BRIMMING WITH HOPE | The best Christmas programs ever

As a school administrator for many years, I have attended a good number of school Christmas programs. I have seen everything from simple songs on risers, to choreographed routines, to elaborate plays. This year, I had the privilege of attending the Christmas programs at Annunziata School, St. Gemma Center, and St. Joan of Arc, three locations for our Catholic special education programs. What I witnessed at each was extremely impressive, even for a veteran audience member.

Archdiocesan School Oversight Committee to address Northeast County Deanery

Third graders in Maggie Sestro's classroom built sleds from popsicles that could carry weight on a level and an inclined surface.  The STREAM project was based upon the Dr. Suess book, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and integrates math and science into the learning activity. Andrew Belden of "team awesome" pulled their sled up the ramp as  Kylie Munizza, Aniya Redmond, Ethan Dempsey, Aidan Medey and Ella Tesson cheered him on.

The Archdiocesan School Oversight Committee is working on a plan to address issues affecting Catholic elementary schools in the Northeast County Deanery.

A letter sent to families of students in the deanery noted that the Catholic population in the area and school enrollment continues to decline, and some parishes struggle to financially maintain their schools in the short term.

Archdiocesan Athletic Association adds Helias, Fr. Tolton

The Archdiocesan Athletic Association is expanding by two schools — Helias Catholic High School in Jefferson City, Mo., and Father Tolton Catholic High School in Columbia, Mo.

The schools will play in limited championship events in the 2017-18 school year, then full conference schedules in 2018-19. Both Helias Catholic and Father Tolton Catholic are in the Diocese of Jefferson City.

They will join eight archdiocesan high schools and three Catholic and Christian independent high schools in the conference. The additions expand the league's footprint to mid-Missouri.

SLU scholarship inspired by making positive change post-Ferguson

St. Louis University graduate Brian Shelton has established a scholarship in honor of St. Peter Claver, with service to the community as a required component of the award. Hana Dagne, an immigrant from Ethiopia is the first recipient of the scholarship. The freshman is studying biochemistry and tutoring for students at North Campus, a community centered around educating children in north city. She was on the SLU campus.

Brian Shelton remembers sitting in the congregation as Archbishop Robert J. Carlson delivered a homily at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis in August 2015, on the one-year anniversary of shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Shelton was deeply moved by what the archbishop said — that a culture of systemic racism had been uncovered, and healing and justice can only be achieved through respect for one another and a commitment to help others.

Archbishop approves new partnership model school

Adam Bobo, a student at St. Joan of Arc School, helped organize canned goods that were part of the monthly collection for the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has accepted a recommendation for a new partnership model school at St. Joan of Arc, serving the current Our Lady of Sorrows, St. James the Greater and St. Joan of Arc schools.

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has accepted a recommendation to establish a new partnership model school at St. Joan of Arc Parish in south St. Louis.

BRIMMING WITH HOPE | Alexander Hamilton and the renaissance of Catholic education

Kurt Nelson

The musical "Hamilton" has captured the attention of most of the nation and the Nelson household hasn't been exempt. As a lover of history, I didn't need much convincing. My high school daughter first brought it to my attention and we began playing tracks as we were driving around town. The music is catchy and the lyrics clever, but I think one of its greatest achievements is the ability to tell us a story we thought we knew from a different perspective.

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