Dear School of St. Mary Families,

This past Monday, our School of St. Mary 6 th and 7 th graders joined together to attend a field trip to the Lyric Opera House and the American Writers Museum.  Students were treated to a back stage tour of the Opera House.  They learned the story of Samuel Insull, the billionaire who funded the construction of the "House", which opened on November 4, 1929, just six days before the stock market crashed. Students had an up-close look at the orchestra pit, a walk on the catwalk, a short film on wig making, and other very interesting experiences.

At the American Writers Museum, students toured exhibits of a wide variety of American authors throughout history.  They were asked to identify different authors from different historical periods a nd to reflect on how their writing impacted the lives of people then, and now.  Of course, the favorite part fo r many, was an interactive display of typewriters, both early manual designs, and more modern electric styles.  Students had an opportunity to "type" a note or letter using these typewriters. This was a wonderful day in the city, and we'd like to thank all of our parents who joined us to help chaperone.  A good time was had by all! Thanks to the Margaret's, Hogan and Tazioli, for planning this great educational opportunity!

Our 3 rd grade students went on a field trip to The Grove in Glenview on Monday.  Our students are learning about immigration, the early settlers of Jamestown, and what similarities and differences they can find from their current life.  At The Grove, our 3 rd graders became students of the past in a one-room schoolhouse, turned butter in a real log cabin, and weaved a bracelet in a Native American longhouse.  What a fun and informative field trip! Kudos to our 3rd grade team of Marcy Haubner, Ashley Rylander, and Maria Stolzman for setting up this outstanding hands-on learning opportunity!

Students at the Primary Grade Center celebrated the first week of Advent on Monday.  Preschoolers through 3rd graders processed into the IMC to O Come, O Come Emmanuel.  There, they sat in circles around the Advent wreath.  Our 3rd grade teachers led the children in prayer and explained the meaning of the wreath.  The students also learned about some of the symbolism associated with the wreath.  Before the teacher lit the candle, the students   listened to Luke's Gospel, reminding them to pray during the season of Advent.   Each week as they journey through Advent, our students will witness a brighter wreath until we celebrate the birth of Christ, the light of our world.  To conclude the service, we all sang The Whole World is Waiting for Love.

After Mass Wednesday morning at the PGC, our students presented a "sweet" birthday card loaded with assorted candy after Mass to Father Mark for his birthday.  The text of the card read:

You are a  Sweet Tart for everything you do for us.  You are always there to pick up the Reese's Pieces  and answer our questions. 
Sometimes, we act like 
Airheads or  Nerds
and you probably think we are from the  Milky Way ,
but you have made Mounds of differences in our lives. 
Thank you for getting us in  Doublemint condition for Heaven! 
And thanks for making us
Smarties .  
You deserve 100 Grand  every  PayDay.  
You are a Good and Plenty  example to us
and will always be in our hearts and prayers!
The School of St. Mary is proud to recognize the following students for earning a Crusader Commendation this past fall. Part of our Crusader Creed states that at the School of St. Mary, " We treat others as we want to be treated at school, on the playground, and on the playing field. " The following students, listed below, have embodied our Crusader Creed in a variety of ways. Each student was noted for having done one of the following by a teacher or administrator at the UGC: lending  a teacher or classmate a helping hand; acting as a role model; volunteering to serve our school; being kind to peers in need; being honest; or being empathetic:

Tommie Aberle
Brooks Bahr
Clara Bartusiak
Katy Beranek
Autumn Burtz
Kacey Busam
Teddy Chemers
Emma Christensen
Bella Claeys
Lilly Cohen
Sean Cronin
Carina DiVito
Isabella Donato
Fitz Knight
Harry Kotlarz
Elle Krakora
Bryan Kupperman
Ryan Milliman
Nicholas Nassar
Patrick Nevin
Erin O'Connor
Bernadette Petty
Nora Petty
Meaghan Plotner
Mary Rylance
Miles Specketer
Ben Stegemann
Sam Westerman
Alexandra Whelan
On Tuesday, December 11, following the UGC School Mass at St. Mary Church, we will recognize all of our students that received first quarter Crusader Commendations !  We are proud to see charity and joy shining in the acts of these young Crusaders and look forward to a year filled with even more acts of kindness.

Dave Wieters
Night at the Bookfair by Kippie Curcio
The PGC Book Fair was once again very successful!  Thank you to all those who volunteered during the day to help the students write their wish list and make purchases.

Many students and their families attended the Night at the Book fair last Wednesday.  Everyone had a great time and ended up with some fabulous books!

I want to send a huge thank you to Carlotta Plotner and Stephanie Thadani for helping me with this event. They spent many hours planning, purchasing items, setting up the book fair and worked the evening event.  SOSM is lucky to have parents like you!!

Night at the Bookfair

Opera House and Writers Museum Field trip by Katie May Newman
On December third, the sixth and seventh graders went into the city for an exclusive look behind the scenes of the Lyric Opera House and a look at the new American Writers Museum, which is just a year and a half old. The students had a day in the city. They spent the morning at the Lyric Opera House and spent the afternoon at the Writer's Museum. They learned a lot about how much effort goes in behind the scenes to put on an opera. The students got to try on costumes and wear props. They also learned that with great talent, comes great responsibility. You have to really put in a lot of effort to make a big production like an opera.
At the Writers Museum, we learned that many of the great American writers weren't always so great. They started from humble beginnings and worked their way up by striving to work hard and feeding their writer spirit! So, they learned over all that whether it is a theater production or a novel, a lot of effort goes in to what people love.

Parents Association update: Support School of St. Mary with Amazon Smile
AmazonSmile  is a website operated by  Amazon  with the same products, prices, and shopping features as  Amazon .com. The difference is that when you shop on 
AmazonSmile , the  AmazonSmile  Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the School of St. Mary. 

To use amazon smile go to and then select School of St. Mary Lake Forest, IL as your organization of choice. Then just use amazon as you normally would you will be supporting the school without even thinking about it. 


Tax Credit Scholarship Matching Program
Matching Gift Program

A group of generous donors have agreed to pool their resources and offer a 2-for-1 matching gift program to schools run by the Archdiocese of Chicago. For every dollar designated to a qualifying school through Empower Illinois between December 1, 2018 and February 28, 2019, the school will receive two dollars in matching funds. The donations are capped at $100,000 per school.

After April 1, 2019, any matching gift program funds that are not awarded at a designated school will be reallocated to low-income students at schools with unmet demand.

Donors who would like to receive the tax credit for their 2018 taxes should begin the process prior to December 14, 2018 to ensure that they have enough time to make their gift by December 31, 2018.
For more information please visit or call 312.534.2617.

General Program
There is still time to apply for a 2018 Illinois tax credit and donate to a Scholarship Granting Organization. Visit to learn more, or contact and 312.534.2617.

You can receive a 75 percent Illinois state income tax credit for donating to needs-based scholarships through the Illinois tax credit scholarship program. Visit to learn more, or contact and 312.534.2617.

Support low-income students at Archdiocesan schools while receiving a 75 percent state tax credit through
the Illinois tax credit scholarship program. Visit to learn more, or contact and 312.534.2617.

You can provide a Catholic school education to children from low-income families while also receiving a state tax credit yourself. The Invest in Kids Act is different from regular charitable giving to the School of St. Mary or another organization. Visit  to learn why and to access a step-by-step guide to the program.
UGC Planned Absences for Christmas Break
Christmas vacation begins on Monday, December 24 thru Friday, January 4th, returning to school on Monday, January 7th. If anyone is planning on taking additional days off, please send me an email with the following information.

Student Name
Homeroom Teacher
Days and dates of absences
Return to school date
Reason for absence

Thank you and may you all have a wonderful Christmas vacation.

Administrative Assistant
Band Concert Information
New Club for grades 4-6
Holiday Ornament Sale

As we prepare for the Christmas Season we will be selling these beautiful painted ornaments depicting St. Mary's Church. This image embraces the Christmas spirit and the happy
times in our church. The ornaments created by Bridget Halloran, who is a
parishioner of the church herself, will be sold for $10.00. 
Please contact Carlotta Plotner, if you would like to purchase one, by clicking  here

Sock Drive
Note from the Nurse
Flu Season is coming!

Dear Parent, 

Due to the high absense level normally seen at this time of year, we would like to give you some guidelines to help with your decision on whether or not to send your child to school. Please be advised if you child has any of the symptoms listed below he/she should not attend school. 

1. Fever over 100
2. Rash of unknown origin
3. Sore throat with fever
4. Persistent cough
5. Nausea and vomiting
6. Diarrhea

If your child has recently been ill, please be aware of the following guidelines before having your child return to school: 

1. He/she should be feeling fit for 24 hours before returning to school
2. He/she should be free of a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medication such a Tylenol or Ibuprofen. 
3. He/she should be free of vomiting and diarrhea for at least 24 hours. 
4. He/she should be taking an antibiotic for at least 24 hours before returning after being diagnosed with strep throat. 
5. He/she should be on a prescription antibiotic eye drops for conjunctivitis for 24 hours before returning to school. 

To keep your children healthy, make sure they have plenty of rest and good, nutritious diet. Make sure they are dressed properly when playing out doors. Please notify the school if your child has been diagnosed with strep throat, chickenpox, scarlet fever, flu, etc. 

The single most important thing you can do to keep your child free of illness is to teach him/her the proper way to wash his hands. Make sure he/she uses soap and rubs his/her hands together for 15-20 seconds. He/she should then rinse his/her hands in running water and dry them thoroughly. 

Please help us keep our children healthy by keeping your child home if ill. Remember, one sick child can spread his/her illness to all of his/her classmates. 

Thank you for your cooperation.
 Winter Weather Notice
As we enter into the winter season, we believe outdoor recess is an important and valuable part of the student's day.  Fresh air, exercise and time spent outside afford students a break from the structure of the classroom. In the colder months, our policy will be that children will play outside as long as the temperature or wind chill is at or above ten degrees and the weather is not inclement.  The wind chill report will come from the National Weather Service. Students must dress for the cold weather. Parents should make sure that their children are dressed appropriately for these days and bring the appropriate winter apparel to school. We want them to be comfortable while enjoying these brisk winter days.  Follow these suggestions to protect your child's body from excessive heat loss:
Wear a hat.  You lose as much as 50 percent of your body heat through your head.
Cover your ears and the lower part of your face.  The ears, nose, chin and forehead are most susceptible to frostbite.
Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect the lungs from directly inhaling extremely cold air.
Consider mittens instead of gloves.  The contact of your fingers keeps your hands warmer.
Wear water-resistant boots.  Feet should be kept as dry as possible.
Coats should be water-resistant, tightly woven, and hooded and sleeves snug at the wrist.
Wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks or two pairs of lightweight socks.
Thank you for your attention and cooperation as we head into these colder months
Hot Lunch Orders
Please make sure you are placing your orders for hot lunch by clicking here.  We are happy to again be working with such a great organization to bring our students hot lunches, for more information on this great program please read this story from the AP about how they are changing school lunches. 

Good afternoon and we hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving and have been staying warm! On Monday, November 26, your school had a snow day. Ordinarily we would try to reschedule this day, however, since it occurred so early in the school year, we have instead provided a credit for any lunches you had ordered on your Kiddos account. If you had a lunch ordered, your Kiddos account has been credited and the credity will be auto applied during the checkout process, the next time you place a lunch order. 

If you would like to SEE THE CREDIT ON YOUR ACCOUNT, please log into your account, and click STATEMENTS. You will need to click any "plus signs" on the left to display the information in that category (Orders Dates, Orders, etc.) 

If we can assist with anything else at all, please contact us at

Guild of St. Mary Christmas Family Events

Church of St. Mary Sacrament Schedule
Community Events and resources for School of St. Mary Families
Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Learning Differences Association (LDA)

The Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Learning Differences Association (LDA) met on November 28, and invites you to join us for our monthly meetings.  We regularly meet on the last Wednesday of every month at the West Campus of Lake Forest High School from 9:30-10:45.   All parents are welcome to come learn about the many resources, trends and issues our students with learning challenges experience.  It is a friendly group that talks with District / school administrators, hears about grant and financial updates and provides support for families.  We meet on the second floor of the West Campus of Lake Forest High School on the following days next year: January 30, February 27, April 24, and May 29. 

December 8 - December 21
Saturday December 8, 2018
  • 5th grade boys basketball 9:50 am at St. Catherine Laboure 
  • 5th grade girls basketball 11:30 am at St. Catherine Laboure 
Sunday December 9, 2018
  • 5th graders attend Mass at 10:00 am at St. Mary Catholic Church
Tuesday December 11, 2018
  • UGC Mass at 9:00 am at St. Mary Catholic Church
  • Students who received Crusader Commendations first quarter recognized
Wednesday December 12, 2018 - EARLY DISMISSAL DAY
  • PGC Mass at 9:00 am at St. Patricks Catholic Church 
  • 8th grade girls basketball at Pope John XXIII 5:00 pm 
  • 6th grade boys basketball at Pope John XXIII 6:00 pm
  • 8th grade boys basketball - white at Pope John XXIII 7:00 pm
Thursday December 13, 2018
  • 6th grade boys basketball vs. St. Catherine at 4:30 pm
  • 6th grade boys basketball at St. Joan of Arc at 5:00 pm
  • 7th grade girls basketball vs. St. Joan of Arc at 5:30 pm
  • 7th grade boys basketball at St. Joan of Arc at 6:00 pm
  • 8th grade girls basketball vs. St. Joan of Arc at 6:30 pm
  • 8th grade boys basketball - white @ St. Joan of Arc at 7:00 pm
Friday December 14, 2018 - Casual Dress Day

Saturday December 15, 2018
  • 5th grade boys basketball 9:00am at St. Catherine Labourne 
  • 5th grade girls basketball at St. Joan of Arc 2:20pm
Monday December 17, 2018
  • PGC Advent Prayer Service at 1:15 pm
  • 7th grade girls basketball at St. Athanasius 5:00 pm
  • 6th grade boys basketball vs. St. Athanasius 5:30 pm
  • 8th grade girls basketball atSt. Athanasius 6:00 pm
  • 7th grade boys basketball vs. St. Athanasius at 6:30 pm
  • 8th grade boys basketball - blue at St. Athanasius 7:00 pm
Tuesday December 18, 2018
  • Last day for the Little Angels class
  • UGC Mass at 9:00 am at St. Mary Catholic Church
  • Reconciliation for grades 7 and 8 at St. Mary Catholic Church from 9:45-11:45 am
Wednesday December 19, 2018
  • PGC Mass at 9:00 am at St. Patrick Catholic Church
  • 3-year-old Preschool Christmas SING at 9:30 am
  • 2nd grade Dress Rehearsal for the Nativity at 1:15 pm
  • Winter Band Concert at UGC at 7:00 pm
Thursday December 20, 2018
  • PGC Early Childhood Nativity Program at 9:30 am
  • 1st through 8th grade field trip to Mary Poppins Returns from 11:30-3:30
Friday December 21, 2018 - EARLY DISMISSAL DAY
  • 2nd and 8th grade Nativity at St. Mary Catholic Church at 10:00 am