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Hope for the Holidays

St. Mary Parish School Fifth Graders Recreate Diner to Help Hungry at the Holidays; Raise $1200 for Feeding America

MENOMONEE FALLS, WI, November 28, 2017 ( Just in time to help needy families for the holidays, the St. Mary Parish School fifth graders recreated a lunchtime diner to earn and donate $1200 to Feeding America on Friday, November 17, 2017. Inspired by the Newberry Award winning book, Hope was Here, in the course of seven weeks the fifth graders read the book, applied for a job at the diner in more than eight departments, created a menu, priced supplies, trained staff, designed table décor as well as countless other responsibilities that were needed to prepare for the lunchtime rush at the Welcome Stairways Diner on November 7, 2017 at St. Mary Parish School.



In two hours the St. Mary students prepared and served lunch to more than 180 customers. Patrons were able to choose from G.T’s Chicken Sandwich (a seasoned grilled chicken break sandwich on a brioche bun) or the Keep Hoping Sandwich (a smoked turkey sandwich with dried tomatoes, mozzarella, chopped salad greens and red wine vinaigrette). Fruit salad, chips and a lettuce salad as well as desserts were also available The desserts on the menu included mocha chip cookies, butterscotch cream pie, apple pie ala mode or blueberry coffee cake. The donated amount included all money earned from guest checks, tips earned from wait and bus staff, as well as donations from each fifth grader that ate lunch at the closing of the diner.

TJ Kelm and Jenny Stroh are the fifth grade teachers at St. Mary Parish School. In an age when video games, television and electronic devices dominate for their student’s attention, they want their students to enjoy reading, to improve reading comprehension and to try and put into practice some of the important lessons from the books their students read in fifth grade. “Every book they read has a special project or field trip to bring the book to life. Students don’t want to miss out on the experiences and are swept along in the reading excitement…Even reluctant readers find themselves not wanting to put the book down,” said Stroh.

Hope was Here’s message is that “hope” is always present as long as there are good people who care about one another. As one of the novel’s main character’s point out, “Everyone can use a little hope to help get through the tough times.” With the $1200 donated by the St. Mary Parish School fifth graders, Feeding America can provide just that kind of hope – allowing for more than 3000 meals to be provided to those in need this holiday.

Keith Michalski, donor relations manager from Feeding America, came to St Mary Parish School on November 17 to personally accept their donation, to thank the students and teachers and explained how they will be helping the needy right here in southeastern Wisconsin. He also congratulated the students for making such a big impact at their young ages and thanked them for showing they’re never too young to give back to the community!

“It is amazing to see students using their skills in “real world” situations. This project allowed all the students the opportunity to take learning outside of the classroom in so many ways. I am so proud of what they have accomplished,” said Kelm.

History Made at Seton Volleyball Tournament St. Mary Boys and Girls Division I Seton Champions

MENOMONEE FALLS, WI, November 10, 2017 ( It is no small feat for a team to make it to the finals at the Elizabeth Seton Volleyball Tournament. This eighth grade volleyball tournament is the largest in the archdiocese of Milwaukee, bringing together schools from seven conferences throughout southeastern Wisconsin. The St. Mary Warriors in Menomonee Falls made Seton Tournament history with each of their volleyball teams sweeping the competition to play in all three divisions of the Championship at Catholic Memorial High School on Sunday, November 5, 2017. This is the first time that the tournament had a school with three teams competing in each of the divisions or has won multiple divisions in the same year to take home two Seton Tournament Championship banners.      

Each of the St Mary teams had successful seasons and came into the tournament highly ranked. This placed each of the teams at the top of their bracket in the tournament. The St. Mary boys were 9-2 in league play and seeded fourth in the Seton. The boys’ team won each of the 17 sets played during the course of the Seton Tournament, beating the first ranked team 3-0 in the semifinal to advance. The Warriors beat St. Leonard in the Championship to take home the Seton banner. “The boys really made a point to focus on team not individual players,” said St Mary boys head coach Jill Jansen. “Their selflessness led to their amazing success.”

The Division I Lady Warriors were 9-1 in league play and seeded first in the tournament. The girls pushed through their competition to face second seed, St. Dominic, for the Seton Championship. These teams had faced off four other times this season with an even split of wins and losses for both teams. As one would expect, it was an epic battle for five sets before the St. Mary Lady Warriors prevailed as Seton Champions.

“This team of girls were so successful because they all trusted and believed in each other!” said St Mary Division I girls head coach Sara Pierce. “Many commented on the chemistry of the girls and how much fun they had playing together…There was never an I on this team only eight we’s.”

The St. Mary Lady Warriors Division II team played their neighbor to the north, St. Boniface, for the Division II Championship. St. Mary Division II team had a 9-1 record in league play and tied with St. Boniface for first in their conference. After a back-and-forth five set battle, the St. Mary Lady Warriors capped an outstanding season with a second place finish. “We had a great, fun year and exceeded our expectations and goals,” said St Mary Divisions II girls head coach Mike Miller. “They fought hard and left it all on the court.”

St. Mary Menomonee Falls teams are made up of St Mary Parish School students as well as religious education students of St. Mary Parish and the Menomonee Falls Parish Cluster. Since the tournament began in 2006, St. Mary Warriors have taken home six Seton Championship wins, with banners for the Division I Girls in 2009, 2012 and 2014 and capturing the Boys title in 2015 in addition to the wins in 2017. Having earned two more Seton banners this year, the St. Mary Warriors currently have the most Seton Tournament Championship wins.

“We are so proud of all these young men and women. This is such an incredible accomplishment, said athletic director at St. Mary, Joel Moeller, This is such a great way for these eighth graders to cap off their final year of playing volleyball as St. Mary Warriors.”

St. Mary Parish School Receives National Student Council Award

MENOMONEE FALLS, WI, April 30, 2017  St. Mary Parish School (, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, student council has been awarded the 2017 National Gold Council of Excellence Award by the National Association of Student Councils (NASC). Fewer than 30 middle schools from across the country received this award for their exemplary record of leadership, service and activities that serve to improve the school and community. This is the third time SMPS has received this award, the last times were 2010 and 2014.

Earning the award is no small task. All schools must meet a rigorous list of criteria. They all must demonstrate they have a written constitution, hold regular meetings, and hold a democratic election process. In addition they must demonstrate such things as leadership training for council members, teacher/staff appreciation activities, student recognition programs, school and community service projects, spirit activities, goal setting, financial planning and active participation in their state and national student council associations.

NASC is proud to honor St Mary Parish School for implementing a strong leadership program that meets council goals; functioning in an ethical and responsible way; and engaging others in leadership, spirit, civic and service activities. A list of all 2017 winners is available on the NASC Website

“I am proud of our student council’s strong leadership role in our school and community. We are very proud of all their effort and hard work to achieve this great honor,” says Karen Schumacher, guidance counselor, St. Mary Parish School.

The National Association of Student Councils (NASC) promotes and provides leadership development opportunities to prepare and empower students to serve their schools and communities. NASC is a program of the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The NASSP—the preeminent organization and national voice for middle level and high school leaders—also sponsors the National Honor Society (NHS) and the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), which recognizes outstanding middle level and high school students who demonstrate excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, and character. For more information on NASC, visit council award

St. Mary Parish School Students Passing on Legacy of the Man in the Red Bandana

Menomonee Falls, Wis., December 9, 2016 – The 6th grade students at St. Mary Parish School were not even born when the twin towers fell on 9/11. The day has become an important classroom history lesson where students learn not only about the tragedy but, the legacy of the many heroes of that day. The 6th grade students at St. Mary Parish School wrote letters to the parents of one such hero, Welles Crowther, or as he is now famously known as The Man in the Red Bandana. Crowther, a graduate of Boston College lost his own life that day while saving the lives of numerous others. In return, the students received a letter back from his parents as well as a package which included a note from the athletic director of Boston College that thanked them and said the letters were “acknowledged and celebrated” on campus. The package also included official red bandanas distributed at Boston College’s Red Bandana Game, which honors the life of Crowther.

Crowther has been the subject of several books and recognized for his selflessness and heroism. After Sept. 11, 2001 survivors published stories about the man wearing the red handkerchief that had saved their life. Crowther carried a red bandana from the time he was just six years old, wearing it under his lacrosse helmet and carrying it in his pocket wherever he went.

The students do not know a life before 9/11 and how much our world has changed since that day. Deanna Budney teaches social studies and religion at St. Mary Parish School and knew while 9/11 can be difficult to talk about with children, its lessons are many “Maybe the most important lesson of that day is of hope and our ability to triumph over tragedy,” said Budney. “It’s also a great way to look at and show appreciation for our modern day heroes. Crowley’s story is one of selflessness, bravery and heroism. In return, the students learned about how their words and actions can have a positive reaction… it has a ripple effect.” said Budney. “They were deeply interested in Crowther’s story and their appreciation for what he did shows in the words from their letters.”

“Every day before school my mom tells me to do my best and let God do the rest.” Matthew Lauer wrote in his letter to Crowther’s parents. “That day your son did his best. Most heroes wear a cape, but Welles wore his red bandana.”
“He was an amazing person,” Josie Pliszka wrote in her letter. “We should all be more like Welles, thinking of others before ourselves. Whenever I see a red bandana I will think of a true hero, Welles, Crowther.”

“Welles is a true hero because he cared for other people in need when they needed it most. It must be comforting knowing your son is a hero and that people thank God for his heroism daily, wrote another student, JJ Eagleeye. “Ever since I heard your story I asked my mom for a bandana. Every time see it I will think of Welles.”

The class was grateful to receive a message back from Alison Crowther, Welles’ mother. She thanked them for sending their letters. She wrote, “I have read them all and we are deeply touched. It means the world to us that Welles’ example impacts young people in many good and positive ways.”

For more information about this story please go to Boston College website

Man in the Red Bandana

St. Mary Parish School Celebrates 100th Anniversary – Archbishop Listecki, Mass Celebrant

Menomonee Falls, Wis., September 19, 2016 – On Saturday, September 10th, 2016 St. Mary Parish School in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin celebrated its 100th year. Archbishop Jerome Listecki was the principal celebrant and homilist for the 100th Anniversary Mass held at 5 p.m. at St Mary Parish Church, N89 W16297 Cleveland Avenue, Menomonee Falls, Wi 53051. All parish societies were represented at the Mass, including student representatives of the parish school. Immediately following the Mass, a reception was held from 6pm – 9pm in St. Mary Parish School Activity Center. A spaghetti dinner was served to all in attendance. School tours were offered throughout the afternoon till the end of the reception which enabled alumni and others to see the enhancements made to the building but also in-the-classroom successes from St Mary Parish School students who have helped St Mary Parish School earn many accolades as an exemplary school.

St. Mary Parish School opened its doors in September 1916, since then over 30,000 students have graduated from the school and it is renowned for the quality education it provides to students from three-year-old kindergarten through 8th grade who live in Menomonee Falls, Sussex, Germantown, Richfield, Milwaukee and other surrounding communities.

St Mary Parish School has always had a special place in the heart of the community. Besides being a source for an excellent education, the school is renowned for its generous humanitarian projects, such as support for the local food pantries, collecting school supplies for needy children, and its annual $50

Challenge that encourages each grade to increase the $50 donated by the parish to raise funds for a charity of their choosing. In the last few years totals for charities have reached more than $5,000.
“So many of our alumni at St. Mary Parish School have been a significant part of the fabric that is our community, said Linda Joyner, St Mary Parish School Principal. “Celebrating our centennial anniversary is a great way to recognize and celebrate their contributions.”

St. Mary Parish School began as a two classroom school led by two School Sisters of St. Francis from St. Joseph Convent in Milwaukee. The doors opened in September, 1916 and the first class of two students graduated in 1919. Enrollment has grown steadily over the years and additional classrooms and new space has been constructed, but the spirit and mission of the school has not changed. 100 years later St. Mary Parish School continues to provide an outstanding education that nurtures each students’ mind, body and spirit and prepare them to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world. Because of the continued commitment from St. Mary parishioners, faculty, staff and the community, thousands of children have been provided a quality Catholic education over the last 100 years and will continue its mission for the next generation of students.

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St. Mary Parish School Open House January 29, 2017

Menomonee Falls, Wis., December 8, 2015 – St. Mary Parish School invites parents and their children entering K3 through 8th grade to attend its 2017 Open House on Sunday, January 29, 2017 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Meet our gifted and caring teachers, discuss our curriculum and observe advanced technology in action, talk to current students and families, and tour the St Mary Parish School facilities located at N89 W16215 Cleveland Ave., Menomonee Falls. Childcare will be available to help entertain young children.

Come and see why St. Mary Parish School is an Archdiocesan Exemplary Award winning school! Celebrating 100 years of educational excellence, St. Mary Parish School is renowned for providing a quality faith-based education to families from Menomonee Falls, Germantown, Colgate, Hubertus, Lannon, Milwaukee and Sussex.

St. Mary Parish School offers half-day kindergarten for three and four year children (K3 and K4) as well as all day for four-year-old kindergarten through eighth grade (K4- 8th grades). St. Mary Parish School averages 20 students per class with two classrooms per grade level and provides a strong curriculum supported by moral values that engages every learner and prepares them for higher education. St. Mary Parish School is dedicated to developing academic, artistic, physical and moral aptitudes in each child through programs such as art, instrumental and vocal music, drama, athletics, upper-level Spanish, student government and service to others. St. Mary Parish School’s environment
of “Living Jesus” is centered in Christian values and mutual respect for others.

“Making the right choice for your child’s education is one of the most important decisions you will ever have to make,” says Linda Joyner, principal, St. Mary Parish School, Menomonee Falls. “Choosing a St. Mary Parish School education for your child can offer distinct advantages: a faith-filled environment, excellent academics, sports, and extracurricular and service opportunities for children.”

St. Mary Parish School at a Glance

• Strong curriculum engages every learner with academic preparedness for high school success
• Catholic faith is modeled and integrated throughout the academic and social experience
• Dedicated, fully credentialed teachers, principal and pastor
• Consistently strong scores on standardized testing, above the Archdiocese average in all areas
• Half-day K3 and half and full-day K4
• 385 students with two classrooms per grade level in 4K-8th grade
• Average class size is 20
• Engaged community of school and parish families
• Fully staffed Learning Specialist offers academic support
• Extracurriculars include: forensics, Destination Imagination, athletics, scouts, and the arts

The St. Mary Parish School Open House is a great opportunity to meet and engage with our school family. Walk-ins are welcome. If a family is unable to attend the Open House or would like to arrange a private school tour or participate in a student shadowing opportunity at St. Mary Parish School please visit our website For more information or to enroll or register your child at St. Mary Parish School for the 2017-18 school year please contact the school office at 262-251-1052 or email



St. Mary Parish School Students to Welcome Veterans From Stars and Stripes Honor Flight

St Mary 5th Graders 1Menomonee Falls, Wis., April 14, 2015 – When the first Stars and Stripes Honor Flight of the year returns to Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport on Saturday, April 18th, the veterans will be welcomed by the 5th grade students and their families from St. Mary Parish School in Menomonee Falls. It is just one small token of appreciation these 5th graders felt compelled to offer to the veterans.

What began as a school assignment about family genealogy sparked classroom discussion about their own family members who were US veterans and the sacrifice that goes along with earning such a title. “They wanted to learn more and to give something back to those who have given so much,” said Jennifer Stroh, one of the 5th grade teachers at St. Mary Parish School.

“There are many brave veterans that sacrificed their lives for us, said St. Mary Parish School 5th grader, Emma Stueland. Mike Kelley, another 5th grade student added, “Their sacrifice was great. “We will never be able to match that sacrifice, but it’s our duty to try.” Lilly Eggers had a special enthusiasm to want to help them, “My dad is a veteran so this felt more personal and meaningful.”

This experience was not the typical history lesson taken from a text book or a scripted curriculum. The students watched the movie Honor Flight, participated in Jonathan Lucroy’s 5 Words on Freedom, and ultimately decided to raise funds to donate to Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization that provides veterans flights to Washington D.C. to see the memorials that honor them.

“Service projects are an integral part of St. Mary Parish School, however this one was special because the students chose a service that was personally meaningful for them,” said Linda Joyner, St. Mary Parish School Principal. For the last five years, the school has posed a challenge to its students – a $50 challenge. Each classroom is provided $50 and are asked to find a way to make the value grow and help others. “Armed with a tracking sheet and their entrepreneurial skills, the 5th graders have been negotiating services with the goal to raise $1,000. That’s enough to sponsor two veterans to go to Washington D.C.” added Stroh.

“Raising money enables the students to make that connection with relatives several generations removed and shows that they understand the value of giving back.” said TJ Kelm, 5th grade teacher at St. Mary Parish School. “They have learned not only about the sacrifice these men and women have made but understand the gratitude we all should have towards our veterans for their service.”

“It feels amazing to help out with this wonderful project. Just knowing that we are helping out a veteran that otherwise wouldn’t get this experience is breathtaking,” said Abbie Nelson, 5th grade student at St. Mary Parish School. “I hope the veterans have a safe trip and see the monument with happiness,” said St. Mary 5th grader, Wil Franz.

The St. Mary Parish School 5th graders, their teachers and families are proud to be at the Honor Flight Homecoming at General Mitchell International Airport and give a welcoming cheer to the veterans when they make their return to Milwaukee on Saturday, April 18th. The culmination of their experiences will take place on April 24th, when a representative from Stars and Stripes Honor Flight will come to the classroom and receive the final donation amount raised by the St. Mary Parish School 5th graders.

“I am very excited and blessed to be a part of this project. It is an honor that we get to thank the veterans in the right way. I hope that we can send all the veterans in Wisconsin to their memorial,” said Henry Pomroy, a 5th grader at the school. Kaitlyn Holub, St. Mary 5th grader added, “This was an incredible experience and it means a lot to me that these special people are getting their well-deserved thank you.”

For more information about the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight please go to

St. Mary Parish School Honored in Exemplary Schools Program

Exemplary SchoolsThe Archdiocese of Milwaukee Office for Schools recognized several schools in the Exemplary Schools Program at the 2014 Educators Convention on Friday, Oct. 10.

We are proud to announce St. Mary Parish School received Exemplary Recognition for Service Learning and Civic Engagement:


Ferderbar Awarded for Outstanding Teaching and Service

Menomonee Falls, Wis., October 12, 2014 — Dr. Catherine Ferderbar, middle school science teacher at St. Mary Parish School (, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, has been selected to receive the 2014 Celebrate Teachers and Teaching Award from the Education Deans of Greater Milwaukee (EDGM). The 2014 award focus is on teachers doing exemplary work in service learning. Ferderbar was chosen for her hands-on approach to teaching and will be presented with her award at the second annual Celebrate Teachers and Teaching event on October 16th at Alverno College.

The selection process for the award considered teachers that received their professional certifications at one of the EDGM institutions and had a written nomination. Ferderbar, who is a Marquette University alumna and recently earned her doctorate through Cardinal Stritch University was nominated by St. Mary Parish School Principal, Linda Joyner. The nomination detailed Ferderbar’s ability to accommodate to each of her student’s learning style and bring educational concepts to life.  “It is common place, for students to dissect, build, grow, write, sing, solve fictitious crimes, create visual representations, graphic organizers, and even dress up like elements to demonstrate their knowledge,” said Joyner. “She empowers her students with the knowledge, skills and inspiration they need to take action and make a positive difference in the community.”


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