Eighth Grade Newsletter

June 2018

“The meaning of life is to find your gift-the purpose of life is to give it away.”

-Joy Golliver

Hello! In this final newsletter of the school year, I want to take time to reflect on all that the students have accomplished this year. It has been a pleasure to witness the incredible growth – academic, creative, spiritual – that the students have exhibited in recent months. They have worked very hard, and though I know some are a little sad that this chapter of their lives is ending, they are ready and well prepared for high school. It’s been a joy to work with these young people this year. They never cease to amaze me.

To all of the parents: I’d like to thank you for all of your kindness and support this year. It has been a pleasure working with you over these many years, and especially as eighth grade homeroom teacher. Many of you I have known for more than a decade, and some of you are “graduating” as well, if your eighth grader is your last child to attend the academy. I wish you all good health and happiness, and I wish your children much success in their high school years. I will miss you.

To the room parents – Mrs. Castillo, Mrs. Gadler and Mrs. Paredes: Many thanks to you for all of your assistance with our many activities, field trips, fundraisers, and retreat. We are most grateful for your efforts in coordinating our eighth grade events. I couldn’t have done it without you! 🙂

This elementary school experience is coming to an end; this is a new beginning for all of the eighth grade students. I wish them well, and I will be praying for them as they leave us at SMA and move on to many new educational, spiritual, creative and athletic adventures, and bright futures ahead. Hopefully I will have seen you at our last school Mass and eighth grade graduation brunch. Next Thursday, June 8th, is our Graduation Mass.

Peace and blessings to all of you.

“Your time as a caterpillar has expired. Your wings are ready; fly away!”

Denise A. Pippin

Curriculum Notes . . .

English Language Arts (ELA):

The students finished reading The Outsiders in April, and we had a lively class discussion about the relevance of the novel in today’s world. The “poetry slam” we conducted with the seventh grade and eighth grade classes was wonderful! The students recited, with gusto and imaginative voice, many beloved poems from many different cultures and time periods. (Poetry selections were listed in the April newsletter.) The students have now completed their last WordlyWise® vocabulary packets, and have only one more Daily Language Review to complete. We have finished our last story in our StudySync® books, “Abuela Invents The Zero,” by Judith Ortiz. This quarter we also read Abraham Lincoln’s “A House Divided,” speech, and Elie Wiesel’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, with commentary on the Holocaust.

Note: Please be sure to check with your child’s prospective high school for summer reading lists.
SLEs 2a, 3e


This quarter we analyzed several of the speeches and letters of our Pope, Francis, with discussions following about the environment, care of the poor, and – particularly important for young people – overuse of technology, and how our attachment to devices has caused us to become more separated, with less empathy for our fellow human beings. We have also completed a cumulative review (over several class periods) of lessons learned this year on Church history and dogma, the sacraments, commandments and precepts of the church, and prayer and faith – particularly ways that the students can carry that faith with them to high school and beyond. The last two weeks we have used most of our religion classes to prepare for the last two Masses of the year: the academy Mass on June 1st, and our graduation Mass on June 8th. We have been practicing our chimes, scripture readings and songs.

SLEs 1a, e; 5d

Algebra (with Mr. Woltz):

I am very proud of the class this year for their work and perseverance. They have been pushed hard and each time they rise to the challenge. We will finish up the year learning about radical expressions and equations. Please help your child to remember the year is not over yet and to maintain a strong work ethic until the end. Also, encourage your child to spend some time on Khan Academy this summer to keep their skills sharp for high school. SLE 2e, 3b, 3c, 3d, 4d

Algebra 8 (with Mr. Woltz):

The class is doing such a great job. They are ready to take on the challenges of high school mathematics. We are currently studying rates and proportions. They are learning to solve proportions, convert measurements, and do basic trigonometry. We finished up the year learning how to solve right triangle problems using trigonometric ratios. Please encourage your child to spend some time on Khan Academy this summer to keep their skills sharp for high school.

Science (with Mr. Woltz):

As we end the school year we will be studying chemical reactions. We will learn about chemical properties and how atoms interact. We will learn how to balance chemical equations and how energy flows through a system. This should provide the students with a good foundation for high school. SLE 2d, 3a, 4a


Spanish (with Senora Mosel):

As a creative yet challenging project for the end of the quarter, the students have been diligently drafting children’s stories in Spanish. In order to practice their oral proficiency, they will be reading these stories to their “Little Friends” at the end of the year.

It has been a festive and productive year in Spanish. The students have acquired more than 100 new vocabulary terms, phrases and verbs, as well as a very basic foundation in introductory-level Spanish. Regardless of whether or not they continue to pursue Spanish as their foreign language requirement, the study of another language is increasingly important in terms of helping the students nurture cultural awareness, citizenship, and a more worldly perspective.

This is a very bright and capable class and I have seen each student make significant strides in not only their academic pursuits, but in many of their life skills as well. I wish each and everyone of them nothing but continuous and meaningful success in their future.


• Tuesday, June 5th – Staff vs. 8th Grade Volleyball game
• Wednesday, June 6th – 8th Grade Farewell Assembly
• Thursday, June 7th – No School for 8th Grade/Fun Day!
• Friday, June 8th – Graduation Mass at 3 pm











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