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School Spotlight

Whether you're on your way to the library or stopping by City Hall, chances are you're driving by St. John Vianney School, located in the heart of Brookfield. This blog will provide insight into life and education at SJV, a 4K-8 educational anchor in Brookfield since 1957.

Students Learning Through Service at St. John Vianney

This fall at St. John Vianney, the sixth, seventh and eighth grades were combined to form the middle school. Middle school teachers now instruct in one subject area. The religion teacher, Mrs. Fischer, has introduced a new part of the curriculum which requires the students to perform community service. Her goal is to inspire a student to act for others, not oneself; in doing this, the students reflect the teaching that Christ’s love is demonstrated through service to others.

The students have been given suggestions to help them find service projects that suit them. Mrs. Fischer explained, “Many of the children are obtaining service hours right within the building.  They have taken ownership of lunch room tasks such as wiping down tables and seats, monitoring disposal of waste and stacking of cafeteria trays, cleaning the floors.  Students are cadets in the morning to assist in the supervision of children during the gathering time outside for the Pledge of Allegiance.  The children lead us in prayer in the morning.  They also deliver mail at the end of the day.”  

The eighth graders are encouraged to find projects outside of SJV.  “They are getting involved in the St. Ben's meal program and other volunteer service organizations in the Greater Milwaukee area,” said Mrs. Fischer.  The students will turn in a service log at the end of each quarter and have a reflection in class.

Olivia Volkert, a seventh grader at SJV, spent five hours last Sunday morning volunteering at the annual SJV Justice Market. She assisted selling items from Ecuador to benefit the Working Boys’ Center in Quito, Ecuador.  Through doing this, she learned more about what the Working Boys’ Center is and what is does for the people of Quito.  “I thought it was a lot of fun. I wish I could go volunteer there [at the Working Boys’ Center] but you have to be 18.  I will definitely go there in high school,” she said.  Volunteering made Olivia feel “mature, helpful, nice and warmhearted.”

Olivia has exceeded her required hours by far, but plans to continue looking for volunteer opportunities.  The experiences have shown her that she has a lot to give and by giving, the receiving is incredible.  Olivia commented, “It is important for us to volunteer because it shows that you have to help others and not be selfish.” She is happy about the new volunteer requirement, but thinks it should call for more hours.

Mrs. Fischer feels the students are learning that service is recognizing need. She hopes to build the community element of the program. If any SJV parish members have opportunities, they can contact her at the school.

Golf Tees Off at St. John Vianney

What comes to mind when you think about grade school sports?  How about heated basketball games, volleyball matches, and track and field meets…

Imagine a group of grade school students at the pristine North Hills Country Club.  All are smartly attired, address each other politely, golf club in hand, taking turns teeing off and watching where the balls lands.  OK, some balls land in the sand trap, some disappear among the trees, some just decide to take a little hop and land a few feet away.  But some land on the green!  This is the SJV Golf team’s Fall scrimmage at the majestic North Hills Country Club.  

Through much effort and hard work, Paul Mindel, with the support of Jim Hessling of St. John Vianney, has made golf an official seasonal school sport open to all grades.  As an SJV dad, Paul started the program two years ago with the objective of exposing students to golf at a earlier age and providing children who may not be into basketball or football a chance to compete.  The program started out with driving practice at the National Golf Center, which Paul owns and operates.  This year, the program has developed to include students from St. John Vianney, St. Dominic, St. Mary’s Elm Grove and St. Joseph’s in Wauwatosa.

The quad-parish golf students were fortunate to be coached by the national recognized coaches at the North Hills Country Club this past season.  PGA coach, Eddie Terasa is a nine time Professional of the Year for the State of Wisconsin and is one of the best player in the State.  The team is also coached by Nate Gray, a qualifier for the 2009 Wisconsin State Open and head of the Jr. Golf program for North Hills.

The Boards of both North Hills and Westmoor have generously donated their clubs, enabling the program to be very affordable for all families to participate.  As one of the dad’s put it, “these kids are so lucky in so many ways.”

I had the pleasure of chaperoning the 7th - 8th grade team during one of their practices.  For the first time, the children were playing the course.  Coach Eddie and Coach Nate took the group to the first hole.  They explained how to address the ball, what is the proper etiquette while at the course and even finer details such as where to put the golf bags and where to stand.

I have to admit, I am not a golfer!  I feel about as confident stepping on the golf course as when I am sitting in a restaurant at a business dinner choosing a wine (OK, I am not a drinker either, but sometimes, the occasion requires a glass in hand).   Many adults learn golf on their own.  The SJV golf program gives students skills and confidence to continue the sport if they choose to.
The team competed in two tournaments at the end of the season, one at the Westmoor Country Club and one at the North Hills Country Club.  My seventh grader competed at the North Hills tournament.  When I stopped by to pick him up, he just finished his round and was very excited.  He ran over and told us that he shot a “Birdie!”

“That’s GREAT!   I am so happy for you!”  

But what’s a “birdie?”  I sure hope it’s not a new extreme sport between birds and balls...

“Share-A-Pie” Tradition Continues at SJV

St. John Vianney Parish, St. Vincent de Paul and Market Day teamed up again this year to provide a special treat to area families in need this holiday season. Over 270 families participated in the seventh annual Share-A-Pie program. Through this program, parishioners purchased Market Day pies or cheesecakes to be donated to local food pantries for distribution over the upcoming holidays. Donors could chose from ten different pies, ranging from $10-$12, or they could just give a monetary contribution. The delicious choices included everything from pumpkin pie to turtle cheesecake.

Parishioner Christine Rudek, who organized the program this year, reported that although we fell short of the goal of actual number of pies, the amount of participation was greater than last year by about fifty families.  The 270 families that participated purchased 612 pies.  

The pies will be delivered to St. John Vianney and then St. Vincent de Paul volunteers will distribute them to various food pantries, including:
All Saints Meal Program
Hope House, St. Catherine's, St. Josephat, St. Patrick, and Our Lady of Guadalupe
SVDP meal program Waukesha
SJV Food Pantry
Salvation Army
Waukesha Food Pantry
SVDP Meal Programs - One North of the City and one South of the city
Prince of Peace food pantry
Women's Center
Hebron, Jeremy & Sienna Houses (3 locations)
St. Catherine's Residence

This great tradition is a fabulous way to kick off the holiday season. Kudos to all who helped make someone less fortunate enjoy a special treat this holiday season.

Internet Safety Program at SJV

New programs have been introduced at school this year based on valuable initiatives.
The Internet Safety Awareness Program was created as a resource for school parents to learn safety measures and guides to control children’s use of the internet. This month, parents were invited to attend a program sponsored by the Internet Safety Awareness Program on the risks of the internet posed to children of school age. A Department of Justice official spoke to parents concerning the dangers children can face from peers and adults posing as peers, reminding them of recent experiences in local schools. The intrigue and usefulness of the internet may conceal predators who use social sites and chatrooms to lure and prey on children or cyber bullies who intimidate children. Cell phones have been used by peers to intimidate and victimize children.

Additional age appropriate programs for students were conducted at school based on the Netsmartz curriculum. The objective was to caution students on the dangers they may encounter in the internet through social websites and chatrooms with the common lesson that the new playground where predators can meet children is the internet.

Students can view  to reinforce the lesson that they should not provide any personal information about themselves on the internet, in chatrooms or social networking websites.


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