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Christ the King School Cabaret and Auction

The 25th annual Christ the King School Cabaret and Auction will take place April 6 and 7 at 6 p.m. at the school in Burlington. 
 
In 1993 Aida Cadrecha began Dinner Theater as an opportunity to celebrate students’ talents and raise money for the school. Each year it got bigger and bigger, and Dinner Theater officially became Cabaret when the popularity of the event and demand for tickets no longer allowed for any space for a sit down meal. 
 
Twenty-five years later, Cadrecha is still the “Queen of Cabaret,” despite having officially retired as Christ the King librarian last year.
 
“Cabaret is one of those wonderful community events that has an almost magical quality to it,” said Principal Angela Pohlen. “It’s a tradition that every family who has gone through the school in the last 25 years can share, and it bonds us. Everyone has a favorite memory of Cabaret, and it has withstood the test of time because of its value to the community.”
 
This year more than 1,000 parents, family members and friends are expected to attend the two-night event with entertainment provided by pre-school through eighth-grade students. The theme will be “Motown” and each class has a chance to present a choreographed dance and show off their talent. Individual students also have a chance to step into the limelight and share their talents. 
 
Cabaret is an opportunity for students to share something they work on outside of school, such as gymnastics, violin, piano or singing.   
 
Last year’s cabaret and auction raised more than $30,000 to support the students, programs and mission of the Catholic school.
 
The auction of fun, useful and creative items advances the mission of the school as proceeds from the donated prizes will directly benefit the children at Christ the King School. Past proceeds have funded such things as improvements to the technology lab and makerspace and new books for the library.
 
All donations will be exhibited on the nights of the auction, and all donors will be listed in the program for both nights. 
 
Any donations can be sent to: Christ the King School, 136 Locust Street, Burlington, VT 05401. For donations to be picked up, contact Jon Hughes, advancement director, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 802-862-6696.
 
Tickets for the cabaret and auction will go on sale through the school’s front office in March.
 
Call the office at 862-6696 for more information or visit www.cksvt.org
 
 
 
 

Catholic Schools Week Mass

More than 500 members of Catholic school communities in Vermont attended a special Catholic Schools Week Mass Jan. 31 at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington.
 
They came in school uniforms by bus or car or walked to the special celebration at which students served as altar servers, readers and gift bearers. Some students carried their school banner in the entrance procession; others brought baskets or boxes of donations for charities in their school’s area to the front of the church during the offertory. 
 
Students from Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington made up the choir, accompanied by Rice teacher Brian Lynam with cantor Ashlee O'Brien from the University of Vermont Catholic Center.
 
The theme of the Mass and of Catholic Schools Week was "Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed." The focus was on the important spiritual, academic and societal contributions provided by a Catholic education.
 
In his homily, Msgr. John McDermott, vicar general for the Diocese, spoke about the importance of choices and encouraged the students to make choices for God, for life and for eternal life.
 
“What we are trying to teach you” in Catholic schools “is God loves you, called you, redeemed you and calls you to Himself,” said Msgr. McDermott, pastor of Christ the King St. Anthony Parish in Burlington that includes Christ the King School.
 
Catholic schools help students make important life choices about vocations and avocations, but most importantly help them make choices that will help them become saints. “It’s easier to make choices that lead us further from God,” he said, “but we weren’t made to live an easy life. We were meant to live an eternal life with God in Heaven.”
 
About a dozen members of the clergy participated in the Mass.
 
During her remarks, Lisa Lorenz, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Burlington, said the “beauty of Catholic schools” is that they are witnesses of hope as students there grow in grace and the love of the Lord.
 
Each school represented at the Mass collected donations for charitable organizations in their area including Vermont Catholic Charities Inc., Central Vermont Humane Society, Lamoille County Food Share, Joseph’s House and Chittenden County Food Shelf.
 
Many of the students who attended the Mass appreciated being a part of the celebration with other Catholic school students. “It was cool to see all the schools in Vermont,” said Henry Sipples, an eighth grader at Good Shepard Catholic School in St. Johnsbury, admitting the attendance was more than he expected.
 
“It’s good to come together to celebrate our schools,” added classmate Madison Wilson.
 
PJ Letourneau and Alexis Limlaw-Sicard, eighth graders at St. Paul School in Barton, liked the music, and classmate Marina Rockwell — though she likes her small town — enjoyed visiting the City of Burlington.
 
But more importantly, she said, she appreciated the feeling of the Church as universal. “Being in Barton, you don’t see other Catholic schools [because St. Paul’s is the only one in the nearby area] so you feel kind of like isolated,” she said. “Coming here with all the other kids who do the things you do [in Catholic school] makes you feel like you’re a big family.”
 

 
 
 

CRS presentation at Rice Memorial High School

Jacques Kabore, partnership and capacity building coordinator for Catholic Relief Services Burkina Faso, gave students at Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington an idea of what life is like in his homeland:
 
+ Seventy-six percent of households have no food stock on hand.
+ Most people have limited access to safe drinking water, health facilities, schools and sanitation.
+ Only half of households have toilets.
+ Inconsistent and insufficient rains cause crop failures.
+ Women’s literacy is 11 percent in rural areas; 23 percent nationally.
+ 80 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture and livestock production.
 
“You are in a privileged way, a privileged life,” he told the Catholic high school students Jan. 26. “The world is not everywhere like this” in Vermont.
 
Rice is one of 11 CRS global high schools, part of a program that provides opportunities for Catholic secondary schools to join with CRS to educate about Catholic social teaching and advocate for solidarity with the global poor.
 
Kabore shared with the students what life is like in Burkina Faso, one of the four poorest countries in the world. He said people there work hard, yet 46 percent live on less than $1 a day; many carry water for household use from rivers.
 
CRS is working to help residents of Burkina Faso, and since 1960, 500,000 people have been served in areas like agriculture; water, sanitation and hygiene; nutrition and governance. “Your support [of CRS] is doing something fabulous in the world,” Kabore said, adding that CRS also helps with emergency responses like helping 58,000 refugees from Mali get food and water.
 
“Jesus tells us to feed and care for our brothers and sisters,” he said, and CRS is a way for “the hand of God from here [to reach] to overseas.”
 
After the school-wide assembly, students were given the well known cardboard CRS Rice Bowls and asked to make sacrifices of food and specialty drinks during Lent and to contribute the savings to the CRS signature project to help people in need throughout the world.

Kabore spoke at four locations in Vermont as part of the CRS Lenten Speakers Tour, including parishes in Manchester and Bennington and schools in Bennington and South Burlington.
 
Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. It is motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ to cherish, preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, foster charity and justice and embody Catholic social and moral teaching while promoting human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty and nurturing peaceful and just societies; and by serving Catholics in the United States as they live their faith in solidarity with their brothers and sisters throughout the world.
 
For more information, visit crs.org.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Catholic Schools Week 2018

Catholic Schools Week 2018 will be celebrated Jan. 28 to Feb. 3 and will focus on the theme “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.”
 
Sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association, Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. Schools typically observe the week with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to the Church, local communities and the nation.
 
“Catholic Schools Week is a time to truly celebrate what makes us unique,” said Carrie Wilson, head of School at The Bishop John A. Marshall School in Morrisville. “There is so much joy in our schools, and we take the time during Catholic Schools Week to share that joy with each other and with the community. We are the best-kept secret in education, and we deliberately take time that week to shout it from the rooftops!”
 
Catholic schools in Vermont will celebrate Catholic Schools Week with prayer, service projects, outdoor fun, family activities, art exhibits, sports events, volunteer appreciation and dress-down days.
 
A special event for all schools will be a Mass celebrated by Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral with students from Catholic schools throughout the Diocese who will participate in different roles in the Mass including serving and singing.
 
Students from both Christ the King School and Mount St. Joseph Academy in Rutland will travel to the Mass to celebrate with other Vermont Catholic school students. “The two schools will also have a Mass at Christ the King Church celebrating the rich history of Catholic schools in Rutland and all that it means to be a Catholic community,” said Sarah Fortier, principal of both schools.
 
Other Catholic Schools Weeks activities include letter writing to seminarians, recitation of the rosary, luncheons and open houses.
 
 

School Christmas activity

The boxes of donated items to four different charities during Advent are a testament to the generosity of the families at St. Paul School in Barton.
 
With only about 50 families, the school sends boxes of gifts to active soldiers, pet items to the local animal shelter, toys to the Toys for Tots program and food to the local food pantry.
 
“This is little Barton, and our families sacrifice to [send their children] here already. They are so thankful and somehow able to still be generous,” said Principal Joanne Beloin.
 
There are 68 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, and 30 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced lunches.
 
“A lot has been done for us at St. Paul’s or we wouldn’t still be here,” she said. “It’s the right thing to do to pass on that generosity and help others.”
 
The school community sends two boxes of toiletries, games, candy, writing material, socks and homemade cards to soldiers during Advent and another for Valentine’s Day.
 
“Our school as a whole really supports our vets,” Beloin said, and that support reaches to today’s soldiers.
 
“They support our country, and we want to honor them and support what they are doing for us,” said Jennifer Wilson, the third- and fourth-grade teacher as her students worked on a poppy-themed art project to send to veterans.
 
“It’s nice to do this. They are rising their lives for us,” Micha Sicard, 9, a third grader said of the boxes sent to soldiers.
 
Classmate Akira Conley, 8, said she likes collecting for the animal shelter because “God doesn’t want to see the animals starve because they’re His creation.”
 
Mara Royer, 13, an eighth grader, usually contributes to the Toys for Tots collection because she likes to help ensure a child’s happiness on Christmas morning. “You want to welcome Christ by being full of cheer, and you want everyone to be as happy as possible.”
 
Riley Perry, 13, also an eighth grader, said her family and school community model generosity for her: “It’s important to be generous because you can share happiness.”
 
“Giving is just as good as receiving,” Mara added. “It makes you happy deep down inside.”

--Originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
 
 

St. Monica-St. Michael School Christmas Craft Fair

The giving for this Christmas project began with people who like to make gifts, and it will continue into the new year helping people in need.
 
Teachers and parents from St. Monica-St. Michael School and parishioners of St. Monica Church in Barre contributed box loads of homemade items for the school’s annual Christmas Craft Fair Dec. 18 and 19.
 
This was a fair for the schoolchildren, a place they could buy gifts for family members without family members knowing.
 
All gifts were $1, and children could bring in $5 to buy five gifts, though children from larger families could purchase enough gifts, and any child whose family could not afford $5 could still shop like everyone else.
 
A Christmas tree was decorated with ornaments for sale, and other gifts were displayed on tables throughout the conference room. There were barrettes and bookmarks, hats, mittens, scarves, spices, tea, homemade soap, candies, plastic spoon lily votive lights, magnets and key chains among the choices for everyone on the children’s list from siblings to grandparents.
 
And once the children had selected their items, parent volunteers wrapped the gifts to ensure they would be a surprise.
 
“The children love this because they like to be able to shop without us with them,” said Melissa Cadorette, a parent volunteer.
 
“They’re really proud they’re getting these gifts and so happy,” added another parent volunteer, Krissy Lyon.
 
Ziva Covey, 6, a first grader, was buying for her brother, father, two grandmothers and grandfather, her shopping list tucked under her arm. She got a gift elsewhere for her mother. “I like shopping here,” Ziva said. “There’s so much awesome things.”
 
And while they are having fun shopping, the children are learning the importance of giving to others, said parent volunteer Shauna Wolf.
 
The gifts they give really are gifts that keep giving: Proceeds from the Christmas Craft Fair are donated to the St. Monica Food Pantry and the St. Augustine Soup Kitchen in nearby Montpelier.
 
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn to think of others as well and for the volunteers and crafters to be able to give of their talents and skills,” said Principal Brenda Buzzell. “Then the churches will benefit from the donations to help people in need.”
 
 
 
 

Brattleboro Catholic school principal appointed to state council

The principal of St. Michael School and St. Michael High School in Brattleboro has been appointed to serve as an approved independent school representative on the state’s Council of Independent Schools.
 
Elaine Beam, in her ninth year at the helm of the Catholic school, was appointed in November, beginning her service immediately.
 
The appointment is for two years.
 
“I am honored to be asked to join other independent school leaders in representing our schools and hope that I can bring awareness to [the] issues of inequity, especially for our Catholic schools,” she said.
 
The council plays an important role in keeping both recognized and approved schools apprised of changes taking place in State Board of Education rules and regulations. 
 
Asked about concerns facing independent schools like St. Michael’s, Beam said, “The issue that is of most concern is Vermont's Tuition Voucher System. Many smaller Vermont towns do not operate a local middle or high school and some do not have an elementary school.”
 
Thus, families in these towns are eligible to choose from among public or non-religious independent schools in other towns, even outside of the state or nation.  “My biggest concern as a principal of a Catholic school is that these families are not allowed to choose any of our Catholic schools throughout the state or any of the religious-based schools throughout the state,” she said. “Is that really school choice?”
 
Some families do have a choice, “as long as their choice fits the state statutes,” she continued. “All families should have access to the education that they choose for their children, especially if the independent schools they are choosing meet the accreditation standards that the state has chosen.”
 
Beam also expressed concern about Act 77, a dual enrollment statute amendment, which provides financial support for high school students to take college-level courses from college instructors and receive credit toward both high school and college graduation. “The legislation specifically excluded from dual enrollment financial support those Vermont residents attending independent schools on a private-pay basis, which because of the exclusion mentioned above, denies any financial support to Catholic students [for] access to these college level courses,” she said.
 
As she enters the discussions on a state level, Beam said she would bring to the table her background as a public school principal and as the principal of an independent and Catholic school. This, she said, gives her “perspective from both sides.”
 
Beam serves on the Executive Council of The New England Association of Schools and Colleges and works with that agency helping schools become accredited or maintain accreditation. 
 
She earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from the Adult Degree Program at Norwich University then earned a master's in School Administration from Castleton State College.
 
She began teaching at a small, first-through-fourth-grade public school in Acworth, New Hampshire. There was no principal on site so she was asked to be the lead teacher; she worked there for a total of six years. 
 
She was a teaching principal at The Grafton Elementary School in Grafton and became the full-time principal as the school grew and merged with the Athens Elementary School; she worked in Grafton for 11 years. 
 
During her tenure at St. Michael’s, high school grades have been added.
 

The Edmundite Show

Father Lino Oropeza is a fan of technology. He worked in information technology in his native Venezuela before becoming a priest of the Society of St. Edmund, based at St. Michael’s College in Colchester, so it seems natural that he would come up with an idea to combine technology and education about the Catholic faith. “People are not coming to church, so this was an idea to bring the church to them,” he said. “The charism of the Society of St. Edmund is to evangelize people. Everything we do is geared toward that. This is one piece of that.”
 
“This” is The Edmundite Show, a weekly half-hour program on YouTube presented by Father Oropeza and fellow Edmundite, Father Michael Carter.
 
The show, produced in Father Oropeza’s office in Alliot Hall, is not scripted; the order’s two youngest priests just let the conversation develop.
 
Father Oropeza, 36, and Father Carter, 27, presented the first Edmundite Show for All Saints Day in November. Since then, topics have focused on vocations, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, St. Edmund, Thanksgiving and the Solemnity of Christ the King, Advent and the Immaculate Conception.
 
Because he already had the computer he uses for the show, all Father Oropeza needed were two microphones and a soundboard. His religious order invested less than $200 for the equipment.
 
Technology is his hobby, so the Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts international coordinator at St. Michael’s likes to keep up with the latest developments. YouTubers and their programming made him think of a program about the Catholic faith, so he asked Father Carter to work with him on the project and “talk about Church stuff.”
 
Through The Edmundite Show, they hope to educate about the faith, promote vocations and help viewers get to know the Society of St. Edmund, the 175-year-old religious order founded in France that began St. Michael’s College.
 
The program streams live at 4 p.m. on Wednesdays on the Society of St. Edmund’s YouTube channel. While it is live streaming, there is a chat feature so the priests can accept comments and questions; Father Oropeza monitors the chat on a computer during the recording of the program.
 
“It’s not a fully polished product yet,” Father Carter said of the show Dec. 6.
 
Though the show is not directed to any one demographic, Father Oropeza said students at the college are curious about religion and God, and when they have the opportunity to talk to him, they ask deep questions; “but at the same time, they are not coming to the sacraments.”
 
The idea of The Edmundite Show, then, is to catechize, which they do in a light-hearted way. “In a way, that’s the nature of the medium,” said the bearded Father Carter, an avid Facebook user. “We want to present energy that is fun and sometimes silly — that’s more me than Lino” who is clean-shaven.
 
Father Carter began one show wearing a light-up turkey headband.
 
Humor is a tool he uses when he teaches religion at the college or preaches at the three churches of the Essex Catholic Community that he serves as parochial vicar. “When you use the element of humor, it brings people’s guard down and you can segue into something more serious.”
 
The priests, both graduates of St. Michael’s College, seek to bring the depth of their beliefs out in a way that is understandable and appealing.
 
Father Oropeza had hoped for five viewers for the first show, so he was surprised to have 30. But that number has grown as high as 1,034 with people watching not only in the United States but in such other countries as Venezuela, Bolivia, Mexico, Spain and Sweden.
 
Father Carter, a graduate of Burlington High School, participated in that school’s theater program because he considers himself a shy person and thought it would help him with public speaking, which it did.
 
“I’m definitely not shy,” Father Oropeza interjected. “I’m introverted — though some people would not believe that of me. I have no fear standing in front of people and talking to people. But at the end of the day I need time to be by myself and regroup.”
 
Shy or not, it’s evident both priests enjoy The Edmundite Show.
 
Father Oropeza hopes more people will subscribe to the show (at 36 at the time of this report) and that there will be more interaction with viewers during live streaming. He’s also considering adding another live stream on a different day of the week to interview various guests.
 
The fruit of their efforts, Father Carter said, will be facilitating even one person having a more open perspective about the Catholic Church, the priesthood or vocations. “I’d be pleased with that … or to make one person more curious about the Church than they were before.”
 
Father Oropeza said he knows of one man who binge-watched The Edmundite Show and liked it because he learned about the Catholic faith.
 
“Now we need [the Edmundite Show] community to grow,” he said.
 
Watch the show and subscribe for free.
 
 
 

Thanksgiving baskets

The annual Thanksgiving basket partnership between Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington and Vermont Catholic Charities Inc. took place Nov. 16. 
 
The students, teachers, staff and Rice community put together baskets of food and decorations for a full Thanksgiving feast for needy families from the Chittenden County area.  From turkeys and stuffing to pies and candles, goodies were placed with care in baskets and boxes. 
 
Twenty-one families (46 adults and 59 children) will enjoy a full Thanksgiving dinner thanks to this project.
 
“Thank you so much for the Thanksgiving basket. Without your generosity, we would not have a Thanksgiving this year. We all appreciate it more than you know,” said one recipient.
 
“Thank you so much for your help this year in helping my children have a great Thanksgiving. It is people like you that help us all grow.  Thank you!” said another.
 
Members of the Vermont Catholic Charities and Diocese of Burlington staff judged the baskets. The judges were inspired and impressed with the creative and overflowing baskets.  
 
The students who worked on the winning basket earned a dress-down day. There was a tie this year so the dress down day was awarded to the students from Gretchen Fricke-Langan’s and Sarah Smith Conroy’s classes.  
 
“As emergency aid coordinator at Vermont Catholic Charities, I feel blessed and thankful this Thanksgiving for the support of our extended community at VCC and Rice,” said Irene Manion, emergency aid coordinator at Vermont Catholic Charities. “It is so gratifying to see the generosity and spirit of the entire Rice community come together from the students, staff, parents — the abundant food donations, the beautifully decorated baskets and the spirit of sharing and helping our neighbors in need. The families we assisted could not have been more excited and appreciative, some were overwhelmed with the generosity, some almost tearful for the kindness. It truly makes me thankful to see how VCC and Rice working together can bring holiday joy to our friends and neighbors.”
 

'It’s what you do with what happens to you'

Chris Waddell brought a simple message to students at Mater Christi School in Burlington: “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.”
 
Speaking from his wheelchair on the stage in the school gymnasium Sept. 13, one of the most decorated male mono skiers in Paralympic history told students in second through eighth grade that while no one is free of struggle, everyone has the opportunity to choose how they react to their challenges.
 
He said people can see themselves as victims or survivors, as overwhelmed or challenged, as alone or part of a team, as having only one strategy or as having many; the latter in each pair is what fosters resiliency, he said.
 
“Not being able to walk is the worst thing I could imagine,” said the Utah resident who is a graduate of Middlebury College.
 
In 1988 a skiing accident in Massachusetts brought his worst nightmare to reality; his ski popped off in the middle of a turn. He fell, broke two vertebrae and damaged his spinal cord.
 
Paralyzed from the waist down, he learned and achieved more than he could have imagined.
 
“This is the most powerful I’ve been in my life,” Waddell said, noting that he had to let go of “some of the things that tripped me up every day” like frustration and worry that could have prevented him from accomplishing his revamped goals.
 
He returned to college just two months after the accident, began mono skiing in less than a year and was named to the U.S. Disabled Ski Team a little more than two years later. With 13 Paralympic medals, he became the most decorated male mono skier in history.
 
“If I had never had my accident, I’d never have been the best in the world at something,” he told the Mater Christi students during his One Revolution Foundation’s Nametags Educational Program.
 
The program has been presented to more than 150,000 students in more than 550 schools throughout the United States and in Russia. Nametags does not focus on disability but rather the universal experience of challenge and the power of resilience.
 
Created by Waddell and resilience educator Donna M. Volpitta, the program centers on the message, “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you” and people’s collective responsibility to create communities that allow people to thrive. It focuses on helping students learn that they have the power to make choices about how they are perceived -- the “nametags” they wear. In the face of adversity, they can choose resilience.
 
Friends have told Waddell they could never have done what he has done, overcoming the loss of his ability to walk and turning it into triumphs elsewhere.
 
“Inspiration comes when we hear the truth…that we all need to hear,” said Timothy E. Loescher, president/head of school at Mater Christi who introduced Waddell to the assembly. (They were friends at Middlebury College.)
 
He thanked Waddell for “helping us develop into the people we are called to be.”
 
Also a track athlete, Waddell is one of a handful to have won World Championships in both winter and summer. He competed in four Winter Paralympics, winning 13 medals and three Summer Paralympics, winning a silver medal in the 200 meters. In World Championship competition, he won a total of nine medals.
 
He was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and the Paralympics Hall of Fame. Skiing magazine placed him among the “25 Greatest Skiers in North America.”
 
In 2009 Waddell became the first nearly unassisted paraplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, using a specially made pedal-powered, four-wheel vehicle.
 
Patrick Walsh, 12, an eighth grader from St. Catherine of Siena Church in Shelburne, was impressed with Waddell’s tenacity and positive attitude.
 
For him, Waddell’s message mirrored the message of faith. “If you have a connection with God, you can get through anything. You can pray and feel better.”
 
Classmate Myla Altadonna, 13, said the message she would take from the presentation is “not to let anything get in your way.”
 
“Even when you have an obstacle, you can go on and do great things,” she added.
 
 
 
 



 
 
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