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       "The Messenger"

          December 21, 2018
  Vol. VI, No. 19
St. Michael's Academy
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St. Michael's Academy 
We made it through the week and the students were ready to burst with excitement today at the Sing-a-long!  I have to say that they held it together quite well.

Please accept my wishes for a joyous and blessed Christmas. With all the craziness of the day, please set aside some time to be thankful for all that God has given us; most importantly, the gift of his only Son. A simple "Happy Birthday" sung to Jesus will remind your family that Jesus is the reason for the season.

A very Merry Christmas to all. May your New Year be filled with health and happiness.

Peace and God's blessings,

Ms. Ann E. Dougal 

  Important Dates
Please Make A Note Of These Important Dates 

Banking every 
Violin every Thursday

Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Celebrating the Birth of Our Saviour Jesus Christ

Monday, December 24, 2018 through Tuesday, January 1,2019
School will resume on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Please remember to attend Church as a family

Good Attendance Pays Off ! 
Congratulations to our perfect attendance dress-down winners! In order to qualify for the weekly drawing, a student must have no absences, tardiness or early dismissals the previous week of school. We select one from PreK - 2nd grade, one from 3rd - 5th grade and one from 6th - 8th grade.  Congrats to last week's winner.
                 Nile - KB                                Aubree - 4A

  Ocean - 7C 

From The Classroom of Ms. Ramos - Spanish
Christmas in Puerto Rico

It is said that Christmas in my country is the longest. They begin the day after Thanksgiving and end on the day of the Candelaria, February 2, with the burning of the Christmas trees. This is called the day of the Virgen de la Candelaria (
(Our Lady of Candlemas) . From the month of October people begin to paint and fix their houses. Those who can buy new furniture for their house, arrange the garden and even a new gate to the house. In mid-November they decorate trees with colored light bulbs, they even decorate inside and outside their houses. In the schools they prepare an activity called Velada NavideƱa (Christmas Pageant), something that cannot be missed in the school calendar. The children dress up in the Virgin Mary, Jose, the three wise men, the angel and they recreate the beautiful scene of the birth of the baby Jesus.

In homes, the well-known "Trullas NavideƱas or Parrandas" (similar to Christmas Carols) are prepared. These are a group of friends and family who come to your house at night after the family have gone to bed. They come with music to sing Christmas songs. The families they are visiting already know the time the "Christmas Trullas" will happen and they have their things ready to celebrate. The menu can vary at different homes but many will include Asopao (chicken soups with rice), sweets, chips, breads, and drinks. The Trullas are very fun and they extend until the early hours of the morning.

Part of the typical food that is on in Puerto Rican Christmas is rice with pigeon peas, roasted pork, different salads, pasteles (something similar to the Mexican tamales, but ours is made out of green bananas and stuffed with chicken or pork, peppers, onions and olives and is rolled into a banana leaf). Some of the typical Christmas desserts are, Dulce de Coco , Tembleque (coconut custard), Arroz con dulce (rice with coconut milk, cinnamon and raisins), puddings, different treats and the very typical Coquito (similar to eggnog but has coconut cream, coconut milk, condense milk, cinnamon a little rum).

La Misa de Gallo is (The Rooster Mass), is the traditional Mass that is celebrated during the Christmas season. It is celebrated in the Catholic churches from December 16 to 24 of the same month that celebrates what we say the Noche Buena (Christmas eve). It is  called  this because a rooster is supposed to have crowed the night that Jesus was born. Christmas Eve is known as Noche Buena. Most families eat their main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve before the service. It's where families gather to eat Christmas dinner together. We prepare the table, eat together, sing and when it is 12 a.m. in many homes, the children open their gifts.

Similar the Noche Buena, this dinner is celebrated on December 31 to bid farewell to the year and receive the New Year. Then we prepare to celebrate the day of Los Reyes which is celebrated on January 6. Children leave grass and water for the Three Wise Men so they can give them a gift. On the day of the Three Wise Men, the children receive gifts but instead of being under the Christmas tree as in Christmas, the kings leave the gifts under their beds. During the day of the Kings, the very beautiful  (Sing Mass) is celebrated in the town's public square with typical food and music. People gather there and celebrate. In the second week of January the festivities of San Juan Bautista (John the Baptist) are celebrated. That party only celebrates in the capital city of San Juan, where people from all over the island attend to celebrate that festival. It lasts around 3 to 4 days and there is food, music, dance, arts and craft to sell and artists delighting people with their music. Then we finish on February 2, which is when we celebrate the day of the Virgen de la Candelaria (Our Lady of Candlemas), where the Christmas trees are burned. It is not celebrated in all the towns, only in some.

This is how we celebrate the birth of our child Jesus, which is the reason why we celebrate Christmas.  

Grade 6 News
Mrs. Nicoliello's Literature Class Gets Creative 
Mrs. Nicoliello's 6th grade literature class had fun creating board games based on the novel Maniac Magee. It's the story of an orphan boy looking for a forever home.  Upon completion of the book, the class formed groups and created their own original board games with cards, game pieces and either dice or a spinner.  The end result was a game day where the groups played each other's games. This activity taught them cooperative group learning and creativity.  They also got to have FUN!
Learning Compassion
  NJHS Brings Christmas Happiness

We are incredibly proud of our National Junior Honor Society members who recently conducted a candy cane sale.  The students sold candy canes at $1/each and raised a total of $1,250!  The members of NJHS and some very helpful 7th graders spent the last four weeks working on decorating and packaging about 1400 candy canes.

The students then took their proceeds and went shopping. They bought gifts for 11 people in 4 families. The gifts included toys, clothing, winter gear and gift cards to area grocery stores and retail stores.  The gifts were all wrapped and delivered to families. The gifts were a complete surprise to the families.  Now that is Christmas magic!

Merry Christmas from NJHS!

 Merry Christmas!

Christmas Sing-a-long Was A Blast!

The student's voices were alive with excitement as Christmas carols filled the SMA gymnasium this morning!

To view all the photos from this event,  please click here.

 Grandparent Events
Grade 1 Shares Their Family Christmas Traditions

There was quite a feast at the Grade 1 Grandparent event this week! Food representing our different cultural backgrounds in grade 1 was shared between families at this fantastic event! Thank you parents and grandparents for all of your hard work cooking and baking and for attending the event!

Grade 3 Drummers Rock The House 
The 3rd grade students put on quite the performance this week during the drumming recital for their grandparents.  Under the direction of Mr. Rick Marshall from the Community Music School, those sticks were flying in a variety of riffs and melodies.  Great job 3rd grade! And we thank our 3rd grade grandparent, Mr. Jim Gondek, for so eloquently speaking to those in attendance about the value of a Catholic education and how lucky out students are to attend SMA! Please consider giving a gift to support our school!


Living Our Mission

SMA Choir Visits Nursing Home

Our middle level choir lit up the LifeCare Center in Wilbraham this week bringing the joy of Christmas Carols to the residents.  Everyone enjoyed the carols and were impressed with the student's musical abilities. Great job!

 Big Y Update

 Education Express Points

A big "thank you" goes out to the Big Y and all of our families and friends that designated St. Michael's Academy as their school of choice to earn pionts.

To date, St. Michael's has earned a total of 277,950 Education Express points and 214 shopper(s) have designated SMA to receive their points.


We can't wait to decide what to purchase with our points!!


Food For Thought

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

                                          Matthew 1:21. 

Parish News
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Put your dancing shoes on for the 12th Night Dinner Dance on January 5th at Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow. Tickets are $35, available now by calling the Mt. Carmel rectory at  734-5433, or Paula 262-6563.

Prayer Corner
St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us! 

We pray for all St. Michael's Academy students, families, faculty, and staff, and their special intentions.

And we pray in a special way for our recently departed:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. 

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St. Michael's Academy 
153 Eddywood Street - Springfield, MA 01118
413.782.5246 office 
413.782.8137 fax