St. Mary's Newsletter

St. Mary's Preschool and Elementary School

It's Been Another Great Week!

We have had another busy week at St. Mary's! Thank you to all the families who attended Monday's Blessing of the Animals celebrating the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. This is a fun and meaningful tradition at St. Mary's, and it is always wonderful to see our students with their furry family members during the blessing. Special thanks to Father Joe for not only offering a blessing to our families and animals, but also for visiting with us about the life of St. Francis and his devotion to love and protect God's handiwork.
In addition, 3rd - 5th grade students stayed busy this week taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, or ITBS. I know that a week of standardized testing is a full week and our students did a great job staying focused and doing their best. Special thanks to MaryAnn Atkinson and all of the Home and School parents who brought yummy and nutritious snacks for students to enjoy during the week during test breaks. Having a special snack each day and some physical exercise is always a great break!
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Box of Joy Giving Project

St. Mary's School and Parish are working together to bring the love and joy of Christmas to children in Latin America this year. The Box of Joy ministry is an annual Christmas gift ministry organized by local Catholic schools, parishes, and groups across the United States. I have spent time in impoverished villages in El Salvador and Guatemala assisting with medical and housing relief, and I can tell you from personal experience how special receiving a gift will be for these children. The level of poverty in these areas is something that is hard to imagine with our abundant lives.


We are collecting items for the project until Friday, October 22. A list of suggested items was sent home two weeks ago, additional lists are available in the office. Simple toys (no batteries), small stuffed animals, art materials, and other small items that can be collected and packed with care into a Box of Joy box. Students may bring items to their classroom teacher and we will count and tally the gifts as they come in. We will have a large box in the Commons for classrooms to bring their gifts once they are counted each day.


We will gather as a school and church community on Saturday, October 23 to assemble the gifts into boxes and get them ready to ship to Latin America. You and your family are invited to help pack (and receive Care and Share hours) the Box of Joy boxes up and get them ready for their journey.


Thank you in advance for your thoughtfulness and generosity in bringing the joy and happiness of Christmas to a child. What a meaningful project for your family to work on together and what a beautiful way to help teach our children the importance of thinking and helping others.

Paid Dress Down Day

To help with Boxes of Joy shipping costs, we will be having a $1.00 Paid Dress Down Day on Friday, October 15 for students and teachers. If your child does not want to participate in the paid dress down day, he or she needs to wear uniform clothing to school. This is not a Friday Mass day, so we will be able to dress comfy and cozy and help those in need.

Halloween Costumes and Parties

The highlight of many Octobers for our students is always our fun Halloween activities and events during the school day. This year will be no exception. Before too many Halloween costumes are purchased or made, Bishop Rice has requested that Halloween costumes worn to school refrain from any demonic, evil, or scary images and that they are wholesome and fun in nature. We do not traditionally have any problems with scary or inappropriate costumes in our school, but please follow Bishop Rice's wishes.


We will start our Halloween festivities on Thursday, October 28 with an outdoor Halloween Parade starting at 8:30 a.m. Students will wear their costumes to school and classroom parties will begin after the parade ends, probably around 9:00 a.m. Parent involvement during the classroom parties this year will be limited to the designated room parent and two other classroom parents, there will be no exceptions. Even if you are not your child's classroom room parent or one of the additional helpers, there are many ways to help with this fun day. Food items, treat bags, games, and/or supplies for a party craft are always needed and appreciated.


Halloween fun will begin with a costume parade starting at 8:30 a.m. with Mrs. Lone’s 5th grade class leading the way. The classes will parade within the school and then proceed outside so parents can join in the fun. The northern section of the school parking lot will be closed off after morning drop-off so parents can bring lawn chairs or stand where cars usually park. Students will exit from the Preschool entrance, walking in the middle of the closed-off parking lot until reaching the main entrance of the school. At this point students will walk onto the sidewalk and go around the side of the school and parish building, entering back into the school through the south parish doors. Parents are also welcome to line up along the outside of the sidewalks or in the church courtyard to watch the parade. Students will return to their classrooms following the parade and class Halloween parties will begin then, ending around 10:00 a.m.


Don't forget that Thursday, October 28 is a Noon Dismissal Day. After School Care will be available until 5:30 p.m.

Parent - Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conferences are being held on Thursday, October 28 from 12:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Many parents signed up for conferences during our Open House in August and your child’s teacher will be reaching out to you to confirm your conference time. If you did not schedule a conference time at Open House, please reach out to your child’s teacher to find a convenient time to meet.

Trunk or Treat

One of our favorite St. Mary's traditions is right around the corner, Trunk or Treat! Please join us for a spooktacular evening of fun on Thursday, October 28 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the St. Mary's parking lot. Trunk or Treat is hosted by our 5th grade students and parents as a fundraiser for their spring trip. The event is open to the public so you may invite family and friends to attend as well. In addition to trunk or treating, there will be lots of games and activities for everyone, you don't even have to worry about dinner! Chili, hot dogs, walking tacos, chips, drinks, and Mrs. Lown's ghost cookies will be for sale in the courtyard area in front of the school and there will be tables set up outside for dining.


You are invited to decorate your car, truck, boat, motorcycle, or any other mode of transportation you would like to bring. Set up for the event starts at 6:00 p.m. in the north end of the school parking lot. This is a great family event and there are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes for the entries. If you have any questions about the event, please call the school office, 623-1465. If you would like to register your trunk for the event or make a monetary donation, please use the form found below. Mother Nature is going to cooperate so we can enjoy a beautiful evening outside, but if we have to reschedule due to the weather, the make-up date will be Friday, November 5. Please make plans now to attend this festive and fun evening!

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Veterans Day Mass

Please make plans to join us for a special Veterans Day Mass on Friday, November 12. We are inviting all St. Mary's family members and/or friends who are veterans to Mass, with a reception being held in their honor afterwards. More details about the day will be included in the upcoming newsletters, but I wanted to inform you of the special day now.


I would like to update and add to our St. Mary's Wall of Honor in our school's main hallway. This is an area in our school that displays photographs (or paper copies of them) to keep our past and present service men and women close in our thoughts and prayers. If you have a family member or friend you would like to include in our Wall of Honor, please bring a photograph or paper copy to school or scan and email it to me (jlown@jacss.org). Having a Wall of Honor in our school is a meaningful way to keep those who so courageously and honorably serve or served our country close in prayer.

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Care and Share Hours

Please remember to keep track of your volunteer hours during the school year in your family's Care and Share Packet that you received before school began. A full page of volunteer ideas and suggestions is listed in the packet, and you can also ask me about a specific project to see if it would count for hours.


Throughout the school year I will include volunteer opportunities in the Communicator Newsletter when a special project or event is coming up. Two such projects will be taking place in November and we could really use some volunteers to help.


  • New benches and picnic tables have been ordered for the elementary playground. Although the items were ordered months ago, shipping delays have delayed their arrival. When the items are delivered to school in early November they will need to be assembled and installed. If you have tools and would like to help with this project, please let me know.
  • St. Mary's Parish annual Turkey Dinner is being held on Sunday, November 14. If you would like to help with the event, please let me or Stephanie Elbert in the Parish Office know (623-3333). Volunteers are needed to help several days before the event to prep food and set up, and also on the actual day of the Turkey Dinner to help cook and serve. If you are handy in the kitchen and would like to help, please let us know.
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Derby 2022

Planning is underway for the next JACS Auction, Derby 2022! Please make plans to join us on Saturday, April 30 for a fun and meaningful event that benefits Catholic education in Joplin. If you would like to be involved in the planning and prepping for the event, or if you have a service or item you would like to donate to the auction, email auctionadmin@jacss.org or call 624-5003, ext. 207. Follow the fun on Facebook at Joplin Area Catholic School Auction and jacss.org for upcoming details.

Important Dates to Remember

Thursday, October 14: Preschool Classes Visit the Pumpkin Patch, leave school at 8:15 a.m.

Friday, October 15: $1.00 Paid Dress Down Day benefitting Boxes of Joy project

Friday, October 15: No School Mass, Rosary in Church at 8:15 a.m.

Friday, October 15: End of First Quarter

Monday, October 18: No School--Diocesan PD Day

Wednesday, October 20: Joplin Fire Dept. Visits Preschool and Kindergarten, 9-10:30 a.m.

Thursday, October 21: Free Dress Day

Saturday, October 23: Fill and Pack Boxes of Joy Boxes, 1-4:00 p.m. in Parish Hall

Tuesday, October 26: Pink Out Day for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Wednesday, October 27: Halloween-themed Free Dress Day

Thursday, October 28: Halloween Parade and Parties starting at 8:30 a.m.

Thursday, October 28: Noon Dismissal

Thursday, October 28: Parent-Teacher Conferences, 12:30-6:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 28: Trunk or Treat, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Friday, October 29: No School, Fall Break