24 November, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

Rev. Bill Paige, friend and world renown speaker, takes the time to bring Jesus to Benedictine Academy in between Europe, Dominican Republic, and Texas. He reminds us that an Attitude of Gratitude for the ordinary, every day acts of kindness in our lives can bring blessings of joy to one another.

Reflecting on the scripture passage about the ten lepers, he noted that only one leper went back to give thanks to Jesus after his healing. The question before us is, "Do we give thanks to our Lord for all the blessings we have in our lives?" Do we take the time to thank Jesus each day?

Our beautiful Praise Dancers opened the Prayer Service praising God and our wonderful Gospel Choir concluded the Prayer Service by thanking Bill and the Lord.
We have a Eucharistic heart at Benedictine Academy as we give thanks and praise to God for all the blessings in our lives. Happy Thanksgiving everyone and "Thank You" for being part of our Benedictine family!

22 November, 2010

Thanksgiving Food Drive

This Thanksgiving seems very different. Our sisters and brothers in our own families, our own communities, our country, and across the globe are suffering in so many ways. And yet, it is a time of thanksgiving. Gratitude of heart is the healing balm for all the ills of our world.

Each day we pray and give thanks to God for the gift of our lives, for the gift of Benedictine Academy, for the gift of Sr. Germaine, Mr. Jennings and Ms. Banks for their dedication and unceasing labor of love to our school, and for the gift of each other.

This past week, the Student Council joined forces with Students In Action to share their food with others. That is what family does. We take care of each other. The reality is we are all sisters and brothers; we are all God's children. We need to care. If we don't, who will?

19 November, 2010

Vow Of SIlence

Students In Action joined forces with Peace & Justice Club in becoming a voice for the voiceless by taking a vow of silence. Today is the 21st anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Tens of thousands of people around the world walked in solidarity with children who are being silenced by poverty and exploitation.
There are over one billion children living in poverty, many of whom are suffering fro hunger, child labor, discrimination and lack of education. Their rights are not being upheld. Their voices are not being heard.

After 8 hours of being silent, our students gathered together to discuss their experience. One freshmen student shared, "After today's vow of silence, it breaks my heart that young children go through this everyday. Today I felt ignored and left out, as if no one understood me."

Another Junior student shared, "It made me feel somber, not being able to express yourself. Even if you need help, you have no voice. It was as if you were being condemned. It was very difficult."

SIA and PBJ students are more determined than ever to become a voice for the voiceless and make this world a better place for them.

18 November, 2010

We Are All Sisters and Brothers

At our school, we have several dozen different nationalities, yet we are all sisters and everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Mother Teresa said, "If you knew me, you would love me." Isn't that the truth? We need to take the time to listen to one another, instead of judging and gossiping. We need to "Stand Up" for love and say "No" to the hurt.

15 November, 2010

21st Century Teaching

Hi everyone. Today was our professional training day. Raquel Williams, a technology speaker/teacher at the NJEA, shared with us the latest teaching methods for our 21st century students. It was both fascinating and exciting as we learned about how to utilize technology in developing lesson plans that utilize critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. I would like you to meet my Avatar that I created. She is the spokesperson for our Jefferson Award Student In Action Leadership Team.

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13 November, 2010

And The Winner Is...

Energy filled the auditorium as our students received certificates recognizing their accomplishments for First and Second Honors. We also welcomed Mrs. Karen Hatcher, the Director of the Student In Action Leadership Program. Benedictine Academy is the first certified Jefferson Award Student In Action Leadership School in New Jersey. Service Leadership is a hallmark of our Benedictine charism and what it means to be a Christian.

Seventeen of our Student Leaders were formally inducted as members of the Student Leadership Team and will be attending a Student In Action Leadership Conference in a few weeks. Their goal is simple. To be role models and inspire their peers to help make our world a better place.

This day was EXTRA SPECIAL because eleven of our students were nominated for the Jefferson Award Student In Action Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. Special guest, Chocolate Thunder, former player of the New Jersey Nets, is best known for his shattering of backboards as he dunked winning baskets. The Basketball Man of the Millennium opened the sealed envelope and presented this prestigious Award to sophomore, Barbara Borges.

Barbara began a new volunteer service project known as Erica's bracelets. She and her friends make bracelets to give with their prayers to cancer patients in hospitals. After the awards, Darryl Dawkins coached our girls in a free throwing event. It was truly an A+ day at Benedictine Academy.


William Paul Young, author of The SHACK, came to Benedictine Academy last week to speak to our school community about the meaning of hope and forgiveness. It was a blessed day for our students, faculty, the Mayor and friends as we gathered in the Benedictine Sisters' St. Walburga Monastery to listen to Mr. Young share his story and the story behind the story.

We are grateful to the Benedictine Sisters for opening their space for a small private luncheon before the lecture, and to Mr. & Mrs. Peter Anderson for their warm hospitality and delicious food.

The Shack has been on the New York Times Best Seller list for over one year and has sold over 15 MILLION COPIES! The overwhelming message that came through is that each and every one of us matters to God! (S)He loves us and will never abandon us. All shall be well. We only need to TRUST.

Wm. Paul Young was a most beautiful gentlemen who was warm and gracious. He patiently gave countless autographs before and after the lecture, and photo opportunities. A light-hearted smile filled the air around this most humble man. We thank God for the gift of his presence at Benedictine Academy.

05 November, 2010

You Don't Know Me

Dr. Michael Fowlin, actor, psychologist, poet, performed at Benedictine Academy yesterday. He was truly amazing as he slipped in and out of characters, portraying real young people who have suffered the pain of other people's indifference and ignorance.

“Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about another’s pain,” Fowlin stated. “Bullies are not the problem,” he noted, rather, Zebras are the problem,” he added, pointing out that in the animal kingdom, zebras will simply stand around and watch another animal being attacked. “Know the difference between what you are supposed to do and what you need to do,” Fowlin pleaded. “Speak up!”

Our brothers at St. Benedict's Prep joined us to hear how we can make our lives count. I wish that for a day everybody could take off their masks and be real with one another,” Fowlin said. “We don’t pay enough attention to one another ... I’m not ‘the guy in the wheelchair’, I am a human being, I have feelings, but sometimes my feelings are crushed. If all you ever see is my physical disability or wheelchair, you don’t know me. I’m beautiful,”

“You are all inherently beautiful,” Fowlin told his audience. He challenged the students to “smile at or say hello to at least ten people you don’t normally greet- you never know whose life you could be saving.” “Stand up- don’t be a zebra!” Fowlin added. “I charge you to go out and make others feel beautiful also.”