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School News 2018-2019

Pre-K and Kindergarten Information Night

2019 PK K Info Night v2It’s that time of year to start planning for your Pre-K or Kindergartener to start school. As one school mom put it,” If you’re looking for a quality education, and amazing community, check out St. Mary’s School!” For five out of five years St. Mary’s School has been a winner in the Sarpy County People’s Choice awards for Elementary Schools. We love our school and are honored many others feel the same way. Please join us Tuesday, January 22nd from 6:30-7:30 P.M. to receive information on the St. Mary’s School Difference. We’d love for you to join us and be a part of our family of faith. Click here for more details about Information Night and our Pre-K and Kindergarten Roundup.




Karate Promotion and Opportunities at St. Mary's

Karate Promotion and OpportunitiesLast week the St. Mary's Karate club held promotion testing. Congratulations to Levi States who was promoted to the rank of Hachi Kyu (8th grade). The St. Mary's karate club meets on Monday's and Friday's after school in the karate room (across from the gym). Cost is $90 per semester. If you would like to join the club there will be an organizational meeting for prospective members Friday, January 11th immediately after school. Contact Andy Metzger at 292-8899 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.if you would like to join the club or if you have any questions.







Our Tree Gets A Special Visitor

Visit TreeOver Christmas break, Mr. Kim, St. Mary's Chess coach from 2010-2014, and his family stopped by to see our tree and took a photo. Thanks for stopping by. It was great to see your smiling faces. St. Mary's 8th grade students decorated the Nebraska Tree which was on the Mall through the 2018 Christmas holidays.

St. Mary’s School Taste of Bellevue Art Walk

Taste of Bellevue Art Walk cropWe’d like to welcome you to the first annual St. Mary’s School “Taste of Bellevue: Art Walk!” The walk runs from December 19th – January 5th. The 8th grade art students have created artwork for three Bellevue hot spots: Dairy Twist, Downtown Coffee Shop and Uptown Bakery. Come and support the student’s art and our local businesses. Here’s how: Cut off your Art Walk TICKET and visit our three art locations. Enjoy the artwork, a bite to eat and get your ticket initialed by a member of their staff. Tickets that get ALL 3 STOPS COMPLETED may be turned in to Miss Menzel and will be entered in for a chance to win a gift certificate from one of our participating businesses. What a great way to spend some time with friends and family while the kids and grandkids are home for Christmas. The tickets include the name of the business, business hours, and a spot for initials. Click here for pdf.

A Special Holiday Treat – Visit St. Mary’s Tree in D.C.

Alumni Visit St. Marys Tree DCDaniel Sjostedt, graduate of St. Mary's class of 2008, and Erin Oliva, stand next to our Nebraska tree in Washington, DC. Dan lives and works in Washington, D.C. Even if you don’t live in the D.C. area but plan to visit over the holidays, stop on by and visit the Nebraska Tree decorated by St. Mary’s students, take a photo of yourself and send it to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Let us know if you are an alumni, parent, friend or family member of a St. Mary’s student. We’d love to hear from you. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.



Snow Play: Learning at its Finest

SnowPlay6St. Mary’s teachers recognize the importance of play in a child’s development. Students are encouraged to bring snow pants and cold weather gear so they can climb and play on the snow drifts in the school yard. While they play, they learn. Snow play requires creativity, scientific observation and negotiation skills. Think of the creativity fostered as children build snow creatures. They learn the complexities of problem solving as they try to mold snow into different shapes. Adventurous types learn about construction and the properties of physics as they build walls for snow forts. Snow play is play at its finest for our students-experimenting, discovering, problem solving, negotiating, and creating all wrapped up with the emotion of joy in their St. Mary’s winter wonderland. For more photos click here.

St. Mary’s Nebraska Tree on the National Mall in D.C.

SMTree1It’s official. Thanks to St. Mary’s friends we now have photos of the Nebraska Christmas tree on display as part of the National Park Service and National Park Foundation 2018 America Celebrates display both in the day and at night all lit up. SMTree16St. Mary’s students adorned the Nebraska Tree with ornaments they made to represent the history, culture and heritage of our state. Visitors can walk among the trees that sit just blocks from the White House. St. Mary’s School is one of 56 schools chosen from the 50 states and 6 territories of the United States. What an honor for our students and school. We hope if you are in the D.C. area over the Christmas holidays you will stop by and take a look at the talents of St. Mary’s students on display. For more photos click here.

College of St. Mary's Science Workshops Benefit Our Students

science workshop 2ATeachers and students alike enjoy learning and experiencing the chemical reaction between food coloring, detergent, and milk. Thank you, College of Saint Mary’s, for offering workshops that enable staff members Ms. Gaspers seen at the workshop, Miss Jankovich sharing Lab lesson with 4th graders Gavin Balanay and Arianna Cervantesscience workshop 1A, and Mrs. Lewis to enhance our Science Curriculum. Also, thank you Dr. Wallinger for providing the funding for staff members to attend these monthly workshops. As you can see, both the staff and students are benefiting from these great opportunities. We cannot wait to see what is in store for the remainder of the school year.




Holiday Night for the History Books

TreeLighting2CropWe just got back from the evening and it was truly amazing says Miss Menzel, St. Mary’s art teacher.! The night was filled with messages of peace and holiday cheer and the White House ellipse looked beautiful with the surrounding state trees. 

She says, we're heading back to Nebraska tomorrow morning.

It was such a thrill, even though we could only see our ornaments from afar. Unfortunately, there was no access to the trees during the event. We were thinking of asking Maureen Sobilo's, or another D.C. daughter or another D.C. Connection, to go over and take photos for us while they're on display if they have time.  TreeLighting1They had everything roped off for the event, but we saw our Nebraska tree from a distance and it looked GREAT! We could totally make out some of the students ornaments and I was overwhelmed with pride for all their hard work said Miss Menzel. 

The evening brought smiles to our faces and as we shared our reason for being there with the people seated around us, and took in their reactions of excitement and awe that our community helped to get us there, we couldn't help but feel the love of St. Mary's. Even the Dominican Sisters whose order founded our school were there performing. Talk about divine intervention. There’s no such thing as coincidence.

Miss Menzel says the whole experience was truly amazing and we were able to sit just twelve rows behind the President and First Lady as they lit the National Christmas Tree to start the holiday season. And little St. Mary’s was part of it all. Thank you to all of our supporters. For more photos click here.


The People’s Choice

2018 Sarpy Peoples Choice elem schoolThe County has spoken and for the fifth year in a row St. Mary’s Catholic School has been selected as a winner in the Sarpy County People’s Choice Awards for 2018. Thank you to all the people who voted for us. We love our school and are honored that so many feel the same way. Join us and be part of our family of faith.




The Trip of a Lifetime is ON! – Thank You

NationalChristmasTreeMiss Menzel our Art teacher and Dr. Wallinger our principal will be at the National Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, D.C. November 28th thanks to the financial support of school parents and parishioners. What an honor for them to be there as St. Mary’s is recognized with our school and state’s name next to our tree. St. Mary’s was chosen among 56 schools (representing 50 states and 6 territories) to create Christmas ornaments to decorate their state/territory’s tree as part of the National Park Foundation 2018 America Celebrates display. DCOrnaments1The ornaments which symbolize the history, heritage and culture of Nebraska were sent to the White House about a month ago. Miss Menzel, and the 8th grade class had been hard at work for over a month, researching, and creating the one of a kind ornaments. The America Celebrates display which surrounds the National Christmas Tree, is free and open to visitors throughout the Christmas season. Stay tuned for more details and photos of the trip from the two who are representing St. Mary’s and Nebraska. The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation say Ovation and REELZ will broadcast the 2018 National Christmas Tree Lighting on Sunday, December 2 at 10 p.m EDT.

A Celebration of Gratitude and Appreciation – Kindergarten and Fourth Grade Buddies

A Celebration of Gratitude and Appreciation Kindergarten and Fourth Grade Buddies 1At St. Mary's School, we have "Buddy Classes." These are classrooms from different grade levels that meet routinely. The goal of the Buddy Classes is to create bonds between older students and younger students. The older students become role models for these younger students. There are many powerful examples when these classroom connections enhance our vital school community. One example, is the Kindergarten and fourth grade Buddies Thanksgiving Celebration. The day before Thanksgiving break began, our Kindergarten and fourth grade class enjoyed a story, feast, and watched the Mayflower movie. In the story, "Thanksgiving at the Tappletons'" by Eileen Spinelli, the Tappletons are preparing for a great Thanksgiving. But this year nothing seems to go right. First, the turkey slides down the icy hill and into the pond -- "plop! splash!" Then, the bakery sells out of pies. It looks like it's going to be a pretty bleak holiday, until Grandmother reminds everyone that there's more to Thanksgiving than a turkey and trimmings.A Celebration of Gratitude and Appreciation Kindergarten and Fourth Grade Buddies2 In the story the family enjoys some non-tradition thanksgiving food (like butter sandwiches and juice boxes). The Kindergarten and fourth grade families at St. Mary's donated the same foods so the kids could "experience" the same Thanksgiving in the story and be reminded that family and friends are what's important. In the attached pictures, you'll see the joy from this mentor program at St. Mary's.

A special thanks to Becky Feagan who captures the "a picture is worth a thousand words" essence.



Academic Honors Awarded

Honors Assembly Fall1Honors Assembly Fall4At St. Mary’s School the Honor Roll recognizes academic achievement of students in grades sixth through eighth grade. The below students are being recognized for Honor Roll, first quarter of 2018-2019:

Highest Honors (all A’s; 95.5-100%):
6th Grade: Daniel Wessling
7th Grade: Judith Kadjo Gnambi, Christian Swiecicki
8th Grade: Maria Connealy, Joanna Goetz, Joseph Kouba

First Honors (No grade below B; 92.5-95.4%)
6th Grade: Jillian Sasek, Abigail Tayman,
7th Grade: Hudson Ames, Amelia Kirkpatrick, Ayla Lee, Katherine Orloski, Seth Thompson

8th Grade: Carson Ames, Harshil Amin, Elisabeth DuGuay, Mary Engelkamp, Malual Mamer, Josephine Mansisidor, Megan Schneider, Bailey Yale

Second Honors (No grade below C; 86-92.4%)
6th Grade: Delaney Meinders, Amelia Schulze, Taylee Wharton, Maura Williams, Addison Pithan,
7th Grade: Anush Bhujel, Joseph Brown, Audrey Leighow, Aaron Schmitz,
8th Grade: Joshua Braxton, Kuol Deng, Joseph Dunham, Jason Goetz, Jacob Legner, Isabella Nastase, Makayla Plisek

Congratulations on your academic achievement!  For more photos click here.

St. Mary's School Grant from Shopko Foundation for Science Fun

ShopkograntA special thanks to the Shopko Foundation for their $440 grant to the St. Mary’s School science programs. St. Mary’s School will use the grant proceeds to fund dissection labs in Middle School, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) classroom labs and other related hands on science activities. In Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten, students will build a human body model to learn where organs and vital body parts are located and how they are positioned in the human body. Students in our primary grades will use prisms to refract light and understand the spectral components of light sources. They will see white light turn into a rainbow of colors. Our Middle School students will observe and explore the internal and external anatomy of the starfish. They will carefully dissect a starfish to understand how it moves and the water vascular system it contains. They will also dissect an eye to understand how the eyeball works, and the relationship between an eye lens and an optical lens. Third, fourth and fifth graders will use hands on experiments to enhance their STEM learning. We are very thankful for this opportunity and the support from Shopko. When you visit our local Shopko, please extend your thanks.

Budding Botanists Prepare for Winter

BuddingBWinter11To everything there is a season. In October our Budding Botanists were preparing the school gardens for winter. They were out in force pulling weeds, trimming, clearing debris, and picking up sticks.BuddingBWinter13 St. Mary’s School has beautiful gardens because of the tender care our Budding Botanists provide with the help of mentors and teachers Cindy Menzel, Sharon Gaspers, Diane Embury, Marion Lewis and Mary Pat Harms. They are learning life-long lessons on gardening, and being God’s servants, all the while enjoying the beautiful Nebraska weather and each other. For more photos click here.

St. Mary’s School to Represent Nebraska at National Tree Lighting in D.C.

DCOrnaments1St. Mary’s School has been selected as the Nebraska representative for The National Park Service and National Park Foundation 2018 America Celebrates display. St. Mary’s was chosen among 56 schools (representing 50 states and 6 territories) to create Christmas ornaments to decorate their state/territory’s tree. DCOrnaments2The ornaments are to symbolize the history, heritage and culture of their home states. Miss Menzel, our school art teacher and the 8th grade class have been hard at work for over a month, researching, sketching out ideas and creating one of a kind ornaments to be sent to the White House as part of the display. Dr. Wallinger accepted the challenge to design the schools 24th ornament. The America Celebrates display which surrounds the National Christmas Tree, is free and open to visitors throughout the Christmas season. As a thank you, St. Mary’s will be recognized with our school and state’s name next to our tree. We will also receive two tickets to attend the National Tree Lighting Ceremony November 28th so we can represent St. Mary’s and Nebraska. Miss Menzel and Dr. Wallinger would like to represent our school and state at the lighting ceremonies. They will be having some fund-raising activities to fund their trip. If you would like to make a donation to help them reach their target of $700 dollars please mark the outside of the envelope “DC Plea” and turn it into Mrs. Braxton in the office. Thank you for your support. We’ll be sure to show you the special ornaments and take photos of the event. For more photos click here.

Experiencing Another Culture

ExperiencingAnotherCulture2The 8th grade Spanish class took an afternoon trip to El Museo Latino. There they received a guided tour through the museum viewing artifacts from contemporary artist, Marcela Diaz from Mexico. She uses traditional materials of cotton and coconut fibers to create unique sculptures.ExperiencingAnotherCulture1 The class also viewed a life size ofrenda, an altar to remember loved ones who have passed away. In Mexico, they celebrate the Day of the Dead, Día de los Muertos from October 31st through November 2nd where family members tell stories, sometimes humorous, of family that their young members may never have met. It makes the older generation more real. The students painted their own Day of the Dead mask to take home. We very much appreciate the support from our Home and School Association who make trips like this possible. For more photos click here.

Father Matt Comes Home to Visit

FatherMattMass10RevFather Matt Rolling, a St. Mary’s alumnus, class of ‘96 is studying in Rome but always manages to find time to come back home to his alma mater. FatherMattMass3He graces us with his presence as he serves at one of our weekly Masses. It sure is good to see him again. Father Matt will complete his studies in Rome in May 2019 and then will make his way back to Nebraska. He will be teaching at St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Nebraska. For more photos click here.

The Sign of the Cross

Sign of the Cross1The Kindergarten class made a puppet to look like themselves.Sign of the Cross2 They used it to practice learning the correct way to make the sign of the cross. They got to practice showing their knowledge to several different partners before taking their mini me home to proudly show their parents what they learned!



The Gift of Public Speaking Starts Early and Naturally

Public Speaking rev2At St. Mary's School, our students have many opportunities for public speaking, even in the younger grades. Here is a student at our Wednesday, All School Mass, reading the Mass Intentions. She was one of eight, 2nd grade students who read at Mass. One of our recent graduates, now attending public high school was asked what she observed as any major differences between herself and her public-school counterparts. She said, “one of the differences she really noticed was her advanced ability in speaking expressively and extemporaneously.” Her mom attributes it to reading during Mass and other public speaking that the St. Mary's students do. Even at a young age, they are taught, "you have something to contribute."

Prayer Warriors Meet Weekly at St. Mary’s School

JrLegionOfMary1The Junior Legion of Mary prayer group has gotten off to a strong start. Currently ten students, along with leader Mrs. Teresa Hollars and Father Val meet on Mondays after school to pray the rosary. At the beginning of each decade they include prayer requests from students and staff. If you have a prayer request, please drop it off in the box in front of the office so we can pray for you. New members are always welcome. Come join us in the Spanish room on Mondays until 4:30 P.M. If you have any questions please contact Mrs. Sjostedt. For more photos click here.

Sixth Grade Service Project Benefits Babies and New Parents

EPSBabyDriveDelivery2For seven years now, the 6th grade class has sponsored a Baby Drive for Essential Pregnancy Services (EPS). Your generosity enabled the class to walk across the street and deliver more than 50 beautiful baby items for new parents and their babies. While at EPS, students got to tour the building, visit the classroom where the nurse showed them pictures of a developing baby, see the boutique where parents select needed baby items and learned about services available for new parents who may be struggling with the arrival of a new baby. Students found out all baby items are free, parents earn them by taking different classes such as baby safety. Many thanks to everyone who supported our efforts by making donations. That allows us to continue our mission to promote and support life at all stages. For more photos click here.

6th Grade Science Gets Its “Mad Scientist” On With Fun Experiments With Dry Ice

IMG 0064Who knew learning about changes of state in matter, specifically sublimation, going from a solid to a gas without becoming a liquid, and the transfer of thermal energy that causes changes of state could be so cool? Sixth graders got a real treat with some hands-on experimentation using dry ice. Here’s what our student writer, Taylee Wharton reported: When Mrs. Ham, our Middle School Science Teacher, took a brown paper bag with dry ice in it, students noticed condensation, that’s where the gas becomes a liquid. We all felt the bag and observed dry ice is more dense than normal ice. As soon as we opened the bag, fog started to come out (sublimation). It stopped fogging for a minute when Mrs. Ham put the ice on a towel. Then it started to fog again. When an object touched the ice, it sizzled and the tongs started to freeze. Mrs. Ham also demonstrated how dry ice shatters into pieces when struck. She showed us what happens when dry ice is put in water – a lot of fog, just like a scary Halloween movie! Eventually the dry ice will totally dissolve. When the dry ice was put in soapy water, the water bubbled up so high it overflowed. Finally, students put some metal nails in the dry ice to see what would happen. Some thought the nails would rust, but they just froze onto the dry ice.

EPS Baby Drive

The 6th grade class is sponsoring their annual service project to support life, a baby drive. Just a reminder it’s not to late to help them by donating to their cause. They are collecting baby items for the Essential Pregnancy Services located across the street from our school. The drive ends September 28th. Items requested but not limited to include: Girls: 0-3 months: fall/winter girls’ sleepers, outfits and onesies, 0-6 months: girls’ socks and hats and any baby blankets and medium gift bags. Please bring your donations to the school office or give them to any 6th grade student. Thanks for helping support our tradition of service to others. Next week the students will take a tour at EPS and bring their donations with them.

Constitutional Conflict Then and Now- History Brought to Life

Durham AssemblyConstConflictSt. Mary’s was excited to welcome actors from the Durham Museum who presented “Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton: Conflict and the Constitution” at an assembly for grades four through eight. This glimpse of the full performance examined the need for balance between State’s rights and a centralized government while giving the audience a taste of what the negotiations were really like. Throughout this presentation, students witnessed how the relationships between key figures, and the need for compromise, between two opposing factions resulted in the development of the imperfect, but ever evolving, government we have today.

A Life Changing Moment for Pre-K Students and Some Monarch Butterflies

Butterflies1Pre-K students witness the beauty of nature as they release Monarch butterflies. Three females and one male butterfly were set free. The class was thrilled! For weeks, in class, they learned about the stages of a butterfly and through observation, saw the transformation from a chrysalis to a butterfly. They learned that Monarchs are among the most easily recognizable of the butterfly species which call the Americas home. Monarch butterflies are bright orange with black and white markings. The body of the monarch is black. The head has a set of antennae. From the thorax come the wings which are mostly orange with black veins running throughout. The outer edge of the wings has a think black border. Within the black border are white spots. From now on, these Pre-K students will have a new appreciation for one of God’s creatures that blesses us with their presence each year. For more photos click here.



Having Fun With a Buddy

Having Fun With a Buddy1“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” - Dr. Seuss
Kindergarten and 4th graders got together to start the new year off. At St. Mary’s we have buddy classes where our older students mentor our younger students. This fosters new relationships that set a wonderful environment at our school. It builds team spirit and camaraderie. Oh! The things we can do. We get to create things, read together and sit next to each other in Mass to name a few. Today, we were being creative. It sure is fun having a buddy! For more photos click here.

STEM Breeds Creativity in the Classroom

STEM1Each year fourth graders work in teams to create a STEM tower. This is where the student’s creativity meets with their learning. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This simple task helps the students develop an understanding of technological design along with identifying a simple problem and possible solutions. Students are given 50 index cards along with 12 inches of tape. Nothing else is used except for their previous experiences, team work, and ingenuity. They must create a tower at least 20 inches high that will hold "Harry, the Birthday Spider" for 30 seconds. Although not all towers stood successfully, all students were successful in the task.  For more photos click here.

Rhythm and Words Make Up Something Musically Delicious!

K music rev Kindergarten students have been exploring the rhythm of different words in music class to start off the new school year. We choose a theme and then brainstorm on what we will include in our creation. Then we put all the items or ingredients together into an interesting class performance. So far, we have made a rhythm pizza and a rhythm hamburger - it has been musically delicious!



Home and School and Your Volunteerism

StMarysLogo 1890x1158Members of the Executive Board of St. Mary’s Home and School Association are excited to welcome you to the 2018-2019 school year and want to thank you for the hours of work you as families of St. Mary’s School dedicated to the students and teachers last school year. Through our fundraising efforts during the fireworks stand, the fall fundraiser, monthly food nights and the benefit auction, we raised more than $100,000 for our school. These events are only successful due to the generous service of our families.
Please note, it is each family’s obligation to fulfill service hours for the school each year. For two parent families, the service hour obligation is 20 hours and 10 hours for single parent families. Many activities Home and School sponsors need parent volunteers or these events cannot take place. Please take a few minutes to complete the volunteer form. Click here for form. at this link: Home and School Volunteer Coordinator, Lisa Schneider, will send out emails accompanied by links to Sign-up Genius with volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
Upcoming Events for August hosted by Home and School:
· Welcome back ice cream social - August 13th 6 pm – 7 pm @ St. Mary’s School gym
· Arrows to Aerospace parade – August 18th 10:00 am start time – participants will meet in school parking lot at time to be announced

Please prayerfully consider how you will use your talents during the 2018-2019 school year to serve our school community through Home and School volunteer opportunities.

St Mary's Information

St. Mary's Catholic School is a Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth Grade School of the Archdiocese of Omaha. Our mission is to provide a Catholic education that nurtures students' hearts and minds to become servant leaders in an ever-changing world.

Our philosophy of education is to offer a five-day program to assist families in teaching those truths, skills, and ideals, which are necessary for Christian living. We believe that education must develop the faculties and abilities of the whole child: spiritually, intellectually, physically, and emotionally. To help achieve this, our faculty and staff are an integral part of the formation of Christian community and dedicate themselves to the task of developing Christian citizens.



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