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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
November 15, 1991     The Message
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November 15, 1991

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Kindergtrten teacher Martha Dieter works with pupils Katy Kastynow, Elaine Doss, Jenna Smith and Emily Lueken. Parents; gra part c ,,u ndparents T Ih By PAUL R. LEINGANG Message Editor "Two, four, six, eight, ten." Teacher Martha Dieter was showing some of her kindergarten pupils how to count 10 pennies by twos last Monday morning at St. John School, Newburgh. Pennies have greater value than mere money at St. John's, They,re good for math, and they help instill social values. The pennies on the table Monday morning will become part of a diocesan-wide penny col- lection, to help pay for ongoing education for teachers. But pennies are fun to count, too, in ones or twos or in stacks of lOs. Numbers are easier to comprehend when you can feel them and see them and know how tall a stack of Mission Statement St. John School is a part of the teaching mission of St, John the Ba fist Parish, Newburgh, Indiana, The mission of the school will be threefold: -- To provide formal religious training in the doctrine, and practice of the Catholic faith; k To provide an academic environment that will help the student develop basic skills for learning and foster curiosity in behavior thought; To provide the student with skills of problem solving and sponsible self-discipline which will serve as a foundation for life experiences. In essence, the school will address the religious, academic and development of the student in a manner consistent with teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 ought to be. One-third of the pennies will not go to the diocesan campaign, but rather, to children's charities w that's the tradition at St. John's. Even when a mile-and-a-half of pennies was collected a few years ago to imy television equipment, a half-mile's worth went to charity. The television system is elaborate, but it was not costly. Dona- tions of time. money and equipment made it possible. Cable pro- grams, taped programs from either of two VCRs. and even a signal "live from the library can be piped into any or all of the class- rooms. "This place would not function without parents," said Dr. Char- lotte Bennett, principal. She was referring not only to the expertise of the parent who installed the television system, but also to many other activities and services. Parents volunteer to serve lunch, run the library, staff the com- uter center, watch over the playground, organize the monthly indergarten trips and serve as "an extra hand" for teachers in the classroom. Grandparents are involved, too. On their special day, Oct. 18, 224 grandparents came to the school, They watched a program, visited classrooms, participated at Mass and joined the children for lunch. The day was organized by the PTSA, with the theme, "Come Re-Discover St. John's." Foster Grandparents attended that day, too. They are regulars. Five to seven residents of Woodland Convalescent Third, Center come twice a week to tell stories, color and spend time with the kindergartners. The children visit their los- in the "prayer corner." ter grandparents, too, to fly kites and have Halloween parties, "Anything they need kids for, our kids go." said the corner with a bible and a principal, has been set up in each classroom, There are 301:mpils i n Kindergarten. Total K-8 enrollment is 249. Donating pennies to charity and spending time with foster grandparents are only two of the school's traditions. Having a Birthday Mass is another. Students and teachers who have a birthday in a particular month celebrate together, participate in the liturgy, and receive a blessing. Parents who at- , tend may come forward to give their children a hug or a kiss at the Sign of Peace. A,' part of any school liturgy, new ribbon banners and wrist ribbons might be used  to help make movement in a procession much more involving. The lee for the ribbon banners  brightly colored ribbons fastened with Velcro to cross-shaped assemblies of PVC pipe  came from a summer work- shop. Putting them to use in school liturgies has added another dimension to student involvement. "Involvement' is a good word for students at Mass. They use sign language as well Fourth grade teacher Jan Robak and pupils Kristen Jones, ten Scales and Jeff Wedding proudly display use to keep an account of the pages they have read. % T  as spoken words to pray the "Our Father" and the "Great Amen." Involvement in community concerns is another tradition. Each November, pupils collect 7.000 to 10,000 canned goods items to be distributed to the hungry. Each year, the school sponsors at least one family at Christmas time. Each year, school children join religious education students and members of the entire parish doing a "mitten tree" to provide gloves and mittens for children at St. Vincent Day Care Cen- ter in Evansville. Fanfilies of children observing birthdays don't bring treats to class  they donate books to the school library, inscribed with the birthday child's name. Along with the traditional, there is much that is new. The school day is longer this year, to give needed time to sixth graders for geogra- phy, art and music; and to seventh- and eighth-graders for speech, art and music. Also on the schedule are home eco- nomics and computer lab. All class re- quirements for Performance Based Ac- creditation are now being met. Among many reading programs, one ,, new effort this year involves a "Passport for each student and teacher. In the assport, students log the books and e number of pages they have read. The goal is a million pages this year. Setting goals  and meeting them  has been the story at St. John's since the first school opened with 75 pupils in 1940. Three Sisters of Provilehce commuted from Evansville of Providence who succeeded her on all l'it ,ly j