Second-graders recently presented their summer reading projects in class. The students dressed up as a favorite character from their selected summer book. Way to go reading champs.
Science middle school teacher Dianne Alexis was recently named St. Mary Outstanding Teacher of the Year for 2018-2019.
Each year, every school in the Diocese of Orlando names an outstanding teacher of the year. Those winners are honored before the school year begins at a special kick-off event, which this year was held at Holy Family Catholic School in Orlando on Aug. 6.
“Mrs. Alexis was chosen for her dedication to our science students and her passion for science research,” said Principal Sandra Basinger.
Alexis joined St. Mary in 2015 and immediately began helping students conduct science research. She has helped several middle schoolers prepare for the county science fair. Several of her students have placed at the county level and gone on to compete at the state level. Alexis also brought the hydroponic garden at the school to life and leads St. Mary’s Science Night held each year in December.
Alexis has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania and a secondary teaching certificate and master’s degree in educational administration from California State University at Sacramento. She has passing on her love of science to children for more than 13 years.
Recently our school psychologist Dr. Elisa Yoho was featured in “Space Coast Living” magazine.
“School of Psychology & Educational Services | Dr. Elisa Ulibarri Yoho
You may be wondering why your child is having a hard time in school or maybe you suspect that your child has ADHD. A doctor or a teacher may have suggested that you get a psychoeducational evaluation. A psychoeducational evaluation will provide information about your child’s learning style, academic strengths and weaknesses, and assist in understanding his/her poor school performance. Dr. Elisa Ulibarri Yoho, who specializes in working with children, adolescents and their families, offers these evaluations in her private practice.
Follow this link for the entire story: http://spacecoastliving.com/school-psychology-educational-services-dr-elisa-ulibarri-yoho/
ROCKLEDGE, Fla., Aug. 14, 2017 — St. Mary School Principal Sandra Basinger started the school year with a big surprise. She was recognized for her leadership and commitment to her community with the Jeni Heneghan Administrator of the Year Award.
A surprised Basinger accepted the award from School Superintendent Henry Fortier on Aug. 7. Fortier oversees education for the Diocese of Orlando Office of Catholic Schools, which covers Orange, Brevard, Osceola, Polk, Seminole, Lake, Marion and Volusia counties.
“Sandy is an amazingly beautiful person who lives her faith and loves the students,” Fortier said. “This is a well-deserved honor for her years of dedication and service to the community.”
The award was named in honor of Jennifer Heneghan, who served as principal of All Souls Catholic School in Sanford from 2011 to 2014 when she died from a brain aneurysm. Previously she taught in public schools and was recognized as Volusia County’s Teacher of the Year in 1993.
Heneghan was very much involved in her church and Catholic schools. She was an active member of the Diocesan Superintendent’s Collaborative Council, and a member of the 2015 NCEA Steering Committee for the Orlando Convention, and the Diocesan
elementary school principal representative to the Catholic Youth Sports organization for many years. As a former softball player, she also enjoyed helping build good sportsmanship and collaborated on special events such as the Coaches Play like a Champion Day at Bishop Moore High School.
Basinger was selected from among Catholic school administrators throughout the Diocese for her exemplary leadership, inspiration, and modeling Christ for the entire St. Mary School community.
“Sandy is an amazing principal and an inspirational human being,” said Zenaida Kotala, whose son attends second grade at the school. “She’s a great administrator and as a parent you always know she cares about your child and your family. She has a challenging job juggling so many responsibilities, but she does it while exemplifying Christ’s teachings. I’m so happy she was recognized this way.”
Basinger, who has been principal at St. Mary in Rockledge for the past 6 years, embodies the spirit of the award. She lives to help her students and their families succeed and supports her teachers and staff. When she isn’t working long hours to ensure that teachers have the resources they need and that students and families are being served, she makes time to attend sporting, artistic and musical events. It’s not odd for her to attend various games, a musical performance and an afterschool club activity in the same week. She does it to demonstrate to her students and families that she really cares about the whole child. She serves on multiple committees and also volunteers at St Mary church having served in various capacities including overseeing religious education for children at the church.
Father Ivan Olmo who nominated Basinger for the award said, “What makes Sandy such a good principal is that she understands that in order to lead, inspire and teach – she must be led, inspired and taught. As a student, she continually seeks the assistance of our Mother Mary to learn how to minister to God’s children and administer to those who have been entrusted to her care. From Mary, she has learned to remain open to God’s possibilities and receptive to his gifts so that with the help of his grace she can continue to follow Jesus, be inspired by him and become that good leader who always learns, teaches and inspires.”
Her teachers are big supporters too.
“Sandy has a great devotion to the Blessed Mother Teresa and looks to her words for inspiration. One of her favorites quotes is, ‘I alone cannot change the world but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.’ That’s what being a mother, teacher, and principal has meant to Sandy,” said first-grade teacher Suzanne Strain. “We cannot always see the farthest ripple of our deeds or actions but the ripple can go on forever effecting many and creating positive change.”
Basinger, who’s been at St. Mary School for 20 years knows the school well. Not only did she teach English at the school before becoming its principal, but she had three of her own children attend the school.
“Receiving the Jeni Heneghan Award is a great honor” she said. “It is humbling to have been selected from all of the outstanding principals in the diocese. I am truly grateful!”
St. Mary’s School students have been on a secret mission this month spreading hope and love throughout Rockledge, Viera and Meritt Island. Project Cougar Kindness, named after the school mascot, had students placing more than 1,000 post it notes in businesses and public spaces with unsigned messages inspiring joy, love and hope. The notes read: You are Amazing, You are Loved, You are one of a kind, You’re braver than you think, and God loves you among others. “The students wanted to spread some love during these times of negativity,” said eighth grade teacher Nancy Potchka, who helped the students organize. Middle school students in the National Junior Honor Society led the effort, but students as young as first-grade participated by creating the notes and sticking them everywhere from bathroom doors to store shelves. Police stations, fire stations and senior living communities weren’t left out either. More than 1,000 notes were delivered from Feb. 1 through Valentine’s day. “I wrote the notes to make peoples’ day, encourage many people, and to raise people’s attitudes,” said sixth-grader Austin Munchbach. Eighth-grader Jenna Lester wrote and delivered messages with her family throughout the month. “The kids at St. Mary’s Catholic School wrote a bunch of encouraging notes to spread love and joy to the people in our community,” she said. The students completed the notes with the help of their teachers. Student then asked parents to help with the deliveries. Kat Deane, a parent of two children at the school, set up a Facebook group to help parents organize and make sure the love notes were spread throughout the community and not just in one location. “We wanted everyone to know how AMAZING our community is and we did just that with kindness notes,” Deane said. “We are all children of God and this was a fantastic way to spread love to one another in honor of our Saint Valentine.” Denise Yelvington drove her children, second-grader Kate and fifth-grade Luke, to the Avenues in Viera to make their secret deliveries. “We love the Cougar Kindness Project,” Yelvington said. “There’s been so much negativity in the news lately and this has been a way to remind people that we should be kind and love one another.” Some were lucky enough to watch the reaction of residents as they looked up and spotted notes. Principal Sandy Basinger said the project was a good one to help students see how they can make a difference in the community. “We not only teach our students about math, science and English,” Basinger said. “We teach the whole child and this wonderful project is an example of students learning a lesson and wanting to spread it around. We are all part of this community and we all need to take care of each other. Sometimes that’s as easy as a simple word of kindness. I couldn’t be more proud of our students.”