September 27th Letter from Mr. Kelly

Memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, Priest

Dear SJS Catholic School Community,

This week we had each of the Catholic high schools come through for their annual recruitment visits.  Omaha is blessed with so many quality options.  A universal message from each of those high schools was how much they enjoy having SJS graduates in their school, and how well-prepared those students are.  So way to go SJS!  Our emphasis on academic rigor is noticed.  We want to continue to challenge our students and have placed this expectation upon them: addition and subtraction facts mastered (able to recall the answer quickly) by the end of 2nd grade, and multiplication and division facts mastered by the end of 4th.  Parents may need to help their student reach this expectation.

One of the challenges of being a parent and teacher that I am consistently reminded of is that kids are always watching.  Watching how we react to situations.  Watching how we interact with other adults.  Watching the respect we give to strangers and friends.  Watching what we truly believe about our Catholic values.  This is quite a responsibility because it really comes down to the fact that kids learn much more about what we value through our actions than our words.  So I wonder if we as Catholic adults do enough to spread the message of forgiveness and second chances.  I will sometimes hear students speak of a wrong another student did years ago, which is generally not typical student behavior.  So I wonder if the adults in this student’s life have brought up that perceived offense, or if they have moved on.  Kids change and grow.  Kids eventually learn what is important.  No one wants a mistake hanging over them for years.  As adults one of our goals should be to foster the idea that people can change, that forgiveness is a gift, and we can move on from the past.  That is an unspoken lesson that can truly be a gift for a lifetime.

St. James/Seton is in partnership with the TeamMates Mentoring Program.  “Tom and Nancy Osborne founded the TeamMates Mentoring Program in 1991 in an effort to provide support and encouragement to school aged youth. The goal of the program is to see youth graduate from high school and pursue post-secondary education. To reach this goal, youth meet one hour per week with a caring adult who serves as a mentor. Mentors are volunteers from the community who have dedicated themselves to making a difference in the life of a young person. Mentors give youth a sense of hope, purpose and vision” (from  The program is designed for any student that would benefit from having an adult to visit with, it’s not a program for at-risk or troubled youth.  If you would be interested in learning more about TeamMates please contact Mrs. Laney.

As the year continues I wanted to encourage parents to supervise and have strict rules for students as they work on the computer/phone.  The Internet can be a powerful tool and a great resource for information, but it can also be a danger for kids.  Parents should know when their child is on the computer/phone and should be aware of the activities and programs that are carried out.  Experts recommend blocking software, and that students do not have access to the Internet in their rooms.  Also recommended is that the computer be kept in a highly visible place such as the living room or den.  High expectations and close supervision will help keep kids out of danger.

There have been some colder mornings recently.  Fall is here.  And we want to take the students outside for recess as often as possible as the weather gets colder.  To do this the students need to come prepared for the cold weather.  Please make sure you send your student, no matter what grade level, to school with an appropriate coat and accessories like hats and gloves.  This will help the students stay safe and help recess to go more smoothly.  Thanks for all you do.



William Kelly