March 30, 2021
A smile on my face and a song in my heart
~ The gift of joy through music ~
The best part of my job is walking into a classroom full of children who are thrilled to see me. Sure, I walk in playing happy music with twinkling lights on my cart and I pull a puppet or two out of my bag, but I also like to think it’s because of the joy music brings to our lives.
We have all heard the cognitive benefits of music education for our children. Music in the classroom and private lessons have all been shown to help develop fine motor skills, increase test scores and raise IQ scores. It has even been documented that children with a strong musical background attend college at a higher rate than those who do not.
Recently, scientists have turned their attention to how music effects the emotions. In a German study conducted in 2011, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Human Cognition and Brain Science found that singing together in a group significantly reduces the body’s level of the stress hormone, cortisol. Much like physical activity, it was found that singing releases endorphins causing a sense of joy and euphoria. The study even went so far as to note that those singing together in a group tend to sync heartbeats. How magical to think that singing together in Mass actually joins our hearts together.
Each of us can sing, no matter how much we might protest. Sing with your child at home and at Mass and encourage them to do so. Promote musical activities such as choirs, plays and learning an instrument as much as you would a favorite sport. The experts have spoken, it will make your child happier.
January 26, 2021
A Lifelong Ram
What it means to be a Ram!
I have been a Ram since my family moved to Memphis in 1971 when I was a year and a half
old. Being a Ram has certainly played a role in making me who I am today. My first memories
of Holy Rosary center around Sunday school in one of the classrooms and sitting in the front
pew with my family during mass. With six children and my mom and dad, needless to say, we
took up the entire pew. Then, of course, there were the many stops in the cafeteria for coffee
and donuts after mass. That is where I first realized that my dad liked to talk. After waiting for
what seemed like hours we would beg him to take us home. But this shows that, even from
those many years ago, Holy Rosary provided these types of social opportunities for its families.
The adults shared their time together and the children did so as well. This is something that
has continued throughout Holy Rosary’s history.
Then there was the time my brother and I were waiting for my parents to get done with the
Science Fair by playing outside. Let’s just say I started kindergarten wearing a cast for a
broken leg. That experience taught me a valuable lesson; cars are big and heavy. But, that
was not the only lesson I learned during my time as a Ram. I attended school here from
1st-8th grade. During that time my academic foundation was solidified and prepared me well
for my high school and college careers. Whether it was Mrs. Ross in first grade, Mrs. Hill in
third, or Mrs. McWatters and Mrs. Fay in junior high all the teachers had a commitment to their
students and to Catholic education.
I can’t remember all the classmates I had over my time at Holy Rosary but they impacted
my development in different ways. The ones who were with me throughout our time at Holy
Rosary gave me a perspective on situations and experiences that helped me see things from
their point of view. It is an invaluable lesson to learn when you can see a situation through
another person’s eyes. There were great friendships that developed over those years as well.
That is another aspect of Holy Rosary that is so special. You will see many friendships
continue beyond the student’s time at Holy Rosary. The groups of friends I have encountered
as adults that formed during their time in school here are too many to count. It is a special
bond that was developed over many years and through many shared experiences.
Another lesson I learned from Holy Rosary came from participating in the sports program.
My many coaches taught all of us to show good sportsmanship and to represent our school
well. It also taught us how to have a healthy rivalry with the other Catholic schools; St. Ann -
Bartlett, St. Paul, St. Dominic/St. Agnes, and the other school down the road. The sports
program was another part of what made me what I am. It introduced me to different sports
and how to work together to make everyone better.
Fast forward a few years (ok, about 20 years) to the year I was named the principal of Holy
Rosary School, 2003. I had already been on staff for 11 years working with the youth and the
religious education of the parish, teaching some classes, and spent a year as vice-principal.
But being the principal allowed me to utilize my background and history at Holy Rosary. It is
that history that helped shape some of the decisions I’ve made over the past 18 years. I’ve
tried to merge our history and tradition with today’s educational model and technology to
enable our students to reach new heights.
We have always been taught that the “church” is the people not the building itself. The
parishioners of Holy Rosary make up Holy Rosary Church. Over the sixty-five years of our
parish being here many pastors, associate priests and parishioners have come and gone, but,
the great family environment has always been here. It is not one person or priest that makes
that family feeling. Each of us contribute to the specialness of Holy Rosary.
Each of us help to define what it is to be a Ram. And, each of us, once we’ve been adopted into this HR family
are a Ram and it will leave an indelible mark on our lives. Once a Ram always a Ram!
December 15, 2020
My Family’s Christmas Tradition at my dad’s house is Finding the Pickle. Finding the Pickle means that Santa hides an ornament that looks like a pickle on the tree. And when we all wake up all the kids look for the pickle and whoever finds it gets a prize. ~ Mary
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is going to other neighborhoods to look at Christmas lights then coming home to open presents. ~ Harrison
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is my elf coming with her pet. Then we decorate for Christmas, and we get a Christmas tree! ~ Maggie
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is everyone waking up and tearing the wrapping paper and opening the presents and stockings. We play with the presents. I love Christmas! ~ Colin
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is every year my family gets Chinese food from PF Chang’s, and we watch Christmas movies. All that on Christmas Eve! It is so much fun. ~ Davis
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is our family and our cousins go to my Mimi’s house. We open gifts, eat, and play. On Christmas we go to our other cousins’ house and do the same thing! ~ Thomas
My Family’s Christmas Traditions are: first I go to my grandparents houses then I go to my Aunt’s and Uncle’s house with my baby cousin, and then we will eat dinner at my Aunt’s and Uncle’s because we go to the house that has the baby/toddler, well the youngest kid, then we will just have dinner together. ~ Kate
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is eating food like chicken and mashed potatoes. Opening gifts, toys and clothing. I look for my elf on the shelf. ~ Cooper
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is to unwrap gifts and crumble the wrapping paper or tissue paper and throw it at each other as snowballs. ~ Lane
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is open presents on Christmas Eve. We also go to my grandma’s house. ~ Sam D.
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is playing a game called dirty Santa. The game is you pick a number from a jar. You get your number then if your number gets called you get to pick a present from under the tree. When the next person gets called, they can pick a present from under the tree or you can take the present from anther player. Keep picking numbers, taking a present under the tree or a different present and most importantly have fun! ~ McKinley
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is having an Advent Calendar. We also have a day when we bake cookies. ~ Penny
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is on Christmas I pray to Jesus. Then I go to the tree and open presents. Then my family comes over for breakfast. ~ Adam
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is playing a game about left and right. It is when someone tells a story and add left and right. You pass a gift right or left. Whatever gift you get, you open it. ~ Stella
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is every Saturday before Christmas baking cookies. They are Christmas trees, gingerbread men and bells. ~ Daniel
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is at dinner time. We open presents that Santa gave us. ~ Jim
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is called Finding the Pickle. One ornament on the tree is a pickle and everyone has to find it. Whoever finds it gets to open the family gift. ~ Leonie
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is my nanny and I make cookies that we call butter balls, and we put powdered sugar on them too. They have nuts and my pops loves them. Everyone in the family loves the cookies. ~ Charlie
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is getting to see family I never get to see. First, I will open presents at my mom’s house. Then, I go with my dad to my grandmas to have lunch. Next, I go to my other grandparents’ house and eat dinner and open presents with my family. Finally, I play with what I get and have a great Christmas. ~ Chandler
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is getting a new ornament every year. ~ Ethan
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is putting out a Christmas moose every year. We also put a lot of decorations in our front yard. ~ Gabe
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is reading The Night Before Christmas. It is very fun for my family. ~ Ruby
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is on Christmas Eve going to my Mimi and Poppy’s house for a Christmas party. And then my Mimi and Poppy come to my house for Christmas. And then we open Christmas presents on Christmas Day. ~ Caroline
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is to go to a friend’s house and eat, talk, and play games. It takes an hour to get there. We love to go there. ~ Sam P.
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is my family and I all help decorate the tree. My family and I have a Christmas dinner to celebrate. When it is Christmas morning, we all love each other and wish a Merry Christmas to all. ~ Emiliano
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is my mommy, daddy, sister, and Grammy always watch Christmas Vacation. At the same time, we are decorating the tree. It is really fun! ~ Ella
My Family’s Christmas Tradition is when my elf comes, he does something silly wherever he is. Once he drew on our toilet paper. Also, two times he gave us candy. We also always, make cookies for Santa. ~ Alice
November 17, 2020
Thanksgiving is coming up and this is what I learned. The first Thanksgiving lasted three days. Also, there was no turkey. The pilgrims didn’t wear black with belts on their hats. The pilgrims shot off guns in the sky so the Indians came. The pilgrims invited them to eat but there were so many people, some of the Indian men went and killed some deer. Also, Thanksgiving was in October! That is what I learned about Thanksgiving. ~ Thomas Duncan
My class has recently read about the first Thanksgiving. We learned about what all had happened. It’s very different from the story they tell you in kindergarten. On the first Thanksgiving, they had celebrated it in October, and they didn’t really think of it like we do. They thought of Thanksgiving as a festival, they shot off guns and wrestled. In our modern-day Thanksgiving, we give thanks to everyone and what they have given us. We eat turkey and meat. The natives and pilgrims had eaten fish and deer. We don’t wrestle or shoot off guns. We sit down at the table and talk to family members. We also celebrate Thanksgiving in November. Both Thanksgivings are amazing either way. You get to spend time with friends and family, I think that is amazing. ~ Lissie Edwards
The first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims and the Wampanoag was very different that it is now. It is different because the pilgrims and the Wampanoag wrestled, shot off their guns, and ate many different foods than we eat, now. Some examples of the food are: fish and other sea life, goose, duck, deer, and all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Not only did they eat different foods, they also feasted for three days in October. The first Thanksgiving was started to give thanks and be thankful for others and to celebrate the pilgrims making it through the winter. That is why Thanksgiving started; to be thankful for God, the new land, and peace between the Wampanoag. I think the first Thanksgiving was fun and exciting. It was a sign that the pilgrims were going to be successful. I think it’s also an important holiday to celebrate because we need to thank everyone and be thankful. The pilgrims and Wampanoag made all of this possible. ~ Genevieve Gardino
Happy Thanksgiving! My class has recently talked about our Thanksgiving versus the early Thanksgiving with the pilgrims. The pilgrims Thanksgiving is a little different from ours, now. Back then when the pilgrims had Thanksgiving, they would feast for three days. Unlike us, we only feast for one day, well maybe. I think we do feast for over one day because of leftovers. The pilgrims also had different food than us. They had fish, eels, lobster, crab, oysters, and a lot of other seafood. That’s kind of odd. That’s not your traditional Thanksgiving. You normally have turkey, pie, casserole, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and much more. They would also fetch and hunt deer. On my Thanksgiving, I go to my grandparents’ house. I go and eat so much food. Me, my brother, Palmer, and my cousin, William sometimes play football outside. Even though Thanksgiving isn’t my favorite holiday, I still love it. You can love so much about it. I think you can learn so much about the pilgrims in the early ages. And learn so much odd history. Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Stratton Harris
The first Thanksgiving was a little different from today’s Thanksgiving. First, they didn’t call it Thanksgiving. Abraham Lincoln wanted everyone to celebrate it during the Civil War to help unite the nation. And, we don’t know if they ate turkey! They also didn’t wear the clothes most people imagine. And when the natives heard gunshots coming from the pilgrims, they went to see what was going on. They realized that the pilgrims were shooting off their guns to celebrate the new colony. Then they invited the natives. But they didn’t have enough food so the natives went hunting for food. That feast lasted several days. Our Thanksgiving lasts only one day. ~ Grant Old
Today we are comparing and contrasting Thanksgiving to the pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving. The Thanksgivings are alike because there is a feast with a lot of food and family. We always thank God for our gifts and pray for people who passed away. Today, we give thanks to everyone who comes and God who made our lives. Now, to contrast the Thanksgivings: they didn’t have turkey or pumpkin pie. It was first in October and was a harvest feast. They ate things like deer, instead of pie. Today, some tribes say it’s a day of mourning for the people who died in the creation of America. ~ Joseph Walters
My class just learned more about Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving, they had friends from a tribe called Wampanoag. They ate seeds, cabbage, carrots, turnips, onions, lobster, eels, oysters, and fish. At my house for Thanksgiving, we have turkey, stuffing, and a salami, cheese, and crackers platter. On the first Thanksgiving, they also had corn for bread and pudding. They might have eaten pumpkin but not pumpkin pie. For dessert, they had gooseberries, strawberries, and plums that had been picked and dried in the Spring. ~ Marie Walters
October 27, 2020
Happy Birthday Holy Rosary School…
Holy Rosary Catholic School was 66 years old in September. In 1954 this new school in east Memphis opened its doors. The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, KY welcomed the new students.
My life at Holy Rosary began in the fall of 1956. I was in a new city and a new school. I entered the same front doors by the office the children walk through today. After entering, I would turn left and go down the ramp and went into the first door on the right. It was Mrs. McDowell’s 3rd grade class, and she made me feel welcomed. As all children, I was happy to go out to recess and meet my new friends. We walked out of the classroom turned right and walked about 15 feet and went outside. Yes, this new school building ended not far from the end of the hall ramp.
In only two years, Holy Rosary was already having growing pains. In the fall of 1957 Holy Rosary rented classrooms at a new school named St. Louis on White Station Road. It was exciting to ride the HR school bus to and from St. Louis for that school year. We left the campus at 8:15 and left St. Louis at 2:30. Yes, there was a HR school bus for early morning drop off and after school pick up for all grades. Eventually, there were 2 school busses. In the fall of 1958 the 6 new classrooms were filled quickly. In fact in 1959, my 6th grade was packed. The classroom was half 5th and half 6th with about 25 on each side of the classroom. The room was packed! But Sr. Bernard Joseph ran a tight ship and you could hear a pin drop anytime during the day. During my 7th grade year, a new building was added on the west side with a covered walkway.
After graduation from 8th grade, the Fr. Wiley Gym was added. The building was named after the first pastor of Holy Rosary Church. There was a convent in the area that is now called Spalding Green. The two-story addition of classrooms and library completed the school. Finally, the rectory was replaced with the newest gym and offices. The campus has grown over the last 66 years and with each addition student life was enhanced.
My years attending Holy Rosary were very special. Every day every student attended mass at 11am. I believe we all had our own personal missal and followed the mass written in Latin and English. The nuns and teachers wove our faith in every subject we studied. We learned about lives of the saints and were encouraged to do our best.
Even today I still see classmates from grade school. I know their children and now I see these old friends on Grandparents Day.
I have always been grateful for my Catholic education. Just like the parents of today, for 66 years parents have chosen to make the sacrifice to send their children to Holy Rosary. It is still a privilege to give this gift of Catholic education.
Thanks for letting me share my mini walk through my HR years.
Happy 66th Birthday Holy Rosary School and may you have another 100 plus.
September 29, 2020
We have had a good experience with Distance Learning. We engage the class through Google Classroom as much as possible. We are teachers - we can handle any obstacle thrown our way. We are resilient. We are islands in the stream, we rely on each other. As with any new situation, it takes time to get used to. The “new normal” has been a gradual thing, we are slowly getting used to everything. If you add a little bit of change at a time, it gets easy to carry any burdens. The parents are being extremely caring and considerate. They are being patient with all of our technology problems and helping us work through all of them together. They are fantastic!! ~ Mrs. Lawler
In the days leading up to in-service, I was very nervous. I was nervous about learning new technology programs, trying to balance teaching distance learners and in-person learners at the same time, and of course, trying to keep myself, my growing baby, and my students safe during these Covid times. While things have not been easy by any means, the collaboration and support among my department of teachers has been incredible. This situation has really brought us closer together as we help each other adjust to this new style of teaching and the obstacles that we encounter daily. Above all else, the way that the teachers have come together, has been a nice reminder of what a special place Holy Rosary is to work. We’re more than a department… we truly are a family. ~ Mrs. Hogan
I think overall, distance learning is going well. Having Google Classroom is fantastic, we are lucky that we are 1 to 1 with our laptops, otherwise getting classwork to the distance learning students would be a lot to figure out. One aspect of distance learning that I like is how the students are learning how to be more self-sufficient and work independently. Some of the challenges I face every day are traveling from room to room, finding enough time to work closer with the students, and technology issues, but the thing I have learned most from this experience is flexibility. The parts of this situation we are in that I like the least are anxiety about germs, not being able to work in small groups and not being able to work as closely with students that are at home. The best parts are the added technology, awareness of procedures for cleanliness and the different options for at home or in school. ~ Mrs. Bourquin
I really enjoy being back with the students. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to recognize faces and learn new faces despite the masks. I love being able to talk with the students, joke with them, tell stories, etc. It has been incredible to see the dedication the virtual students have towards their learning and their ability to adapt to the "new normal." It is a learning experience for all of us! ~ Mrs. Bledsoe
After over 35 years of teaching, I must say I did not know I would ever be in a situation like the one Covid-19 has provided. Since I have taught so long nothing shocks me, but this is a very interesting time. Each day brings new situations. I must say, I have gone through many emotions while teaching so far. First, I was happy to “see” all the students even though it is with masks and from six feet! I am overjoyed to be at Holy Rosary with people I have worked with for MANY years. Students and friends are great! Next, I am frustrated that I am technologically challenged. I am one of those people who will always push the wrong button, post in the wrong class, or delete something that I did not know I deleted. I feel there are many things from me wandering around in some cloud somewhere. I have issues texting, so you know I have computer issues; however, I have felt relief because my students, coworkers and children have come to my rescue. Let’s just say, I have provided many laughs. I have felt exhausted at times because the teachers are traveling from class to class, and I am not in shape! Wearing tennis shoes has helped that issue. I get panicked because I can’t see, so I know the distant learners have seen my eyeball at times because I get so close to the camera. But the one feeling I can say that I have felt since day one is pride. I am proud of Mr. Mullis who has been the driving force in getting us back to school. I am proud of my co-workers who have spent countless hours in and out of school. I am proud of my friends and daughter who answered endless questions about computers and help solve my problems! Most of all I am proud of Holy Rosary. We stepped up to the plate and hit a home run even though no one could watch because they could not be in the stands! ~ Mrs. Young