Dear Parents,

Our students continue to grow in their accomplishments. Most recently, 25 sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students represented SMMCS at the Dr. Nelson Ying Orange County Science Expo. From there, our students garnered an astonishing 11 “place” awards and 5 special categories recognition. Two student projects earned first place in the engineering and in the behavioral sciences categories. They will move on to the state competition later this month.

On the athletic fields, our boys JJV basketball team came in first in the central region and then went on to win the Diocesan District. At the same time, the girls JV soccer team won their Regional Championship. We added a new banner to the school gymnasium commemorating the Girls Championship in Track and Field this past fall.

Putting faith and learning into action, our kindergartener’s raised a record $1,008 with their dime bake sale. The bake sale helped students reinforce counting by tens and collect money for our friends in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Jacmel, Haiti.

Sixth grade students recently spent the day in retreat focused on their faith and fellowship with each other. They will soon have another day of retreat devoted to vocations in our Catholic faith at the “Focus 11” day of reflection. This well liked activity involves sixth grade students from Catholic schools in the Diocese of Orlando as they examine and celebrate vocations with clergy, religious, lay ministers, and Bishop John Noonan.

The entire student body is engaged in discussions about the significance of Lent and how to best observe the three common practices – almsgiving, prayer, and fasting. Every classroom has a “penny jar” to collect coins for the mission in Haiti. Whether from allowance, extra chores or gift, students are encouraged to offer their coins in almsgiving. Junior High students are also collecting gently used long-sleeve collared shirts for farmworkers who toil in the hot Florida sun. We are praying for each other, for those with special needs, and in third through eighth grade, reviewing the words and meaning of the Act of Contrition. The sacrament of Reconciliation will be offered to all students in grades third through eighth.

Please plan on joining us Friday, March 13th at 7 p.m. when St. Margaret Mary Catholic School leads the church Stations of the Cross. This is preceded by a simple soup dinner at 6 p.m. Then come back Friday, March 27th at 9 a.m. for the annual presentation of The Living Stations of the Cross by our seventh grade students. This is another opportunity for Lenten prayer for our community.

May you and your family find in Lent a time to reflect together about the meaning of the Lenten season. We are blessed to be your partners on this faith journey.

Mrs. Kathleen Walsh