Fall greetings from all of us at St. Anthony’s!
I apologize once again for my delay in writing. Our monthly newsletter is always a priority, however, time constraints and the daily demands of keeping our “heads above water” sometimes restrict what can be achieved. Happily, we manage, but we surely do miss the presence of Priscilla in the office! I am delighted to report that she is successfully recovering from her surgery, is at home once again and is gradually becoming more mobile. She will continue in her retirement. How can we ever replace the irreplaceable?
So it is “all hands to the administrative wheel” while the academic life of the School joyfully continues unabated. The “Title 1” program which provides additional coaching to students is about to start. I am proud to report that the number of students in need of this assistance diminishes each year thanks to the excellent leadership of Ms. Angel. I notice too that fewer students need to take part in after-hours tutorials with the faculty. All of this is an encouraging indicator of the students’ daily progress.
School was interrupted a bit recently with the excitement of the Zuni Fair. This was the first time in several years that the Fair could take place. (I wonder how many carnivals have managed to survive the Covid lockdowns.) We have sorely missed the presence of this entertaining Fair with its music and lights and exhibits. (Although on the flip side, several parents whispered to me that the absence of the Fair saved them a lot of money!)
Nevertheless, the streets were mobbed for the parade which was wonderful to behold. Decorated floats, traditional dancers, music and flag bearers all added to the fun. Handfuls of candy were tossed to the crowds as the young and not so young scrambled to catch the “sweeties”. I even managed to get a few myself and of course shared them with the little ones who were not quite as quick on the uptake! I felt a certain sense of pride as I watched the parade. It was led by five military flag bearers, three of whom were veterans and graduates of St. Anthony’s. They marched with precision and great dignity.
My “wee brain” was captivated as I watched the floats filled with people pass by. In almost every float, I could spot graduates from our School. At the center of the display from Zuni Cyber Academy was Eamerie, one of the centenary class graduates of 2023. He tossed such an exceptionally large bundle of candy straight at me that I had to duck! I was left with an overwhelming feeling that everything we do here at the School is eminently worthwhile as we witness these young men and women take a prominent part within the community, build their own lives and contribute to those around them.
Some of our parishioners managed a stall at the Fair, selling food to passersby. Despite the heat of the day, everyone enjoyed themselves and we even made some money for the Mission. Our students were still talking about the fun they had throughout the following week. I am doubly pleased to report that the school bus service is in full swing, now up and running on schedule. It really is a key component to the efficient operation of St. Anthony’s. The driver tells me that the morning run is easy: the passengers come on board and fall asleep. The evening run is much more lively. Kids will be kids after all! The laughter as they board the bus in the evening tells its own tale of an enjoyable day at school.
Another return to “normalcy” which has caused a stir among the students is cross country racing. This year our runners were back in force. Ms. DeeAnn and Mr. Matthew, together with Mr. Leo (DeeAnn’s son who is substituting in the gym because of Mr. Jonathan’s illness) have been doing an excellent job of coaching the students. I watched in awe as the students exercised and ran around the school campus during training. (The students seem to love responding to Matt’s military-style commands.) Where on earth do they get the energy after a hard day in the classroom?
Our runners have been performing quite well in the actual cross-country meets, competing against several other schools in the area. The Zuni courses cover very rough ground, but thankfully there have been no mishaps in the races. I watched as parents picked up students after the races and saw many very tired young people head home for a good night’s sleep. This is well deserved since they truly put their heart and soul into both training and competition.
Our faculty also had its share of excitement as we hosted the first post-pandemic Mega School Bingo. The whole Zuni community has missed our Mega Bingo and turned out in good numbers. (We also missed the income for the School!) There is a lot of work required in operating the Bingo and the kitchen, but it was all very well handled by our faculty. I was relieved when I did not need to call out the numbers for the games. During less “high stakes” bingo, I sometimes call the numbers using British quips such as two little ducks, quack quack (22) etc. However, for money prizes, it is a serious no-nonsense event!
Routine or otherwise, each day brings its own excitement and laughter amid the sense of wonder at each student’s growth and development. The Zuni Fair gave us a glimpse into how much has been achieved and how much more we could do. Thank you for making it all so wonderfully possible.