Date posted: November 1, 2018
Every fall, St. Thomas the Apostle appeals to the school parents, alumni, parishioners, friends, and community members for financial support. We are excited to invite you to be a part of this year’s Reach for the STArs campaign! Please join us for a “Kick-Off” event on November 1st at Jolly Pumpkin in Hyde Park!
Please enjoy theses messages of support from members of the STA community!
Choosing St. Thomas for our daughter, Kyndall, was undoubtedly the best decision Kareem and I could have made for her education. We have always known that we wanted her to have a faith-based education. However, finding a school that mirrored the values we instill at home proved a daunting task. STA’s mission is to “Provide a learning environment that: inspires students to academic achievement, instills faith values, and encourages them to be involved in the greater world around them.” We found exactly what we were looking for at St. Thomas.
After 5 years, we remain confident in our decision as the school continues to flourish year after year. The teachers’ commitment to the students’ educational and spiritual growth has far exceeded our expectations. We are not only in awe of the commitment to educational and spiritual growth, but also to the sense of community established here. There is an African Proverb, which states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” We have bonded with families here who have truly increased our “village.”
We would love all children to receive this unique experience, but realize the financial strain it may cause some families. Kareem and I understood early on, that in order to keep the community strong we would have to give back as much as we have received – whether it was giving of our time or financial resources. Financial contributions from families are instrumental in keeping STA the great school that is. Today, we ask that you consider joining us in making a pledge to the Reach for the STArs Campaign.
The gift you make will ensure continued growth for the school through physical improvements, increased academic resources, and an enlarged student body. Your donation will have a life-long effect as the children who benefit from it begin to make a positive impact on society. This investment is one of love for STA, our children, and our future.
Thank you for your consideration!
Kellee and Kareem Burgess
Parents of Kyndall Burgess, Grade 3
We didn’t know our kids would be attending St. Thomas the Apostle until just a matter of weeks before they started school.
We were just returning to Chicago after living first out of state, and then downstate for two years. It was a quick move, happening only about three weeks after we found out we’d be moving back. And with school starting just a week after the moving truck rolled into town, we needed to get it figured out fast.
That’s when we found St. Thomas. Call it divine intervention.
The people at St. Thomas were eager to welcome us and help us navigate our last-minute registration. Given all that we had going on, with an expedited 300-mile move on our hands, the help was a relief.
It was only the first sign of what we’d find in our new school and parish home.
Over the past two years, we’ve been consistently impressed with the quality of education, the dedication of the teachers and staff, the sense of community and warmth we’ve felt. Our kids have made new friends, and so have we.
The Reach for the STArs campaign helps to support the great work and stellar community that exists at St. Thomas the Apostle – the same community that made us feel immediately welcome and at home at a time when everything seems like a whirlwind. Your gift is in an investment, not only in the future of this Hyde Park institution, but also in the students who comprise the future of our neighborhood, our city and our nation.
Make an investment today to help St. Thomas continue to further the educational and religious growth of God’s children in extraordinary variety.
Eric & Rebecca Kohn
Parents of Harper Kohn, 2nd grade & Reagan Kohn, Pre-K 4
Before the start of every school year all of the teachers and staff come together to do some of the most important planning we will do all year. We think about lesson planning, curriculum and academic rigor, of course. But, before any of that can happen, we stop and we ask ourselves: what kind of place do we want St. Thomas the Apostle to be? What are our values, and what will guide us throughout the school year?
Almost universally, as we debated in the Parish Hall and then later in Ms. Melachrinidis’s room, everyone knew they wanted STA to be a community and a family. Mr. Gallo affirmed this when he suggested to us that STA should be a place where “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
What is stunning about the STA community is the authenticity with which we are able to live this vision, this idea that once you’re with us “you will never walk alone.” Every day when I come to work, I see people turning this mindset into our school’s reality.
I think about my student Coco who writes “forgot to give Ms. Samarasekera a hug” as a missing assignment in her class folder. I think about my co-worker Susie who stops whatever she is doing to help her teammates and always shares resources for us to use in our classrooms. I think about the fifth grade room parents, Ms. Brooks and Ms. Thomas, who always check in to ask what they can do to help out. I think, especially, of Mr. Stewart in the parking lot every day after school, joking around with teachers and students, making everyone feel at home. Everyone on this team, the students, the teachers, the families, has internalized the vision.
As we head into the Reach for the STArs fundraising month, I think it’s easy to lose sight of what we’re raising money for. You’ve heard about school building improvements, teacher advancement opportunities, and scholarships, which are all very important. But, ultimately, when you support the Reach for the STArs campaign, you are supporting the idea that there can be a place where “you will never walk alone.” All of us together have built that place here at STA, and through Reach for the STArs, we are able to ensure that this vision will be here for our students for many years to come.
Ms. Shahani Samarasekera
5th Grade Teacher at STA