Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Notable: Schools

By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published August 30, 2012

Schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta welcome five new teachers from the University of Notre Dame who will spend this academic year in service to children, living in Christian communities as part of the Alliance for Catholic Education. The Atlanta ACE community consists of, from left, Ryan Gillespie, teaching at St. John Neumann School, Lilburn; Michele Monk, at St. John the Evangelist School, Hapeville; Emily Ice, at St. John Neumann; Mary Forr, at Our Lady of Mercy High School, Fayetteville; and Nicholas Brandt, at St. Peter Claver Regional School, Decatur.

Merry old England was home for the summer for a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes, Atlanta.

Paris Christopher Wood, a Hampden-Sydney College senior, studied Tudor-Stuart history and literature at St. Anne’s College in Oxford, England, during the summer.

Paris, a history and computer science major, is a graduate of Our Lady of Mercy High School in Fayetteville and is the son of Japhus and Gana Wood of Palmetto. The family attends Our Lady of Lourdes Church.

This summer program, for juniors and seniors, is offered by the Global Education and Study Abroad Department through the Virginia Program at Oxford University. Students are taught by world-class scholars with weekly tutorials conducted by university dons. Tutorial groups are small, allowing for considerable individual attention and active participation.

Technology is going into the hands of more middle-schoolers at Immaculate Heart of Mary School.

Last year every eighth-grade student at the Atlanta school received their own iPad2, courtesy of the Speedwell Foundation, the Shelter Hill Foundations and the Net-Texts Pilot Program.

The program was so successful that assistant principal Bob Baldonado expanded it into the seventh-grade classrooms as well. The iPads totally replace textbooks for the eighth-graders and are supplementing texts in seventh grade.

This program allows teachers to combine educational resources on the Internet with more conventional teaching materials, thus creating a customized, hands-on learning curriculum. Baldonado said the teachers are allowed to design their courses, as long as they cover the required curriculum set forth from the Office of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

The startup of this program was a lot of work on the part of the teachers, but the transition from textbooks to iPads was a breeze for the students.

Theresa Johnson, teacher of Hebrew Scripture and Christian Testament at St. Pius X High School, Atlanta, and Brenda Chee Wah, religion coordinator for St. Peter Claver Regional School, Decatur, recently returned from Israel after participating in the Bearing Witness Advanced Program this summer.

The program, which is sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League as well as the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, is a professional development opportunity for Catholic school educators in the United States.

The two archdiocesan educators traveled with a group of 17 other Americans at the completion of the two-year program. The trip to Israel, where travelers visited sites sacred to Jews and Christians such as the Old City of Jerusalem, Nazareth, the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee, was the capstone of the program.

“This journey to Israel truly was a pilgrimage. We shared laughter and tears. It’s hard to say what moved me the most: the Arab and Jewish children playing together at the Community Center in Jaffa or the Children’s Holocaust Memorial at Yad Vashem, prayer at the Western Wall or Mass at the Mount of Beatitudes. It was a transformational journey,” Johnson said in a news release. “I look forward to sharing these many experiences with my students and colleagues.”

The program is offered to teachers in Catholic schools. Educators learn about the history of Israel, with a focus on Jewish history, the Holocaust, Jewish-Catholic relations, modern Israeli politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A brass band at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Cartersville, is taking shape.

The core group is middle-school students who play trumpets, a French horn, a baritone sax and a couple of leads on a trombone.

The players are eighth-graders Aldo Mendez, Rafael Ramos and Greg Martinez; seventh-graders Tanner Peters and Camille Borkowsky; sixth-grader Rene Vasquez; and fourth-grader Cristian Escalante.

The group meets Fridays at 6 p.m. with Norma Ramos making the calls and keeping the band on schedule.

The musicians played for Good Friday’s Stations of the Cross and have played at Mass on the Sunday before Memorial Day and on other occasions.

On Thursday, Aug. 9, the group visited with Rich Ita at the Brass Instrument Workshop, Marietta. They observed how repair work is done, including removing some dents from their own horns. He also showed them antique horns—some of them over a hundred years old. In return, they played a song for him.