St. Joseph Catholic School - faith, academics and service.
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September 23, 2016
Dear St. Joseph Catholic School Community,
Those of you who have been in the building for our morning prayer or have been out at the covered play area for our end-of-day prayer have likely noticed the words we’re praying right before we make the Sign of the Cross. As our prayer closes, we’re reciting the following: “Help us fight the good fight. Help us finish the race.” I took a few questions this week about these words and their origins, so I wanted to share this week a little background about what we’re praying.
In the New Testament, we learn of Paul’s missionary journey. As Paul traveled to new communities to spread the Gospel, he found himself imprisoned on more than one occasion. During his second imprisonment, he wrote to his friend Timothy out of loneliness and out of desire to encourage his dear friend to persist in spreading the Gospel and, if necessary, to be willing to suffer for it. Paul, who was nearing death, shared with Timothy:

For I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have competed well; I have finished the race;I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for his appearance (2 Timothy 7-8).
We pray these words - “Fight the good fight. Finish the race.” - as a reminder of Paul’s reflection on his own life and an encouragement for us to live a life focused on fighting for the right things and finishing what we set out to do. Like Paul, we want God to help all of us to compete well and finish the race by keeping the faith. The metaphor of fighting helps us to understand that what God is calling us to do in our lives may create an obstacle and challenge for us, it may require us to “fight” against challenges that stand in the way of the Gospel message that we are trying to live out and share, but that we should persist. Should we do so, we will see our reward in heaven. Praying these words as part of our prayers serves as a reminder that we need God’s help and guidance to carry out and finish his work that Jesus so gracefully modeled for us.
I’d like to pass along one more note this week connecting to the prayer life of the school and connections to home. If you’re interested in picking up a school-year theme prayer card for this school year, please stop by the office and we’ll be sure to get one to you. These were also distributed at this year’s Back to School Night. The front side of the card has the image from this year’s theme poster, and the back side has the daily prayer of newly named St. Teresa of Calcutta. This prayer card can be used at home to help with the home to school connection and to serve as a reminder that we are all called - at school, at home, and in our different communities of which we are all a part - to be a light to others.
After being away for the final couple days of this week to attend the annual Archdiocese of Seattle principals’ retreat just outside of Seattle, I look forward to joining you all this evening for the Sock Hop! Thanks to the preparation and support of our parent volunteers and the participation of so many our families, it should be a wonderful evening for our community. I hope to see you there!
Christ’s peace be with you during this first autumn weekend of our year,
Joe Manning, Principal
Monday, 9/26
No schoolwide events or activities scheduled

Tuesday, 9/27
Recess Volunteer Training - Meet at the Office - 8:45 am (email Anna Raineri at to RSVP)

Wednesday, 9/28
Regular Wednesday Start Time - 7:55 am
Mass - 8:10 am
Regular Wednesday Dismissal - 2:10 pm
Recess Volunteer Training - Meet at the Office - 5 pm (email Anna Raineri at to RSVP)

Thursday, 9/29
Pick-a-time Online Parent-Teacher Conference Registration Begins (an email will be sent in the evening with directions)
Friday, 9/30
No schoolwide events or activities scheduled
Join us at tonight’s Sock Hop
Please join us for the Sock Hop tonight from 6 to 8 pm in Marian Hall! There will be a DJ and lots of dancing, a photo booth, and root beer floats! This is a great event for the whole family!
Walk-up entry at dismissal needs to be from the back of the school, not Highland Drive
For the safety of all student and families, the walk-up entrance for dismissal is only through the small walking gate off the school and church parking lot near the Grades 5-8 wing. Please do not enter from Highland Drive. We make this request so that families are never walking in the roadways that cars are using for entrance or exit.
Online school conference registration to begin on Thursday, Sept. 29
Be on the lookout on Thursday evening, Sept. 29, for a special Newsflash that will provide directions for registering for our October student-parent-teacher conferences. We will be using an online registration system called Pick-a-time. You will visit a website and register for a conference at a time that best suits you and your family. For families with more than one child at the school, you will want to register early so that you can be sure to arrange to have conferences that are back to back or near each other. The longer you wait to register, the harder it’ll likely be to find times that work to schedule multiple conferences. This year, middle school families will have the opportunity to visit with each of your child’s teachers.
Support the seventh grade’s fundraising for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
Please consider joining the seventh grade class and Mrs. Dasso as they help to fundraise for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Families served at St. Jude’s who receive treatment during their child’s illness do not receive any medical bills and are offered housing and food so that all they have to worry about is helping their child get well. To provide this level of service to families, St. Jude’s is funded through donations from people throughout the United States.
There are a couple ways you can help:
Join us at the Burgerville located at 11704 SE Mill Plain Blvd. on Thursday, Sept. 29th between 4 to 8 pm to eat and they will be donate a percentage of the proceeds to St. Jude.
“St. Jude Hero” T-shirts will also be for sale at the Burgerville event and at drop-off near the school’s back doors next to Marian Hall on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday mornings next week. The cost is $22 per shirt. If your size is not available, shirts can be ordered and will be distributed in a couple of weeks. Proceeds from the shirt sale will go to St. Jude’s as well.

Animal Blessing on Tuesday, Oct. 4
On Tuesday, Oct. 4, the Feast Day of St. Francis, we’ll have our annual animal blessing. The blessing will get underway right after our morning prayer & announcements. We’ll request that students go to class to get checked in as normal that morning while parents take their pets to the covered area in our school playground. Pets will not enter the school. As soon as the day begins and all of our attendance is accounted for, students who have parents and pets waiting for them will be invited to join them outside at the covered area. We look forward to this special day!

Children’s Choir for St. Joseph Masses - Practices & Permission
The St. Joseph Children’s Choir, open to students in Grades 1-8, will perform at a Sunday Mass once every other month, including at Christmas and Easter.  It will also perform at our monthly all schools Masses. Middle School students who have an interest in cantoring will receive specific training and instruction to help prepare them for this important role in leading music at Mass.  These middle school students will have an opportunity to work toward cantoring for Sunday liturgies as well as All School Masses. Practice will be held on Wednesdays after schools. We’ve already had the first practice, but it’s not to late to join. To sign up, please download this permission slip and return to school by Tuesday of next week.
Don’t forget about our Box Top contest
The Box Top collection continues now through Oct. 17th. Prizes will be awarded the first week of November. The box tops can be glued or taped to the box top sheets (found on the Forms & Publications page of the school website) or they can be loose in a plastic baggie or sealed envelope. Correction from last week: You do not need to label each Box Top with your student’s name and classroom information. Please include child's full name, homeroom teacher's name & grade are on the sheet, envelope, or baggie.
Upcoming VIRTUS Safe Environments in-person trainings - needed to volunteer at school
All parent volunteers need to be up to date with the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Safe Environments requirements before volunteering this year. This means that you’ve attended an in-person VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” and have a current background check on file. Background checks are required in the first year of volunteering and then each three years after the initial in-person training. An online refresher class is also required each three years after the initial training is completed.

Here’s a list of upcoming area classes. If you are not yet up to date with training requirements, please plan to attend a class so you will be able to volunteer, help out in the classroom, and drive on field trips.

Saturday, Sept. 24, at 10 am – Our Lady of Lourdes, Vancouver
Saturday, Oct. 15, at 9:30 am - St Joseph Catholic Church - Marian Hall, Vancouver
Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 6 pm – St. Joseph Catholic Church - Marian Hall, Vancouver

You will need to pre-register for the trainings at VIRTUS Online. Begin the registration process by clicking on the “First- Time Registrant” button on the left side of the page. If you have any questions please contact Sheri in the school office at (360)696-2586.

Apply for free & reduced lunch now
Free & reduced lunch applications for this school year are now available. For families who have applied in the past, we do need a new application each school year. If your family qualifies and you’d like to apply, please download the application below and return it to the school office. If you’d like a hard copy of the form, please stop by the office to pick one up.
         Free & Reduced Lunch Parent Letter
         Free & Reduced Lunch Income Guidelines
         Free & Reduced Lunch Application Instructions
         Free & Reduced Lunch Application

Spirit Wear chair needed
Do you like to spread Cardinal spirit? Then this position is a great fit for you. Responsibilities include managing inventory, selling product during school events with the help of volunteers and exploring new items for inventory. If you are interested in this position, please email Laura Ashton at
Parent Auction Donation obligation deadline is October 1st
Please note that the deadline for your parent obligation of a new product valued at $75 or a check/cash payment for $75 is due no later than October 1st.  After October 1st the obligation increases to $150 cash or check only, per your school contract.  If you have any questions, please call auction coordinator Peggy DiPrima at 360-696-2586, ext 1261.
Morning walking for parents on the school track
PTO has coordinated morning track walking a couple days each week. Join us Monday and Thursday mornings from 8:45-9:15 am, rain or shine, to walk/run on the track. Please sign in at the front desk and then meet up on the track.
Support the St. Joseph Catholic School Annual Fund
It’s Annual Fund season at St. Joseph Catholic School. Materials were sent home with each family at the end of the second week of school. In order to increase family participation to make our school more attractive in grant applications, we encourage all families to make a gift, even if it can only be a small one at this time. Your participation is a sign of your satisfaction with the school and a vote of confidence for the education your child is receiving.
Follow St. Joseph Catholic School and St. Joseph Catholic School PTO on facebook
We have a school facebook page. You can follow us by searching for St. Joseph Catholic School. If you would like to become a member of the PTO facebook page, please send PTO president Laura Ashton an email from your email account associated with facebook to  
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