Students prepare home for refugee family
Over 50 members of the St. Mary’s High School community – including members of the Student Senate, Faculty, Staff, and Parents – spent a recent Saturday morning on the West Side of Buffalo cleaning and furnishing a home for a refugee family. Working in cooperation with Journey’s End, an organization that welcomes refugees and provides them with a variety of services as they arrive in Buffalo, the students scrubbed the house from top to bottom, put furniture and other household items in all of the rooms, hung curtains, constructed beds, and prepared the house so that the guest family will feel welcome and at home.
According to Mrs. Lynn Tytka, co-moderator of the Student Senate, working with Journey’s End was a perfect opportunity for the school to reach out in service to the community.
“Every year, Student Senate does a service project,” she explained. “This year, one of our seniors suggested Journey’s End because she had worked with them in the past.”
The service project actually began before Christmas, as the whole school contributed items that would be helpful to furnish the house. This included furniture, cribs, strollers, dishware, toiletries, drapes, and lots more. The students then waited for Journey’s End to find a house to work on. Senate was notified early in February that a house was found – located on Albany Street on the city’s West Side.
On Saturday, Feb. 28, the students, moderators, and families gathered at St. Mary’s to load all of the donated items into the vehicles for the trip to the city.
Upon arrival, students were assigned different tasks throughout the house including removing items left by the previous residents, cleaning all of the rooms, shoveling all
of the entrance ways, and bringing in and setting up all of the donated items. Once everything was in place, the students made a sign to welcome the family to their new home.
“It was great that we can make such a difference in the lives of other people,” said senior Kayla Murphy, the student who recommended the Journey’s End project to the Student Senate. “It’s great that we can get everyone at St. Mary’s involved – the students, the teachers, the alumni. I was amazed at how much stuff was donated – almost too much stuff – and it was great to have so many people show up to help.
“I think this project also opens the eyes of the students, to bring them back down to earth,” Kayla continued. “Many of us have never seen a house like this, to have tires and boards spread all over the place. It was nice that we could make it nice to – I know it sounds like a cliché – to turn a house into a home.”
“I thought that the entire project went very well,” Mrs. Tytka added. “The students were very interested in helping: they showed a lot of compassion for this family, wanting to make the house a home and make them feel welcome.”
“It was great to go out to our own community to help someone coming to Buffalo, to make them feel welcome,” commented Austin Klink, President of the Student Senate. “It was great that the whole school was involved with this project, from donating items to actually going there to prepare the house. I hope that more people will be involved in a project like this in the future, to see from start to finish how we can help people.”
“I thought the project was awesome,” said junior Kendra Ciezki. “Instead of just donating items, we had the chance to see the change from an empty house to a livable home. I wish we could do more projects like this, to spend a little time to directly help a family.”
Spirit Week - February 9-13
Now that January exams and the first semester are over and the second semester classes have begun, St. Mary’s High School will take time for a little fun, as the school celebrates Spirit Week during the week of February 9 to 13.
Sponsored by Student Senate, the week will combine special dress and fun events to hopefully lift school spirit during the cold of winter.
Here is the complete schedule for Spirit Week 2015:
|Mon, Feb. 9
||Tues, Feb. 10
||Wed, Feb. 11
||Thurs, Feb. 12
||Fri, Feb. 13
Blue vs. White
(Seniors & Sophomores – white or gray on top; Juniors & Freshmen – blue on top; Pride Day
bottoms; no jeans)
Ext. HR / PM Liturgy
Superheroes vs. Villains
(dress as your favorite superhero or villain or wear a t-shirt of them; shorts over tights; no yoga pants, face painting allowed)
Mathlete vs. Athlete
(dress as a nerd or a jock; no jeans)
Going to Ball vs.
Going to Bed
(formal dress or pajama
dress; must be appropriate)
Powderpuff Football Game 3 to 4:30pm
Battle of the Bands
(dress in country, hip-hop, punk, etc.; jeans are allowed)
January Exam Schedule
Due to the snow storm and cancelled school in November, changes were made to the January Exam Schedule to make up for lost class time. Many mid-term exams are either being incorporated into the class schedule or have been cancelled.
The following is the schedule for final and Regents exams for the week of January 26 to 30:
|Mon, Jan. 26
||Tues, Jan. 27
||Wed, Jan. 28
||Thurs, Jan. 29
||Fri, Jan. 30
Regular Class Schedule
Students taking the
Algebra 1 Common Core Exam or the English Regents Exam (make-up) will miss periods 5 through 9. Afternoon Regents Exams ends at about 3 p.m. (students will have to provide their own
Regular Class Schedule
Students taking the
Global Studies Regents Exam (make-up) will miss periods 1 through 4.
Students taking the Intergated Algebra Regents Exam will miss
periods 4 through 9.
Afternoon Regents Exam ends at about 3 p.m. (students will have to provide their own
8 to 9 a.m
Grade 9 – Study Skills Final Exam
Grade 10 – Old Testament Final Exam
Grade 11 – Morality Final Exam
Grade 12 – Social Justice Final Exam
Students taking the
Geometry Regents Exam (make-up) will miss
periods 1 through 5.
Students taking the Chemistry Regents Exam (make-up) will miss periods 5 through 9. Afternoon Regents Exam ends at about 3 p.m. (students will have to provide their own
8 to 9 a.m
Grade 9 – Study Skills Final Exam Pt. 2
Grade 10 – Old Testament Final Exam Pt. 2
Grade 11 – Morality Final Exam Pt. 2
Grade 12 – Social Justice Final Exam Pt. 2
Students taking the
Algebra 2/Trig Regents Exam (make-up) will miss
periods 1 through 5.
No School for Students
Faculty / Staff Retreat
Final Exams not listed here will be given in class.
Check the class Schoology page for the dates.
NHS welcomes new members
On Wednesday, Dec. 10, the Marian Chapter of the National Honor Society welcomed 37 new members.
The Induction was held in the Gus Galasso Performing Arts Center as part of a ceremony that included passing of a candlelight, reading of the new inductees’ biographies, and a dessert reception.
The newest members are Seniors Andrew Blaszak,
Jessica Michalski, and
Sean Wilson, and
Jia Wei Gu,
Evan Zaprzal, and
Snow storm forces schedule changes
Note – This is a reprint of the e-mail sent to all families on November 25.
Everyone at St. Mary’s High School wants to thank the many men and women that worked tirelessly to clean up the Western New York area that was hit so hard by the lake effect storm. We have all heard of many inspirational stories that have come as a result of everyone helping one another in this area. We continue to pray for those who have been impacted severely by the storm’s path.
Here at the school, the building was reopened on Tuesday, Nov. 25, after the school had architects and engineers here to ensure that the structure of the building was sound.
Thanks to our Buildings & Grounds crew, along with many faculty & staff volunteers, who put in countless hours to clear sidewalks, rooftops, and parking lots.
On Monday, Nov. 24, the faculty, staff, and leadership met to discuss the current status as well as our plan moving forward. After losing five instructional days, there was a lot to discuss. The following is a list of some of the important developments that have transpired and will require adjustments to the school calendar in the coming months.
- The Senior Class Trip was able to be shifted by 24 hours and left on Saturday, Nov. 22.
- The 8th-Grade Entrance/Scholarship exam was given on Saturday, Nov. 22. Because there were so many families affected by the storm that were unable to attend, we will also be giving the exam on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 8:30 am for those that still need to take it. Students taking the exam on December 6th will be eligible for all scholarship opportunities.
- The Fall Sports Banquet was rescheduled to Monday, Dec.1, at 6 pm.
- The National Honor Society Induction Ceremony will now take place on Wednesday, Dec. 10.
- Lastly, the Administration, in conjunction with the Curriculum Committee at the school, has determined that we will make adjustments to the January Exam period from January 26-29, in order to make up needed class time as a result of the storm. We feel this is especially important for first semester courses. Separate detailed information regarding the January exam week will be sent out shortly. But to explain it succinctly: all students will have school every day from January 26 through January 29. January 30th will still be for faculty and staff only.
Thank you to all of our families for their patience and understanding as we work our way through this devastating storm. Please contact the school if you have any questions.
St. Mary’s High School to hold Admissions Exam as scheduled,
also offer exam on December 6
After the great work of the faculty and custodial staff, St. Mary’s High School is pleased to announce that the Admissions / Scholarship Exam will take place tomorrow, Nov. 22, at 8:30 a.m. as scheduled.
HOWEVER, to assist those who are not able to make the exam tomorrow, St. Mary’s will also be offering the Admissions Exam on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 8:30 a.m.
For those coming tomorrow, please note that the school will not be able to provide the Hospitality area for parents due to limited parking. Parents are asked to drop off and pick up their students in the front of the building.
For those coming on December 6, St. Mary’s is asking that parents please inform the school of their intention by contacting Enrollment Director Steven Grieco (481-3346 or email@example.com) or Vice President Kevin Kelleher (609-3187 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please note that no matter which of the two days the student takes the exam, they will be eligible for all scholarships offered by St. Mary’s High School.
Those who have any questions about the Exam, Scholarships, or St. Mary’s High School, should contact Mr. Grieco or Mr. Kelleher at the above numbers or email addresses.
St. Mary's, St. Bonaventure sign
Memorandum of Understanding
On Wednesday, Oct. 22, Mr. Mark Tramont, President of St. Mary’s High School, and Sister Margaret Carney, President of St. Bonaventure University, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions. The signing ceremony took place in the new Marian Conference Center at St. Mary’s High School.
As part of the Memorandum, St. Bonaventure will be creating scholarships exclusively for St. Mary’s students who enroll at St.
St. Mary's President Mark Tramont and St. Bonaventure President Sister Margaret
Carney explains the Memorandum of Understanding to seniors Jacob Concannon,
Danielle Hockwater, and Austin Klink
Bonaventure. In addition, St. Bonaventure will be providing professional development for St. Mary’s faculty and recruitment opportunities for St. Mary’s students.
According to Mr. Tramont, the agreement between St. Mary’s and St. Bonaventure is the first of its kind for either school.
“We are very excited to be teaming with St. Bonaventure,” said Mr. Tramont. “We believe that our students and faculty will greatly benefit from all that St. Bonaventure has to offer. We know that St. Bonaventure will be gaining quality students when our Seniors enroll there.”
Specific parts of the Memorandum of Understanding include:
- Several scholarship opportunities for St. Mary’s students who enroll at St. Bonaventure including the prestigious Pope Francis Leadership Scholarship.
- St. Bonaventure will collaborate with the St. Mary’s faculty and staff to provide professional development.
- St. Bonaventure will host a yearly visit for St. Mary’s Juniors and Seniors for a campus tour and presentation by St. Bonaventure faculty and staff. Representatives from St. Bonaventure will also visit St. Mary’s up to three times a year and display university information at the school.
“As a college-preparatory institution,” Mr. Tramont continued, “we at St. Mary’s felt that establishing relationships with area Catholic colleges and universities was needed to help our students as they prepare for their post-St. Mary’s life. We look forward to working with St. Bonaventure for many years to come.
“It is our hope that this is only the first agreement between St. Mary’s High School and other institutions of higher learning,” he concluded.
Bishop Malone blesses Peace Garden
Bishop Malone sprinkles Holy Water
on the St. Francis Peace Garden.
Student Senate President Austin Klink
proclaims a reading during the ceremony.
On Monday, Oct. 20, Bishop Richard Malone, Bishop of Buffalo, presided at the Blessing and dedication of the new additions to the St. Mary’s High School Campus.
The newest additions of St. Mary’s that were blessed included the St. Francis of Assisi Peace Garden (in memory of Marty Galasso), Marian House Conference Center, St. Mary’s Student / Alumni Art Gallery, Icon Hallway, and Advancement and Enrollment Department Offices.
The additions are being funded through a grant from the Galasso Foundation, founded by 1930 St. Mary’s graduate August Galasso. Marty Galasso is the nephew of August.
In addition to the new sections of the school, Bishop Malone also blessed the members of the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees, as well as Mark Tramont as the school’s first President and Kevin Kelleher as the school’s first Vice President.
Over 100 people attended the blessing and reception that followed. Attendees included members of the Galasso Foundation, local politicians and dignitaries, alumni, faculty/staff, friends, and St. Mary’s students.
SMHS announces Sophomore STEAM Challenges
A letter from Ms. Jennifer Anthone, STEAM Coordinator:
I hope this letter finds you well and you are enjoying your final days of summer. Now that the season is coming to an end and the school year is rapidly approaching, I am pleased to share with you information on the exciting projects I will be conducting with the sophomore class as St. Mary’s STEAM Coordinator. The faculty and staff at St. Mary’s have worked very hard to develop the STEAM curriculum and cannot wait to see what our bright, talented, and innovative students will create!
For those of you who may not know, STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. Because of the strong prevalence of the STEAM subjects in today’s society, the incorporation of a comprehensive STEAM curriculum is not only pertinent, but also essential to helping our students succeed. The primary goal of St. Mary’s STEAM program is to increase interest and participation in STEAM and STEAM-related fields. Sophomore year is the ideal year for STEAM training, because as the students enter their junior year, they begin to have room in their schedules for more elective courses. The hope is that after participating in the STEAM challenges, enrollment in STEAM elective courses will increase and thus lead to more students pursuing STEAM as majors in college and, eventually, careers.
What does this mean for the students? This means all sophomores are required to register and successfully complete at least two STEAM Challenges. We will run eight STEAM Challenges during the year, so the students will be able to choose the projects in which they are most interested. They are, of course, welcome to participate in more than two projects. Should a student fail to successfully complete two STEAM Challenges, the student will not receive credit for their sophomore year science class. All challenges will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Criteria for grading each project will be shared at the beginning of the project and may include submission of a brief background research paper, project proposal, project design and construction, project performance, and final presentation. Furthermore, the project must meet the minimum requirements specific to that project as described in the project descriptions document, which can be found attached to this email. Bonus points will be awarded to students whose projects exceed the minimum requirements and demonstrate exemplary work. The top three projects from each challenge will be displayed in the St. Mary’s Top Engineers showcase, as well as at the end-of-the-year symposium, STEAM-FEST!
At the Sophomore Class Meeting on Monday, September 8th, I will speak to the entire class about the STEAM Challenges and the students will register for the projects in which they would like to partake.
We are extremely grateful to the John R. Oishei Foundation that awarded a very generous STEAM grant to St. Mary’s High School and the private school consortium, BISSNET, to which we belong. We have used this grant to outfit our “STEAM ZONE” in Room 205 at the school with the equipment and materials needed for the Sophomore STEAM Challenges. This includes new iPads, computers, and other equipment and supplies that will help our students grow and learn through these projects.
Thank you in advance for supporting St. Mary’s STEAM program. Should you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at the E-Mail address provided. Be sure to look for updates and highlights from the STEAM Challenges in future issues of Currents, the SMHS monthly publication that gets emailed to all families. I look forward to working together and watching our students’ brilliant minds at work!
STEAM Challeges for 2014-15
Below is a list of descriptions of each of the STEAM Challenges for the 2014-2015 school year. All sophomore students are required to participate in and successfully complete at least two STEAM Challenges. Should a student fail to successfully complete two STEAM Challenges, that student will not receive credit for their sophomore science course. All challenges will be graded on a pass/fail basis.
Criteria for grading each project will be shared at the beginning of the project and may include submission of a brief background research paper, project proposal, project design and construction, project performance, and final presentation.
Furthermore, the project must meet the minimum requirements as described in the project descriptions listed here. Bonus points will be awarded to students whose projects far exceed the minimum requirements and expectations.
The top three projects from each challenge will be displayed in the St. Mary’s Top Engineers showcase, as well as at the end of the year symposium, STEAM-FEST!
September 8th – October 16th
Students will design and build a soda bottle rocket that will carry an egg as its passenger. The rocket must reach a height of at least 20 feet and the egg must not break on the rocket’s return back to Earth. Students are free to use additional recyclable materials to construct fins to attach to the rocket and a cabin for the egg. Bonus points will be awarded to students who successfully separate the egg from the rocket before landing and rockets that obtain the highest height without breaking the egg.
October 21st – November 26th
Build A Wind Turbine:
Students will be provided with the basic components for a miniature wind turbine. Using only these and other recyclable materials, students will compete to construct the most efficient wind turbine. Efficiency will be based on height, weight, blade design, and electrical output. Bonus points will be awarded to students whose wind turbines are the smallest yet produce the greatest electrical output.
December 1st – January 5th
Game Developer Challenge:
Students will create a video game using the application, Scratch, which is a programming language and online community where users can create their own interactive stories, games, and animations, with the goal of teaching fourth grade students a math concept. Students are free to choose which math concept they would like to teach. The game must include an introduction and directions, ask at least five questions, offer helpful hints, keep score, track the user’s progress, and have a conclusion. Games will be subjected to testing in an actual fourth grade classroom and be evaluated by fourth grade students. Bonus points will be awarded to students who align the game with the fourth grade math curriculum standards and receive positive feedback from the fourth grade students.
School of Rock:
Students will design and construct at least one instrument that will be used to play a recognizable song. Students can use recyclable materials or the 3D printer to build their instruments. The instrument must be able to play a variety of notes with definite tones and frequencies. Bonus points will be awarded to students who form a band and play a song together and/or compose their own piece of music.
January 7th – February 13th
Make ‘n’ Wear:
Students will design at least three items of wearable art. They will then choose the best of their designs to construct using either the 3D printer or recyclable materials. Students will have to decide which material(s) to use to produce their wearable design in order to estimate the cost of production. Students will then provide an estimated retail price. Bonus points will be awarded to students who design the most cost efficient item.
February 23rd – March 25th
Mousetrap Car Derby:
Students will build a mousetrap car using recyclable materials and a mousetrap for power. The mousetrap must provide the thrust; the design and all other aspects of the car will be at the students’ discretion. Bonus points will be awarded to students whose cars drive in a straight line, travel the furthest distance, and achieve the greatest speed.
March 26th – April 17th
Bridging the Gap:
Students will build a Truss bridge using only balsa wood and glue. The bridge will need to have a certain clearance and length which will be specified. The bridge must also be designed to hold weight. Bonus points will be awarded to students whose bridges withstand the greatest amount of weight without breaking, bridges that hold the greatest amount of weight yet have the smallest mass, and bridges that endure earthquake-like conditions.
April 20th – May 21st
Easy Bake Solar Oven:
Students will design and construct a solar powered oven. Students have the freedom to design their ovens however they choose, but can only use recyclable materials to build their ovens. Students will then use their ovens to cook a meal. A greater description of what constitutes a meal will be provided at the start of the project. Bonus points will be awarded to students whose ovens thoroughly cook the meal to optimum temperature without the meal being undercooked or burned.
SMHS wins award at Art Alive
For the first time since 2011, St. Mary’s High School in Lancaster placed an entry into the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Art Alive Competition.
Held on Saturday, June 7, students, teachers, and friends created living representations of works of art from the Albright-Knox's Collection and beyond for the 18th annual Art Alive living art contest.
Under the leadership of Art teacher Ms. Laura James, the students of St. Mary’s chose to recreate several of Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art paintings including Ohhh … Alright, In the Car, and M-Maybe (a Girl’s Picture).
The nearly 2,000 spectators at the event voted for the People’s Choice Award; they selected the St. Mary’s entry for the Best Tableau in Grades 9-12.
Congratulations to the St. Mary’s art students Anna DiDomenico, Leah May, Kaila McKay, and Nick Samson and art teacher Ms. James for their hard work and success with their prize-winning entry.
In the collection of pop art pieces by Roy Lichtenstein are Leah May (left panel), Anna DiDomenico and Nick Samson (center panel), and Kaila McKay (right panel).
Lancaster native wins Marian Award
At its Commencement Ceremonies held on June 4 at Villa Maria College, St. Mary’s High School presented the school’s Marian Award to Lancaster native Erica Swannie.
The Marian Award, the highest award presented to a St. Mary’s graduate, recognizes the senior who has shown friendliness
Erica Swannie (center) receives the Marian Award from St. Mary’s Principal Rebecca Kranz, while Most Rev. Richard Malone, guest speaker at this year’s Commencement, applauds.
to all people, willingness to help others, leadership, and active support of the school. It is the only award presented at Graduation.Erica was involved in many activities at St. Mary’s High School: president of the Senior Class for all four years; member of the National Honor Society, Scholar Program, Recruiting Team, SEEK, and the Student Mentoring Program; and she played varsity and junior varsity volleyball, including the 2012 State Championship team. She has received numerous awards including inductee into the Lancaster Youth Bureau Hall of Fame, All-Western New York Scholar Athlete for Fall 2013, Brady Workplace Safety Academic Excellence Award, 2013 Student Sage Scholarship Award, Pure Love Award, and the Linda Morgante Memorial Scholarship. She was also the salutatorian for the Class of 2014. Erica plans to major in Physical Therapy at the University of Central Florida, the University of Buffalo, or Daemen College.
As a Marian Award recipient, Erica received a trophy and a special gift from the school’s administration.
Erica is the daughter of Mark and Darlene; she has one sister, Jessica, who is a 2011 graduate of St. Mary’s.
The nominees for this award are selected by their classmates. After the nominees are chosen, they are asked to write an essay explaining what their four years at St. Mary’s High School have meant to them and their personal growth. The faculty and staff then vote for the winner of the award.
In addition to Erica, the other nominees for this year’s Marian Award were K. Eric Eggert of Cheektowaga, Christopher Hoffman of Depew, and Erin Neidhart of Lancaster.