Catholic Schools Week: PA Celebrates Catholic Identity

Catholic Schools Week is an exciting time that many students and faculty look forward to. This year, it was held during the week of January 30th to February 3rd. 

Catholic Schools Week was filled with themed out-of-uniform days, an Upper School service day, and new this year, a CSW Party that ended the week. Although the festivities are wonderful, there is more to this week than just the fun dress up days and a break from the homework load. The main reason we celebrate Catholic Schools Week at PA is to celebrate our faith and appreciate our Catholic education. 

Libby Bruce, ‘24, reflected, “I like Catholic Schools week because it reminds me why we are at this school, and reminds us of our priorities in life.”

Upper School religion teacher, Mrs. Angela Jendro noted, “To me Catholic Schools Week means pausing to appreciate what a gift Catholic education is. We can get so busy with the work of school that we forget how blessed we are to learn, especially the things that matter the most.”

Rien Rose Lee, ’25, Bernadette von Dohlen, ’25, Keira Marshall, ’25, Delaney Flanigan, ’25, and Abbey Koch, ’25, enjoy their service day at Way Cool Cooking School.

On Wednesday, February 1st, Upper School students spent the morning participating in service activities before getting to enjoy a fun afternoon off campus. Students tied blankets, made sandwiches for those in need, and made Valentine cards for children in the hospital. The Lecture Hall and Atrium were filled with students enjoying time talking with their classmates and completing their service projects. Additionally, some students packed meals at Feed My Starving Children.

In the afternoon, students had the option of either going rock climbing, attending cooking school, bowling, Whirly Ball, or seeing the musical “Footloose” at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater. At the end of the day, Upper School students returned to PA to watch the annual Junior boys vs Senior boys volleyball game. The result was an impressive win by the Seniors.

Chase Millerbernd, ’24, leads the Senior and Junior boys in prayer after the big Volleyball Powerpuff game.

Lily Regensburger ‘24 reflected, “Catholic Schools Week is a great source of community and I love the energy throughout the week.”

To conclude Catholic Schools Week, on Friday night, Providence Academy hosted the first ever CSW Party for the Upper School students. The night was filled with fun casino-style games, bingo, and prizes. It was a lively night, full of entertainment and laughter. 

Catholic Schools Week 2023 was a fantastic time and was a great reminder of how blessed we are to attend Providence Academy and receive a Catholic education. 

Father McClellan said, “Catholic School Week is a time for us to celebrate and have gratitude for the things that make Providence Academy what it is.” He added, “The goal of Catholic education is to pass on the best that we as a culture have to offer and draw out the best from each student. In both cases, that’s Jesus Christ. We are able to really do this at a Catholic school, and I’m grateful for that.”

Honoring our Veterans Through Music

How can one truly define what we owe veterans? At the beginning of this year’s Patriotic concert, Symphonic Band Director, Mr. Thomas Jones, quoted, “A veteran–whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserved–is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including his or her life.” 

On Thursday November 10th, the Providence Academy Symphonic Band, along with Mr. Jones, took the PAC stage for a night to remember all who have served in the military. The Patriotic Concert has become an annual tradition during the week of Veterans’ Day, and is a rewarding time to recognize veterans and their contributions to the United States. 

The night began with a prayer and introduction by Headmaster, Dr. Todd Flanders, thanking all of our veterans for their attendance and for their service to our country. The concert was filled with entertaining songs such as, “A Nation’s Prayer”, “Stars and Stripes Forever”, and “Thunderbolt”. The concert concluded with a fan favorite, “American Heroes”. As the song played, veterans in the audience were encouraged to stand when their branch’s song was played, to be recognized for their service. Finally, during the last section of “American Heroes”, the band played “America the Beautiful” and the audience beautifully sang along. 

Providence Academy believes that it is very important to put on this concert every year. Jones conveyed, “We are reaching a time in our country’s history where patriotic concerts are becoming less popular and this ideal of nationalism and patriotism is being lost. I think it is so important that we at PA preserve our heritage.” 

Jones went on to say, “We at PA are not endorsing one political party or another. What we are doing is saying that we are unified as a country and no matter what challenges we face, we are going to need to face them together.”

PA parent and Army Veteran, Katie Heubschen, remarked, “I am so honored that Providence takes the time to recognize veterans, and it is also very special to look around and see others who have served.”

The concert was a perfect way to celebrate the exceptional men and women who served our country and to show our true appreciation for their sacrifices.

Generations of Love

On October 13th and 14th, Providence Academy hosted the annual Grandparents’ and Special Persons’ Day. Over these two days, PA welcomed nearly 800 guests to campus between lower, middle, and upper school. Although the days were still filled with tours and time spent with grandparents, some significant changes were made to the event this year.

Mrs. Nancy Galgano, Lower School Director, ensured that grandparents had time in the classroom and a chance to see how specialist teachers with classes such as Music, French, and Spanish worked with students. This way guests were able to experience a real classroom setting, and also had time for photo opportunities with their grandchildren in a designated photo area.

Sr. Donohue, Lower School Spanish Teacher, shows grandparents and special persons what language skills kindergarteners have been learning so far this year.

Mrs. Jennifer Newman, Assistant Director of Development, shared, “Our student body is growing, and yet PA wants to continue the tradition of grandparents experiencing a segment of the school day with their grandchildren. So, many of the changes were made to help give grandparents and special persons a wonderful classroom experience with their grandchild or student in a way that allows them to be comfortable.”

To entertain their guests, Mrs. Amy Hohenecker’s fourth grade class presented an acrostic poem that they had written describing why they love their grandparents, and handed out gifts. They later showed what they have been working on in music by singing some songs and performing on their recorders. 

Jack Huegel, ’24, with his grandfather, at a special interest session led by Upper School Physics Teacher, Mr. Plucinski.

Guests came from near and far to celebrate this memorable day. All the way from New York, Marie Scinicariello, grandmother of Audrey Scinicariello, ‘31, shared,“It is wonderful to be in such a beautiful school and to see that Audrey has such a lovely teacher. Just being here is a blessing.”

The following day, the upper school had their own day to celebrate their grandparents and special adults. This year, Mr. Jaeger and Mrs. Gregg brought back an “interest” session opportunity for grandchildren and grandparents to attend together and then ended the day with a Fine Arts concert including Strings, Choir and Band.  

Student Mary Smyth, ‘24, reflected, “I think it’s important to celebrate Grandparents’ Day because grandparents are always asking how school is and wondering what you are doing. This way they can get to see it for themselves and live a day in your life.”

When students of all ages were asked what their favorite part of the day was, the overall response was getting to spend time with their grandparents. Newman added, “Grandparents and special persons have a deep love for their grandchild or student. It is a joy and a privilege to provide the opportunity to celebrate it.”