St. Monica Catholic Elementary School

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Principal's Message


The first day of school is over, and the energy that was present here today was palpable. By the time I walked into the Kindergarten classroom, all the students were sitting attentively in front of Mrs. Sapien, listening to a story she was reading them from a big picture book.

In 1st grade I saw Miss Nuzzolese sitting in a circle with her class, explaining just a bit of all the wonderful things that would be happening this year.

Mr. Abonal in 2nd grade said he was going to “hit the ground running” and he is a man of his word! The class barely skipped a beat when I walked in to greet them, so I left in a hurry to prevent any disruption.

Mrs. Soriano is quite use to me coming in her class, and today would be no different. Her class was busy with work and routines and seemed to carry on the great sense of togetherness they had from last year. They even continue their class greeting of “You shine like the sun!

In 4th grade, Miss Barragán had her students working on academic and organizational skills they will need to be successful, and they were very engaged with each other. That class has a key word they use as a greeting when they see me: “Community.”

The students that have moved upstairs to 5th grade in Mrs. Hackney’s class are thrilled to be in school, making the big move upstairs. As I entered their class, they were just finishing prayer, and then they greeted me. They have a tradition of singing out their greeting to me, with a bit of a rise at the end: “… Dr. Quinleeeee.”

Our 6th grade teacher, Miss Eason had a dynamic first day as she worked with this awesome group of kids, and I sensed that this was going to be a great group of students to engage in learning. I looked at this 6th grade class today and remembered how young and small they were 4 years ago when I first met them.

Our 7th graders spent the day in homeroom with Miss Hartstein. This was the only class that grew out of last year’s usual greeting to me, where they would all hold up their hands in the Spock hand gesture of keeping the index and middle finger together, and the ring and little finger together, and then separating those into the “live long and prosper” Star Trek benediction! Maybe tomorrow?

My 8th graders didn’t stand a chance because I burst into their homeroom with Mrs. Sessarego and shouted out “peace” which of course they returned full volume, something we have been doing with each other for the past 4 years! I am really excited to be part of these students’ education and formation.

Our parents gathered in the hundreds this morning to bring their children to school, to enjoy each other’s company, and to have some coffee and refreshments. Mr. Gasper, Monsignor Torgerson, Barbara Corrigan, and I had a few words of welcome and thanks for them. I try to say how blessed and humbled I am to be the principal of this great school in this great community, but I don’t know if folks hear me. I hope so! At the beginning of the school year I am reminded of this beautiful sentiment from Buechner, “Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world's deep need.”

So, let us all remind one another as the 3rd graders do that we “shine like the sun” (Thomas Merton’s metaphor that we are all God’s holy creation and therefore inextricably connected) and have a spectacular 2014-2015 school year, filled with God’s blessings and grace, filled with community that thrives, and filled with positivity!

Peace and Blessings,
Dr. Neil Quinly