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A Summer Letter from the Head of School

Posted: 7/13/2015

Dear Holy Spirit Prep family,

In some senses, our school community hardly slows down during the summer. Our campuses are quieter, and staff and students scatter to the four corners of the earth. It remains, though, an industrious time for us, staff and student alike.

Each summer, we send the students of our St. Joseph’s Cohort apostolate to the remotest parts of Kentucky, to some of the most isolated communities in the United States. They bring much-needed supplies to restock outreach pantries and food banks, and build and rehab houses for families without adequate shelter. Just a few weeks ago, one team of 25 students and faculty members returned from a week-long trip. In another few weeks, our varsity football team will make a sojourn there to conduct a summer football camp.

It has been good seeing our students and faculty on campus this summer participating in HSP Summer camps. We’ve seen the Atlanta Braves, British Soccer, science and nature camps, STEM programs – they keep campus feeling vibrant and alive during the summer. A few weeks of summer camps remain: if you are looking to keep the kids industrious during these last few weeks of summer, take a glance at our Summer Camps page.

While summer is definitely a rejuvenative time for our faculty and staff, they keep very busy over the summer, not only with summer camps, but with planning and preparing for the coming school year, and with professional development. Our 2015 Spring Gala raised over $200,000 for our faculty and for their professional development, and they have been putting that money to excellent and immediate use this summer:

  • Pete Radosta is continuing his M.Ed. studies online through St. Joseph's University
  • Brittany Rainey and Thomas Clements attended the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education's summer teacher training at Aquinas College in Nashville
  • Scott Schreiber attended the American Classical League Institute at the University of Connecticut
  • Dr. Archie Deen, Jamie Reger, and new science teachers Bianca Hall and Christine Griffith attended AP training in their respective fields
  • Samaris (Quinones) Andrews attended the Nine Essentials of Love and Logic workshop (classroom management) as well as the Driving Your Differentiation (differentiated instruction) workshop through Griffin RESA
  • Rosemary Thomasberger, James Toner, Michael Verlander, and Amy Lampert are enrolled in online courses that will benefit their classrooms this fall
  • Ellen Grisham and Mary Margaret Schulte are attending workshops on study skills and writing
  • Tim Durski, Denise Gunderson, and new Director of Advancement Jen de Castro will be attending the ISM Advancement Academy in Leesburg, Virginia
  • Meghan McCabe, Mary Shaw, Bethany Rusenko, Brittany Rainey are attending the Catechist Certification Course through Holy Spirit College
  • Michael Verlander, Tommy Curtin, Faith Rummelsburg, and Steven Rummelsburg are attending the Catholic Classical Schools Conference at Notre Dame College in Cleveland, Ohio

We have an incredible, talented roster of teachers who love their students and are exceptional in their field. The professional development they undertake - whether classes, workshops, seminars, or degree programs - helps them hone their already sharp skills, which they bring right back to the classroom to give our students the best education possible.

I want to welcome the new families that will be joining Holy Spirit Prep this fall when we kick off our 20th year since our school’s founding in 1996. Our admissions team, headed by Kristina Wilhelm, has worked tirelessly over the past school year to recruit an excellent array of new students to our school. Thanks to the work of our Admissions team, you will observe a happy boost in our enrollment this year, a boost which we expect will be magnified over the next several admissions cycles.

Though it is still some ways off, I want to extend an early invitation for you to join us at this year’s Spring Gala, scheduled for Saturday, April 23, 2016, at the St. Regis Atlanta. There, not only will we celebrate our faculty and staff, but we will mark and commemorate the first twenty years of our young school’s history.

I also hope that, this year, you will take advantage of our school Masses. We are unique as a school in that we recognize the Mass as the “source and summit of the Christian life” and integrate it into the daily life of our school. The Preschool hosts two Masses for its students each year. The Lower School holds a daily grade-level Mass every morning at 8:15am in the Lower School chapel. The Upper School celebrates Mass weekly, Wednesdays at 10:15am at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, and celebrates morning Masses in St. Joseph's Oratory at 7:30am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This school year, we will observe four All-School Masses – September 25, December 8, February 1, and May 11, at 8:15am in Holy Spirit Catholic Church. You are always welcome at school Masses and I pray you will join us in worship this school year.

While some might not count it as beach reading, I highly encourage you to look through our Holy Father’s newest encyclical, Laudato Si. More than just a statement on ecology, it is a charge to the whole human community to reconsider how we approach the Earth, our lifestyles, and our impact on our communities, especially the young, the elderly, and the most vulnerable people among us. I can’t help but think of our own students when he writes, “Our insistence that each human being is an image of God should not make us overlook the fact that each creature has its own purpose. None is superfluous [….] Once we start to think about the kind of world we are leaving to future generations, we look at things differently; we realize that the world is a gift which we have freely received and must share with others.”

In his conclusion, he writes a message for all of us to consider, “In reality, those who enjoy more and live better each moment are those who have given up dipping here and there, always on the lookout for what they do not have. They experience what it means to appreciate each person and each thing, learning familiarity with the simplest things and how to enjoy them. So they are able to shed unsatisfied needs, reducing their obsessiveness and weariness.”

Our divisional principals will email their summer letters this Wednesday, July 15, the feast of St. Bonaventure. I pray that your summer has been blessed, and that you find yourself rejuvenated as we walk into a new school year. I can’t wait to see you and your family on campus soon!

Yours in service,
Kyle M. Pietrantonio
Head of School