Alumni Crest 2012 


In This Issue
Letter from the Director of Development
Reception Honors Retirees
Farwewell from Mr. Lee
Farewell from Mrs. Patch
Meet IHM's New Principal
Senior Assembly & Reception
Class of 2016 Graduates
Legacy Memories
Annual Alumni Awards Given
Faculty & Staff Updates
Alumni Updates
Prayer Requests
Special Recognition of Our Editor
Support Your Alma Mater!
Stay Informed - Stay Connected



Letter from the Director of Development

Dear IHM Alumni and Parents of Alumni,
"To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1

In this issue, we're reminded of the passage of time as we bid farewell to the Class of 2016 and several beloved staff members. It's a bittersweet moment -- we're sad to say goodbye, but excited to see what the future holds for our graduates and colleagues as they embark on the next phase of their lives. We know our students are well prepared for the world outside our doors, and we know learning and growth come from moving forward. We also know our colleagues who are leaving us will continue to contribute to the world in new and meaningful ways.

As we celebrate the conclusion of one school year, we also greet the opportunities of a new school year. Here at IHM that means welcoming a new principal who brings fresh ideas and energy to our community. I hope you'll enjoy getting to know Kellie DesOrmeaux in this issue.

Whatever the future holds, one thing remains certain: IHM School will continue to be a special place for students, families, faculty and staff for many years to come. As Mrs. Ruthie Patch and Karoline Rumps Brennan '78 remind us in their reflections in this issue, "the one constant [at IHM] is the sense of family."

Happy Reading,

Jennifer Sedlack
Director of Development  



Reception Honors Retirees
The end of the 2015-16 school year marked a milestone for four beloved IHM staff members who retired. They were honored at a reception on May 23, 2016.  
Mrs. Pat Athans retired after serving as the Second Grade Assistant in Mrs. Ruthie Patch's classroom for the past 17 years. A long-time IHM parishioner and parent of IHM alumni Cristin '99 and Kevin '01, Mrs. Athans started volunteering while her children attended school here and never left. She'll miss the "community ties," her K-2 level friends, the students, Mrs. Patch and Mrs. Moody. There won't be much time to miss IHM School in the near future, however, as Mrs. Athans prepares for the upcoming nuptials of her two children. She and her husband, Mike, will also be downsizing their home soon. Her final words of wisdom: "Have fun each day!" We know Mrs. Athans, Mrs. Patch and all their students lived by this rule!

Seven of Mrs. Nancy Bittner's 20 years in teaching have been spent at IHM School. Most recently, she served as an Instructional Support Teacher for grades 3-5. Mrs. Bittner says she'll miss "the special kids, my 3-5 grade-level ladies, and the close connections between the teachers" most of all. "I feel blessed to have been a part of this school community." If you ever visit St. Simons Island, GA, you might bump into Mrs. Bittner, who has already moved there to enjoy her retirement years with her husband, Steve.  

After 38 years in education, Mr. James Lee retired. In addition to being an administrator, Mr. Lee spent several years in the classroom teaching History and Religion. Originally from Chicago, Mr. Lee moved to Atlanta five years ago to accept the role of Principal of IHM School.

He has witnessed a lot of change over the years, especially in teaching methods. "It has become more interactive to keep students engaged," he explains. Thanks to technological leaps and bounds, he also notes that there's "no chalk any more!" as interactive whiteboards have replaced traditional chalkboards.  
What has remained the same? "Genuine caring about students," Mr. Lee says. "Teaching in Catholic schools is truly a calling."

His fondest memories of IHM will be of the camaraderie among the faculty and staff and the willingness of the community to help. He'll also miss the "solid base of parental support." He knew IHM was a special place when all the parents stayed after a grade-level dinner to stack the chairs and fold up the tables.

This summer, Mr. Lee and his wife, Sheri, returned to Belvidere, IL, 65 miles Northwest of Chicago where much of their family still lives. He plans to find part-time work there that does not require him to be the main decision maker. "I'll work at something, not sure just what yet -- something simple," he shares.

Regarding his legacy, Mr. Lee hopes to be remembered as someone who solved problems in a kind and gentle manner. He feels he was the right person for the job at the right time. "When people think of Jim Lee, I hope they smile," he concludes. We will, Mr. Lee!*

Another person who made many people smile is Mrs. Ruthie Patch, who retired from teaching after 37 years. Twenty-seven of those years were spent at IHM, 25 of them in second grade. Before landing there, she taught kindergarten at IHM and Embry Hills United Methodist Church Preschool and Kindergarten, so some students were lucky enough to have Mrs. Patch for both kindergarten and second grade.

Mrs. Patch loved teaching
second grade because "children at that age are old enough to be more independent, yet young enough that they're still excited about learning. Everything delights children at the primary level," she says. Her favorite kindergarten moments involved teaching children to read.

Of her students, Mrs. Patch shares, "I will miss their enthusiasm, innocence, eagerness to learn, and their appreciation of things we take for granted," she shares.

In addition to her students, Mrs. Patch says she'll also miss interacting with their families and her co-workers. "Whenever I have needed anything -- like when I had pneumonia -- the parents and teachers have been there to help. It's truly like family here. Even my husband, Brad, feels it from volunteering in the cafeteria for the past five years," she shares. "I can't imagine that every school has such a happy and loving atmosphere." 

Parent Appreciation Nights (PAN) and Halloween are events Mrs. Patch will miss. Over the years, she has played Cleopatra, Princess Lea, a mermaid, a Southern belle, an old schoolmarm, a kindergarten student, a fast-talking tooth fairy, and a magician's assistant (who got cut in half!) in the annual PAN shows. 

During her time at IHM, Mrs. Patch served under six principals and five pastors. She also prepared over 1,000 students to receive their First Holy Communion, and this accomplishment has brought her much joy over the years. "The children's First Communion celebrations are dear to my heart," she says.

Nothing pleases Mrs. Patch more than when her former students 'friend' her on Facebook or come back to visit her. "You get so close to these kids and their families over the years, it's wonderful to maintain these relationships."

Like Mr. Lee, Mrs. Patch has witnessed much change during her years as an educator. "Our content and values haven't changed, but how they are presented has changed," she notes.

Mrs. Patch's future plans include traveling with her husband and having many play dates with her baby granddaughter, Caroline. In addition to traveling to New England for a family reunion, spending time at the beach, and visiting with college friends, Mrs. Patch looks forward to having time to "CLEAN my house!" She also plans to volunteer at the children's hospital as well as at IHM, either reading to students or perhaps substitute teaching, at some future date.

As she reflected on her career, Mrs. Patch invoked a quote by Forest Witcraft: 'A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.'*  

Mrs. Athans, Mrs. Bittner, Mr. Lee, and Mrs. Patch certainly made a difference in the lives of countless children during their careers. We thank them for dedicating so many years of service to the students of IHM School. May God bless them all and keep them safe as they enjoy their well-earned retirement!  

[*Editor's Note:  Please see Mr. Lee and Mrs. Patch's farewell addresses following this article.] 



Farewell Address from Mr. Lee 

Mr. Lee May 2016
Dear Families of IHM:

In a very short time I will be leaving IHM after five years of service. There are two types of people in the world: Those who use the best first and those who save the best for last. I am the second type. With regards to my service of 38 years in education, I definitely saved the best experience for last. When I came here in 2011, I wasn't sure what type of welcome I would receive. I was wowed by the warm reception I was given. I bragged to my friends and colleagues in Chicago:  'I am at a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School of Excellence, we are fiscally sound, and there is a waiting list. This is what heaven must be like.'

I have been humbled to have been selected as the Principal of such a wonderful school. The faculty and staff are outstanding in terms of their devotion, dedication, and ability to get the job done. I have enjoyed a good working relationship with both pastors. The parents and families have demonstrated continuous support for the school and its programs with their time, talent and treasure. Working with the students at IHM has given me great pleasure and joy. They are bright, hardworking, generous, kind, considerate, strong in their faith, and thoughtful. They have embraced my four main goals. They are able to think critically, solve problems, make good choices, and accept responsibility for their actions.

I face the next several weeks with a myriad of emotions. I have enjoyed my time here very much and now it is time to say goodbye. I wish that you have continued blessings and continue to grow and flourish. You will remain in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep me in your prayers.

God bless,

Jim Lee 



Farewell to Students from Mrs. Patch
May 2016

Dear IHM Students,

I was very surprised when Mr. Lee called me up at the last assembly and read his beautiful poem to me. I wish that I had been able to express my feelings to everyone at that time, but I was sure that I would cry. I am very grateful to your teachers for taking the time to read my message to you now.

Teaching at Immaculate Heart of Mary School has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. When I was only 24 years old, I had to leave my family in Massachusetts to move to Georgia with my husband and two babies. I thought my heart would break having to say good-bye to my parents and friends. God had a wonderful plan for my life, though, and He gave me a second family when He brought me to IHM. I have had the joy of teaching the kindergarten here for my first two years and the second grade for the past 25 years. I have been blessed to watch hundreds of my former students grow into successful adults, many of whom now have families of their own and continue to stay in touch with me. I have worked each day with the most talented, caring, faith-filled faculty and staff one could ever imagine. And, most importantly, I have had the opportunity to teach at a school filled with the most amazing, creative, intelligent, and "fun" students in the world!

One of the greatest blessings during my time at IHM has been the privilege of helping parents to prepare their children for their First Communion. I pray that you will always treasure the precious gift of Jesus in the Eucharist.

I will miss my IHM family more than I could ever adequately express, but I know that God has a wonderful plan for the rest of my life. I feel sure that part of that plan will bring me back, in some capacity, to this school that I so dearly love. My wish for you is that one day you will have a career that brings you as much joy and fulfillment as teaching at IHM has brought to me. Keep Jesus first in your life, and trust that He has a wonderful plan for you. I love each of you so much, and I will continue to keep my IHM family in my prayers. Please never forget how much you have meant to me.


Mrs. Patch   



Meet IHM's New Principal

(Photo by Michael Alexander,
The Georgia Bulletin)
On July 1st, Mrs. Kellie DesOrmeaux became the fourteenth Principal of Immaculate Heart of Mary School. Principal DesOrmeaux grew up in Southwest Louisiana. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, an M.S. in Science Education from Walden University and a Specialist in Educational Leadership (Ed.S.) from Georgia College and State University. She has worked in both general and special education classrooms in the Gwinnett and Walton County public schools at the primary, intermediate and middle-school grade levels. For the last three years, she served as Assistant Principal at St. Thomas More Catholic School in Decatur.

Mrs. DesOrmeaux, her husband and three children live in Monroe, GA, where they are members of St. Anna Catholic Church. Two of Mrs. DesOrmeaux's children are now students at IHM.



Senior Assembly Welcomes Class of 2012
Melissa Sheppard, Alianna Phillipps-Kow, 
Hannah Kerry,  Anya Mancinelli,  Carina Jimenez & Caroline Bollinger
On Friday, May 13, 2016, IHM School welcomed back nearly 50 members of the Class of 2012 for a Senior Assembly and Reception. Speaking to the all-school assembly attended by current students, faculty, staff and parents, the graduating seniors announced their post-high school plans and shared their favorite memories from their IHM years.

After the assembly, the seniors reminisced with teachers and classmates at a reception in the library. The seniors also received notes from their fifth-grade kindergarten buddies, who are now in the seventh grade.

Mrs. Kathleen Pyrce & 
James Batantou
Carlos Zayas  & Matteo DeLurgio 

Class of 2012 Alumni Representative Matteo DeLurgio '12 helped IHM Director of Development Jennifer Sedlack draw names for college appropriate door prizes ranging from laundry detergent to Target gift cards. All members of the Class of 2012 left with a special gift from the Alumni Association as well as the IHM community's best wishes for success in their college years.
Lily Young, Caroline Bollinger,  
Eleni Demos  & Katherine Nettleship 
Nancy Ramos, Mrs. Liz Hager  
& Mrs. Ashleigh Hally
Shelley Hughes, Helen Homrich,
 Lane Homrich
& Maddie Hughes 
Steven Nguyen, Ethan Bills ,  
David Durden & Mrs. Sandy Wilson
Eyoel Endashaw, Lars Kolvereid, Derek Spitzer, Brennan Garrison, Chris McNulty, 
Mrs. LaFreniere & Jacob Spitzer 
Mrs. LaFreniere catches up with students from the class of 2012. 



Graduation Festivities for the Class of 2016

During the month of May, IHM's Class of 2016 participated in several activities marking the end of their time at IHM School.

Day of Reflection
On May 11, the Class of 2016 went to Covecrest in Tiger, GA to spend a day reflecting on their experiences at IHM. It was an opportunity to recall all they had learned and shared during their time at IHM. It was also a time to look forward as they prepare to transition to high school.

Class of 2016 Alumni Representatives - Hailey Miller & Sarah Fredrickson
Maria Rodriguez Miller '83, Hailey Miller '16, Karoline Rumps Brennan '78,
Sarah Fredrickson '16 & Elise Fredrickson

Passing of the Light  
On May 20, the Class of 2016 "passed on" the light of being the leaders of IHM School to the rising eighth graders. The newly appointed Class of 2016 Alumni Representatives, Sarah Fredrickson '16 and Hailey Miller '16 (above), led their classmates in a recitation of the Alumni Pledge, signifying their transition from IHM students to IHM Alumni.

Leah Kesler '16, Carolynn Bui '16  
& Jordan White '16

Daniel Beverly '17 & Marcelus Burwell '16

Graduation Dance
That same evening, members of the Class of 2016 enjoyed their last school dance as IHM students.

Graduation Day was Wednesday, May 25. Activities included:

Graduation Breakfast: The rising eighth graders (Class of 2017) hosted a breakfast for the graduates and their parents. Awards were presented, legacy students were recognized and everyone enjoyed watching the Class of 2016's video of school memories.

Graduation Ceremony
The ceremony began with Mass in IHM Church at 6:30 p.m. and ended with the awarding of diplomas.

Graduation Reception
The rising seventh-grade class (Class of 2018) hosted a reception for the graduates and their families. Courtesy of the Alumni Committee, each graduate received a gift, a handwritten note welcoming him/her to the IHM Alumni family, and pictures taken at the Graduation Breakfast earlier that day.  



Legacy Parents Share Memories    
There's no higher praise for a school than when its graduates send their own children to their alma mater. IHM School had 10 such 'legacy students' in the Class of 2016. Two legacy parents share memories of their time at IHM School below.

Karoline Rumps Brennan '78
Julia Brennan '16 &  
Karoline Rumps Brennan '78 
"In 1970 my family moved back to Atlanta and settled on a great street with lots of big families totaling more than 30 children. I thought we had hit the jackpot! It was also walking distance from a very special place located at 2855 Briarcliff Road. Whenever my father's job moved him to a new city, his main priority was to be walking distance from the school and church. Little did I know that for the next eight years I would be cultivating lifelong friendships and creating memories that would lead me to send our children to my alma mater.

It was always a dream to give my kids the same gift my parents gave me. After all, what better way to say thank you for the sacrifices they made to send me to IHM and for sharing their love of the Catholic faith than to continue the legacy? When we made the decision to send our twin daughters, Ella and Julia, to IHM for middle school, there was a sense of peace that came over me knowing that they were in a very special place. After all, I knew those walls, halls and ramp to the gym so well! Seeing Teresa (Norrell) Moon'78, Pat Griffin, Laura Holmes, and so many more familiar faces, I knew we were fortunate to become part of the IHM family again.

Coming home to IHM brought back so many fond memories and all I knew was that was the gift I wanted to give my kids. I remember sitting in Mrs. Griffin's fifth-grade class and dreaming of moving into the 'new building.' Little did I know that my children would not only walk the halls of my beloved school, but be taught by some of the same teachers! It gives me goose bumps when I attend an assembly in the gym and stare up at the sports banners dating back to my time at IHM.

Ella Brennan '16 &  
Karoline Rumps Brennan '78

Yes, some things have changed over the years. The IHM Falcons became the Eagles, and the new building is now the middle school, but the one constant is the sense of family. My hope and dream is that someday my girls will reflect back on their days at IHM with the same love and with the same long-lasting friendships. That is what makes this school so special. Long live the legacy..." 

Mary Pat Warner Martin '82

"In 1974 I entered Sr. Barbara's kindergarten class at IHM School. My fondest memories are of Sr. Barbara's warm hugs that made me feel safe and loved. Back then, there were two kindergarten classes, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Since my mother was the school secretary, I got to stay all day and attend both the morning and afternoon kindergarten classes. I'm not sure who was happier, me or Sr. Barbara.

As I progressed through the grades, I have fond memories of my second grade teacher, Ms. Conboy, who was a very energetic teacher and also made me feel special. I still have her thank you note she wrote to me for a teacher gift. In fifth grade, I had Mrs. Pat Griffin who told my parents in a parent-teacher conference that I was a "social butterfly." Boy, was she ever right! As luck would have it for me, Mrs. Griffin moved up and taught me in eighth grade too. Again, I'm not sure who was excited more!

Jamie Rose Martin '16 &  
Mary Pat Warner Martin '82
The best memories are of the friendships I cultivated during my nine years at IHM. The bonds made decades ago are still very present in my life today. Many of my friends continued on with me to St. Pius X Catholic High School before we went our separate ways for college. However, I stayed in touch with many who attended my wedding and my very best friend from IHM became the Godmother for two of my daughters. I will forever be grateful to IHM for bringing us together.

My husband and I chose to send all four of our children to IHM School because of the exceptional Catholic education that they would receive in a safe and loving environment. IHM prepared them well for the academic rigor of St. Pius X and college thereafter. We have been blessed to have the opportunity to send Colin '08, Carol Beth '12, Mary Grace '14 and Jamie Rose '16 to IHM like our parents did for us. IHM is an investment for a lifetime!" 

Congratulations to the Brennans, the Martins, and our other 2016 legacy families!


Grace Bell '16 & Paul Bell '79


Sylvie Buckalew '16  
& Margaret Burke '88

Shelley Dotson Buckley '86
& Daniel Buckley '16

Alex Casanova '84,  
Isabella Casanova '16 &  
Susan Lampe Casanova '86


Anne Reimer Craig '78  
& Elizabeth Craig '16

Maria Rodriguez Miller '83  
& Hailey Miller '16

Karla Zanders Postma '82  
& Makayla Postma '16  



Annual Alumni Awards Given       
Claire Trainor '16  
& Mrs. Haydee Vader

Claire Trainor '16
received the Renee Richardson Legacy Award. The award honors an 8th grade student that places the needs and concerns of others over his or her own, models Gospel values, is a positive, productive member of society, and exemplifies a positive attitude at IHM School.

Rusty Fish, Connie Fish, Katie Fish '17,
Diana Barnsley Fleming '89 & Diane Barnsley

Katie Fish '17
received the Edward Barnsley '86 Memorial Scholarship Award, which is given to a rising 8th grader who exhibits an aptitude for and an interest in creative writing. 



Faculty & Staff Updates      
Mrs. Jimenez & Mrs. Martin bid IHM farewell. 
After 16 years at IHM, Curriculum Director and Parent of Alumni Anna Jimenez moved back to New Mexico to reunite with her extended family. She is now working as Assistant Principal at a Catholic school.

Admissions Director & Registrar and Parent of Alumni Melinda Martin also left IHM last year after seven years of service. She has joined St. Pius X Catholic High School as the Assistant to the Athletic Director. 

We thank Mrs. Jimenez and Mrs. Martin for their years of service to IHM School, and wish them well in their new roles!

Thérèse Mruk GarrettAssistant Director of Development, editor of this newsletter and Parent of Alumni,  moved back to Colorado with her family in July.  

Assistant Principal and Parent of Alumni  Bob Baldonado  and Guidance Counselor and Parent of Alumni  Angela Walsh  were married in June 22, 2016 at IHM Church. 

Seventh-grade Teacher Megan Sweetnam married Brion Kennedy, St. Pius X Catholic High School Fine Arts Department Chairperson and Guitar Teacher, on May 28, 2016.



Alumni Updates

Consuelo Leon Bills '82 and John Ecuyer were married on Saturday, August 6, 2016 at Jesuit High School in New Orleans in the Holy Name of Jesus Chapel. 

On June 1, 2016 at the state capitol, Joseph Marshall '04 was awarded a Woodrow Wilson National Teaching Fellowship by Gov. Nathan Deal. Joseph attended Piedmont College for his Bachelor's degree and is now pursuing his Master's degree there. He plans to teach middle school science. We were thrilled to see Joseph when he stopped by IHM this past spring.  


Charles "Coty" Pinckney '07 also visited IHM in the spring when he was about to graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering. He is currently employed as a Design Engineer at Fulcrum Concepts, a military contractor in the Aerospace/Defense industry. Coty plans to pursue a Master's degree and PhD in the future.

Heather Conlon Evans '00
 and her husband Joel welcomed their first child, a daughter, on May 17, 2016. Brynn Elizabeth weighed in at 9 lbs. 10 oz. The only one prouder than the new parents is Brynn's grandma, IHM Nurse Brenda Conlon.

Sebastian BenCarlos Sans '07
 received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Louisiana State University with a minor in professional leadership development on May 12, 2016. Through LSU's Army ROTC program, Sans is a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Upon graduating from LSU, Sans reported to Fort Benning, GA, for infantry training. His first duty station will be at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.





Bob Bellingrath, father of Sarah Bellingrath '89 and Bob Bellingrath '93, and husband of Alumni Committee Member Eileen Bellingrath,  pa ssed away September 9, 2016 in Atlanta. Bellingrath Obituary 

Nora Richardson, mother of Dick Richardson '90 and Elizabeth Richardson Dinerstein '91, passed away September 30, 2016 in Atlanta. Richardson Obituary 

Long-time Faculty Member Pat Ruttenbur, mother of Diane Ruttenbur Moore '68 , Mary Ruttenbur Goettee '70 , and  Kevin Ruttenbur '72 , passed away October 18, 2016 in Decatur., Alabama.  Pat was preceded in death by Kathy Ruttenbur Hanna '67 and  Paul Ruttenbur '77 .  Ruttenbur Obituary

Eternal Rest
Grant unto Them, O Lord
and Let Perpetual Light
Shine Upon Them 



Prayer Requests  
Please keep the following member of the IHM community in your prayers: 
Katherine Million Welch '01 continues to battle leukemia as her cancer has relapsed. Pray that Katherine will tolerate chemo well and that a perfect match will be found.

Do you have a particular pastoral need? Visit the church's website at . Would you like to be added to the School Prayer List? Send your request to Lourdes Di Pietro [still contact?] at praying eagles if you would like to place someone on our prayer list.  



Special Recognition of Our Editor

Thérèse  Mruk Garrett, IHM Assistant Director of Development, had to resign from her position when her family made the decision to move back to Colorado in July, 2016. Ever committed to Catholic education and IHM School in particular, Thérèse wrote, designed, and edited this edition of the Alumni News long-distance, contributing her time pro-bono. We are grateful to Thérèse for continuing to go above and beyond, and wish her well in her new home!



Support Your Alma Mater!

Like what you've read here? Feeling nostalgic for your K-8 school? Please show your support for IHM by making a gift to the fund of your choice. All contributions are tax deductible and greatly appreciated!

Immaculate Heart of Mary School Endowment Fund

Tell the State You Want Your Taxes to go to IHM Scholarships

Want to get a tax credit while providing scholarships to IHM students in need? It's easy! Check out GRACE Scholars today. Not only do you get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for your contribution, you also get to claim your contribution on your federal tax returns. It's a win-win, but you have to act soon! Check it out: GRACE Scholars



Stay Informed - Stay Connected 

Stay connected with former classmates by "Liking" us on Facebook at Like us on Facebook.

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We love to get news from our graduates.  If you have news to share, contact
Jennifer Sedlack at