Dear Guardian Family,
Greetings during this time of Advent as we anticipate the wonderful celebration of Christmas!
I can’t believe that our fall semester is coming to a close. This has been a busy time for St. Michael with a lot of great things taking place. Here are some recent highlights.
I want to begin this Advent letter by expressing my joy in working with our new principal Jodi Briggs. She is such a blessing to our school, and I look forward to the great work we will be able to accomplish in the future. As you know, we are sharing her time with Presentation School. This semester she was with us two days a week and next semester she will be at SMA three days. I want to thank Jodi for all the additional time she also puts in to make this temporary shared arrangement work. The transition will be complete at the end of this next semester.
For me, this year has been quite different in a good way. Bishop Johnston concluded my work as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in June. Since that time, I have been able to focus my attention wholly on our mission at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic High School. One particular aspect of that has been my parish visits.
Two or three weekends a month I am now visiting our neighboring parishes, celebrating Mass and bringing the story of SMA to the parishioners who are present. We set up a portable display with brochures in the narthex of the church, with faculty and staff members present at each of the Masses to help with questions and discussions about the school. We are now training some of our student ambassadors in presenting a brief 2-minute message about St. Michael at the end of each of these Masses. These visits have been a wonderful opportunity to take St. Michael the Archangel on the road, tell our story, answer questions and spend time with parishioners before and after Mass.
On the development side, St. Michael has recently been presented with a great opportunity of a $1 million matching gift from the Loretto Foundation for all donor
funds raised during the fiscal year. Our development office is working hard to connect with donors who can help us achieve this goal.
We also launched a revamped Business Alliance program and have already had 14 businesses sign up. Our Board of Trustees is currently following up with the 300 businesses that we invited through direct mail.
Our students wonderfully represented St. Michael in two recent community events. In November, we joined with other Lee’s Summit schools and business leaders in the “Breakfast of Champions,” celebrating the entrepreneurship that is thriving in our area. At the end of the same month, we were present for the Community Service Appreciation Lunch held at Unity Village. At the event, four of our students were given the opportunity to share about their Christian Service Projects that benefited our region.
Another highlight of the fall was our annual Grandparents Day. This year more than 250 grandparents and other special guests came to St. Michael for an All School Mass, a lunch sponsored by Icon Machine Tool, and tours of the school. Several of them told me they had traveled from out-of-state to come to this event with their grandchild.
Recently, we had the honor of hosting a luncheon at the school for the Mayor of Lee’s Summit, the Honorable Bill Baird, the City Manager, Mr. Steve Arbom and several members of the City Council. The visit included a presentation on the school and a tour of our building led by two of our student ambassadors. That same morning, we hosted the December meeting for 30 members of Leadership Lee’s Summit, an intense nine-month program where participants gather knowledge and skills to become greater leaders in their community.
This year we are beginning our official connections with our Legacy Schools. We have now established the Archbishop O’Hara High School Alumni Association under the leadership of Mary Jo Sandberg, an O’Hara alum. We also offered our third annual Mass of Remembrance in the early part of November. Our chapel was almost full for the Mass where we remembered deceased legacy alumni and staff, as well as SMA staff, particularly those who had passed this year.
Mary Jo and others have been busy organizing a sizable amount of memorabilia. Some items we are going to keep, while others are available for those interested. We already have had one “yard sale” for these items and another one is scheduled. Also, if any
classes want memorabilia for their reunions, we have it available for you. We also would love to have you host your activities at the school.
This fall, we hosted our SMA alumni along with our Legacy Alumni, offering free admission, concession passes and recognition of all our alumni at both our homecoming football game and our Senior Night game. What a delight to honor the various classes during the halftime activities. It was great to see our SMA alumni return for their homecoming!
At the September meeting of our Board of Trustees I announced a new emphasis for the coming year – “Each One, Reach One.” I challenged the board members to begin thinking of a family that they might know, to talk to them about choosing St. Michael for their high school experience. Since then, I’ve received some wonderful comments from Board Members about their conversations with families about St. Michael and the positive responses that we will be their high school.
I want to encourage all of our faculty, staff and parents to think about this same concept. If each of us were able to reach just one family to become a part of the SMA community, our school would grow by leaps and bounds. We have such a great opportunity here for students to receive a quality education that is rooted and established by our faith. Please join us that each one might reach one!
Our students are now off for Christmas Break until January 6. In the office, we are already looking ahead at the great things that await us in 2020. May God give you all a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Randy Sly President