We are celebrating All Saint’s Day tomorrow, November 1st. This has been a tradition at Mount Royal Academy for the past nineteen years. Sometimes students ask why we don’t celebrate Halloween at school. My response to the little ones has been that we like to dress up as saints so that we can learn to be more like them, which will help us be closer to Jesus. It is a simple answer yet very true as we want our children to see the beauty in virtue, and see examples of people who have striven to live a life in Christ and been recognized by the Church as saints.
The three days of All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween), All Saint’s Day, and All Souls’ Day have been traditional Catholic celebrations initiated to help us meditate on death and eternal life, as well as to honor all the saints in Heaven and all the souls in Purgatory. Over time, the three day celebration was condensed into a secular holiday, Halloween. It is interesting that the Church appointed these feasts within the fall season, which coincides with the season symbolic of death. They also, however, coincide with the timing of many traditional pagan practices. For this reason many people think that Halloween is rooted in these pagan customs. The following is an interesting excerpt from the book, Celebrating Catholic Halloween:
“Celebrations on the eve of All Saints’ Day, or All Hallows Eve, in France began as a form of prayer to prepare the hearts and souls of the faithful for the coming feast. Common throughout the Middle Ages were little plays which provided meditation on the Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. From these plays originated the custom of costumes on Halloween. In England, Scotland, and Ireland, the vigil was a combination of prayer and festivities. In fact, it was in England that the custom of begging at doors was begun. A beggar would knock at doors begging for soul cakes in return for prayers for the dead of that household.”
Mount Royal Academy’s mission to teach the whole person is designed to help parents in raising their children to literally become saints and go to Heaven. What better way to do this than taking time to learn about the lives of the saints and aspire to follow their example of virtue and beauty? Therefore, students in all grade levels have been working on saint projects and skits that teach about the saints for the past couple of weeks. We would love for you to join us tomorrow in celebrating this beautiful Holy Day. Mass will be at 8:30 and followed by students skits and presentations.
Praying your family has a fun and safe Halloween and a Blessed All Saints Day.
Yours Truly In Christ,
David Thibault, Headmaster
Within the last couple decades a new continent has been discovered: the digital continent. The world of social and online media is growing rapidly. New mediums of communication are introduced so quickly that the average user can find it difficult to track the developing forms of online social connection.
Adolescents are NOT average users. They are extreme users of social media. As adults who care about the eternal, spiritual, and moral well-being of all children, we think that is it very important for parents to know the dangers of the digital continent. The world of digital media and social networking is not bad in itself, but if youth are not properly formed in how, when, and why to use such tools, then their lives may be in danger for a variety of reasons. Potential employers customarily conduct a simple Google search of an applicant’s name before considering to interview or hire. What if damaging content is out there? Cyber bullying is a reality. What if children think that those harsh words or inappropriate comments simply disappear? Even adults find it hard to disengage from technology. What if we – adults and youth – become technology addicts?
A key component of our mission is to support parents as primary educators. Therefore, we intend to provide ongoing information and education opportunities for parents, as they strive to form their children.
On November 5th we are hosting a presentation entitled Safety on the Information Highway for You and Your family, from 6:30 – 8:00pm. Below is a biography of the presenter, Christopher Currier, a Mount Royal parent. We strongly encourage at least one parent from every household to attend this seminar. This event is open to the public.
Detective Christopher Currier (Retired), MFS, has been involved with investigating computer crime since 1998 with the New London Police Department. Detective Currier worked with the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force as an investigator and forensic examiner. Detective Currier worked on the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Initiative. Detective Currier is an adjunct instructor at the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council where he taught Responding to Computer Crime, Fraud, Identity Theft, and other courses. Detective Currier continues today as a contractor developing courses and teaching Computer Security, Computer Forensics, and Mobile Device Forensics. Detective Currier continues to serve as a part time police officer and assisting the NH ICAC Task Force with cases.
We look forward to seeing you at the presentation. There will be a question and answer session to follow.
The 2013-14 academic year is well underway, and students and faculty alike have hit the ground running. Students have quickly acclimated to the daily routine, and special classes such as art, music, gym and languages, are in full swing.
We are privileged and grateful to have three priests alternately offer Mass for our school community this year. Fr. Michael Monette, pastor of St. Patrick/St. Joachim parish, Fr. Robert Biron, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima parish, and Fr. Rene Butler, director of the Shrine of Our Lady of LaSalette, generously visit campus each week on a rotating basis. Weekly Mass and rosary continue to anchor our school prayer life.
Our National Honor Society members organized a brief commemoration of Patriot Day on Sept. 11, complete with prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and patriotic music under the direction of music teacher LeAnn Bek.
All soccer teams are off to a strong start and we are thrilled to have enough student-athletes to comprise both a girls and boys 5th and 6th grade team, as well as JV girls and JV boys. Both JV teams participate in the NHIAA. Go Knights!
Our school’s virtue of the month program has been a long standing tradition at Mount Royal. Each month we focus on a different virtue,
talking to students about what it means and what it looks like in practice. This year we are taking the program a step further, asking students to notice and share examples of these virtues in their peers. We have a display in the lower school hallway featuring Nick the Knight, courtesy of Mrs. Dabrowski’s class, where students can nominate their peers for exemplifying virtue in the classroom, on the playground and around campus. These students are recognized at morning assembly and we will have a small celebration for them at the end of each month. Hopefully this will be an effective way for the kids to better understand virtue in action and shine a light on good acts taking place all around them.
Back to School Night will take place this week (9/18) for all parents. It is a great chance to receive important information about the many activities and classes taking place on campus. School-to-home communication is a top priority, and we value the opportunity provided through this yearly event.
Stay tuned for more information about upcoming happenings. We are excited by all the possibilities the new year brings!
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Mount Royal Academy is pleased and grateful to announce that three new full-time faculty members have been hired for the 2013 – 2014 school year.
1st grade classroom: Mrs. Karen Walsh
3rd grade classroom: Mrs. Deborah Nelson
Social Studies (grades 7-12): Mr. Andrew Mihaly
Click here for complete biographical information including educational background and experience.
Mr. Thibault remarked, “I am confident that all three teachers will do a fantastic job at Mount Royal Academy, and I am so thankful that all three accepted the positions offered to them.”
As the enrollment continues to increase, the administration is committed to matching new students with adequate resources. Our mission remains the same – to teach the whole person, one student at a time – even though institution continues to experience rapid growth.
The best way to ensure the success of our mission is to stay focused on the individual. This is more easily accomplished with smaller classroom sizes. The average classroom size for the upcoming school year is approximately 14 students.
We are also delighted that Mr. Andrew D’Amico has agreed to serve as a part time teacher. Mr. D’Amico will introduce engineering courses to students in grades 7 – 12.
Mr. Thibault offered this request to the school community: “Please join me in prayers of thanksgiving for these dedicated and faithful teachers, and in prayers for the continued success of our beautiful school. May God continue to send us the students and means to keep bringing His good news to more and more families.”
As a parent, do you struggle to help your children complete simple math assignments because you learned math differently in your childhood? Do you find yourself often times preferring to sound-out difficulty vocabulary words using phonics instead of consulting the ‘word list’? Have you ever wondered why the art of cursive writing is no longer taught to elementary aged school children? Can you follow all of the latest acronyms representing standards-based testing that are supposed to enhance the quality of your child’s educational experience? Where did the good-old fashioned GPA go? Are you frustrated with the reality that your child’s education is held hostage by the fact that teachers instruct primarily for the sake of preparing students to test well and not to live well?
At Mount Royal Academy, the resurgent interest in classical education has caught us off guard to some extent. We often ask interested families, “Why are you interested in sending your child to our school?” Thereason usually boils down to this: common sense is missing. In public schools, their children are immersed in an environment that ‘teaches only to the test’. A classical education, such as the one at Mount Royal, forms students to be well-rounded, independent, and perceptive thinkers, capable of supporting their own opinions with solid evidence from the knowledge they’ve acquired.
The beauty of a classical education is that it capitalizes on what we have always commonly known about child development, cultivating the natural curiosity and competencies of children/students at age-appropriate levels. It is a grave mistake to believe that all elementary aged children are abstract enough to learn the concepts of math before concrete math computation. Elementary students discover and retain information much differently than adolescents. You can see this simply by sitting down and having a conversation with one of them. The elementary aged child will ask, “How does seven multiplied by seven equal forty nine?” An adolescent will likely ask, “Why does seven multiplied by seven always equal forty-nine?”
Some might be surprised that the enrollment at Mount Royal has increased by over 100 students in the past five years. Have you ever experienced a moment in your life when you are listening to someone talk and then deep down, this instinctual feeling arises whereby you think to yourself, “that makes sense”? Classical education makes sense because it doesn’t over-complicate the educational experience or environment. We often say, “Let kids be kids”. Let them wonder. Let them discover. Let them be creative. Let them know the true, the good, and the beautiful. Why mess with a beautiful thing?
A classical education maintains a high standard: an unshakeable, unchangeable, and fixed standard. It is the standard of human excellence. We are all meant to be great. The greatest individuals are naturally attractive because of the virtue they demonstrate, the truths they communicate, and the love they illuminate. Teachers are therefore responsible for supporting all parents by pushing their children to rise to those standards.
So are we totally surprised that more families than ever before have decided to join our school community? Not really. We are humbled and we often find ourselves thinking, “How did this all happen? How did we add two new buildings in the past two years? Aren’t we experiencing the second worst economic recession in American history? How does our enrollment continue to grow by 20% every year since 2010?” With God, all things are possible. It is not entirely because of our own efforts. Rather, we strive to impart the truths about the human person that have always fostered human excellence, and we do so in a way that respects the integrity and undeniable dignity of the human person, created in the image and likeness of God. As sharers in God’s own nature, we are created to be excellent. Thus, education too should strive for excellence. Students and families at Mount Royal Academy know the truth and beauty of an academically excellent education.