A Message from Patrick Fennessy
It is a great pleasure to be writing this, my first introduction to the alumni newsletter. Entering my third year at St. Joseph School, and my first as principal, I'm struck more each day by the ties that many of you still have to the school. This makes us a unique Catholic grade school. For example, while I did attend a Catholic grade school, I have never been back there. St Joe's is truly a remarkable school and community.
This year has begun with much energy and excitement. There is a transition underway as I enter a position so long held by George Hofbauer. Thankfully, he's still here, teaching "Hofbauer" history to one class of 8th grade students, and doing some work in the parish.
With my departure from the position of vice principal for student life, we were given the opportunity to fill this position with the wonderful Kris Brown. Kris has been principal at Holy Rosary West Seattle and St. Catherine School, and therefore brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to St. Joe's. She's fitting in very well, and it already seems like she's been here for years.
As with most summers, there was much work to be done in and on the school. The most noticeable project was a major paint job in the main hallways of the original building. We were also able to repaint all of the kindergarten classrooms, making them a bright and welcoming place for our newest students. Most interesting to you, our alumni, might be a visual history of the school that we now have displayed in the main hallway. This is the work of Mary Cunningham, a graphic designer and former school parent.
Not as noticeable, but very important, is some rewiring to improve our network that took place over the summer. While we were one of the first Catholic schools in the city to use CAT-5 cabling, our current hardware was maxing out our existing network. Imagine gridlock traffic on the freeway; that's what our network was experiencing. With the able help of our technology coordinator and the sage advice of former school parent Paul Wyckoff, we were able to work out a plan to upgrade our network and increase our wireless capabilities.
This year we focus on carrying our light. We are asking our students to carry their lights by using the gifts God has given them. Even though you no longer walk the halls, you can still carry the light for St. Joseph School. Some of you do this by sending your children and grandchildren to school here; others do this by continuing to support the school through the annual appeal, endowment or Grandparent Tea; and all of you carry the light by being who you are in your everyday lives, showing your friends, colleagues and families the strong product our school has to offer.
Back to School
On the heels of summer ice cream socials, gathering school supplies and checking the posted class lists, students arrived in full force for the 2012-2013 academic year. Greeted by new principal Patrick Fennessy, new vice principal for student life Kris Brown, and academic vice principal Rick Boyle, children met their teachers on day one, and parents returned for the evening Back-to-School night. The new paint in the old building hallways and kindergarten rooms brightened up their return. A new math program school-wide along with the focus on the Common Core State Standards are highlights for this year.
|Kris Brown welcomes a student back to school.|
|Dads help students settle in.|
Endowment for St. Joseph School board president Mike Vila presented Fr. John Whitney, S.J., with a check for $236,678.91 on Back-to-School night. Funds generated by the endowment help the school fund the growing need for financial aid, and provide opportunities for continuing education for teachers. That we have an endowment of nearly $5.6 million dollars makes us unique amongst Catholic grade schools across the country. And, while it may seem like this is a lot of money, we need to continue to grow the fund. If you would like more information on the endowment, or want to make a donation, please don't hesitate to contact Patrick Fennessy.
Mass of the Holy Spirit
The school community attended the Mass of the Holy Spirit as it does each fall, celebrated by Fr. Whitney, S.J. Planned by the 8th grade class, the liturgy prominently featured the 2012-2103 theme, "We Carry the Light." The mass brings the whole student body, school staff and parents together to start each new year.
The annual Jogathon is a memory held by St. Joseph alumni from several decades now, and this year saw runners out en masse as usual, costumed for the "We Carry the Light" theme. Thanks to all of the enthusiastic runners and volunteers that made this year's Jogathon such a fantastic event. Congratulations to this year's costume winners:
2A Lightening Bolts
3C Fast Flames
6C Run S'Mores
Auction around the corner:
City of Light - the Magic of Paris
The annual school auction is coming up on November 2 and 3, so plan to stop by to socialize, bid and have some fun in support of the school. For more information and to reserve space at the Saturday night dinner, see the school website Auction page in the Development section.
and School Pledge Drive Kick-Off
September's Celebration Dinner brought together school supporters to acknowledge their contributions of time and treasure, officially kick-off this year's School Pledge Drive, and announce the Distinguished Alumni and Hall of Honor awards. School Commission chair Linda Walton presided over the evening, introducing new principal Patrick Fennessy, who then turned over the poduim to School Pledge Drive co-chairs Erin and Jason Hagens.
Linda Walton and husband Andy Hoyal
As products of Catholic education (Erin at St. Anne's, Jason at St. Joseph's ('84), and both Blanchet), the couple spoke about the impact of Catholic education on their development and values, and expressed that they felt they owed the same to their children. Jason,
Erin and Jason Hagens
now CEO of IT services company SWAT Systems, recalled his introduction to computers with Miss Marion right here at St. Joseph School. Erin, a general manager at Microsoft, then joined with Jason in urging the audience to seize the opportunity to invest in the school by participating in the pledge drive to reach this year's goal of $515,000 that will provide funding for financial aid, capital improvements, and staff development.
The evening also included presentations by Patrick Fennessy of the Distinguished Alumni Award to alumnus Dr. Jim Roos and the Hall of Honor Award to current parent Nicki Nelson.
Distinguished Alumnus Dr. Jim Roos ('78) went on to O'Dea High School and the University of Puget Sound after leaving St. Joseph School. He taught in Africa with the Peace Corps and returned to the states to graduate from the Mayo Medical School. Dedicating his life to work abroad, Dr. Roos has worked on three missions with Doctors Without Borders - Sudan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia - practicing family medicine and working with populations in distress. Dr. Roos credited St. Joseph's as part of his childhood that along with his family instilled in him the values he holds today.
Nicki Nelson accepted the Hall of Honor award for her work as a parent volunteer during her years at St. Joseph School. A former Parent Association Board president and current School Commission co-chair, Nicki has devoted countless hours to projects and fundraisers for the school, most recently on her idea for last year's "Toast to Technology" that successfully raised funds put to use for new technology purchases. The award acknowledged Nicki's energy and considerable efforts on behalf of St. Joseph School. Thank you!
If you would like to support St. Joseph School in this year's School Pledge Drive, please visit the school website to make a contribution because as Patrick Fennessy expressed in his remarks at the Celebration Dinner, "We're just getting started."
The St. Joseph community had end-of-the-summer fun together at the annual picnic in September. Rides - a zip line this year! - sno-cones and hot dogs made for a great day with friends old and new. Thanks to the many volunteers that helped out to make the picnic happen.
St. Joseph School Alumni
Continuing the outreach efforts to "build bridges" a group of St. Joseph School staff and alums traveled to our sister parish - San Bartolome - in Arcatao, El Salvador, this summer. School staffers Mary Doquilo, Mary Guerra, Colleen Battaglia, and Jordan Howell ('00) went with the specific aim of learning how our students can connect directly with the students in the San Bartolome parish school. Alums Michael Doquilo ('10), C. J. Battaglia ('11), and Felix Haimerl ('08)
were also part of the group that visited San Salvador, including the tomb of Archbishop Oscar Romero. They spent time at our sister school in Arcatao, and visited neighboring villages that comprise the parish. Time spent at the school focused on improving the school-to-school relationship, creative ways to communicate (future Skyping?), and an introduction to American basketball thanks to the new hoop put up by our alums.
Jordan Howell ('00), who directs CYO Athletics at St. Joseph's, personally took on the installation of the new hoop when questions prior to the trip about how to build school partnership revealed this need. Since shipping was an issue, he crossed his fingers he could accomplish this when he landed, and so took only basketballs as they had none. Thanks to help from the local hosts, a brand new NBA-style hoop was found, purchased, and - with much effort - put up. Realizing that the school students knew little about the sport, and that they were going on a school break, Jordan asked if he could "do a class," aka a basketball camp. He wound up with a group of 15 or so ready to learn the fundamentals! Jordan summed up the cross-cultural experience: "It was really special. They came; we played; I gave them some American candy. The school staff told me that this was one of the most important things our school did for their school." Future efforts will strengthen the school-to-school connection, but sometimes a little fun gets the ball rolling.
Above the Clouds
St. Joseph School staff member Max Andrews ('01) recently successfully scaled Mt. Rainier. The only Seattleite and the youngest in his group of 19, Max reached the summit on the fourth day of the adventure that began at the Whittaker base camp and included crossing the Cowlitz and Ingraham Glaciers and navigating Disappointment Cleaver. Max described the final destination: "...the summit was amazing. The top of Mt. Rainier is crowned with a gigantic crater, the mouth of the volcano...The day we chose to summit was particularly beautiful, the wind was low, and there were no clouds in sight, and the sun was beaming down."
Alumnus John McKay ('70)
American Jewish Committee (AJC) presented John McKay, Seattle University School of Law Visiting Professor of Law, with its Judge Learned Hand Award in September.
The award honor leaders in the legal profession who embody the values Judge Hand represented: the vital importance of individual rights and democratic values for an orderly society. "We are very pleased to be presenting John with this important award," said Wendy Rosen, Regional Director of AJC Seattle. "AJC has chosen to honor John for his exemplary career and a life characterized by his deep and active commitment to the fundamental principles of the United States Constitution. In accepting this tribute, John echoes and affirms AJC's commitment to advancing democratic values across America and around the world."
A great alum story
We were contacted recently by no little things Productions, a local company producing a series of historical videos for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and for the Federal Bar Association to serve as an historic record of our region's federal judges. Those judges include St. Joseph School alumnus Judge Walter T. McGovern ('36), who is now 90 years old. The interviewer related to us that when Judge McGovern recorded his life recollections, some of his fondest and most poignant memories were of the time he spent at St. Joseph School as he was growing up on Capitol Hill. He particularly remembers Fr. McHugh, his first basketball coach. The production company graciously sent us a great photo of the 1935 St. Joseph basketball team shown on the front steps of the school. Judge McGovern is in the front row, far right.
We will keep you posted on access to the finished video.If you come across photos from early St. Joseph School days, please consider passing them along to us for our collection. We are always excited to see them.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
Austen Everett ('01)
Spirited St. Joseph and Blanchet grad remembered as a tenacious goalkeeper for UCSB and University of Miami. Austen's determination to help other youngsters fighting disease led to formation of the Austen Everett Foundation
to raise money for the fight against cancer but also to team up athletes with the children to empower them during their personal fights.
Former Tuskegee airman and popular usher at Seattle sports events. Mr. Hickman and his wife, Doris, sent their four children all through St. Joseph School. He was the first black chair of the school commission, and helped guide it through an era of racial tension. "He was always a gentleman, and he was always someone who positively tried to bring people together and seek common ground," said George Hofbauer, former St. Joseph School principal.
Rhoady Lee, Jr. Longtime Catholic education and St. Joseph School supporter and member of Sacred Heart Parish in Bellevue. Grandfather of St. Joseph School students Nicholas Busto ('07), Margaret Jane Lee ('18), and Mary Patricia Lee ('13).
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.
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|St Joseph School|
700 18th Avenue East
Seattle, WA 98112
Principal: Patrick Fennessy
Academic Vice Principal: Rick Boyle
Vice Principal for Student Life: Kris Brown
Pastor: John D. Whitney, S.J.