Happy New Year…

As we leave 2020 behind us, we now begin our next adventure in 2021. We are now into the second half of the school year. Since we began the year, we have been blessed to remain safe, exposure free, successful in simultaneous in-person and distance learning, celebrated our 125th birthday, hosted the traditional Christmas Pageant virtually, and above all else, strengthened our foundational community bonds. 

Over the next few months, we hope that we continue the path we have been traveling and have much to look forward to, including our first even, joint parish/school, livestreamed auction and gala, 8th grade graduation, and becoming an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School in our lower grades. All that we have encountered this year, we have weathered and overcome because of our collective efforts and collective love for our school and community. In gratitude, we pray to St. Francis and St. Clare to continue to walk with us and faithfully guide us in our journeys.

Ivan M Hrga
Last week we celebrated Catholic School's Week. On Sunday, January 31 we kicked off with our Open House. Unfortunately we couldn't hold our regular pancake breakfast and Open House, so like all other events we went virtual. Mr Hrga & Mr M sent out a video on how to cook pancakes, we had a drive-in Mass, which was also live-streamed and finally we premiered our Open House video featuring interviews with staff, students, alumni and parents. Our week continued with Community service day, Staff appreciation, Student Appreciation, Family Appreciation and School Spirit Day.
Our 125th birthday was a success. We had to be creative due to covid regulations. Good Day Sacramento and alum Julissa Ortiz filmed two segments on the birthday. We had banners, decorations, old photos, virtual Mass with Father Desmond O'Reilly and a magic show. The day after the birthday was dedicated to our wider community with a drive-thru legacy tunnel featuring photos from 1895 to 2020. Our final celebration will be at our Auction & Gala on March 27 2021.
St. Francis Elementary School opened on November 5, 1895, as a two room school staffed by the Sisters of Mercy from St. Joseph’s Academy at 8th and G Streets. They were the first teachers, staying on for six years. The school faced 26th Street at the site of the present friary. The school, under their direction, expanded from an initial thirty-seven young students to grade twelve by 1947. Several years later, the high school was relocated, and the present site became an elementary school only. The current school was built in July 1924. To find out more visit the St. Francis history site using the button below.
St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School
“A 125th Birthday Poem”

by Kaitlynn (6th)

The halls of the school are echoing
Sounds of laughter and fun, singing joyfully

Our school holds so many happy memories
We love it although the walls remain sedentary

Through the years, it’s remained our home
When inside, we know we’re not alone

Our teachers love us as much as we love them
In the school we’ve made many friends

And on this special day we say,
“Dear Our School… Happy Birthday!”
Barbara O'Donnell was Principal of St. Francis Elementary from 1984-2006. She came from teaching as a high school teacher at public school, community colleges and finally entered into Catholic Education.

When Barbara arrived, the school was in trouble. Enrollment was down, staff had left and the school facilities needed a lot of work. Barbara was given 1 year to turn the school around or St. Francis would be closed. Barbara faced the challenge with vigor, rolled up her sleeves and got to work. She hired more staff, cleaned up the school and increased enrollment. At the end of the first year, she and the staff had done enough and were given another year.

Barbara's favorite thing about her time at St. Francis was the first hire of staff. She said that for many this was their first job and despite the lack of funds they were so imaginative and a lot of fun. Every Friday they would all gather in the staff room, chat about the week and had great camaraderie.

One of Barbara's most memorable moments centered around a particular rowdy Mass. On this day, the students had a sub instead of their regular teacher and decided to be noisy during Mass. Barbara walked down the aisle giving the Principal stare, which didn't work this time. She proceeded to stand at the front of the Church and made the class march out of the Church. Back at school, she posed a question to the class, "Why should you behave in Church?". One little boy piped up "God can't hear nothing if you're too noisy!" Needless to say it was hard to keep a straight face!

After leaving St. Francis, Barbara carried on teaching writing class at Sac State until 2010. Now retired, she spends her days reading and writing. Barbara is a published writer, having written over 25 books and resides in Sacramento.
Kermit Cain became the Librarian at St. Francis following retirement after 33 1/2 years as an Office Manager for the State of California. Kermit said he had nothing to do following retirement. His secretary at the time told him about an opening for a librarian at St. Francis. Kermit applied, was interviewed by Barbara O'Donnell, who was Principal at the time and got the job. To prepare for the job, Kermit took classes in Library Science from Sac City College.

Kermit remembers having fun setting up for the yearly book fair with a couple of parents. He said "the kids used to come down during their library time to buy books and school equipment. The students used to choose what they really wanted". Kermit says that although he had no inkling about the job before starting, he said "it was the most satisfying thing he has ever done in his life, because of the function of the job, the students and the staff". Like many of us, Kermit has always felt that there is something magical about St. Francis.

We have several staff members who remember Kermit fondly - for the memories (especially teaching typing to 1st graders), the pranks, for performing two weddings and for generally being the person loved by everyone.

These days, Kermit is enjoying his 2nd retirement in the snow in Denver, Colorado where he moved in 2010 after leaving St. Francis.
Upcoming Events & Volunteer Corner
Events may be virtual, rescheduled or cancelled due to the safety of our community during Covid-19. Please refer to our website, schoolspeak, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn for up to date details.

February 10 - Virtual TK/Kinder Sneak Peek

February 16 - 2021-22 Application Deadline

March 27 - Virtual 125th Anniversary Auction & Gala

May - Jog-A-Thon

May - Golf Tournament

June 5 - Last Day of School for 2020-21
We need help tracking down some graduating classes! We need to fill in the blanks for a few graduating classes. Do you have a parent, friend, cousin or sibling that was in any of the following classes and could help us with names.

1935, 1936, 1937, 1939
1941, 1942, 1944-1949
1951, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1957
1963, 1965, 1968
1973-1977, 1979
1980, 1984, 1985

Please get in touch or direct them to the alumni section on our website.

Join us from the comfort of your homes on March 27 2021 at 7pm for our Virtual 125th Anniversary Auction & Gala, being held in partnership with St. Francis Parish. Auction will be live-streamed from Golden 1 Center.

Free Registration to bid at the event is coming soon. VIP tickets will be available for purchase and include registration for the event, as well as some fun packages available to pick up on 03/27/2021 from the school.

Please use the following link to find out more about the auction. If you would like to donate or sponsor, please email
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