January News

St. Mary's Catholic School - Inspiring Young Minds

Happy New Year - 2021

We look to this new year with great anticipation! A new year holds great promise and most importantly hope. We all know that it is as easy as turning on the TV or checking our social media platforms at any time of the day to begin chipping away at this sense of hope but as true disciples of Christ we do not gather our hope from this medium but from our daily engagement in prayer.

We may drive around town and be reminded by signs outside businesses and homes to pray. Prayer remains essential in life but is so needed in this time to connect to the source and power that provides all. As Christians, we hold tight to the fact that Christ is all and in all- He remains the truth, the way and life. May we all continue to inspire within our faith community to be examples of this and bring others to Christ in our daily lives.

We continue to work through a global pandemic, we welcome new leadership in our country, and we continue to deal with the reestablishing life post COVID to name a few. The experiences we have had in days past have taught us so much and we can only take forward what strengthens us and pray that through the sufferings, trials and challenges we walk to the other side better people and ready to impact life around us in a positive way for the good of all!

We bring to the table our Christian ideals and though the world around us is changing we must remember that God remains ever present. We are reminded just today (1/7) in the daily readings from the first Letter of Saint John, " For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith."

Let us be bold in our faith - sharing kind deeds, words and present for one another at all times as we heal, grow and nurture our world.

May this New Year continue to inspire us to be the good, inspire us to truly be the face of Christ.


Mrs. Ana E. Gomez, M.Ed.


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Proclamation of the Year of St. Joseph

Pope Francis in response to the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph, patron of the universal Church, has declared beginning December 8, 2020 - December 8, 2021 the Year of St. Joseph.

The decree directly states, " All the faithful will thus have the opportunity to commit themselves with prayers and good works to obtain with the help of Saint Joseph, head of the heavenly Family of Nazareth, comfort and relief from the serious human and social tribulations that today afflict the contemporary world."

The apostolic letter uses the following words to describe St. Joseph : lowly, just, courageous, beloved, tender, loving, obedient and accepting. May we imitate the protector of the Holy Family and reach out to him for prayer.

“Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man. Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage, and defend us from every evil." Amen.

Closing of Quarter Two - Parent Conference Dates Set

As we continue through the academic year, progress and growth is being monitored and challenges addressed when there is communication and team effort between home and school. We know that this is always of great importance. In these challenging times of balancing virtual and in person instruction along with engagement, connection and the social emotional self of each person.

St. Mary's has dedicated itself to educating the whole child. With limitations set upon us with the pandemic, we continue to make strides and look forward to slowly incorporating back all the other features such as extracurricular activities in the areas of fine arts, athletics, academic competitions, cultural events and field trips to name a few. The faculty continues to use creative ways to fill in gaps and provide meaningful, quality experiences. We have plans to bring all of these wonderful opportunities back as soon as we safely can and are allowed.

Equity in education is a challenge during normal times and much more so now with so much not within our direct reach. In order to service the varying personalities, needs and levels of achievement constant transparent, communication is necessary.

Though teachers are available to parents we would like to provide as is tradition two conference dates. Teachers will be available on January 29th and on April 1st for virtual meetings. These are both scheduled noon dismissals and the afternoons will facilitate time. More information on scheduling appointments is forthcoming.

As per our Academic Calendar, our the quarter comes to a close on Friday, January 15th. Report Cards will be available online via FACTS SIS ( Renweb) there after. A virtual Honor Roll Ceremony will be held on Thursday, January 21st at 6 p.m. for students in 2nd- 6th grade. Ribbons sent home or mailed to our students. Details will be sent via each classroom teacher.

We congratulate all of our students and their teachers!

(Picture below from January 2019)

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ST Math Access Extended Through the State

We are very proud to have introduced our students to ST Math last school year. The program has become a great addition to our math curriculum truly challenging students to reason, think critically and problem solve. It comes from the recommendation of our Math specialist, Mr.

Avalos in partnership with Region One Service Center (TEA).

This tool continues to provide students and teachers with great support and resources we were given the time to unfold during our time in shelter in place in spring of 2020. We were able to receive a grant and use funds in our relationship with the school district to continue implementation ad acquire a subscription for 20-21.

We have grown a great relationship with MIND Research group in California who support us in implementation. We were thrilled when Governor Abbott announced along with the commissioner of education that this would be available to all children in Texas for three years. We have now been able to extend our subscription till 2024!

We look forward to reviewing the impact of the program as it continues to assist in strengthening the skills of our students. Our students and teachers are ahead of the game and we are confident in the strides and leaps they will take!

Below is the official announcement from the state providing parents with great information. ST Math and Fiji have become a student, teacher and parent favorite over the last 9 months. Go St. Mary's!

Catholic Schools Week

The National Catholic Education Association has announced the Catholic Schools 2021- 2024 theme - “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” Catholic schools have a specific purpose to form students to be good citizens of the world, love God and neighbor and enrich society with the leaven of the gospel and by example of faith.

As communities of faith, Catholic schools instill in students their destiny to become saints. Academic excellence is the hallmark of Catholic education intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person – mind, body and spirit. Finally, service is fundamental to Catholic education and the core of Catholic discipleship. Service is intended to help form people who are not only witnesses to Catholic social teaching, but also active participants through social learning.

The CSW logo emphasizes that the Catholic school, like the Catholic Church, is not a building or an institution, but it is the people. As the people of God, we work together to bring the Kingdom of God to Earth and raise up the next generation to do the same. The image of teachers and students forming the foundation of the school shows that they are active people of faith who serve others and God. May we all strive to live in active service of Jesus and his mission as we nationally join together during Catholic Schools Week and always. (taken from the NCEA website- www.ncea.org )

On Sunday, January 31st, we will officially open our week observance which will close on February 5th. We will unite and celebrate the treasure of our school and all those around the nation. Our plans will be shared by each classroom teacher prior to and allow for our in person and virtual students to engage!

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Spirit Award Recipient - Antoinette Connaughton

Her eight-day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland to the United States over sixty years ago, as an enthusiastic missionary, has opened many doors in her wonderful career.

Antoinette completed all her studies at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. With a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, a Master’s Degree in Administration, and Special Education Certification, she taught in Catholic schools for about 25 years. In that time period her last ten-year assignment was principal of St Mary’s wonderful school in Brownsville.

She along with the Holy Ghost Sisters took on the monumental task of moving Sacred Heart School to the newly dedicated St. Mary’s Catholic School in the fall of 1970. This was in response to Bishop Medeiros redefining parish boundaries opening a new parish in the northern part of the city, Mary, Mother of the Church where plans for a new school building were in motion.

Faith, service, love of neighbor, excellence and leadership are pillars Antoinette and all those in the beginning days, months and years developed thru action and solidified a strong foundation for St. Mary’s Catholic School that continues to flourish in the community today. Through this work and ministry, the fruits are clear in the work of the many who walked the hallways of St. Mary’s answering the call to service in the Church, government, education, medicine, business and the list continues.

After serving in Catholic Schools, she sought a new challenge and applied for a teaching position at Villarreal Elementary in Olmito. Within two years there, she was awarded the ATPE State Teacher of the Year award. In due time, she assumed the responsibility as a curriculum supervisor, an assistant principal at Villareal and eventually, as Principal of Villareal Elementary School. Her 24 years in Los Fresnos District and the Olmito community have left her with lifelong invaluable memories and friendships.

In 2002 when her school was flourishing, she decided it was time to retire and allow her successor to enjoy working with such awesome children, a supportive staff and tremendous parents.

Antoinette believes retirement is God’s gift for a job well done. It has allowed her time to do many other important things. Since 2002, she has done extensive outreach work with children and adults in Jalisco, Mexico. At the present time she is sponsoring two seriously ill children down there. In Matamoros she and a friend help with five kindergartens and two elementary schools. Thanks to the greater community, she collects unused or outdated instructional materials, library books etc. for these schools in Matamoros. They also visit the elderly in the Casa de Indigentes and provide them with essential items. La Posada Providencia Refugee Center in San Benito is another one of Antoinette’s special projects. For the last five years she has helped with their annual fundraising. In between times she checks in on the Pregnancy Center on Jefferson Street, Brownsville to see what they might need and now, the Red Wagon Homeless Shelter on 12th Street.

This year due to COVID the presentation and dinner will not take place but in its place a Holy Mass celebrated with representation from each campus in the valley along with Bishop Daniel Flores on Friday, January 29th at 6 p.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish. We give thanks for the work of Antoinette and on this 50th Anniversary of St. Mary’s Catholic School, we are proud to celebrate and present her with the 2020 Spirit Award.
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Mark Your Calendars

January 11th - 15th - Virtual Instruction Continues ( Post Holiday Quarantine for SMS)

January 13th - Learning Option Form for 3rd Quarter due ( only virtual students)

January 15th - Quarter Two Closes

January 18th - In person Instructions resumes - We welcome our new students

January 20th - Report Card Day/ Inauguration Day

January 21st - Virtual Honor Roll Ceremony at 6 p.m. via Zoom 2nd - 6th grade

January 22nd - Spirit Day

January 27th - Children's Liturgy - Live Stream via Facebook Mrs. Cazares 4th Grade Class

8:15 a.m.

January 29th - Noon Dismissal ( Walkathon cancelled) - Spirit Day

Parent Virtual Conferences with Teachers in the afternoon

January 31st - Catholic Schools Week Kick off - Mass at 10:45 a.m. in person (following

protocols) and Live Streamed on school Facebook page

February 1st - 5th - Catholics Schools Week

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We thank our parents and the community for your continued support! Our events held in December were a great success. May each and everyone of you be blessed and your generosity multiplied.

Be Kind, Be Kind, Be Kind

In the early 2000's the pastor of St. Mary's was Monsignor Gustavo Barrera. He coined a phrase he used often with students and the congregation, "be kind, be kind, be kind!". It was a battle cry to be the example and the face of Christ to others.

The need for kindness is constant and many times lost in the hustle, bustle and stress of life!

The golden rule of treating others as we would like to be treated resonates ever more fervent. We may need to lessen the call for judgements, possibly make more observations and then be that change! Look at ourselves and how we will contribute to the positive and the solution.

There are many initiatives in promoting kindness which is our constant battle cry and message.

Our Student Council is happy to announce the sale of two new optional t-shirts to our Monday uniform. We will be offering two new additional options to our kindness message. I thank Dr. Magallanes for facilitating and Student Council for managing the orders. Details will be announced soon! All proceeds will support the initiatives of our council. T-Shirts will be allowed to wear on Mondays with their uniform bottoms and designated days.

Below are our two designs and colors may vary.

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