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Middle School Students Embark on Peru Trip
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Fifteen Middle School students along with Ms. Garcia and Ms. Fernandez, left on Wednesday for a two week trip to Peru.  There they will share meals with local families, engage in service-learning, and engage with the community in a number of different ways.  Follow their journey through this Peru Blog!  We wish them well.

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Hannah Schuett Named 2019 KidSpirit Award Winner
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Hannah Schuett, 9th grade, was recently named a 2019 KidSpirit Award winner. KidSpirit is a nonprofit online magazine and community by and for youth to engage each other about life’s big questions in an open and inclusive spirit. Its mission is to promote mutual understanding among 11- to 17-year-olds of diverse backgrounds and support their development into world citizens with strong inner grounding.

Hannah’s article, “The Tree of Change” won in the Interfaith Connections department.  Hannah and her family attended the awards ceremony on Monday, November 4 at Capitale in New York City.  Hannah was also able to attend KidSpirit’s first annual Global Summit for more than 30 editors and award winners.  There she had the opportunity to connect with other award winners and guest speakers.  They discussed "big questions" generated by each of them, led by a Ph.D. neuroscientist from England who studies consciousness.  

During the gala, she had the opportunity to meet business leaders and educators, including the founder of the Tribeca film festival, a theater critic, Broadway actor currently starring in "To Kill a Mockingbird", and a human rights activist working with women in Afghanistan.  These leaders were very engaged in learning about what the kids thought, and what their dreams were and discussed important topics with each other and adult guest speakers.

Congratulations, Hannah!  Your efforts are in perfect alignment with the vision of St. Mary’s Academy to help students become global citizens who work for justice and act in peace.

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Iswari Natarajan Interviewed by Hill.TV as Part of Powered by STEM Series
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High School principal Iswari Natarajan was recently interviewed by Hill.TV as part of their series, “Powered by STEM”.  The series focuses on players in the world of science, technology, and education and their ideas about how to get more women interested and integrated into STEM fields.

Iswari noted that the gift of education created her own love for STEM.  In turn, she focuses her teaching efforts beyond the subject content stating that it is not about the actual test scores but about having fun and making connections. She makes sure students know that it is okay when things are challenging stating, “it is okay to be perfectly imperfect”.  Iswari stresses the importance of giving students permission to fail and teaching them that when they encounter discomfort that is where the learning happens!  

In this interview, Iswari explains that there is so much pressure on students to perform at a high level but SMA pivots to teach them grit and tenacity which is so much more valuable than aptitude and talent.

The new High School internship program for 11th-grade students, launched in spring, 2019, allows SMA students to expand their learning outside the classroom.  It expands their view of STEM and other fields and sparks interest in future careers. One SMA graduate who recently graduated from college and is now working in a STEM field stated, “I am ready to change the world in a hard hat and heels!” This is a shining example of the St. Mary’s Academy’s vision of “Inspiring leaders to act with integrity, seek justice, build community, and change the world”.

To view the full interview, click HERE.

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8th-Grade Service Learning
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Last week, 8th-grade students visited two different nonprofit organizations for service learning opportunities. Sun Valley Kitchen provides its local community with healthy food, a no-cost grocery program, and additional programming and employment opportunities for the community's youth. SAME Cafe (So All May Eat) is a donation-based restaurant that serves the community through empowerment and engagement. The restaurant accepts volunteering as a form of payment and does not set a cost on what the healthy food they provide is worth. In addition to volunteering, students had a discussion in their CAT about their shared experience, what they saw and did, and how they felt about it.

 

SMA's Vision: Inspiring leaders to act with integrity, seek justice, build community, and change the world.

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Lower School Art Teacher Kelly Mansfield Receives 2019 CAEA Private School Art Educator of the Year Award
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Each year, the Colorado Art Education Association chooses a highly qualified individual whose dedication to excellence and advocacy in the field of art education deserves recognition and serves as a model to which all art educators may aspire. This year, they selected Kelly Mansfield, SMA Lower School Art teacher, as their 2019 Private School Art Educator of the Year!

Described by colleagues as dynamic, thoughtful and passionate, Kelly Mansfield is deeply committed in her approach to teaching art at Saint Mary’s Academy.  Committed to ensuring that her students receive nothing but the best, the depth and breadth of her knowledge is unmatched and has brought a new dimension to the Lower School Visual Arts curriculum.

Missy McConnell reflects upon collaborating with Kelly,  “As a new teacher, it has been wonderful to collaborate with Kelly to develop and launch a new, innovative program at our school. Students work together to practice the Design Thinking Process, using empathy at its core, to solve problems and practice refining with feedback. With Kelly's expertise and experience, the program has developed into a construction project to build a full Inspiration Lab in support of STEAM in our school community. Kelly exemplifies the kind of exciting collaboration that turns into real action with her passion, motivation and her purpose to encourage students to experience the creative process to be exceptional artists, students, leaders, and change agents.”

Kelly commits herself to art education through her participation in professional associations, both at the state and national levels. A leader in the field of art education, Kelly shared her talents as a CAEA Representative Council, serving as the Metro Area Representative and as Executive Council Secretary. Kelly has also shared her expertise by presenting multiple workshops at the CAEA Fall Conference and also at the National Art Education Association’s Conference. In addition, Kelly has written numerous publications for CAEA’s monthly journal, Collage and has been featured in Crave and Bravo magazines. Kelly also supports the Colorado Scholastic Art Awards program as a consultant and presenter, as well as young people in making art throughout the summer at the Camp of the Creative Arts, which she helped to found. The Camp incorporates movement, singing, Spanish and the visual arts.

Kelly’s participation in ArtSource Colorado’s Summer Institute 2001 proved to be life-changing.  Having been so inspired, Kelly immediately jumped into various leadership positions within the organization in order to help to provide meaningful art and leadership opportunities to art educators throughout the state.  Since that time, Kelly has risen to the challenging roles of serving on the Content and Organization Team as well as the organization’s Advisory Council coordinating logistics.  Currently, Kelly continues her support and belief in ArtSource by serving on the Board of Directors.

Kelly is also a terrific and thought-provoking artist in her own right and has been actively engaged in showcasing her artwork since 1999. Kelly joined the Next Gallery in Denver in 2013. Throughout her time with Next, she has held the leadership roles of Treasurer and Co-Director and was an integral part of the recent relocation of the gallery to the current location in Lakewood. 

Justine Sawyer, Vice President of CAEA, concludes, “Kelly’s engagement, knowledge, experience, and calming demeanor make her a role model for her students at St. Mary’s Academy, in addition to the countless art educators she has worked with from across the state of Colorado. She is truly an educator to be celebrated!

The awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 9 in Breckenridge, CO. Congratulations Kelly Mansfield!  We are so proud of you! 

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