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  • Randy Hodge

Celebrating the Successes of 2020

While many people would like to forget the year 2020, St. Patrick School would like to look at many of the major accomplishments we had despite the major challenge of educating our students during a pandemic. So, before we ring in 2021, let us look back at the top events for St. Patrick School during 2020.

It would be impossible to rank them in order of importance, so I have placed them in chronological order instead:

1. On Thursday, March 12, 2020, Governor Whitmer ordered all schools closed. St. Patrick School was ready. Our students only missed one day of school as our teachers continued to teach remotely through packets that were sent home and by teaching virtual lessons using Google Classroom.

2. On Sunday, June 14, the St. Patrick High School Class of 2020 became one of the first senior classes in the State of Michigan to host an in-person commencement. They are the only senior class in St. Patrick history to have commencement in June, outside, and in a tent.

3. At the end of August, St. Patrick School students returned safely to in-person education for the 2020-2021 school year. Our return to school plan was created over the summer months in conjunction with the State of Michigan Return to School Roadmap, the Diocese of Grand Rapids, and the Kent and Ionia County Health Departments.

4. In September, Mr. Luis Arturo Araujo joined our teaching faculty as the K-12 Art/Technology instructor. Mr. Art brought a great resume to the position, and his positivity and energy is contagious!

5. Our school counselor, Mrs. Jenny Garcia, and senior Emma Scheurer, as a part of her senior Capstone Project, created the Mind Over Matter group to work on boosting student morale, to problem-solve any challenges our students face, and to promote mental health awareness, and a positive school culture.

6. St. Patrick Elementary School ordered 150 Chromebooks in case elementary students are forced to learn remotely again. Once they arrive in December and are available for use, our schoolwide 1:1 Chromebook initiative will officially be complete. We also purchased the GoGuardian program to monitor student use of Chromebooks to help ensure our students are safe while working online.

7. At the beginning of November, Laynie Meredith and Cozette Brown both qualified for the state meet in girls cross country. This is the first time our cross country program has had two runners qualify for the state meet in the same year.

8. The varsity football team is currently 9-0 and has advanced to the state semifinal game for the third time in five years. They are awaiting information from the governor and the MHSAA to see if they will be able to finish the season.

9. Senior Brice Cook kicked off the giving season by offering to have his head shaved if we raised $500 for Positive Solutions Informed Choices (PSIC). Brice allowed the top donors to shave his head after we raised $987. Not to be outdone, our K-8 students filled 91 shoeboxes as a part of the Shoebox Initiative. Finally, despite having the high school learning remotely, we collected boxes and boxes of canned goods, 219 toys for Toys for Tots, and many diapers and pull ups for PSIC.

10. The St. Patrick School Advancement and Development team began The Former Pastors’ Shamrock Endowment Fund with $76,000 from a previous St. Patrick Parish pastor as well as $8,000 in donations from other various benefactors. This endowment will be used for tuition assistance for future generations of Shamrocks.

“We Achieve!” is the third and final part of our mission statement and it is evidenced by this list. Many hours of work by a great number of individuals were completed to make all these events happen throughout 2020. Our students and staff, with great support from our parents and donors have made this year a huge success. We are excited about these accomplishments and are even more excited for the prospect of bigger and better things to come in 2021. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at St. Patrick School!

Randy Hodge is the High School Principal at St. Patrick School.


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