Friday Update 10/2

Greetings from school! Today officially ends the first academic quarter. It's been a long road ... or so it seems. Early start, so many changes, adjusting to TEAMS. Heartfelt thanks to all for everything you've done to get us this far. 
In other years, our teachers would have the week of Fall Break to get everyone's last-minute efforts graded, recorded and averaged but not this time. Students and families would have that time to gear down and relax as well. Needless to say, that's not the case this year, so teachers will get their stuff done on the fly and we'll have report cards available toward the end of next week. Hopefully, the weekends are restful for all.
For those who might be interested, Joanna O'Brien, our Pedestal Foods cafeteria manager, asked me to send out a 'sample' of a 4-week menu cycle. The students have been great at making suggestions that have been incorporated along the way. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to 
We were able to gather in the stadium for yesterday morning's Mass - only the second time we've been able to assemble our school family in one place at one time. Even though we were spread out and masked-up, it was nice for a change.  
As you know, Mayor Coppinger has relaxed some of the Hamilton County COVID restrictions. Next week he will apparently make a second announcement regarding the area's mask mandate. I told the kids that I'm taking those decisions as a positive sign of progress in the fight but I'm also worried as people may be tempted to let their guard down. Regardless, it appears that here at Notre Dame and across the Diocese we will continue to do what we've been doing - at least for the immediate future. 

We were asked to share the following information with all our families by Catholic Charities of East Tennessee regarding their Covid-19 Assistance Program.

     "Through the TN Community CARES  grant from the State of Tennessee, CCETN is able to provide assistance in EAST Tennessee to those who have been financially affected by COVID 19.  The assistance will be in the form of a direct payment to your mortgage company, landlord or utility company. We can help with folks that also have basic needs, and food needs.

      To qualify for the program, you must be able to attest to the following:

      >> You are having difficulty paying, or are behind on, your  payment due to economic issues caused by the financial downturn during the COVID-19 crisis.

      >> Financial support for COVID related issues is available  from dates of March 1, 2020 thru November 10, 2020.

      >> Application deadline for support is November 10, 2020.

      >> You must be able to show you live in TN.

Please contact us with questions at or call us at 865-963-4730. Monday-Friday 9AM to 3PM. (Spanish language support is available​ Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9AM to 3 PM.)" 

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Brady, our grandson, is ten and has been blessed with a pretty good head on his shoulders. Though 4th grade Social Studies might prove to be the reason given for his early demise. 

When he was but three, he could tell me more about dinosaurs than I wanted to know. Now, he has the same encyclopedic knowledge about Pokemon and Fortnight ... but apparently not Social Studies. Things like latitude and longitude apparently aren't high on the interest inventory of a little boy. He'll get over it.

Report cards loom in his future and his mom's been telling him he'll be disappointed if he has to give up his first run at being on the school soccer team.  It's not a horrible lesson to learn at this age. Disappointing, just not deadly. He's like so many kids we've come across - he's like some we actually raised -- they know it inside and out at the dining room table the night before. And then where does it go? Probably the same place mismatched socks go, I guess.

I don't think he's a "bad test taker." I think he hurries too much, I think he's anxious to be first, I think he thinks one pass through is enough. 

I reminded his stressed-out mom that the year is long and things can and often do get better. Kids figure out what works and what doesn't. They just don't always figure it out on Day One.

I've told the story before about Brady's mom who, when she was his age, got a 70 on one of her Friday spelling tests. On that same day it happened that I had occasion to talk with and try to help a family that was living in their car. Later that evening, when I saw her 70, I practically hollered at her, "Katy, please don't grow up to live in a car!" How's that for good parenting?!

I wish I'd had a grandfather's perspective when I was just a father. Good luck with the report cards coming your way. The year is long and things do get better.

Have a great weekend.

George Valadie