St. Joseph School Alumni Newsletter
Issue #28   
Spring 2014
In This Issue
A Message from Patrick Fennessy
Expansion 2014
New Middle School Director
School News/Events
Alums Giving Back
Alumni in the News
Class Reunions
Support St. Joseph School
Endowment News
About Reconnections
Quick Links

A Message from Patrick Fennessy     


Greetings, St. Joseph School Alumni,


I'm excited for you to read this issue of Reconnections because it highlights how alumni are still involved in our school. One of the things that makes our community so strong is that it is multigenerational. I love seeing grandparents of current students come through the school and talk about what it was like when they were here. The fact that so many families tend to stay here on Capitol Hill helps us keep this multigenerational feel going strong.


If you've had a chance to come by campus since the first of April, you've seen construction underway. The expansion project is running smoothly, and we look forward to a new space for the LRC, a central main entrance and new office spaces. Come by anytime to see the action. Also, if you'd like to contribute the project, please let me know. We're working on a stunning donor wall, and we'd love to see your name, or the name of someone you'd like to honor, on it.


We're saying goodbye to some longtime staff members at the end of this year. First grade teacher Beth Peterson, who has been here for 14 years, is stepping away from teaching next year to spend time with her family. In addition to teaching first grade, Beth has been part of our sister parish relationship in Kenya and traveled there a few years ago with her son, Colin ('07).  We also say goodbye to Rick Boyle. For 28 years, Rick has tirelessly served St. Joseph School in so many ways. Mr. Boyle is truly a cornerstone of our school, and we will take every opportunity as the year ends to celebrate his many gifts. Stay tuned for more on that.


As spring comes and goes, please know that you are still part of the St. Joseph School Community. Please stay in touch with us and stop by for a visit anytime.




Expansion 2014 




Fr. John Whitney blessed the school building as we broke ground for the expansion construction. On hand for the occasion was

Fr. Stephen Rowan, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Seattle, who spoke about the value of the project for the future of the school and its families.


Donors and staff participated in the groundbreaking, digging in to kick off the expansion project.  

St. Joseph students had a last chance to inscribe their names and favorite memories on the walls of the building scheduled for demolition.


Demolition of the main office area began March 31.   


This exciting expansion is set to increase the overall size and layout of the Learning Resource Center; create a safe and unified main entrance with space for gathering; improve ADA access; improve the aesthetic of the building; and reorganize offices to streamline work.  


If you'd like to know more about how and why we are expanding, please read more here.

New Director of the Middle School
beginning next year   

Principal Patrick Fennessy announced in April that Ms. Mary Helen Bever has been hired as the new director of the Middle School at St. Joseph School beginning 2014-15. Ms. Bever is currently principal of St. Catherine School in Seattle. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Seattle University and a Juris Doctorate from Willamette University College of Law. She has taught at the elementary and middle school levels, chiefly in mathematics. 


Candidates for the role of director of the Primary School are still in the interview process as of this writing.


School News/Events     

Catholic Schools Week
The last Sunday in January traditionally begins Catholic Schools Week to acknowledge and promote the value of Catholic education. Along with events for parents, staff and students throughout the week, the Open House visitors and Scholastic Book Fair are highlights each year. Mass included the homily by principal Patrick Fennessy and the blessing of our teachers and staff.



El Salvador Visitors

St. Joseph School welcomed visitors from our sister parish, San Bartolome in El Salvador, in early February: Rosa Rivera, director of the parish museum, Vincenta Ovellana, middle school teacher, and Maria Santos, social worker. Welcome assemblies at the school, classroom visits, and an informal dinner were included in the delegation activities. Students enjoyed the opportunity to demonstrate their Spanish language learning.


Seahawks Celebration!
St. Joseph School showed its Seahawks spirit for Super Bowl XLVIII. School was awash is Seahawks gear, hosted a lunchtime tailgate, and went all out with a day off for the celebration parade.


Singapore Math Expert
St. Joseph School enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about Singapore Math in February with presentations and lessons taught by international expert from Singapore, Dr. Yeap Ban Har. Dr. Yeap gave a workshop for teachers, an evening presentation to parents, and classroom lessons for students.


Basketball Champs 

The 8th grade boys AAA CYO basketball team won the CYO Championship in February. With parents, teachers, staff, students, and fans alike, the St. Joseph team played a terrific game against Holy Family Kirkland. While St. Joseph had an early lead, the game was tied at 52-52 with less than three minutes to go. Coaches Pat Kirk and Jordan Howell ('00) reported it was a great game in which all 10 players contributed to the team's success. St. Joseph finished the season a perfect 13-0.


March Outreach

St. Joseph School faithfully continues its Outreach Days each trimester. Early March brought in the donations of food, funds, and items for places like St. Joseph's Baby Corner and St. Francis House. Seventh and eighth grade students go out into the community after a morning prayer service on Outreach Day to spend a day giving back. Our students carry Outreach with them long after they leave St. Joseph's. 


Little Green Footprints

Many alums recall those little green footprints through the primary building hallway following March 17. This year was no exception. Despite the many fabulous first grade leprechaun traps on display, there was no sign of those clever wee people but their tracks...


CYO Volleyball Championship 

The 7th grade girls AAA volleyball team won the CYO championship 2-0 against Our Lady of Fatima. Coaches Liz Pauldine and Julia Koh thanked all who came out to support this talented group of athletes, saying the girls truly represent the spirit of the sport, great "teamsmanship," and the values of CYO athletics. 


Alums Giving Back  


We have so many alumni that contribute to St. Joseph School in so many ways. Here are profiles of three of our alums currently giving time on committees to further the work of St. Joe's: Spencer Hurst ('91), Rosemary Dunigan ('81) and Michael Mullally ('90).



Spencer Hurst ('91)  
School Commission

Finance Committee 


For Spencer Hurst, "the formative years of my life" were at St. Joe's. Spencer started out at St. Therese, but came to St. Joseph School in second grade, so he clarifies that he is not technically "a lifer"! Nonetheless, he's active as a member of the School Commission and the Finance Committee even though he does not yet have children at the school. With two young daughters, he has a few years before they reach kindergarten.


After St. Joe's, Spencer went on to graduate from Seattle Prep and Santa Clara University. He currently works in commercial real estate. So how did Spencer end up back at St. Joe's? "George," he said. With no alums on the School Commission at the time, George Hofbauer, former principal, was looking to expand the demographic mix of the group and tapped Spencer to join. A survivor of George's history class, Spencer had a good relationship with Mr. Hofbauer and agreed to the offer. He later added the Finance Committee spot.


Spencer has enjoyed being an outsider looking in during his tenure: "I'm impressed with how big an enterprise St. Joe's is, the amount of money raised, and what it takes to run the school - continually looking ahead at things like technology." He notes that not being a parent gives him an interesting perspective and that he feels "healthy discernment" is taking place right now with an eye toward the future of the school. He encourages other alums to consider becoming involved.


Grade 2: Spencer 1st in 1st row.

"St. Joe's has given me a lot in my life," Spencer says. "It's important to recognize that, and if you have talents and perspectives that you can bring to a group, it's a good thing. I'm happy to help out."




Rosemary Dunigan ('81)

School Commission

Parent Association Board

Endowment for St. Joseph School

Development Committee (past)

School Pledge Drive Chair (past)


Rosemary (Gemperle) Dunigan has a long history of commitment to St. Joseph School, with roots going back to her parents' involvement as head of what was then called the Parent Club during the years of transition when George Hofbauer took the helm as principal of St. Joe's in the seventies. Rosemary came to the school in second grade from Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary and was promptly moved up to third grade right away. After leaving St. Joseph, Rosemary went on to Seattle Prep and Santa Clara University, completed her Master's in Counseling at Seattle University, and worked in drug and alcohol counseling prior to starting her family. She has two children at St. Joe's and an alumna daughter at Holy Names. 


Now in her fifth year on the Parent Association Board, her third as president, Rosemary was instrumental in the playground renovation a few years ago. She has spent time on the Development Committee, chaired the School Pledge Drive with her husband, Mike, and is also on the School Commission and the Endowment board. The reason she volunteers? "To help people," she says, "to be of service if not professionally then as a volunteer."


What does she enjoy most about her many hours given to St. Joe's? Working with a great combination of volunteers to give back to the community," she says. She enjoys being involved in her kids' education and being on the inside when it comes to planning that affects the school. Going forward, Rosemary sees the Parent Association Board continuing to focus more on its efforts to help parents feel like they are partners in their children's education.   

Rosemary grade 3 

Her advice to alums? "Find a way to be more engaged," Rosemary says. "The more you put in, the more you get out." Ever the supporter, she also urges alums to make a donation to the Endowment for St. Joseph School. 



Michael Mullally ('90)

Endowment for St. Joseph School


"The Jesuit education taught me to question," says Michael Mullally. "What you get here (at St. Joseph School) is the foundation for a conscience and a set of morals." That aspect of his education at St. Joe's is out front when Michael reflects on his student years starting in first grade. Now working in mergers and acquisitions, Michael went on to Seattle Prep and Santa Clara University and has two children currently at St. Joseph School. He is back giving his time for the school as a board member of the Endowment for St. Joseph School working on its finance and audit committee.


Asked how he got involved, Michael explained that the Endowment had an event to recruit interested folks, and board president Mike Vila approached him. The board was looking for more demographic diversity, and he fit the bill. "I have known St. Joseph School for the last 30 years," he says. "Some of the same teachers are still here. So I know the history and have an affinity for the school."


Michael enjoys the opportunity to give back with a group of parents and administrators in a productive format where people are trying to make the school better. For him, it is important "to ensure the viability of a very important education system. The Endowment is a means to ensure that Catholic education is available to a diverse group of students." He also feels that the school is a vehicle for getting people back to church. He sees a vibrant and involved community at St. Joe's and views the growth in the level of parent involvement as a plus.

Michael grade 5

Other alums should consider getting involved, Michael thinks. "When we give our time, we want to feel it's worthwhile," he says. "The Endowment is worthwhile to ensure the viability of the institution, that it can be around to offer an excellent education to a broad spectrum of kids."



We thank all of these alumni for their time and for their many contributions that maintain the viability and legacy of St. Joseph School.  

Alumni in the News  

Patrick Greeley ('10) made a huge contribution to the Garfield High School boys win over Richland in the 4A state basketball championship in early March. Congratulations!




Tavio Hobson ('98) was featured in the April edition of ParentMap: "2014 Superheroes for Washington Families" and talked about his St. Joseph roots. Read more here.


St. Joseph School  

Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award

Nominations are now being accepted for the St. Joseph School Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award to be announced in September 2014. Please visit the Alumni page on the school's website to find a description of the award and list of previous years' recipients. If you would like to submit a nomination, please contact Maureen Cartano at or 206-329-3260 ext. 201.




Class Reunions

Class of 1964

Sheila Sifferman Marie and Tom Cannon are co-chairing the Class of '64 "50th" Reunion to be held on Friday May 2, 2014 in the St Joseph Parish Center Arrupe Room from 4-8 p.m. School principal Patrick Fennessy will be the guest speaker!


Please contact Sheila 206-252-7035 or  or Tom 206-322-4819. We also have a Facebook page: St. Joseph Grade School, Seattle Class '64. Please help us reconnect with our classmates and make this a tremendous evening to remember!


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 .

Support St. Joseph School 


Plan to GiveBIG for St. Joseph School on May 6

The Seattle Foundation's GiveBIG is a one-day, online charitable giving event to inspire people to give generously to nonprofit organizations that make our region a healthier and more vital place to live. Taking place only on May 6, each donation made to St. Joseph School through the Seattle Foundation website on May 6 will receive a prorated portion of the matching funds (or "stretch") pool.


Read the current GiveBIG profile for St. Joseph School here.


2013-2014 School Pledge Drive
Thank you to all who have supported this year's pledge drive!
The deadline for payments for this year is June 1, so you still have time to pledge and donate: 


Endowment News

St. Joseph alumni, families and friends are invited
to attend the Endowment's fundraising Golf Tournament.

Thursday, May 15
Newcastle Golf Club

Register Online
Proceeds will benefit the Learning Resource Fund.

For more information please contact Najat Cola
(206) 329-3260 ext. 267 or 


Endowment for St. Joseph School:

Educating and inspiring students
to reach their God-given potential 


The purpose of the Endowment is to strengthen and sustain, for years to come, a rich, faith-centered academic experience for all students at St. Joseph School.


Through the support of generous donors, the Endowment finances student tuition, supports teacher enrichment programs, and pays for special academic programs and opportunities. Each year, grants from the Endowment enable dozens of children to attend St. Joseph School, help stimulate our students' academic achievement and their unique passions for learning, and further the skills of our teaching staff. Because we spend only the interest earned from the principal, the Endowment will support these goals in perpetuity, advancing St. Joseph School's mission to educate and inspire students to reach their God-given potential for many generations to come. 

For more information or to make a donation to the Endowment please contact Patrick Fennessy at (206) 329-3260 ext 218 or

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.

If you do not wish to receive Reconnections, simply use the

"unsubscribe" feature, and your e-mail address will be removed.  

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:  Patrick Fennessy 
Academic Vice Principal:  Rick Boyle 
Vice Principal for Student Life:  Kris Brown 
Pastor:  John D. Whitney, S.J.