The Seelos Star
A newsletter for families of Seelos Academy

Winter 2019
Classroom News
Families from Blessed Francis Seelos Academy Early Learning Center came together during Catholic Schools Week to help two local families going through a difficult time. They collected gift cards and healthy snacks to help the members of a family who have a loved one who was hospitalized after an accident and will be transferred to a long-term care facility. The preschool children also worked on a collaborative art project and had it framed to give to a family in the Community that recently received a difficult health diagnosis. Faculty, staff, and students are keeping these families in their daily prayers and talking about the power of prayer and the importance of coming together as a community.
Contributed by LeeAnn Davison, parent
Major Bill White, had one wish for Valentine’s Day 2020. He wanted to collect Valentine’s from the people in America and create a scrapbook with those that he received.  He was modest in his desire; he was seeking 100 hundred Valentine’s to add to his project. With the help from Blessed Francis Seelos Academy, he was able to add more than 275 to his collection! There were heartfelt wishes, prayers, and creative artistry to make his Valentine’s Day special. Thank you to all who participated in this project to make this 104-year-old World War II Veteran and Purple Heart recipient, have his best Valentine’s Day ever!
Contributed by Heather Setzenfand, parent
Seelos Academy students representing second and third grade delivered a check in the amount of $505.75 to the North Hills Community Outreach Center on December 12. The students raised the money during a week-long Penny War just after Thanksgiving to help community members in need pay for groceries, utility bills, and Christmas toys. 
Contributed by Julie Byrne, parent
On Friday, Blessed Francis Seelos Academy students in Mrs. Gazzo and Mrs. VanKooten’s first grade classes were visited by a Pittsburgh children’s book author, Philip Damiani.

According to the author’s profile on Amazon, “Philip was motivated to take a bedtime story he imagined and told to his daughters many years ago and write a children’s book entitled  Penny Penguin Finds Her Way Home . All net royalties from the book are donated to the Mario Lemieux Foundation.

 “It was epic meeting a real-life author and having him read us his story. My favorite part was how Wally the Whale had tattoos! I got my owned signed copy of the book and I’m going to read it to my brothers”, said Jack Ries, first grade.
The seventh grade students that were charged with judging the third grade Valentine Boxes this year had a tough job!  Out of the 26 entries, Katie Miller and Kenzie Downey won for Prettiest Valentine’s Box, Tyler Rovnan and Enzo Pecoraro won for Most Creative, and Sarah Mlecko and Quinten Hufnagel won for Funniest. 
On February 20, Mike Turzai visited the fourth grade classes to present “How a Bill Becomes a Law.”  He explained the different chambers of the state legislature and how a bill passes through each legislative branch. The students even pretended to be the governor, majority leaders, representatives, and senators to try and pass a "Seatbelt on School Bus" law.

Mr. Turzai is a parent of Saint Alphonsus alumni and represents the 28 th  Legislative District that consists of the townships of Marshall, McCandless, and Pine and the Boroughs of Bradford Woods and Franklin Park.  He is also Speaker of the PA House of Representatives.
Good luck to sixth grader, Alanna McEnaney! Her artwork was chosen as the entry from our school in the Lions International Peace Poster Contest and is currently one of six finalists in the entire state. The contest theme this year was “Journey of Peace” and was open to 11,12, and 13-year old students. The winning poster will receive a cash award of $5,000 and a trip to special ceremony.  There will also be 23 merit winners that receive $500.
Alanna’s quote for her piece is: "With Every Movement Chose Peace". 
This December the seventh graders read the drama Scrooge and Marley: A Christmas Carol in reading class. We read it aloud, and we changed our roles every class. We really enjoyed seeing the CLO holiday production of A Musical Christmas Carol at the Byham Theater, sponsored by the Learning Enrichment Fund. Understanding the plot beforehand made the play more fun. It was exciting to see the sets and costumes as well as seeing the characters come alive.
Contributed by Ms. DePalatis, Middle School Language Arts Teacher
The eighth grade brought a little love to over 30 residents of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Bellevue on Valentine’s Day.  The residents enjoyed playing bingo with the students, and winning the prizes that the students brought. After Bingo, the students serenaded the players with “Wonderful World” and Elvis’ “Can’t Stop Falling in Love”.  Father Bill Seeney celebrated Mass for both groups and was impressed with how many students were in attendance. After the Mass and lunch, the students cleaned the room that had been used for Bingo and prepared it for the evening’s activities before going home. Thank you to Mrs. Maxwell and Mrs. Barton for preparing the students and for arranging such a blessed Valentine's Day.
Catholic Schools Week was held January 26 though February 1. This year’s theme,  “Catholic Schools: Learn, Serve, Lead, Succeed!”  was celebrated in many ways throughout the week. 
Students at both the K-8 campus and the Early Childhood Center participated in many service projects including packing bagged lunches for the homeless that are served by The Red Door.

Families had an opportunity to visit the campuses as well during the Open House and the K-4 lunch with your family. 

Students were reminded each day to celebrate Catholic Schools and their gifts from God with days such as “Crazy Hat Day”, Minute-to-Win It, and the annual Talent Show. The students also learned about the “Pioneers of Flight” during a CLO performance at the school.

The week ended with a pep rally, celebrating our students and teachers.  Mr. Kyle Goldcamp, Campus Ministry Director at Central Catholic, spoke to the students about the benefits of Catholic School. He shared his message that Catholic Schools give you a family for life .
Activities and Athletics
In early February, several Seelos Academy students participated in the Pittsburgh Public Theater's Shakespeare Monologue and Scene Competition. The competition was open to students in grades four through twelve. There were over 1,000 participants from schools throughout Pittsburgh! 

The actors had to memorize an entire scene from a Shakespeare play. Each scene was 3-5 minutes long. In addition to practicing on their own, the students had four coaching sessions with members of the Pittsburgh Public Theater who came to our school. The coaches provided valuable advice and direction.

After several weeks of preparation, the students travelled downtown to perform their pieces on the stage at O'Reilly Theater in front of a panel of judges. It was very exciting to be on a real stage and to perform in front of the professional actors who were the judges.

Fifth graders Grace Chrobak and Josh White performed a scene from  The Merchant of Venice . Sixth graders Abby Brown and Abby Dudkowski presented a scene from  All's Well That Ends Well . Morgan Kernan, Emily McLaughlin, Megan McLaughlin and Bianca Udrea of the seventh grade performed a scene from  A Midsummer Night's Dream  Christopher Ramaley from the sixth grade was awarded an Honorable Mention for his performance of a monologue from  Henry V . Eighth graders Mary Narvett, Jordan Quatchak, Matthew Radermacher, Carli Rivetti and Megan Becker earned an Honorable Mention for their scene from  Twelfth Night.   

Everyone who participated learned something about Shakespeare and had a lot of fun! It was a great experience for everyone. Thank you to the Learning Enrichment Fund for providing the coaching.
Contributed by Megan Becker, eighth grade
The Random Act of Kindness Club is a new group this year at Seelos Academy for the middle school. The students give monthly lessons to kindergarten and first grade to teach them a lesson, such as respect. They also pick a lucky student that was caught being kind to win a gift card from the “Star Jar, and award students for being kind with gifts from the “Kindness Cart”.

The RAK club is important to Seelos because it inspires students from six through eighth grade that are teaching the younger students learning about being kind.
Contributed by Emily McLaughlin, seventh grade
The forensics team season is in full swing and the students are having a great year. The team achieved a first-place and two second-place wins at meets this season. Individually, our students have won numerous awards.

The finals will be held on March 7 at Butler Catholic where the total points achieved are accumulated and the team will be ranked along with the other diocesan teams. The top ten schools receive trophies of excellence. 

Mrs. Narvett and I are currently recruiting fourth and fifth graders for the March 28 Novice Tournament at Blessed Trinity Academy in Glenshaw. If interested, visit one of us and we'll help you find the right selection for the competition. Forensics is so much fun and a lifelong skill.
Contributed by Mrs. Smolter, Middle School Social Studies Teacher
Twenty-four seventh and eighth grade Blessed Francis Seelos Academy Students participated in the regional competition of Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) at Duquesne University on February 1. PJAS is an Affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Promoting greater participation in science and mathematics activities among the youth of Pennsylvania is one of its primary objectives. 

Among the ten first-place winners, five students received additional recognition for their projects: Zachary Moats won the Duquesne University Department of Physics Award. In addition, he and three schoolmates, Alex Aiello. Sarah Haskins, and Grace Lazzara, won the Duquesne University Award for Excellence in Scientific Pursuit award. Katie Dudkowski won the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society for Excellence in Chemistry and Biochemistry. She also won the Society of Women Engineers Certificate in Achievement for Scientific Excellence.  Eighth graders Lily Karsman and Marco Perri were first place winners for the second year in a row at the regional competition.

The first-place regional winners will present their projects at a state competition at Penn State University in March.

Four of the students also attended the North Catholic 4th Annual Science Fair for Middle School Students on Saturday, February 8th and again won individual awards.

Lily Karsman placed first in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Category with a project entitled,  Does Cardiovascular Exercise Improve Memory? Giacomo Lepore placed first in the Physics and Space Science Category with a project entitled,  Lions, Tigers, and Gears, Oh My!  He also won a $2,000 scholarship to attend North Catholic High School. Lucas Gunther placed second in the Biology Category with a project entitled,  Spice of Life .

Dr. Blozovich was the faculty advisor for both science competitions.
Have you heard the beautiful sounds at our school Masses?  Our liturgical instrumentalists and choir help to make these Masses extra special.  This year, there are two flute players, two clarinets, an oboe, a saxophone, a trumpet, and two guitars! In addition, we have students from many grades ringing bells/choir chimes. There are more than 30 students singing in the Children's Choir (kindergarten through 5th grade), along with eighth grade assistant directors that help direct these children: Mary Narvett, Jordan Quatchak, Alex, Sepcic, and Carli Rivetti. Masses are held each Wednesday at 9:00 AM at St. Alphonsus Church. All are welcome!
Contributed by Mrs. Heagy, Parish Music Director
Our students in the Little Dribblers program have performed at halftime of some of the basketball games and it has been great to see them do their routine with the Globetrotters music playing. Coaches Pat Koroly and Dick White have done a fantastic job being patient and teaching the kids and we are very lucky to have them!
Contributed by Ken McCosby, Athletic Director
Seelos Academy fourth grade basketball players were court-side for the start of the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball game versus Miami on Saturday, February 2. The student athletes enjoyed sitting on the player’s bench and giving “high fives” to the Pitt players and coaches as they took to the floor just before the start of the game. We are sure the Seelos Saints helped the Panthers to victory through their enthusiastic cheering throughout the game.
The boys' and girls' varsity basketball teams travelled to Erie the weekend of January 25 for some court action. The boys participated in the Annual Gene Adams Basketball Tournament at Blessed Sacrament, and the girls played against local teams in the area to experience some different competition. The group also had a chance to unwind at Splash Lagoon and a local bowling alley.

“I believe the Erie trip was a success and everyone that took part in it had a great time. Neither team won the tournament but they both won games and had fun bowling and going to Splash Lagoon. The girls got to play on the Erie Cathedral Prep court which is nicer than many College courts I have seen. It was exciting to see them have that experience”, said Athletic Director, Ken McCosby.
We need your help! Currently the PTG (Parent Teacher Guild) is searching for volunteers to fill many key positions.  The PTG is comprised of school families and is guided by a four-member executive board. Two of the current board members are eighth grade parents and will be finishing their role at the end of the school year.

The Seelos Academy Parent Teacher Guild (PTG) is dedicated to enhancing the educational experiences of all the students of Seelos Academy through field trips, educational materials, and special projects and events such as Catholic Schools Week activities.

Without parent volunteers these items and events would not be possible. Please consider becoming a member of the executive board, or filling one of the vacant committee chairperson positions. More information will be sent through the school email. Please contact Tricia Pieto, PTG President, if interested!
Seelos Circle is prayer circle for the adults of our school community. As an alternative to sitting in car pickup line, join us to pray the Rosary at 2:35 pm each Friday. No need to RSVP, just park in the carpool line and pray with us in the old side of the church before the students are dismissed from school. 
Saturday, March 14
Seelos Academy will host its first  Casino Night . Come enjoy a causal night out with friends, family, neighbors, as you compete to win BIG prizes, such as a home entertainment package. Play non-casino games to win fantastic high end prizes like designer purses and tickets to Designer Bag Bingo for October 2020, a craft cocktail creator kit, and much, much more!  There will be Food by Pittsburgh’s own Celebrity Chef, Kevin Sousa as well as a Cigar Bar and Beer Truck on site.  100% of the night's profits will go to Blessed Francis Seelos Academy. Visit for more information, to register, or to make a donation.
Fridays During Lent
Our award-winning fish dinner will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 26, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with our “Brown Bag Special.” Meals are for takeout only, and include a fried fish sandwich, macaroni & cheese, and coleslaw for $9.00 from the Blessed Francis Seelos cafeteria. Friday, February 28, will be our first full fish fry dinner in the Blessed Francis Seelos cafeteria. The cafeteria will open at 4:30 p.m. for dine in patrons, and you can takeout your meal between 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Please visit to volunteer or for sponsorship opportunities. This event benefits the school and parish.
Cranberry Highlands Golf Course, June 11
Save the date for a relaxing day of golf benefitting the Seelos Academy Learning Enrichment Fund.
July 8 - July 11
Save the date for this annual Wexford tradition.
 Click the button below to be directed to the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh website for information on reducing your tuition bill through financial aid, grants, and tax credits.
Families earn tuition credit by purchasing gift cards through the school. The program generates additional revenues used for the operational costs of Seelos Academy. Order online at , at either campus office, or Sign up for ShopwithScrip and make gift card purchases from your phone on demand. For more information, contact .
Shop and earn points during the school year through the Apples for Students Program, and Giant Eagle will donate back to Seelos Academy. Sign in to  to register your Giant Eagle Advantage Card® online. Select your account on the home page and then click again on your account from the drop down. Enter Blessed Francis Seelos Academy as the school that you’d like to receive points under "Apples for the Students".
Save your receipts from Moe’s (any location) and Moe’s will generously provide the school with a catering credit at the end of the school year. Twenty percent of all receipt totals will go towards this credit!
Save your Chick-Fil-A receipts from the Wexford and Cranberry locations and return to school. Through store credit earned for reimbursed receipts we are able to provide food items for the school community, including our annual 8th grade picnic and teacher luncheons.
Scanning your receipt using the Box Top app is an easy way to help earn money for Seelos Academy. This fundraiser has netted thousands of dollars over the years. Download the  BoxTops for Education app , scan your store receipt, and instantly add Box Tops to our school's earnings online. Download a full list of participating  Box Top Products.
Blessed Francis Seelos Academy receives cash back from Amazon Smile! Simply log in to your Amazon account and type "Amazon Smile" into the Amazon search engine. Designate North Hills Regional Catholic Elementary Schools as your charity that will receive 0.5% of each of your eligible Amazon purchases. The NHRCES will distribute funds to Seelos Academy.
Market Day is a direct order program with food products that will now be delivered directly to your door! Market Day will return 10% of funds spent back to our school. Of this 10%, 5% will be able to be directed to your tuition accounts. It will be managed the same as the gift card program. Purchases will be able to be tracked and money earned credited to your account! The other 5% will go to our school's overall fundraising goal.
The Seelos Academy Learning Enrichment Fund provides financial support to the faculty and school for professional development, classroom materials, and school-wide programming. If you would like to donate to the fund or sponsor the annual golf outing, the fundraiser for the Fund, please contact the office. You can also contact the office if you would like to be part of the Learning Enrichment Committee or volunteer at the golf outing.