St. Joseph School Alumni Newsletter
Issue: # 21June 2012
In This Issue
A Message from George Hofbauer
School News/Events
St. Joseph School Alumni
Alumni Basketball
Class Reunions
About Reconnections
Quick Links

photo: Stephen Birkhold


A Message from George Hofbauer



(thoughts on endings)


Everybody remembers the disappearing acts of childhood. Whether it was a magician on T.V. or on the stage, or a parent simply stepping into a closet saying, "Now you see me" - then quickly closing the door and saying, "Now you don't" - we all relate to sudden presence and sudden lack of presence. Delightful laughter and sweet giggles can be elicited from a baby as an adult simply places his hands in front of his face and then quickly removes them as they shout,  

"Peek-a-boo." No matter how many times this little performance is repeated for the baby, their laughter and excitement continue as if  

it were the first time it was ever done. Almost everyone has also experienced the more solemn disappearing act of the sun in an eclipse. Where there once was day, it is suddenly night. And then  

the light, once again, appears. This is a bit more mysterious and  

awe-inspiring. It can remind us of how small we are in the context  

of our universe.


Upon reflection we realize these magical acts of disappearance are a constant part of the human experience. The older we get the more "opportunities" we have to live through them in different ways and with different outcomes. Some are emotion-filled, and some are just part of the rhythms of our lives. They can become like breathing or watching the morning dawn break into the dark of night. Like the unending waves that continually break upon the shoreline, we can be sure that there will be endings in our lives. Some can be violent and rough. Some can be energizing and awe-inspiring. Some can be peaceful and restful. Some can be silent and unnoticed. Whether it is a powerful blowing wind or a gentle kiss, it leaves an impact. It changes us. We can become less than we were in some ways, and more than we were in other ways.


For me, an eclipse is taking place. A wave has just crashed upon the shore. The hands have gone up for the last time in a long game of peek-a-boo, and I have closed the door saying, "Now you don't." The last two months have truly been an emotional roller coaster. I have fought tears. I have laughed till it hurts. I have shared tender embraces and relived fond memories. I have even danced in sudden explosions of group activity! In the midst of all of this, I have realized how lucky - how blessed - how fulfilled I have been.


I have been flooded with notes, letters and e-mails over the last two months from alums, students, past and present parents, and past and present staff. There are so many that I will be reading them all summer long! Then there was the Pentecost Mass, the Evening of Entertainment, and the "surprise" Pentecost party. All I can say is WOW!!! No wonder I stayed here so long. So many of you have participated and supported this school in so many ways for so many years, that I leave it, because of all of you, in an exceptionally strong position.


We are fiscally sound. We are educationally excellent. We have a strong enrollment with waiting lists. Our reputation is a bright beacon that is seen throughout this city, this state, our country, and even the world. Our staff is the best. It is a community of people working together with common goals in mind. They are a family that cares for each other and those they serve. We are - in the best meaning of the term - a Catholic school, attempting to live out the message of Christ. What a place!


Now - let us bravely walk into a new future.


Thank you for all you have done,  

and thank you for all you are about to do.





(This is George Hofbauer's last Reconnections message as principal of St. Joseph School culminating a 38-year career of service. Hear from incoming principal Patrick Fennessy in the next issue.)

School News/Events


Year-End Events  


Evening of Entertainment

E of E proclaimed "George is My Hero" throughout the sentimental evening of student performances, Hofbauer-themed vignettes and the popular staff performance (brought back from years past). Principal George Hofbauer took it all in from the front row. The finale featured a fantastic "flash mob" (joined in by George!) followed by a rendition of "We Are the World." A memorable evening enjoyed by all. 


Baccalaureate Mass and Graduation Ceremony   

Principal George Hofbauer delivered the commencement address at this year's graduation ceremony on May 31st. Earlier in the day graduates attended the baccalaureate Mass with their families and friends. Congratulations to all the graduates, including the following students that received awards and high school scholarships.    



Language Arts - Julia Koh

Literature - Kacper Olejniczak

Science - Sara Snowden

Religion - Elena Ramos

Mathematics - Kiley Clisham, Nick Mocha, Meg Rutherford

History - Quincy Milton III, Madison Laughlin

Speech - Sasu Techane, Haley Taylor-Manning

Paul Hirning Service Award - Alexa Andrews

Joseph Boyle Memorial Scholarship - Peter Hogan

Ed Thenell Award - Jack Fox, Sara Snowden

George Hofbauer Leadership Award - Christopher Rawlings,  

                                                             Joseph Ratliffe



Bishop Blanchet St. Thomas More Leadership Award

Caroline Haskins

Seattle Preparatory School Honors-at-Entrance Award

Surafel Techane

Holy Names Academy Gately Girls Memorial Scholarship

Christina Sevao

Holy Names Academy Mother Marie Rose Scholarship

Sara Snowden

Holy Names Academy Scholarships

Elizabeth Dunigan, Julia Koh, Madison Laughlin,  

Meg Rutherford

Lakeside School St. Nicholas Endowed Scholarship

Elena Ramos



   End-of-Year Mass 

The end-of-the-year Mass was special this year as the school celebrated, blessed, and heralded with bagpipes St. Joseph School longtime principal George Hofbauer. George received his 40-year service pin from the archdiocese, a treasure chest of "George" bills inscribed with personal messages, and a special Jaguar Award for, as George would say, service above and beyond.  

Craig Nelson, Maintenance, received the Jaguar Award along with the cheers of the whole school for the wonderful job he does year in and year out, tackling - with a smile - anything that comes up. The multi-talented Mr. Nelson guides children safely across Aloha each morning, is always at the ready for whatever needs fixing or moving all day, and even makes time to play cello, when he can, with the school chamber ensemble. Thank you, Mr. Nelson!  


 Summer Hunger Challenge

St. Joseph School served as one of only four school locations for this year's KING 5 TV/Northwest Harvest Summer Hunger Challenge. On June 2 KING 5 TV reporter Jim Dever along with Northwest Harvest representatives arrived at St. Joseph to broadcast live the efforts of our students and community to reach the goal of collecting at least 1.3 pounds of food (a meal for one person) per St. Joseph student, and possibly winning the area challenge. Although we came in second, we are excited to report that the St. Joseph location collected a whopping 4,617 pounds of food along with $723 - that is 6,837 meals (11.12 meals per student). Visit the KING 5 website to view coverage and photos of our students in action. The strong tradition of outreach and service continues at St. Joseph School. 

Grandparent Tea
Over 250 grandparents and grand-friends enjoyed the annual luncheon served by St. Joseph students in the Wyckoff Gym on    May 11. Musical entertainment from the kindergarten classes, chamber group, and middle school choir featured songs in keeping with the theme, "A Time to Remember," to honor retiring principal George Hofbauer. 

Choir Takes Gold 1st Award 

Congratulations to the St. Joseph Middle School Choir and director  

Rick Boyle for earning the Gold 1st trophy at the WorldStrides Heritage Performance in San Diego in May. Evan Pruitt (8C)  

won the Maestro Award at the performance. The choir also performed at Orangewood Children's Home, City of Orange, as    well as St. Michael's Academy and St. Charles School, both in the greater San Diego area.

St. Joseph School Alumni

Hobauer Era Bookends

 Cristina (Medina) Bailet and son Jacob, Tom Laughlin and daughter Madison 


Two families in this year's graduating class share a unique distinction: they mark the beginning and the end of the George Hofbauer era at St. Joseph School. Cristina (Medina) Bailet and Tom Laughlin were both in the class of 1975; Mr. Hofbauer arrived as a teacher that academic year. Their respective children, Jacob Bailet and Madison Laughlin, are 2012 graduates. As we say farewell to Principal George Hofbauer, the four gathered together recently to reflect on their "Hofbauer" experiences, which, not surprisingly, had common themes.   



Class of 1975: Tom Laughlin, first row 4th in, Cristina Medina, first row 9th in  


Cristina (6th grade at right) remembers the "tall, imposing guy"      that took swift control of the history class that had gone through a series of teachers: "He brought in real enthusiasm for history and urged us to learn about what was going on in the world." She explained that things got competitive, then ended up being fun, with    Mr. Hofbauer setting expectations that the students wanted to meet. Tom expressed that in fact he would "intimidate you to study."Asked if             Mr. Hofbauer intimidated current students in       the classroom, Jacob replied, "He tried..."  


"This year's class was definitely one-of-a kind for him," noted Madison. "He was really good at bonding with all of us." Tom (7th grade at right) expanded that thought, saying he is "amazed how George has bonded with students throughout all the years." Jacob aptly summed up the Hofbauer era: "He didn't have to be here  

for 38 years. He loved doing what he did."


(Special thanks to Cristina Bailet and Tom Laughlin for contributing photos for this article.) 


Madison Laughlin receives her diploma and Jacob Bailet poses with his at graduation, both with Principal Hofbauer.         



Memory Lane 

At a spring celebration for outgoing principal George Hofbauer, Rosemary Dunigan '81 "interviewed" her parents, Dick and Mary Beth Gemperle (above), about the early Hofbauer years at St. Joseph School. Paul Sauvage '75 (right) entertained the crowd with George stories from that first year (1974-1975) in a heartfelt tribute. 
Alumni Basketball

John Dickinson '00,  Max Andrews '01, Paul Nelson (current parent), Brooks McMahon (current parent), Jordan Howell '00, David Rothrock (current parent)  


The annual two-day Alumni Basketball Tournament in May filled the Wyckoff Gym with past and present St. Joseph players. Organized by alum Bill Sauvage '82, the tournament is a hit each year. Stay tuned to join the fun next year!

Class Reunions


Class of 1964


Calling all members of St. Joseph School's first co-ed class...Before you know it, it will be 50 years since you graduated from St. Joe's. 


Sheila Sifferman Marie has stepped forward to be part of the reunion planning committee. If you would like to be involved, please contact Sheila by phone (206)251-7035 or email at Information about the reunion (tentatively set for July 2014) will be posted on both the school's website and in Reconnections.


You may also connect with your classmates and get involved in the reunion planning on their new Facebook page: St Joseph Grade School, Seattle Class '64).



If you are the contact for your class and would like to post information about your class reunion in Reconnections or on the school's website, please contact Maureen Cartano at .

About Reconnections


Reconnections is an e-mail newsletter from St. Joseph School sent to our alumni, their parents and grandparents, parents whose students attended St. Joseph School but withdrew prior to graduation, and former staff.  


If your contact information is incorrect, please help us update your information by responding via e-mail or clicking on "Update Your Contact Information." Please feel free to forward the newsletter to your family members for whom we do not have an e-mail address. They can add their names to the mailing list.

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If you would like to us to spread the word about your class reunion, please send us the information, and we will include it in the next issue.


Comments, story suggestions and inquiries can be sent to  

Maureen Cartano by responding to this e-mail.

Thank you,

Maureen Cartano 


St Joseph School
700 18th Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98112
Principal:  George Hofbauer  
Academic Vice Principal:  Rick Boyle 
Vice Principal for Student Life:  Patrick Fennessy  
Pastor:  John D. Whitney, S.J.