St. Joseph Catholic School - faith, academics and service.
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October 7, 2016
Dear St. Joseph Catholic School Community,
Last weekend, we celebrated the feast day of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. For those of you unfamiliar with her story, St. Thérèse loved nature, and she frequently used nature imagery to describe God’s unfailing presence in all of our lives. She saw herself as "the Little Flower of Jesus" because she believed herself to be like a simple flower found in a forest or field, unnoticed by most, but serving God in the best ways she could find. This is how she understood herself as a servant of God’s mission - simple and hidden, but blooming where God had planted her.
I thought of St. Thérèse throughout this week as I reflected on the unique gifts of each of our students and the role they each play in the St. Joe’s community. St. Thérèse once shared: “The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.” Each one of our students has specific, unique, God-given gifts that they bring to our school, and these different gifts and their sharing of them make our school the place it is. It really is a wonderful reflection on school community - that these individual differences, these individual gifts, make the whole more beautiful.
I realized on Wednesday how sometimes these gifts are not always initially identified as gifts. Let me explain. I’ve had the opportunity to be part of the recess supervision rotation in this first part of the year. As I supervised on Wednesday, I noticed it was a particularly emotional day for quite a few of our students. At my first recess, I encountered three different students who were in tears. One minor boo boo, one student bragging to another student who was sensitive to the bragging, and a hurt pinky finger were the culprits. It hasn’t been the norm to see this much crying, so it caught me off guard. When I went out to lunch recess and within 10 seconds of being outside noticed a child in one of our primary grades crying almost uncontrollably , I’ll admit, my internal reaction once I detected she wasn’t hurt, was something along the lines of “Oh no - here we go again! What on Earth is going on today?” But had I stopped there, stepped away, and allowed another staff member to help, I would’ve missed out on an important lesson. I approached her, and I asked what had happened. Though it was initially hard to understand because of how sad she was and how her crying wouldn’t allow her to speak without sobbing, she told me, “I’m sad because I said something that hurt my friend’s feelings.” I tried to comfort her and asked if she wanted me to help her apologize. She couldn’t find the word yes. Her sobs continued to overpower her, and all she could do was shake her head up and down. She wiped the tears from her eyes, scanned the playground, and then guided me to her classmate. When we got her classmate’s attention, I explained that the crying student wanted to apologize. Still overcome with emotion, she eventually managed to get the words out: “I’m sorry what I did made you sad. I’m so sad I hurt you.” The other student’s response: “It’s OK. I’m sorry it’s made you cry. I could’ve been nicer to you too.” I asked them if they could move on and forgive each other. They, almost in unison, said “I forgive you.” I then asked them if they would shake hands as a symbol of their forgiveness. The girl we sought out said “Mr. Manning, is it OK if I give her a hug and not a handshake? I don’t like handshakes as much as I like hugs.” I obliged, and my heart began to melt.
The crying girl’s sensitivity ton Wednesday, initially not identified by me as a gift but instead as a challenge, taught me the most important lesson I received this week. My reflection on the quote from St. Thérèse as well as what I witnessed that day have together helped me to better understand how much she and each child, each provided amazing gifts by God, means to our school community. Her classmate and I both would not have been able to see or participate in the beauty of forgiveness had she not reacted the way she did as a result of what had happened between the two girls. What a gift for her to share herself so personally and emotionally and to let God work through her to seek out forgiveness. Unfortunately my first look at the crying girl was to see the thorns - “How can another student be crying?” - and not the sincere care with which she was approaching a conflict, which was as beautiful as any flower I’ll ever be able to find.
At recess on Thursday, she came running up to me and, beaming with joy, she said, “Today’s going a lot better than yesterday.” Thanks to the lesson she provided me, I could tell her with both confidence and gratitude, “The same for me!”
God’s blessings,
Joe Manning, Principal
Monday, 10/10
Monthly Prayer Service - Gym - 8:35 am
Tuesday, 10/11
PTO Meeting - St. Ignatius Room - 8:45 am

Wednesday, 10/12
No School for Students
Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences - 12 to 8 pm (Grades K-1 conferences to be parent-teacher only/ Grades 2-8 students to attend with parents)
Thursday, 10/13
No schoolwide events or activities
Friday, 10/14
All School Mass - 10 am
Saturday, 10/15
In-Person VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” Training (required before volunteering at school) - Marian Hall - 9:30 a.m.
Conferences all set for Wednesday, Oct. 12, and Wednesday, Oct. 19
Thank you all for registering for our fall conferences. We hope using our online conferencing system went smoothly for all of you. We’re looking forward to the meetings that have been scheduled for our next two Wednesdays. Grades K-5 conferences will be held in your child’s homeroom classroom. Middle school conferences will be held all in one room. Middle school conferences for Wednesday, Oct. 12, will be held in Marian Hall; the ones scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 19, will be in the school cafeteria. Fifth grade meetings with Mrs. Cestnik and Mrs. Hunt will be in the middle school conference location. Specialist teachers will be in the main building. If you’ll be meeting with them, check at the front of the school and you will be guided to their locations. Please remember that Grades K-1 conferences will be parent-teacher only; Grades 2-8 conferences will include students. If you have any questions about conferences, please contact your child’s teacher(s).
Share with us the names of Veterans for our annual wall of honor
As we approach Veterans Day, our “Wall of Veterans” will once again be on display in the main building’s hallway to honor our family members and friends who have served in the military. If your family is new this year and you wish to honor a family member or friend who has served in the military, let us add them to our wall. If you have given us this information in the past, we still have it and will continue to use it this year. If you have Veterans to add to our list or if you wish to make any changes to information you’ve shared in the past, please contact Anne McDonagh at Please send names, rank, years of service, where they served, and their relationship to your family. We strive to recognize, honor, and pray for all our St. Joseph Veterans, both living and deceased. We plan to have the posters on the wall between the 1st and 2nd grade classrooms by Nov. 10, and they will remain for two weeks.
St. Joe’s to test the FlashAlert notification system on Tuesday, Oct. 18
St. Joseph subscribes to a local alert system called FlashAlert to pass along news regarding school closures and delays. Our school’s annual test of the FlashAlert system will be the morning of Wed., Oct. 18 between 10 & 10:30 am.  If you have not signed up for these notifications in the past, please go to before the 18th to register. If you do not get a message on Oct. 18, please verify that you still have an active account by going to Please note: This is the school’s best way to quickly notify you when we will be closed or delayed due to inclement weather or school emergencies.
Student Leadership class available for students in Grades 7 & 8
Applications for the Fall 2016 Student Leadership class will be available beginning Monday, Oct. 10. This opportunity is open to all seventh and eighth grade students in good academic standing. Class will meet twice a week, under the direction of health and PE teacher Patty Jayne, on Mondays and Thursdays during lunch from 12:15 to 12:50 pm. Students will be responsible for helping to organize and facilitate all-school assemblies, school drives, and other activities through January 2017.

If your child is interested in being a part of this class, please encourage him/her to complete an application and return it to the office or Mrs. Jayne by Friday, Oct. 14.  Applications are available from Mrs. Jayne or the middle school homeroom teachers. If you have any questions, please contact Patty Jayne at
School entry at drop-off & dismissal, parking, & leaving campus from the Highland Drive exit
In order for all of us to have a smooth and safe drop-off and dismissal, please park, drop-off, and pick-up from the church/school parking lot at the back of the school. Families, with the exception of those who live across the street from the school, should not be entering school from Highland Drive at either of these times. Cars from our pick-up lane will exit onto Highland Drive, but we request that families who are walking to their cars exit to the church/school parking lot. Your cooperation with this expectation is greatly appreciated. We also want to pass along a note of caution. Last weekend, a car leaving the school from the parking lot exit onto Highland Drive was involved in an accident. We encourage you to be very cautious as you pull out at our Highland Drive exit, especially when parked cars along the side of the street reduce visibility of approaching traffic.
Student CYO game attendance at St. Joe’s – parent/adult supervision required
Over the last couple weekends, we’ve had a few students arrive at CYO games without parent supervision. It’s a school and CYO expectation that any students attending the games have a supervising adult present with them as they support our CYO athletes. We look forward to seeing students and parents together during these weekend competitions.
Join us for Principal & Parent Prayer & Pastries on Tuesday, Oct. 18
Mr. Manning would like to invite parents to participate in what will be the first of a recurring monthly event at our school - Principal & Parent Prayer & Pastries. Our first event will be on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 8:45 am in Marian Hall’s St. Ignatius room. As part of each monthly gathering, Mr. Manning will share a parent-focused prayer and provide opportunity for reflection and then there will be a social time for you to chat with other school parents in attendance and with Mr. Manning. Coffee and pastries will be provided. Mr. Manning likes to share with others the tasty creations of local businesses, so if you have excellent pastry or doughnut suggestions, please don’t hesitate to pass them along to him! We hope to see many of you at our first gathering on the 18th.
Support St. Joe’s by participating in our first restaurant night of the year - Tuesday, Oct. 18
Firehouse Subs on 192nd and Mill Plain has graciously agreed to host our first restaurant night of the school year. Bring the coupon, which will be shared soon, to Firehouse Subs all day Tuesday, Oct. 18th, and a portion of your sale will be donated to St. Joseph PTO. Feel free to share the coupon with family and friends. The coupon will be passed along to all of you and posted on the PTO facebook page once it is available. We look forward to a successful first restaurant night!
October PTO meeting is next week
Join us Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 8:45 am in the St. Ignatius Room of Marian Hall for our next PTO meeting. All St. Joseph parents are invited to attend. For any questions, please contact PTO President Laura Ashton at
Wreath pre-order forms to be sent home next week
We know it’s not even Halloween yet, but be on the lookout for the PTO wreath pre-order forms coming home next week. They will also be in the bulletin, included in the school news, on the PTO facebook page, and on the school website. Wreath pick up will once again be during the Holiday Bazaar on Nov. 19-20. Thank you for supporting St. Joe’s the the PTO with your order.
St. Joe’s Holiday Bazaar -  limited space still available & search for an entertainment coordinator
There is still space available at our holiday bazaar, which will be held Nov. 19-20. If you are interested in reserving a space, please email the chair at Don’t delay - spaces are filling up fast!
Entertainment coordinator search: Do you know of a dance studio, karate dojo or musician that would like to perform during the Holiday Bazaar? This is a great opportunity for them to advertise their services plus provide entertainment for the shoppers and vendors. Our Holiday Bazaar chair could use help coordinating this. Please contact the bazaar chair at if you have an entertainment performer who would like to participate.
Box Top competition runs through Oct. 17th
The Box Top collection continues through Oct. 17. As you are collecting your Box Tops, please be sure to look at the expiration date. Unfortunately, we can’t collect funds on expired Box Tops and those will not be counted towards the contest.
Additionally, please only submit Box Tops. We are no longer collecting Labels for Education as the program has been discontinued. Thank you for your attention to these details, it helps out our Box Tops chair, Paige Brockway.
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
SCRIP needs parent volunteer help for Thursdays
Our search continues for a volunteer to help sell SCRIP each Thursday afternoon from 2:45 to 3:15 pm. Please call Kim LaValley if you can help - 360-991-4193 or
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, 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.
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