Falling for the Fun Fair

From crazy hair to the cakewalk, Lower School students had an absolute blast this past Saturday at the annual Fall Fun Fair. This event, which spreads across three gyms, includes many different minute-to-win-it games where Lower Schoolers can win candy, toys, and cakes. Tickets open up the whole fair and all the games during this joyful day for Lower Schoolers and their families. Although typically advertised for the Lower School, this brings the entire PA community together for a day of amusing fall festivities.

Lower School Director Mrs. Nancy Galgano and her son running the bouncy house at the Fall Fun Fair.

There is something for everyone at the iconic celebration. Lower School students get to run around with their friends and partake in activities like bouncing in the bouncy house, sliding down the inflatable slide, or racing their friends through the blow up race course. Middle and Upper School students can volunteer to run different stations with friends. Volunteering allows them to develop important relationships with younger students. Lastly, parents get to make memories with their children while they enjoy the great day. 

“The Fall Fun Fair allows parents to have the opportunity to have conversations with other parents knowing their kids are entertained and kept busy,” expressed Lower School mother, Mrs. Jessie Bollig, who has run this event for two years now. “It really helps to build a stronger community all around.” 

Fifth Graders AJ Weiland and Henry Hilberg take a break from the day’s activities to pose for a quick picture before they run back to the Fair to enjoy more games.

Bollig was not the only one that enjoyed the beloved event. Lower schoolers zoomed across from one station to the another with their hands full of prizes and eyes wide trying to figure out what station to go to next. 

“I love the Fall Fun Fair,” articulated fifth grader Jake Shore. “You get to win free prizes!”

The young children could not get enough. Fifth grader Henry Hilberg partook in the festivities from start to finish, enjoying the time with his friends and winning prizes to bring home later.  

“My favorite part of the fair was the cakewalk,” remarked Hilberg. “You have the chance to win a whole free cake.”

Each year the PA community looks forward to the Fall Fun Fair.

Mrs. Meghan Milovich, a parent and teacher at PA, concluded, “The Lower School students are not only here at PA to learn but to also develop relationships with other students outside of school and the Fall Fun Fair is the perfect opportunity for this to take place.”

Reading into the School Year

Sitting, studying, and searching. What do all these words have in common? They are the key ingredients for having a great time in Mrs. Krista Wiederholt’s library. Although it was sad to see Mrs. Claire Commers leave, especially after nineteen years of being Providence Academy’s only librarian, it is always nice to welcome a new face. Wiederholt is following in Commers’ footsteps with her love of reading and fun new additions that help make reading a fun experience. 

Besides Mrs. Wiederholt, Allegory (a crocheted bookworm), is a new and welcome addition to the library.

Wiederholt has always loved going to the library and has always loved books. She believes her passion for books started with her grandma when she was very young. Wiederholt would lead story time with her at the public library in her hometown. She would even tag along with her grandma when she led story time at the nearby assisted living center. These early experiences cultivated her love of books now. 

Like her love for books, Wiederholt’s love for Providence isn’t new either.  As a PA parent with two daughters that have been attending for four years, she is not completely new to the PA community. In fact, Wiederholt remembers being impressed by the library when touring the school.

“One of the main reasons I wanted my children to go to PA was because of the library,” remarked Wiederholt.

When the librarian position became open, she reflected, “I just feel like it really spoke to me and was the right fit for me.” 

Along with a new face in the library, some fun new displays have also appeared, including a doll house, reading mats for individual reading time, and the saint book shelf. Young library goers are perhaps most excited about Allegory, a book worm that hides in a different spot every week and shows the children where they can find new books to read. 

“I love Allegory,” glowed Wells Martin ‘31. “It is always so exciting to read the clues and search for him each week.” 

Martin is not the only one who is enjoying the new additions to the library. The rest of the Lower School takes delight in the cozy atmosphere. 

“The children never want to leave,” stated fifth grade instructor Mrs. Beth Reopelle. “They love being read to, picking out a new book, and taking a break from the [rest of the school] day.” 

From hanging out with their friends to sitting in a comfy chair and reading their next favorite book, the library offers a variety of engaging activities for students of all ages, thanks to Widerholt’s enthusiasm and efforts.

“I am most looking forward to getting to know the kids as well as the library and helping them pick out great books,” concluded Wiederholt.

Wiederholt reads her one of her favorite books to a group of fourth graders.

Farewell Mrs. Harrington

Teacher, Coach, Director, Mother. Mrs. Kelly Harrington has assumed all those roles throughout her seventeen years at PA. And now, Harrington will embark on a new journey as Director of grades 6-12 at Hill-Murray School in St. Paul. Though she will be deeply missed, Harrington takes beautiful memories with her while she leaves an incredible legacy with all she has accomplished during her time within the ‘yellow walls.’ 

Harrington made the decision to move to Hill-Murray School on behalf of her family. For multiple years now, her three children have been at three different schools and it has become increasingly difficult to manage everyone’s schedule. 

“I really wish I could stay at PA,” articulated Harrington, “I love it here, and it is so hard for me to leave. This is a decision I had to make for my family and it is truly what was best for all of us.”  

Harrington has taught in all three divisions at PA–Lower, Middle, and Upper school–and has loved every part of it. She started her career at PA in the Lower School as a fourth grade instructor.

A warm memory from a cold day, Harrington recalled a funny present from Mr. John Wagner in her fourth grade classroom.  Wagner delivered a real snowman in her room while she was out. (PAW Photo credit, Kelly Harrington)

“She has always been my right hand,” commented Mrs. Nancy Galgano, Lower School Director. “She never stopped working, even when she was on her maternity leaves. I had to remind her what a leave was! She just cared so much about her job as well as her students.”

Harrington then coordinated pre-K for a year before moving to the Middle School wing, where she served as Director and history teacher. Her most recent title will be the last she holds at PA as Upper School Director.

Though known for her dedication to PA’s faculty and administration, Harrington has also made significant contributions to athletic programs, a natural outlet, given her passionate involvement in student life.  She has coached softball and volleyball in the course of her tenure at PA. 

In 2004, Harrington took the position of JV Volleyball coach with Physical Education teacher, Mrs. Colleen Carron, who began teaching at PA the same year as Harrington. They coached volleyball together for two years and then, in the spring of 2006, Harrington started the softball program while Carron was her JV team coach. Carron and Harrington have coached a total of five years together and become very close friends.

 “Though this is not the end of our relationship, what I will miss most about being around her often is her ability to make me laugh and her support through life’s ups and downs,” lamented Carron. “I will also miss her passion for students and their education; they have always been her priority.” 

Carron and Harrington have experienced a number of milestones in their lives throughout their friendship:  not only have they started two sports teams and a chapter of their teaching career together, they have also endured pregnancy at the same time.

Carron and Harrington (center) pose for a picture with their 2005-2006 Volleyball team. (PAW Photo credit, Kelly Harrington)

With children only fourteen days apart, Harrington and Carron have enjoyed sharing stories and experiences as they have journeyed through motherhood together while still investing in the lives of their students and their own professional development.

Carron recalled a funny story that neither she nor Harrington will ever forget. During a fire drill, then fourth grade teacher Harrington told her students not to talk. What she didn’t know was that there was a snake on her foot. Her obedient pupils did not tell her about the overly friendly reptile. Carron can still recall the expression on Harrington’s face when she saw her new companion.

A woman who has worn many hats, Harrington will be greatly missed by everyone in the Providence community. As she begins a new chapter, students and faculty alike wish her the best of luck in her next adventure at Hill-Murray. 

The Magic of Mrs. Gregg

Whether its for a parking pass or a chromebook, a lunch card or a school picture, a prom ticket or tardy slip, Upper School students know where they can go. Whether the Upper School director needs a point by point schedule for her busy day or teachers need dry erase markers; whether parents need to schedule conferences or teachers need a dinner break on a late night of work, they go to the same place.  On the heels of Administrative Professionals Week, PA takes time to appreciate the Administrative Staff for all they do for the school. One person in particular keeps the Upper School running:  Mrs. Kate Gregg. 

The Upper School would not be the same without Mrs. Gregg. She supports everyone whether that means helping to solve a problem in the administration office or taking attendance to make sure that each Upper School student arrives at school safely every day.  

“Mrs. Gregg is basically my right hand,” glowed Mrs. Kelly Harrington, Director of the Upper School. “She is my go-to for everything from planning to problem solving.” 

Gregg works on responding to emails from parents as she wraps up for the weekend last Friday.

Gregg has not always worked in Administration. Over the years she has taught preschool, first grade, been a stay-at-home-mom, and also opened two restaurants. One could argue that her vast and varied resume prepared her–albeit, in a roundabout way–for the multitude of tasks that await her on a daily basis in the front office.

Mrs. Gregg has big jobs to complete throughout the day like making Mrs. Harrington’s schedule and working Athletic Director Mr. Daren Messmore on schedules for athletes who require early dismissals. But, she also always has everyone’s back, whether it be having all the answers to everyone’s questions, keeping supplies in stock for teachers, or replacing the printer paper. 

“When I first took this job as the Upper School Administrative Assistant, I was a little hesitant about working with older students,” remarked Gregg. “But over the years, I realized how much I really love them and they make my days.” 

Students return Cromebooks to Mrs. Gregg at the end of the day on Tuesday, April 27.

She is the inspiration for everyone around her to work hard and do their best every minute of the day. 

“Mrs. Gregg has taught me balance,” reflected Julia Dailey ’21, who was given the task of reading the announcements written by Gregg each morning during second period. “In watching her, I have learned to juggle different demands, even though it is so hard.” 

Gregg has been at Providence for nearly a decade and has loved every crazy second of it. Throughout these years her job has changed, especially since last spring. From the beginning of distance learning in March of 2020 to the hybrid model currently in place, Gregg’s duties have expanded and shifted to keep students equipped for their work and accounted for, even if logging from home.  

This hasn’t been a typical year, but, for Gregg, that’s par for the course, since no day is typical.  But her joy in serving students and staff remains constant, as does their gratitude for you.

Ever Wonder What Dr. Flanders Does in a Day?

Many Providence students have the pleasure of seeing Headmaster, Dr. Todd Flanders, out and about in the hallways at the start of the day. His voice leads morning prayer, but what about the rest of the school day?

Flanders starts his day on campus around 8:00 each morning, when he arrives at school. Once settled, he walks around and visits with faculty members along with students in the hallways; he loves to foster personal relationships. He is almost always available to lead prayer and announcements every morning at 8:30am, beginning with Morning Offering Prayer, followed by Varsity sport games scores, and last but not least, to announce birthdays for the day. 

Wearing protective gear that has been normalized in these strange times, Flanders at his desk, going over email and preparing for the day ahead during another busy morning.

One of Flanders’ favorite parts of his day is teaching Senior Religion: Reason and Revelation. For that 50 minute class period, he is not only headmaster, but also teacher. 

“I enjoy getting to know Dr. Flanders in a different context other than the headmaster,” reflected Mae Monette ‘21, who is enrolled in the course this year. “He has such a vast amount of knowledge about theology and you get a better understanding of his personality in class.”

When the noon bell rings, his schedule almost always allows him to be in his office. He then has the opportunity to open his office window overlooking the Great Room and say the Our Father with the lower school children during lunchtime. 

In the early afternoon, Flanders likes to attend Mass at 2:30, before spending the final hours of his day at his desk, on calls, or in meetings. With fewer evening events during COVID, and restrictions on event attendance, Dr. Flanders will typically depart around five or soon thereafter, often attending to additional things from home.

Though there are some staples and general routine, every day is truly different for Dr. Flanders. Some days, he might have to prepare a welcoming speech to introduce a guest speaker at PA, or have a conference call. This year, the pandemic has required a new level of vigilance regarding public health and community life.  Flanders has worked tirelessly with other administrators and long time PA nurse Maureen Murphy to ensure adherence to the state health guidelines.  These efforts are in addition to normal duties–formal board and administrative meetings, routine office work, or informal meetings with students and colleagues depending on the day.

Flanders pauses his work for a a picture in his office in 2004 (PAW photo courtesy of PA archives).

Dr. Flanders is a very well-liked individual around PA. He is known for his go-getter attitude, his charisma, and range of knowledge on, matters great and small.

 “I love being able to learn how he prioritizes opportunities, goals, and challenges that the school has,” articulated Mr. Josh Anderson, one of Dr. Flanders assistants. “It is so fun to pick his brain about anything from school budgets to theology, to marketing campaigns, and everything in between.”

Though Flanders is undoubtedly busy, he is never too busy to have a quick conversation in the hallway with a colleague or student to ask how their day is going. He is also never too busy to lead morning prayer and announcements, or attend daily Mass. No doubt, he sees these things as integral to the life and mission of PA.

“I love this job, not because it is easy, but because it is very purposeful,” concluded Dr. Flanders.