Principal's Newsletter -- Vol. 07, No. 01 -- October 18, 2016

Dear Rockhurst Parents and Guardians,

 

Greetings from Rockhurst. The first quarter of the 2016-2017 academic year has ended.   It is hard for me to believe we have completed a quarter of the school year already.  As we end the quarter, I would like to thank all parents and guardians for all they have done for the school community this past quarter.  This was a great quarter for us at Rockhurst.  We are off to a great start.  I hope that all of us can keep the momentum going as we move into a new quarter and toward the end of the semester.  


We were very fortunate to have opened our school year with a special assembly to welcome Br. Guy Consolmagno, SJ , “the Pope’s Astronomer”.  Brother Guy encouraged all of us to never stop dreaming big and finding God in all we do.  Our school year began in earnest with the celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit on August 31.  The tradition of opening the school year at Jesuit schools with the Mass of the Holy Spirit began in 1548 at the first Jesuit school. May we continue to ask God to send forth the Spirit as we move forward in our year.    We were very fortunate to welcome Bishop James Johnston, Jr. to campus as our presider.  This was the first time that our new bishop celebrated Mass with the Rockhurst High School community.  The first Kairos retreat of the year went out in mid September; work is already underway on the Freshman retreat.  Several of our seniors attended a Camping Retreat, and others attended our senior Silent Retreat.  Please keep our pastoral programs and activities in your prayers as we invite our students to deepen their relationship with God.  


I would like to take a moment to introduce a new group of dedicated Rockhurst Students called the Joseph of Arimathea Society.  This group of young men provides Pall Bearer services for the indigent and homeless who have died.  On Friday, October 14, 12 of our students attended to the burial of 51 persons.  This is a beautiful ministry, and I am very gratified to see so many of students willing to be part of this powerful work of Mercy.

 

Attention Senior Parents:   All seniors have now registered for their Senior Service Placement in January.  Please take a moment to discuss your son’s service site with him.  If you have questions or concerns please contact Mr. Magee at ext 373.  


Attention Sophomore and Junior Parents: Wednesday, October 19 is the PSAT testing day.  It is the expectation of the school that all sophomore and juniors will sit for this exam. Please see PSAT below for more details.


On Saturday, October 15 demolition of the field house took place.  This marks the beginning of a very exciting phase of construction around campus.  I ask for your patience as we construct new facilities and enhance existing spaces in the building.   Our patience now will pay off later!!


October 21 is the Don Ramsey Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament here on Campus.  This tournament is named for RHS’ legendary debate coach, Mr. Don Ramsey who retired in 2014.  We will dismiss school at 2:00PM on Friday October 21st to accommodate the tournament.


October 30 is our annual Open House.  This is a great day for all of us to show incoming students what life at the Rock is really like  Thank you for all of your attention to this day.  


As we move into the second quarter, there is much to do and much to look forward to. Here are a few highlights:

  • The dramatics society will present The Man Who Came to Dinner  Nov. 10-12.

  • Mark your calendars for the Instrumental and Choral Christmas concerts, Dec. 6 and 8 respectively.  

  • Many of our fall athletic teams will advance to district playoffs.  Congratulations for a job well done!!  Good luck to all coaches and athletes, Rock State!  

    • Please keep in mind that all district playoff games follow MSHAA guidelines for home field, ticket sales,  start times etc.  

    • Please check the RHS website to find out times and locations of all district playoff events.  

  • Our summer immersion trips will begin to roster. Contact Mr. Magee for information.

  • Rockhurst’s service programs extend far beyond the TIE program. The Office of Ignatian Service Programs offers a variety of ways for our students to answer the the Gospel Call and the Jesuit expectation that they become men of service.

  • As a community, we will spend some time focusing on the poor and hungry during our annual Harvest Food Drive.   

  • On Sunday, November 13, we will celebrate our annual Heritage Mass and Food Festival.  All are welcome.

  • Looking ahead...

    • Seniors and Freshman have no school on Wednesday, October 19.

    • November 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation; we will have an all-school Mass.  

    • Year of Mercy Prayer Service is November 22; we will formally close the Holy Year of Mercy at our prayer service.

    • Thanksgiving Break is November 23-25.

    • December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Holy Day of Obligation; we will gather for an all-school Mass.  

    • Final Exams will be December 14-16.

    • Christmas Break is December 17-January 3.

    • Classes resume and second semester begins January 4, 2017.

    • Looking way ahead....Fall Athletic programs for the 2017-2018 school year will begin on Monday, July 31, 2017.


Being involved in the life of the school, outside of academics, is a crucial part of student development in the Jesuit model of education.  Please encourage your son to get and remain involved in all aspects of school life. Contact Mr. Chris Bosco, the Assistant Principal for Student Life, for information concerning co-curricular activities.


Inclement Weather Alerts:

As we move into the fall and eventually winter, I would like to remind all RHS families of our school closing/delay procedure. Should weather require us to change the school schedule or close the school, every effort will be made to let the community know as soon as possible. If a decision is made to change the schedule or close the school, we will notify all students by the AMDG email system, and we will send a text via “Textcaster”. If you have not registered for “Textcaster” or have changed your phone number since you last registered, please go the RHS web site parents’ page to find the RockAlerts by Textcaster link. We will also inform local media of school closings. As Rockhurst is truly a regional school, in all weather related cases, it is up to individual families to determine whether or not it is safe to travel to school. More information can be found on the Inclement Weather Information on the Parent’s page of the web site.


A hallmark of Jesuit education and Ignatian spirituality is the practice of active and frequent reflection.  As we end the first quarter of our academic year, I ask that you take some time to ask your son to reflect on the school year thus far.  What has gone well? Where is he now?  What does he need to do to move forward?  Has he gotten involved?  What are his interests?  Questions like these will help your son move more deeply into the habit of active reflection.  


As we begin the second quarter, it is important for us all to take a moment and review your son’s progress thus far. Quarter grades are now available in NetClassroom. If you have questions or concerns, the best place to begin is with his teachers. Each student at Rockhurst has an assigned guidance counselor who is also ready and willing to help attend to your concerns.


The quarter grade represents an important part of your son’s overall academic profile; however, please keep in mind that there is still much time for improvement. With help from teachers, counselors, and his own reflective practice, it is my hope that deficiencies can be addressed in the second quarter. Please keep in mind that most courses end with semester final exams in December. If your son has struggled the first quarter, he should plan now to attend final exam review sessions as they are offered later in the semester.


A good opportunity to spend a few minutes with your son's teachers is during Parent/Teacher Conferences. Our conferences will be on Wednesday, October 26 from 3:30-5:30PM and 6:00-8:00PM. Please see Academic Affairs below for more details. If you have concerns or questions, the best place to start is with your son’s teacher.  


As the summer gives way to fall, may this time of year be one of many blessings for you and your family. St. Ignatius Loyola encourages each of us to find God working in the ordinary beauty of daily life.  May the beauty of this time of year be a reminder to us all of God’s many gifts to us.  Please know of my deep appreciation for all you do to make Rockhurst such a special place.


I ask that you remember the Very Reverend Arturo Sosa, SJ in your thoughts and prayers.  Fr. Sosa, SJ was chosen on October 14 to be the new Superior General of the Society of Jesus.  Let us pray together that Fr. Sosa, SJ, will be open to God’s call as he assumes his new role.  May his heart remain open to creating a vision for the Society of Jesus in our world today.  May we as a community remember one another in prayer as well.  Know that you and your sons are and will remain in my prayers, and I ask that you pray for me!  

 

Peace,

Gregory Harkness

 

Gregory Harkness, 81

Principal



ACADEMIC AFFAIRS


First quarter grades are now available in NetClassroom. These grades, along with the second quarter grade and final examination, become a significant component of the final transcript grade. All parents are encouraged to attend the PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES scheduled for Wednesday, October 26th from 3:30-5:00PM and 6:00-8:00PM. Both sessions will end promptly at the specified time, so please plan accordingly. Enter the school through the Barry Commons just off the north parking lot. Begin with those teachers in whose classes your son might be demonstrating some academic difficulty. We ask that you keep your meetings with your son’s teachers succinct, ideally four or five minutes. Out of courtesy to other parents, please be mindful of the time. A tone will sound every five minutes to assist you. If a longer conversation is necessary, follow-up with an e-mail or simply tell the teacher you will call to schedule an appropriate time for a meeting. The Parent/Teacher Conference Directory will be available on the RHS website by Monday, October 24. Please print and bring your son's report card with you for reference when meeting with his teachers. Thank you!


ADMISSION OFFICE


During the months of November and December, the Admission Office will be planning informational "coffees" for prospective students (and parents) who attend parochial schools in Kansas. Please contact Tara Hall (thall@rockhursths.edu) or Jack Reichmeier (jreichme@rockhursths.edu) if you'd be willing to host an informational program in your home.  Thanks!


ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT


As we approach the end of the regular season for fall sports - a reminder that all playoff games for football and varsity sports have a required MSHSAA entrance fee whether at home or away. We wish the cross country, football, soccer, swim & dive programs best of luck in the state series. ROCK STATE!


We also look forward to the start of our winter sports. Basketball starts on Tuesday, November 1 and wrestling start practices on Monday, October 31. Anyone interested in participating should contact Mr. Pete Campbell (head basketball coach) or Mr. Armand Aaron (head wrestling coach) for more details. Remember that all student-athletes who plan to try-out/participate must have a valid physical on file and a completed MSHSAA release form on file. These forms can be found under the Athletic/Forms page of the school website. A physical must be completed by a doctor from Feb. 2016 to present.


All Sports Programs are being mailed to advertisers, and those who wished to be billed will get that invoice separately. Thanks to all who participated in supporting the All Sports Program. It was a great success and really helps underwrite costs in our athletic programs. Programs are sold at home varsity football, soccer, basketball & wrestling games.


STUDENT LIFE


Attention Rockhurst Class of 2017 Parents : Jostens was at our school Thursday Oct. 13th to provide your student with all the information they need about ordering any graduation supplies.  Please make sure you ask your senior for the information packet.  It is very important that your student turn in their form with the schools group order.  Graduation order day for Rockhurst this year is Thursday, October 20th, during lunch.  If your student missed the Oct. 13th meeting at school, please pick up a graduation packet in the main office, or email Mr. Chris Bosco for a digital version.   For parents wishing to order any materials, please review this information with your student and don’t forget to have them turn in their order form along with their $60 down payment on the October 20th.  If you have any questions, contact Jostens at 816-628-6157 or Casey Korte at korte.office@jostens.com.


SGA is off to a great start thanks to a lot of hard work from our student officers, especially our seniors. Thank you to all who have helped or assisted SGA this year, especially our dance chaperones!


PSAT


Parents, please be reminded that the PSAT for all sophomores and juniors will take place on Wednesday, October 19th.  Please have your sons arrive by 7:45am.  They will be dismissed at approximately 11:45am.  Please check your emails for more detailed information.  Questions may be directed to Standardized Testing Director, Scott Reagan at sreagan@rockhursths.edu or 816-363-2036 ext. 529.

 

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