Mr. Valadie's August Letter

August, 2018

To all our Families –

I can’t believe it’s that time already. I usually write these monthly emails over the course of several days as I gather info I hope is helpful and confirm dates you might find useful

So I begin this one – and hopefully will end it – on our annual New Student Orientation Day. If you don’t have a new one with us this year, I wish you could have seen it this morning. A lot of the older kids were here to offer a welcoming face, a helping hand, a piece of advice. God provided a morning rainbow, we rolled out the ‘green carpet’ but still, by day’s end, my guess is that their heads were probably spinning.

There were all sorts of pictures and videos too – some being made by us and some by moms and dads. If their facial expressions were any indication, I don’t know how many of our new students actually enjoyed their “First Day of High School” photo-ops but the day will come when they cherish them, right? (At least that’s what we parents tell ourselves, isn’t it?)

On the other end of the spectrum, the first day of senior year begins a mental countdown to adulthood. That’s a version of ‘spinning heads’ on a whole different level! Hoping everyone has a phenomenal year!!

We keep a “school calendar’ on our website so feel free to check in frequently. If you see something amiss or have a question, you’re always welcome to call and ask.

I want to point out a recently added an event that we are excited to get to host. In cooperation with the local University of Notre Dame Alumni Club, we invite and encourage you to attend an evening seminar entitled “The Teenage Years 101: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.”

Our speaker will be parent, local attorney and UND alum, Dan Ripper, who will offer his perspective and expertise on how the occasional ‘I-guess-I-wasn’t-thinking’ behavior of our teens can sometimes have unexpected and not-all-that-pleasant consequences for moms and dads. (Have you ever wondered what – or if - your teens were “thinking” when they did whatever it is they did?)

So make plans to join us on Tuesday evening, September 4th at 6:00 p.m. in our Auditorium. Both students and parents are invited and it’s open to the general community so invite whomever you think might like this most valuable information.  

As everyone is aware, all our students have a requirement to contribute a specific number of ‘service hours’ during the course of each semester. (Father Christopher Floersh heads up our program if you have any questions.)

Most of our kids are super busy during the week with practices, rehearsals and jobs – not to mention homework - but the weekends open up a little more.

One of our sophomore students, Max Flasch, has been working with a local group of Baylor students on a project known as “Weekend Warriors” and cooperatively, they have already organized a schedule of a variety of service opportunities. No matter the grade, it seems like the perfect thing to tackle with a buddy. 

I might suggest everyone signing up so you can get the information ... but no event is ever required. Please check out the attachment above for more information.

With my last email having gone out during the summer, I’m aware the normal flow of info doesn’t flow quite as normally in the down months. So here are a few reminders from that email:

< > Our first All-School Mass of the year will be when we celebrate the Catholic Feast of the Assumption on Wednesday morning, August 15th at 8:20 a.m. All are invited.

< > We are again invited to participate in this year’s Kickoff Classic on Thursday, August 16th. It’s a football double-header at Finley Stadium; our game time is 8:30 p.m. vs Baylor.

We’re thrilled to be included but recognize that it will likely be a late night for many of our students. To cut a little slack, we’re planning a late start for the next morning (10:00 a.m., Friday, Aug. 17)

< > Check out the above attached PDF from PEDESTAL FOODS that explains your many options for our food service program.

< > Monday thru Thursday, students may continue to wear “Notre Dame” outerwear over their uniforms but they cannot wear anything with a hood. They can wear those if they choose on Friday “Spirit Days,” but not during the week.

In response to parent request and suggestion, we are planning to take a look during the year at the possibility of adding an alternative uniform vendor for next year and the future.

But until then, our uniforms remain the same. This is the time to check how everything fits… or if it fits. In addition to the change with the hoods (mostly a boys’ thing), we’re going to place a renewed emphasis on the length of girls’ skorts (3” above the knee is the expectation.) Don’t forget that girls can wear pants as well.

< > This year our drug testing company is offering a similar test for alcohol providing a 90-day look at a student’s possible consumption.

Two important notes: (1) We won’t be adding this to the panel of what we here at school look at, but parents can do so if you so choose. (Cost of $99)

 (2) If you opt for this additional test to be run, please understand that the results of this new Alcohol Test will be sent directly to parents with no results coming to the school. This is for you!!

Let us know if this is something you wish to pursue.

 

Some refrigerator post-it notes:

< > Thu, Aug 16 … NDHS has been invited to participate in the Kickoff Class at Finley Stadium, estimated game time is at 8:30 p.m., the second game of a double-header.

 

< > Fri, Aug 17 … 10:00 a.m. start to the school day, the building will be open at the regular time for those who have need

 

< > Wed, Aug 22 … Meet-the-Teachers Night, reception at 5:15 p.m.; parents follow their students’ class schedule for brief visits begin that begin at 6:00 p.m.

 

< > Fri, Aug 24 … Professional Photographer on campus … regular uniform day, this particular Friday is NOT a Spirit Day

 

< > Wed, Aug 29 … Senior Parents Meeting for College Info, 6:00, in Library

 

< > Mon, Sep 3 … Labor Day Holiday – NO CLASSES

 

< > Tue, Sep 4 … 6:00 p.m., NDHS Auditorium, Guest Speaker for both parents and teens, “Teenage Years 101: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You” … presented by the University of Notre Dame Alumni Club featuring UND alum, local attorney and NDHS parent, Dan Ripper.

 

< > Tue, Sep 4 … Deadline for students to turn in all Summer Service Hours forms

 

< > Wed, Sep 5 … Annual College Fair at NDHS hosting some 90+ colleges and universities

 

< > Fri, Sep 7 … Bill Chepul Memorial Golf Tournament at Creeks Bend

 

< > Thu-Fri, Sep 20-21 … Senior Overnight Retreat

 

< > Sat, Sep 22 … NDHS Rummage Sale to benefit the Theater Department, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

< > Fri, Sep 28 … Diocesan-wide Teacher Inservice – NO CLASSES

 

< > Fri-Sun, Sep 29-1 … SEARCH RETREAT #155

 

*****

Charlie left us a month or so ago. Our 11-year-old black lab, the unquestioned ruler of our household, (he was king, my wife is queen) had protracted lymphoma and after a much-too-brief battle, couldn’t overcome it.

We know it happens to folks all the time; still, it was sad and he is missed. Nancy was particularly grieved as he followed her endlessly and made his presence known everywhere.

As things were winding down, she told me quite emphatically, “I know someone’s gonna want to get me a puppy but don’t you dare let them. Do you understand?” Yes, ma'm!

But the mothering instinct was way too strong. What with the girls all grown, successful and needing us less – mostly – Charlie had become the focus of her maternal care.

And now he was gone too. I volunteered to be more needy if that would help but she didn’t take to that suggestion all that kindly. Said he was a lot cuter too.

Perhaps it was a week, maybe a little longer, but Nancy couldn’t take it anymore and began looking at puppies on the internet. She scoured the shelters and the breeders and the oh-look-what-we-founds! There were some days she just liked looking at the pictures.

You know where this went, right?! So a couple of weeks ago we welcomed our newest family member, and named him “Gipper,” a nod to an Irish football legend of days gone by.

Seven-weeks-old when we picked him up, he is a newborn in every sense of the word. We were warned, “Get an older dog. Get a smaller dog. Get a house-trained dog. Get a dog that sleeps. Get a dog that doesn’t chew on everything.”

We did none of those and he does all of those.

 Up at all hours, we now spend what used to be our down time following him around with paper towels and some sort of ‘enzyme spray’ that supposedly prevents him from returning to the scene of the crime. Apparently, puppies like to pee and poop in the same spot. I’m all for that, I’d just prefer it be outside.

Cute as a button, all feet and soon to be all legs, she’s bought him more toys than the grandkids have. Soon she’s going to sign me and him up for some behavioral training classes (me and him, not her and him) though it seems odd that we never did that for our kids. Thinking back, they too could have used some help with their peeing, pooping and talking back.

I will have to say though, there’s been this explosion of love in our house. And it’s been matched with an equal explosion of frustration. It occurs to me that it’s not totally unlike what happened when our kids were in the house. We do most anything for the little critters – regardless of how many legs they have. Some days they nuzzled up in our laps and some days they ran to and fro (or drove to and fro) with a catch-me-if-you-can enthusiasm.

And as they get bigger – so do their messes and their successes. We’ve been talking about how this may have been the dumbest possible time of the year to bring a puppy into our world. And then we realized we had felt the same way when each of our children were born. 'Perfect timing' are words we don’t use so much anymore.

As this new school year begins, we pray the messes you face will get smaller and smaller and the successes you celebrate will get larger and larger. Oh, and please pray for us too.

 

George Valadie

NDHS