies in the auditorium before the lunch periods– one for 9th and 10th graders, and one for 11th and 12th graders. In addition, all students will be given the opportunity to voluntarily sign-up for a Friends of Rachel Club training that will be held that same afternoon in the auditorium. Students involved in the Friends of Rachel Club will work within our school throughout the year to grow and nurture a culture of kindness and compassion. That evening we will be offering a parent/community event at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium which will provide a snapshot of the message that was presented to the students.

It is important for parents to be aware that Rachel’s Challenge presentations are both thought-provoking and potentially emotional for many students. Prior to the assemblies, we will be equipping all of the school’s faculty and staff to anticipate and support students following the presentations. In addition, we recommend that parents have a discussion about the upcoming presentations with students at home and encourage them to seek support as needed. Rachel’s Challenge provides the following discussion questions that might be helpful to utilize during these discussions:

1. What would you consider to be bullying and why?

2. Do you think those that “bully” always realize when they are “bullying”?

3. Why do you think people bully others?

4. What are some of the cliques on your campus? How do those cliques affect the school culture? Is it in a positive or negative way?

5. What are one or two activities you or your school could do that would make the biggest impact on improving the culture on campus?

Please have a conversation about this upcoming event with your students at home and plan on joining us for the evening Rachel’s Challenge presentation on Wednesday, January 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium, so that together as a Marian Central Catholic High School community we can all work to nurture a healthy culture within our school.

CollegeStock is Coming

50 years ago, a four-day music festival that took place in Bethel, New York etched its place in history as a pivotal moment in popular music history and a defining event for the counterculture generation.

In February 2020, a small, Catholic high school located in a town that shares a name with that iconic festival will hold its own four-day celebration. But instead of bringing in musicians like Joan Baez, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, and James Marshall Hendrix that school will bring in representatives from nearly 60 colleges and universities to promote their schools to Marian Central Catholic’s entire student body.

Marian Central Catholic High School celebrates our first annual COLLEGESTOCK from Monday, February 10 through Thursday, February 13th! 14 college admission counselors will visit Marian each day that week and be in the Cafeteria during the lunch periods to meet Marian students and answer questions about their respective colleges.

A full listing of colleges visiting each day will be posted in the Friday Focus and on the Guidance Department’s website soon, so stand by for more information!

A special “Thank You” goes out to Marian Central Catholic’s own Aila Reuter (Class of 2022) and Isabel Odahowski (Class of 2022) for designing the official CollegeStock logo!


Reminder: All families who pay tuition on a monthly or quarter plan, your next payment is due January 1st. Payments can be made by clicking here. Thank you!

Empower Illinois 2020-2021

Reservations for the 2020-2021 Empower Illinois tax credit scholarship will open on Wednesday January 15, 2020. This year, the reservation form will be available at 6:30 pm to give families time to enter their information before submission at 7:00 pm. Additional information about preparing for reservation night can be found by clicking this link, "How Do I Apply."

Helpline Holiday Hours - Please be aware that the donor, school, and family helplines will be closed on December 24, 25, 31, and January 1.

Parents Hotline: (309) 416-0741
Donor Helpline (309) 644-4524

College Corner

This week’s College Corner looks at hunting for scholarship money, and what to know about it:

Guidance Office Updates


PSAT scores are now viewable for juniors on the College Board website at: To view their PSAT/NMSQT results online, juniors should either log-in with their username/password if they've ever created a College Board account for any reason in the past, OR first-time users should create an account by clicking "Sign Up" on the login page.

Here's an informative, short video that helps with viewing scores:

Mrs. Hilton will be visiting junior classrooms in early January 2020 to share and explain paper PSAT score reports and to talk to the students about registration for the ACT that will be held at Marian Central in April 2020.

PreACT, PreACT 8/9

Guidance Counselors, Mr. Kruse and Mrs. Hilton, met with all freshmen and sophomores on Wednesday, December 11 to share and explain PreACT & PreACT8/9 score reports. Students were given their paper score reports, their original test booklets, and helpful guides to understand scores that can be found by clicking the following links:

PreACT (sophs):

PreACT 8/9 (freshmen):

Parents are encouraged to review the results with their students. The results are useful in identifying academic strengths and weaknesses and should be used to improve skills for the future.


In addition, Mr. Stamatakos was on hand during the freshmen/sophomore meetings to introduce all students to a new system available free of charge to all Marian students to help navigate the career/major search, college selection and college application process. All freshmen and sophomores now have access to SCOIR and have been encouraged to utilize it to explore potential careers and college majors.


Finally, Mr. Kruse presented an opportunity for sophomores to apply to attend a weekend-long leadership seminar in the summer of 2020 through Hugh O'Brien Youth (HOBY) Seminars or Illinois Leadership Seminars (ILS). Three sophomores will be chosen from the pool of applicants to attend the seminars free-of-charge. Both offer a great opportunity for students to gain leadership skills and to grow in self-confidence. The application is simple, brief and is due to Guidance no later than Friday, December 20. Applications are available in Guidance or can be printed by clicking this link:

St. Nicholas Essay Contest

The winners of the Parents Association 2nd Annual St. Nick's essay contest are Jaime Atadero, Gretchen Gilmore and Alexander Eschenbacher. The students were awarded for their "Be Like Nick" essays. Congratulations!

Coming up...

Monday, December 23 through Friday, January 3rd - Christmas break; no classes

Monday, December 23rd through Wednesday, January 1st - office closed

Thursday, January 2nd and Friday, January 3rd - office open 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Monday, January 6th - Classes Resume

Wednesday, January 8th - Late Start; 9:40 am Warning Bell; 9:45 am Classes Begin

Monday, January 20th - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; No classes, office closed

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