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Rice Memorial High School Homecoming

Eight new members were inducted in the Rice-Cathedral Athletic Hall of Fame in October. Hall of Famers from previous classes welcomed the newest members at the induction ceremony during Homecoming for Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington. There were seven different events over three days.
 
These included a Pep Rally at which Rice Memorial students gathered in anticipation of Homecoming weekend and a faculty/staff dodge ball game.
 
During a “Knight to Remember,” more than 250 alumni and parents gathered under a tent on the Rice campus to kick off Homecoming weekend and celebrate Rice's 100th birthday.
 
For the Cow Maneuver, alumni from all corners of the country purchased plots in the Return of the Great Cow Maneuver. Daisy the cow plopped in an unpurchased plot thereby awarding Rice the winnings.
 
A record number of runners and walkers participated in the fourth annual RJ Rice Run to conclude the Homecoming weekend festivities. Brian Mongeon '03 won the race.
 
Rice Memorial High School had its start with Cathedral High School in Burlington, which opened 100 years ago.
 
 

Rice Memorial High School celebrating centennial

Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington is celebrating its centennial.
 
Tracing its beginning back to Cathedral High School in Burlington in 1917, the largest of the two Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Burlington has earned a reputation as a “great school,” said Interim Principal Lisa Lorenz. “It is known for its Catholic identity, its community service and everlasting sense of family. The spirit and love of Rice is felt long after graduation and even decades later.”
 
Celebrating the milestone anniversary is important, Lorenz said, to commemorate the roots, mission, drive and purpose that brought the school into existence. “When we take the time to pause and deeply reflect upon the events that inspired the beginnings it is then we allow the Lord to work in us anew to continue His work in the world of today, being lead by the inspirations of the Holy Spirit,” she continued. “If we fail to pause and reflect on our past and future direction, we risk the danger of floundering about like a boat without a rudder.”
 
The 100th school year kicked off Aug. 29, an occasion marked with a special First Day of School Assembly and "Clap In” to which alumni and parents were invited.
 
Alumni from every decade since the 1940s were present to cheer on current students, hear from school leaders and blow out the candles on Rice-Cathedral's 100th birthday cake. 
 
The celebration continues on Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 6-8, with a full calendar of events designed to engage alumni, parents and students.
 
For more information on the events go to rmhsvt.org/riceturns100.
 
“Our Centennial year is book-ended by these events and those at the tail end of the year including an All School Reunion and Rice-Cathedral Alumni Association Golf Tournament the weekend of June 22-23, 2018,” noted Christy Warner Bahrenburg '88​, director of advancement and communication.
 
There are currently 431​ students enrolled at Rice, up 21 percent in six years. Students come from 53 towns and 12 countries.
 
The mission of Rice throughout the years has remained in essence the same: to love learning, to serve others and to seek God through Jesus Christ and His Church, Lorenz said.
 
Rice – named after third Burlington Bishop Joseph J. Rice – opened in 1959.
 
 
  • Published in Schools

Immaculate Conception Chapel

For Stephen E. Ticehurst, director of maintenance working in the Facilities and Insurance Department at the headquarters of the Diocese of Burlington in South Burlington, one of the happiest times of his life was transforming a room in the office building into a chapel. “I was just honored to be part of bringing a space to our employees where they could sit, reflect and be closer to God,” he said.
           
Employees had attended weekday Mass in a chapel at the former diocesan headquarters, The Bishop Brady Center on North Avenue in Burlington, before it was sold to Burlington College in 2010.
           
The Immaculate Conception Chapel at the current diocesan office building at 55 Joy Drive, is adorned with 11 windows: Two came from the St. Peter’s Chapel salvaged from the old Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception that burned; nine are from Holy Trinity Church in Danby.
           
“The larger windows are what is called museum-style glass, and the two smaller windows are traditional leaded stained glass,” Ticehurst explained.
           
The windows bear various symbols including the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a Christogram -- a symbol for Christ, consisting of the Greek letters chi (Χ) and rho (Ρ).
           
Ticehurst installed the windows between September and December 2014.
He restored broken glass and cleaned, repaired and repainted the frames. He built custom frames to fit the existing windows and custom milled and stained the woodwork to match the rest of the chapel.
           
“By installing the windows, there are no ‘outside’ distractions of the world,” Ticehurst said. “It brings you to a place of calm and peace, a chance to stop and be one with our Lord Jesus, to sit and reflect in a welcoming space.”
           
The windows make the room darker “so you naturally have a sense to whisper, to breath, to stop and take time to talk to God,” he continued. “As I built the chapel, it became more and more like a chapel: darker, more peaceful, less of an office space more like God’s space.”
           
Christina Holmes, accounts payables/accounts receivables manager for the Diocese of Burlington, tries to attend Mass in the chapel at less twice a week. “I think that it is wonderful to have Mass at the workplace because when I was growing up I never went to Mass during the week only if it was a holy day,” she said. “Also it is wonderful because if you need some quiet time to just go and pray during the day you can go in to the chapel anytime to do that.”
           
Confessions are heard in the chapel, and the diocese’s televised Mass is taped there.
           
Daily Mass is celebrated in the chapel on most workdays at noon, and the public is welcome to attend.
 
 
  • Published in Diocesan

Prayer bracelets for Vermont Air Guard

Holly Spear-Nichols began a project to enlist prayers for deployed members of the Vermont Air National guard, and the project has taken off beyond her expectations.
 
A member of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Winooski and Benedictine Oblate at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Monastery in Westfield, Spear-Nichols took seriously the request of her pastor, Msgr. Richard Lavalley, to pray for the service men and women who were deployed in December.
 
She and a friend went to Burlington International Airport in the wee hours of the morning Dec. 8 – the Feast of the Immaculate Conception -- and stood at a fence parallel to the runway and watched 15 F-16s take off into the night, deployed to the U.S. Central Command region, which covers North Africa and the Middle East to Southeast Asia. “To see that and to feel the vibration” of the engines made her “heart go out” to the Guard members and their families.
 
For days after, they were in the forefront of her mind. “They all needed to be blanketed in prayer,” she said.
 
And then came her inspiration: Have plastic bracelets made to remind people to pray for these people.
 
The green bracelets come in adult and children sizes and have these words in yellow: Please pray for the deployed 158th Fighting Wing, VTANG.”
 
Spear-Nichols thought she’d purchase 50 to 75 to distribute to “prayer warriors,” friends and family, but by mid January she had ordered 3,000. “It has taken off like fire,” she said of the project she is funding herself, but not releasing how much she has spent. “The way this took off, definitely the Holy Spirit is involved.”
 
On the first weekend of January she went to the Air National Guard headquarters in South Burlington to distribute bracelets, and she has fulfilled requests for them from St. Michael’s College in Colchester, Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington, the American Legion post in Colchester, a local surgeon’s office and numerous Catholic parishes.

Every member of Winooski’s St. Francis Xavier School community received a bracelet at a recent school assembly.
 
“This project is a perfect fit for our school,” explained Principal Eric Becker. “The chair of our school board, Brian Senecal, is a chief master sergeant in the Air Guard and is currently deployed. Brian and his comrades and all their families are in our prayers already. We were delighted to have a visual sign of those prayers to share with everyone.”
 
The distribution of the bracelets to all the students from pre-school through grade eight and their teachers followed a weekly school Mass during which the St. Francis Xavier pastor, Msgr. Richard Lavalley, prayed for the safe return of all the deployed Guard members.
 
Spear-Nichols is the daughter of the late Brigadier General Richard B. Spear who was a commander of the Vermont Air National Guard. “What better way to honor him than to pray for the Guard he loved,” she commented.
 
She grew up in Burlington, graduated from Rice in 1972 and earned an associate’s degree in medical/secretarial studies from Champlain College in Burlington then an associate’s in medical technology from the University of Vermont in Burlington. The retired mother of two and grandmother of two worked as a medical technologist.
 
Always deeply spiritual, Spear-Nichols grew up attending St. Joseph Parish in Burlington. “I’m always about trying to serve others in prayer,” she said. “That’s the focus of a contemplative way of life.”
 
Her prayers for the Vermont Air National Guard include Liturgy of the Hours prayers, the rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet and spontaneous prayer. “Anytime I see or feel my bracelet, I pray,” she said.
 
“Anytime you can mention how much God loves us and the power of prayer, it’s a way of building up the Kingdom of God and unites us as a family,” she said. “Prayer is very, very powerful.”
 
For more information, write to Holly Spear-Nichols at PO Box 9428, South Burlington, VT 05407-9428.
  • Published in Diocesan

Rice Memorial High School students step up to alleviate hunger, homelessness

SOUTH BURLINGTON--Students at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington are stepping up to alleviate hunger and homelessness.
 
As a part of the freshmen history curriculum, Sarah Smith Conroy, chairperson of and a teacher in the History Department, has integrated two required community service projects each year, and each year these students raise significant amounts of money for those in the community who are in need.
 
Freshmen walk to raise awareness and money around issues of hunger relief both globally and locally as they participate in the annual CROP Hunger Walk in October. Likewise, the entire freshmen class raises money and awareness around the issue of homelessness in Vermont by participating in the annual COTSWalk in May.
 
Conroy’s relationship with COTS began as early as 1985 and has evolved into a strong bond over the past 30 years. “Every student that I have taught, whether at Champlain College [in Burlington] or Rice Memorial High School, has been required to participate at the COTS Walk in some capacity as a part of my curriculum,” she said.
 
This is her 17th year at Rice where all freshmen must earn eight hours of service by doing both walks, sophomores earn 20 hours, juniors earn 25 hours and seniors must log 30 hours of service.
 
As a result, many upper class students also join the freshmen for the fall and spring events. “The result has been overwhelmingly positive; the community of Rice annually represents the largest single group at each of these walks and has been annually presented with awards and personal thanks from each agency,” Conroy said, noting that for the past nine consecutive years, the students at Rice have raised more money for the Crop Walk than any other high school in the continental United States and more than any other school in Vermont for the COTS Walk.
 
“Students get involved initially because they are required to as a Rice freshmen. This is the right thing to do and a young adult often needs to be introduced to the world of service and shown that they can make a difference in the lives of others,” Conroy said.
 
Some students stay involved with COTS by walking, others help with organizing future walks, and others serve as crossing guards during the walk itself. Once students are 18, many volunteer at COTS helping with any important steps that people take to get out of the cycle of homelessness. 
 
“This organization is important because it serves the many levels of homelessness, whether it is shelter, job training, interview skills or supplies for children learning to make their way. Working with COTS provides students with perspective and with a real sense of their ability to care for others,” Conroy said. “My efforts are to help those in our community who are less fortunate and to put a human, real face to these realities. Every person has a story and there are many lessons to be learned in listening to, helping with and supporting the lives of others.”
 
Rice senior Olivia Parker has participated in the walk and donated money to the effort. “Activism on the local level is vital because it promotes awareness about problems that are happening in our own community and how we can make a difference,” she said. “In terms of COTS, many people living in Vermont are unaware of the homelessness problem and its extent, and COTS fosters both awareness and activism.”
 
Her involvement humbles her. “Through participating and/or donating, I feel initially proud that I can do something to help, and it gives me another perspective on how fortunate I am,” she said. “Taking time to be aware of those around you and giving what you are able is a vital practice for all people to learn.”
 
 
  • Published in Schools

Rice Memorial High School students provide families with Thanksgiving baskets

SOUTH BURLINGTON—Students and members of the Rice Memorial High School community helped 21 families have a happier Thanksgiving this year by providing them with baskets of food for a Thanksgiving meal.
 
They also engaged in a bit of competition with first place basket awarded to religion teacher Patrick Welsch’s class for a Snoopy "basket,” and second place going to History teacher Christian Frenette's class. Third place went to religion teacher Marti Burt's class.
 
Every first-period class was responsible for putting together the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal. Students are encouraged to be creative in their presentation and often go above and beyond what is asked.  
 
  • Published in Schools
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