Staying in the Moment by Blaine Wyninger, Assistant Principal

Staying in the Moment by Blaine Wyninger, Assistant Principal

A little over a year ago, my wife came up to me and asked me, “Do you mind if I go out to eat with my friends tomorrow evening?” At that moment, I thought to myself what most men with multiple little ones would think when they realize that they will be solely responsible for homework, dinner prep, bath time, and overall well being of their brood: “No way!”. Fortunately, I was able to work up the little bit of virtue I possessed, and simply said, “Sure thing. Go have fun with you friends. I got it.”

The next day I began the mental preparation.: I would make an easy meal, that way I wouldn’t be bogged down in the kitchen while I was trying to help my 3rd grader with his homework. I would make the little ones go play in the backyard while there was still daylight, get them bathed after dinner, and then have them all asleep before my wife gets home.
And then Life happened.

The noodles boiled over. My son spilled his drink. A couple of the others got in an argument, that sent the younger one into an uncontrollable sobfest. All the while, in the back of my mind I had something I wanted to get to: Finish the podcast I had begun the day before. With ever new event that life threw at me that evening, the thing that I wanted to get to at the end of the evening, my beloved podcast, was right there at the front of my mind, tainting my view of what was right in front of me, which was precious time with the children God had given me.
The evening culminated at bath time with my two youngest daughters, Zelie and Gianna. After the boiled-over noodles, spilled drink, and fight club session between siblings, to say that I was a little “short” would be an understatement. Every ounce of my body language was communicating to them, “Get in. Get clean. Get out.”

As I’m rushing to get my daughters clean, Zelie says to me, “Can we have a bubble bath?”
And then suddenly, I felt a Nudge. A little Thought that sounded like it came from me, but I knew it wasn’t from me. In my younger years, I missed these Nudges often. To be honest, I still do more times than I’d like to admit. but this time, I didn’t. I felt The Presence whisper to me in my heart of hearts, “Don’t rush it. You might not ever get to give them bubbles again.”
At that moment I felt a warmth come over me that I know was from the Holy Spirit. God’s peace came over me, and I was able to enter in and give my daughters the play time in a bubble bath that they wanted. There they were, oblivious to the chaos that was going on in my own little universe, partaking in the simple joys of bath time, playing with bubbles. And I was able to get out of myself, and see my beautiful daughters enjoy their time with one another. What began as one of the worst evenings, was now transformed to one of the best, because I stopped listening to myself saying how bad of an evening it was, and started listening to God tell me how blessed I was. Right here. Right now. The podcast wasn’t important anymore. Being present with my daughters was.

I write this, because I’m sure we all at times have our “podcasts” that keep us from entering into the beauty of the present moment. Maybe it’s preoccupation with insurance settlements, rather than working on homework with our kids. Maybe it’s vegging out on TV when your son just wants to play one on one. Maybe you’re just like me, and you just want to rush through the afternoon to get to the thing that you want, rather than entering into the beauty and mystery of family life. I challenge you to reflect on my experience, and take to prayer this question: “What are thing(s) in my life that I can’t control, that I am letting take me away from where God has placed me right now?”

I’m thankful for the gift of that evening. I have drawn upon it many evenings since. It is my hope that the Grace that God bestowed on me will be a blessing to you as well.

-Blaine Wyninger, Assistant Principal

Personal Finance students prepare for College and Careers

Personal Finance students prepare for College and Careers

This week, our Personal Finance students finished up the Paying for College Unit. Students took a deep dive in learning the Financial Aid process. Topics included: filling out the FAFSA, reading a Student Aid Report, learning the difference between a college sticker price and net price, scholarships and grants, and analyzing the financial aid award letter. To conclude the unit, we invited Mrs. Susan Holmes to come in to share her expertise on preparing for college.

Bishop’s Hurricanes Relief Tuition Fund Established 

Bishop’s Hurricanes Relief Tuition Fund Established 

Bishop’s Hurricanes Relief Tuition Fund Established 

By Pamela Seal
Diocese of Lake Charles 

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lake Charles have served as an example of faith, hope and resilience in recent months after being struck by two major hurricanes in 2020 — Hurricane Laura on August 27 and Hurricane Delta on October 9. 

A top priority for Bishop Glen John Provost was the reopening of Catholic schools, and he recognized the Catholic community’s obligation to help those greatly affected by the storms. 

The Bishop’s Hurricanes Relief Tuition Fund has been set up to assist families of current students who have experienced losses from Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Due to a generous donation, Bishop Provost will match up to $500,000 of donations collected. 

Struck by the damages suffered by so many families to their homes, Bishop Provost said an essential concern is those with students currently enrolled in Catholic schools in the diocese. 

“We, as a Catholic community, want to reach out to families who have been left homeless or with uninsured losses or with overwhelming expenses for repairing their homes,” said Bishop Provost. “These circumstances are particularly burdensome when impacting families with children in our schools. We have an obligation to help.” 

While the concept of tuition aid in the Diocese of Lake Charles is not new, what is new about the Bishop’s Hurricanes Relief Tuition Fund is the concept of matching funds. The idea was suggested to the bishop by the donors. 

When asked how he has been inspired by the challenges the Catholic schools have had to overcome, Bishop Provost shared details of a visit in November by a bishop friend whose diocese was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. 

“Among the many destroyed and damaged properties, I took him to visit two of our schools, St. Louis Catholic High and St. Margaret. Both schools had already installed temporary buildings and had resumed classes by mid-October. He thought this was phenomenal. From his own experiences, he knew the obstacles and was most impressed with the speed and determination with which the Diocese of Lake Charles and school communities were addressing the recovery against overwhelming odds. Our Catholic schools are courageous.” 

Bishop Provost emphasized that Catholic schools are “alive and well” in the diocese, noting that Our Lady Immaculate School in Jennings re-opened on the Monday following Hurricane Laura with relatively no damage. 

“Schools that were seriously damaged — St. Margaret, Our Lady’s School, and St. Louis Catholic High School — hit the ground running and re-opened in a few weeks,” said the bishop. “The schools with lesser damage — Immaculate Conception Cathedral School and Our Lady Queen of Heaven — re-opened very soon once they had stabilized their facilities. The principals are a positive group who have embraced the challenges with openness and creativity.” 

Kimberlee Gazzolo, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, said, “In the very first days after Hurricane Laura, I was heartened and grateful at entire communities that came out to help with mitigation and clean-up on the school campuses. I was acutely aware that those in the community had also suffered losses but set that aside to help their schools.” 

Mrs. Gazzolo encourages anyone who can to consider making a donation to the tuition relief fund. 

“No donation is too small, and every donation can make a difference in a child being able to continue to receive a Catholic education,” Gazzolo said. “The history of our schools and the success of our students have proven that Catholic education is a gift, not only to the students, but to our community and to our Church.” 

To make a one-time or recurring donation, visit http://www.lcdiocese.org/resources/support-the-diocese, and click on The Bishop’s Hurricanes Relief Tuition Fund. 

Star Testing for Saints

Star Testing for Saints

This week and next week, students will take the STAR Assessment in both English and math. Teachers will use this data to accurately measure their mastery of certain skills in these subjects and to check for learning gaps that may exist. Students who show growth from their fall assessments will be entered into a raffle for a gift card. 

Congrats to the 12 Days of Reading Winners

Congrats to the 12 Days of Reading Winners

Thanks to all who participated in the reading challenge. Teachers and students from each grade level gave themselves the gift of reading over the break. I’m so proud of you! Stay tuned for another reading challenge during Lent. Let’s build a community that reads!

PSAT Testing is January 26th for 10th & 11th Graders 

PSAT Testing is January 26th for 10th & 11th Graders 

PSAT Testing is January 26th for 10th & 11th graders

What is it and why should I care about it?

Cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT)—often shortened to PSAT—is a standardized test targeting 10th and 11th graders in the US. Every year, approximately 3.5 million students take the PSAT test at various high schools. But why take it at all?

As it stands, the PSAT is heavily connected to the SAT. One of the test’s primary purposes is to act as a precursor to the SAT—as the name suggests, as an SAT practice test. But the two tests aren’t identical. Regardless, for many students it is also the first exposure to any college admissions exam, including the ACT we tend to take in Louisiana, so students can get the practice on what to expect of a real college admissions testing.

In addition to being a preparatory test for college admissions testing, the PSAT is a qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program. PSAT scores determine students’ eligibility for National Merit scholarships. Each year the top 1% of 11th-grade PSAT takers become Semifinalists. Semifinalists receive national recognition which can lead to lots of scholarship offers from various universities. Each year, SLCHS has been fortunate enough to have one to two Semifinalists.

How can my student prepare?

Through our English & Math classes, we have had our students completing test practice questions through a software program called Prep Factory. We encourage students to continue to take these assignments seriously.

There is also an official PSAT Student Guide that offers students insights and practice questions. In a normal year we receive a paper copy for each student, but College Board has indicated that we shouldn’t expect any materials before January 15th. Should the study guides arrive, we will certainly pass them out, but the document is linked above.

My student has a Service Plan, what happens?

We have filed your student’s paperwork with The College Board. The College Board makes an independent decision regarding disability accommodations and has notified us of their decision. Mrs. Holmes will be sending out emails to parents about the College Board accommodation decisions and what that means for the disabled student.