Congratulations on surviving the first week of the 2018-19 school year! I hope everyone has their power back on and has dried out from the storms this week. I have a few safety reminders for those who drop off or pick up students each day. When dropping off, please pull up and around the corner as far as you can so we can have several vehicles dropping off students at the same time on the sidewalk. If you need to get out of your car to help your student, please pull into one of the parking spaces and walk them safely to the sidewalk. This procedure would be the same at pick up time. If your student needs help getting into the vehicle and/or buckling up, please park in a marked space and carefully walk them from the sidewalk to your automobile. Remember to use Exchange Street as the Entrance and either Prospect or Savidge (right turn only) Streets as the exits during drop off and pick up times.
Please plan on packing cold lunch again next week. We were hoping to work something out with Spring Lake Public Schools to provide hot lunch, but it is not going to happen this year. I would like to thank Laura McKenna and Tanya Kval for taking on our hot lunch program this school year. Laura finished out last school year working in the kitchen with Jennifer Brown and has been a substitute cook as well as a parent volunteer in the lunchroom for many years. Tanya has been a parent volunteer in our hot lunch program for several years as well. They plan to have our hot lunch program up and running on Monday, September 10th. Details and menu to come next week.
We will send an email the last day of each week with important news for the upcoming week. Please look it over carefully.
Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend.
Steve VanHammen, Principal
St. Mary's School, Spring Lake
Phone (616) 842-1282
I hope you are enjoying this warm summer in West Michigan. School will be starting soon with the first day on Monday, August 27th. If you are interested in sending your child(ren) to St. Mary’s Catholic School now or in the near future, please contact our school office for information on registration or you can check out our website at: www.stmarysl.org. I would love to give you a tour of our beautiful new school and share with you all the wonderful learning that takes place at St. Mary’s School on a daily basis. We have our Open House scheduled for Tuesday, August 21st, 5:00-6:30 PM. Registration for the 2018-19 school year is ongoing until they fill up. Our 3 and 4-year-old preschool is full and has a waiting list. We do have room in our Kindergarten Prep classroom which is held five days a week in the afternoon. We still have openings in all other grades K-8.
If your family is considering a Catholic school education, the Welcome Scholarship is being offered again this year for students going into preschool through 8th grade that haven’t attended a Catholic school in the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Each new student who meets this scholarship criterion is eligible for $250 for preschool and $750 for K-8 grades for the first year you are enrolled. Bishop Walkowiak has scholarship money available from the Diocese of Grand Rapids, in addition to St. Mary’s scholarship money from our annual Unity Auction and golf outings. To be eligible for these scholarships, you need to complete the SmartAid Scholarship Application at: smartaidforparents.com.
Steve VanHammen, Principal
Dear St. Mary’s School Parents,
My name is Shawnda Draeger and I’m excited to announce that I have been hired to be your new Music Teacher! I will be teaching Preschool - 8th Grade; including band, choir and directing music at the Friday, 9am school Masses.
I started my formal music instruction at age 7 on piano and age 9 on violin which I continued through college. I taught myself guitar when I was 9. I’ve been singing since I was a toddler and from grade school through high school I sang in various church choirs, vocal ensembles, and musicals.
I earned a B.A. in Music Education from Western Michigan University and an M.A. in Theology from Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.
While based in Ohio I taught K-8 music at a local Catholic school. I also toured and recorded for 8+ years with 4 different Catholic worship bands and as a solo artist singing, playing violin, keyboard & guitar. After moving back to Grand Haven I taught private lessons and played violin with the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra.
For the last 18+ years I served as Music & Liturgy Director at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish. For the Music Director portion of my job I directed the Children’s Choir, LifeTeen Band, Mixed Ensembles, Cantors, Christmas & Easter Choir, and Christmas & Easter Orchestra.
I am so blessed to have this new opportunity to teach at such a wonderful Catholic school and parish as St. Mary’s. I am now busy planning for a great 2018-2019 school year! Music classes will be taught on Tuesday, Thursday & Friday.
I look forward to meeting all of you, especially all of the wonderful students of St. Mary’s School!
I hope everyone is enjoying the last few weeks of summer break. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you at our Open House on Tuesday, August 21st, 5:00-6:30 pm. Our first day of school is Monday, August 27th. This is a full day of school. It is a Color Day so students can be dressed appropriately for School Pictures.
I would like to announce a few more staffing changes that have taken place recently this summer. Ann Pendery has taken a job with the Muskegon Lumberjacks. I would like to thank Ann for the eleven years of service to our St. Mary's School families and staff. Mary Peel has taken on Ann Pendery's position, so that left us with an open school secretary job. Carol Payne, who is a former St. Mary's School parent, is filling in as our St. Mary's School Secretary to begin the school year. We will be posting this job opening next week.
The other new staff change is in 2nd grade. Ms. Molly Heeringa took a teaching job closer to her home in Grand Rapids at St. Thomas the Apostle School. I'm pleased to announce that we have a wonderful replacement in Ms. Meredith Skorupski who is a former St. Mary's School student. Ms. Skorupski did some substitute teaching for us this year and fit right in with our staff. Please see Meredith's introduction letter below and welcome her back to the St. Mary's School family.
Steve VanHammen, Principal
St. Mary's School, Spring Lake
Phone (616) 842-1282
"Inspired by Saint Mary and rooted in our Catholic faith, St. Mary's School fosters spiritual development, academic excellence, responsibility to self, and service to others in order that the Gospel of Christ may be known in the world."
Back-to-School Open House is Tuesday, August 21
K-8th: 5:00-6:30 PM
PS3: 5:00-5:30 PM
PS4: 5:30-6:00 PM
KP: 6:00-6:30 PM
This time has been set aside for Parents, Students & Teachers
to meet and discuss the exciting plans for the new school year.
Please plan on attending this informative event.
There will be a brief meeting for parents and students - 5th grade & new to the middle school -
in the 5th grade classroom from 5:45-6:00 PM.
Picture forms will be available.
First day of School & Picture Day: Monday, August 27. **This will be a color day**
Hello, my name is Meredith Skorupski and I am very excited and proud to be part of St. Mary’s School Family! I will be leading our 2nd graders this coming school year!
I am a graduate of St. Mary’s Elementary School. Yes, I am an alumna! It is great to be back where it all started for me. Go Cyclones! After St. Mary’s I attended Grand Haven High School and graduated in 2014. My roots are right here in the Tri-City Area. I toured a few colleges but was ultimately called to attend Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana. I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Biology. Notre Dame provided me with a wonderful experience, but I was called to come back to West Michigan to begin my career.
I look forward to the coming school year and meeting you all.
Meredith E. Skorupski
Saint Mary’s College ‘18
Elementary Education Major
My name is Alissa Mullally and I am thrilled to be the new 4th grade teacher this year at St
Marys! I feel incredibly blessed to be joining our outstanding team of teachers and staff after
spending the last 6 years as a St Mary’s parent. Having my own 3 children attend St Mary’s for
the past few years has been a wonderful experience.
I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan in 2003.
After graduation, I taught 4th grade in the Ann Arbor area. In 2005, my husband, Patrick, and I
moved to Seattle, WA where he began his residency. During those two years, I taught 3rd
grade and 4th grade in the Issaquah School District. In 2007, we returned to West Michigan
(with a newborn baby) and I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past 10 years.
Last year, I began working on my Masters in Literacy Studies through Grand Valley State
University and I returned to work as a part time aide at St Mary’s. Now that my youngest is off
to Kindergarten this fall, I feel tremendously blessed to be returning to the classroom full time to
do what I love! I look forward to sharing my passion for the Catholic faith with my students and
helping them to grow and become leaders in the classroom and beyond.
As a parent and an educator, I truly appreciate our unique environment where academic rigor
and a dedication to teaching the Gospel are ingrained in all that our students do. I look forward
to continuing that tradition as a classroom teacher to ensure that our school continues to be the
best school in our area.
Dear Students and Families,
Hello, my name is Bryan Celano and I am looking forward to joining the
wonderful community and teaching team here at Saint Mary’s Catholic School! I am a
parishioner at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church and a graduate of Grand Valley State
University. My lovely wife and I just celebrated our five-year anniversary and we have a
busy little one-year-old daughter. I am very excited to have the opportunity to have a
positive and constructive impact on both our eighth graders and all of our middle school
I am both blessed and excited to teach the Catholic faith and to cultivate an
engaging classroom with numerous ways to learn and many opportunities for your
children to grow academically, socially, and spiritually. I am looking forward to getting to
know and become a part of your child's education!
My philosophy on education is centered around the idea of creating effective
teaching experiences for students; by providing a positive and constructive classroom
culture where all students can learn by setting clear expectations, organizing an
engaging curriculum, and by implementing specific teaching strategies to support each
student’s individual learning. Students will be held to high moral, social, and academic
expectations in every part of our classroom. With the support of our families and our
school, we have the opportunity to help guide our students to lasting success.
I am looking forward to a great school year and getting to know everyone! I also
hope you are all having a WONDERFUL summer! Please, do not hesitate to contact me
with any questions.
Sincerely and God Bless,
Mr. Bryan Celano
From: School Office
Sent: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 10:34 AM
Subject: Important Information
Dear St. Mary’s School Families,
I hope everyone is appreciating the hot summer break so far. I wanted to update you on our staffing changes for the 2018-19 school year. We have two new staff members, Bryan Celano, who will be teaching 8th grade homeroom and middle school Social Studies along with Shawnda Draeger, who will be teaching choir, music and band. Mr. Celano comes to us after teaching at St. Thomas School in Grand Rapids, while Ms. Draeger joins us from St. Patrick’s/St. Anthony Parish where she was the music and liturgy director. We also have Alissa Mullally officially joining our teaching staff as our new 4th grade teacher. Mrs. Mullally was our 1st grade aide until she was asked to take over the 5th grade homeroom and middle school Social Studies teaching position the last trimester. Rachel Derck will be moving to 5th grade homeroom and continue to teach middle school Mathematics. Please read the attached introduction letters from our new staff.
I would like to thank Brian Fedewa for teaching band and music the past few years. Mr. Fedewa did a wonderful job of rebuilding our music program. I would also like to thank Kristen Christoffersen for her 9 years of teaching at St. Mary’s School in our resource room and 4th grade classroom along with Peggy Campbell who taught 5th grade and middle school Social Studies for almost 3 years. I wish them well in their new endeavors.
Enjoy the rest of your summer vacation by the lake or pool!
Mr. Steve VanHammen, Principal
St. Mary’s Catholic School
St. Mary's School
430 E. Savidge Street
Spring Lake, MI 49456