St. Patrick Catholic School

122 West Street, Portland, MI   (517) 647-7551

Reflections by Randy Hodge

Mr. Hodge's Reflections also appear in the Portland R & O and the Ionia Sentinel Standard nearly every week.

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St. Patrick School Supports Students and Community with Healthy Kids Grant

Posted on October 9, 2017 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

In recent years writing and applying for grants has become a new source of revenue funding in the non-profit world. Many businesses seek to support their community and projects occurring at non-profits by funding grants in areas specific to their business or a cause that reflects the businesses’ values and ideals. To help our school and parish in this process Mrs. Cortney Smith, assisted by Mrs. Heather Hendges-Davis are working with the administration to oversee the writing of grants and their implementation when awarded.

I am pleased to announce that one of the first grants we applied for was awarded to our school and in turn to our community. Last year our elementary principal, Mrs. Sarah Townsend applied for and received a Healthy Kids grant for $2,125. The school administration and grant writing team identified that the funding would best be spent on equipment for students to use at recess, especially when recess takes place on the parking lot between the church and school.

The funds allowed us to purchase new, interactive and multiplayer playground equipment. We purchased materials for two Ga Ga Ball pits to be installed in the parking lot as well as extra-large checkers, mega-chess (pieces are over two feet tall), tic tac toe and two Shamrock themed corn hole sets. These items are available for the students to use daily during all recesses.

As a thank you for the support the community has shown to St. Patrick over the years we wanted to share our blessings in turn. Our committee asked for and was granted permission to install and gift a third Ga Ga Ball pit to the City of Portland which was installed on Saturday, September 30 by generous volunteers in Alton Park. Now, during lunch recess at the park, students can use this third Ga Ga Ball pit as well any community members who patronize the park.

For those who may not be familiar with it, the game of Ga Ga Ball is a variant of dodgeball allowing for the entire class to remain active. Physical education at all grade levels can take advantage of the new pits. Various curriculum ideas can also provide for unique classroom teaching experiences with both the pits and the giant outdoor games.

All the activities that have been provided from these grants are getting a lot of use by our students since they have arrived. Second grade student Olivia Martin echoes the sentiments of many students when she says "I like everything about it (Ga Ga Ball)! It's so fun. Almost everybody plays it for the whole recess. I play with kids I've never played with before."

We would like to thank volunteers Chris Pung, Doug Smith, the father and son team of Jeff and Alex Fedewa, Cortney & Troy Smith along with sons Ben & Henry, and Mark Davis & Heather Hendges-Davis for their time and talent launching this exciting project. A special thank you goes out to park patrons, brothers Robert and Mason Doty, who saw the crew last Saturday morning and pitched in to help!

We hope these additions to St. Patrick School will lead to even more active and critical thinking play for the students and add to the enjoyment of Alton Park visitors.

If you are aware of any grant opportunities that may benefit St. Patrick Parish/School or the greater Portland community, please contact Mrs. Cortney Smith at


Class of 1967 Enjoys 50-Year Class Reunion

Posted on October 6, 2017 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Each September since 2003, the Father Flohe Foundation has hosted a wonderful celebration for the St. Pat’s graduating classes who is celebrating its 50th class reunion. The Class of 1953 was the first class to graduate from St. Pat’s High School, and the first to be honored at this party.

On Saturday, September 9, the Class of 1967 was invited back. On the class composite that sits outside the office, there are pictures showing the 39 members of this class when they graduated from high school.

Classmates met at the school at 2:30 where I had the opportunity to show them around and talk about what has changed since they graduated. I was assisted by two members of our senior class, Mallory Scheurer and Douglas Cope. Many of the grads had not been in the school since they graduated and were surprised by how much things had changed. These tours have become a highlight for me; because as the guests tell their own stories they enlighten me about the history of the school.

Following the tour of the school, the classmates attended the 4:30 Mass together. The Mass intention was for the eight deceased members of the Class of 1967. Following Mass, our alumni trekked out to the Wagon Wheel where they were treated to a delicious prime rib and chicken dinner. The classmates had the opportunity to sit and socialize, and some stayed long afterward to catch up and discuss their favorite memories of the good old days.

I always enjoy this annual event. It’s a reminder that each person who enters our school has a story to tell, their own personal history. Hearing these stories and learning about these former students is a great reminder of what makes St. Patrick School such a special place.

Congratulations Class of 1967 on your special night and thank you for an enjoyable evening. May God continue to bless you.

The Father Flohe Foundation was founded in 1988. Its primary function is to keep Catholic education available to the people of St. Patrick Parish and surrounding communities by funding some of the school expenses. The organization funds The Shamrock alumni newsletter, awards the annual Education Bell Award, and manages the endowment fund which helps to financially assist the school.

Fall Festival is Coming Soon!

Posted on October 4, 2017 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

The autumn equinox recently arrived which is a sure sign that St. Pat’s Annual Fall Festival is just around the corner. This year’s event will be held on Sunday, October 8, once again sponsored by the St. Patrick Athletic Association, and staffed by our Shamrock athletes, their parents and coaches. The festival generates over 20% of the sports budget and ensures that our students don’t have to ‘pay to play’.

The Fall Festival will provide food, fun, and festivities for the entire family beginning at 9 a.m. The vendors will open then so you can go to the 7:30 Mass, then right over to the school to start your holiday shopping. The first-floor hallway, classrooms, and gymnasium will be packed with handmade goods. There is always such a variety that it is difficult to choose what to buy. Admissions Advocates from the Diocese of Grand Rapids will also be on hand to greet visitors and answer any questions you may have about St. Patrick or a Catholic school education. So, stop by and say hi while you’re browsing.

Kidsfest activities, games, face painting, and raffles will keep the kids occupied while you shop. The fun starts at 10 a.m. on the second floor of the school.

And if the shopping tires you out and you’re hungry or don’t feel like cooking, dinner will be served in the cafeteria from 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. It will include roast beef, ham, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, vegetables, salad, homemade bread, homemade desserts and a beverage of your choice. Take-out meals are also available in the Parish Hall, located on the south end of the school, adjacent to Grand River Avenue.

If you’re the athletic type or want to make room for the delicious dinner, you’ll want to run in the 5K or half-marathon, which will begin at 8 a.m. And if you’re looking for something more relaxing or find the thought of running to be bad for your health, there will be a euchre tournament in the Parish Hall beginning at 12:30. This is also a good place to sit and wait while your spouse shops!

The Fall Festival will offer plenty of fun for everyone in the family. We hope to see you there!


For complete information about St. Patrick Fall Festival, visit the festival website:


St Patrick Athletic Association Update for the 2017/18 season

Posted on September 19, 2017 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

The following information has been provided by Mr. Mike Coyne, St. Patrick Athletic Association president for the 2017-18 school year.

The St. Patrick Athletic Association was formed in 1951 to raise the funds necessary to operate Shamrock athletic programs. Today, our mission remains the same. Currently our athletic budget runs over $120,000 per year. In addition to funding our athletic programs, the Athletic Association recruits hundreds of volunteers needed to support both our fundraising events and to ensure our hosted athletic contests are presented in a way that represents the mission of our parish and school. The good work we do provides students of St Patrick the opportunity to participate in our sports programs at no additional cost. The Athletic Association leadership team includes three others: Vice President Todd Davlin, Treasurer Scott Brown, and Secretary Kim Drake.

St. Patrick athletic programs have been blessed with a generous following and community support which has enabled us to generate enough revenue to meet our budget. Keeping with our tradition, “pay to participate” fees will not be required at St. Patrick School again this year.


The following are 2016-2017 Athletic Association accomplishments:

• We continued to find great success with our annual fundraisers (Fall Festival, Spring Country Auction, and Sports raffle)

• Other smaller events pushed our budget over the top including Comedy Night and Sports Passes

• We recruited hundreds of volunteers for our hosted sporting events and fundraisers


The following are 2016-2017 team Accomplishments:

• The varsity football team qualified for playoffs for the 5th straight year, and won the Central Michigan 8-Man Conference

• The varsity girls’ basketball team won the district title, and Coach Schrauben earned his 600th career win

• The varsity girls’ volleyball team won 3 tournaments. They also won a district and a regional title (the first in school history)

• Our Bowling, Track, and Cross County teams sent eight athletes to State finals’ events

• The varsity girls’ softball team won the Vestaberg invitational

• Our baseball team won the Class D state title

• 14 Shamrock Athletes were named to the CMAC All-Academic team

• Our varsity Volleyball Coach Heidi Wenzel and our Varsity Baseball Coach Bryan Scheurer were named LSJ Coaches of the Year


We have many people to thank including:

• Great parish leaders in Father Larry and Deacon Don

• Parish and school administrators who lead with faith and integrity

• Pat Russman and Sarah Townsend our athletic directors who spend countless hours behind the scenes coordinating our athletic programs

• Teachers who work with our student athletes, teaching them how to balance their faith, academics and sports

• Coaches who give their time to teach and coach our athletes

• Bus drivers who provide our teams with safe transportation

• Parents who set great examples for our student athletes by supporting our teams

• Our local business community who financially supports our athletics year after year

• All Athletic Association volunteers who ensure that our fundraising and hosting of athletic events are conducted in line with our mission

• Our fans who support our programs with your attendance and at our fundraising events

• Our athletes who provide proud examples of what it means to be St. Patrick Scholar Athletes


There are a number of ways you can help us this school year:

1). Join the Athletic Association by attending our meetings

2). Help work at our fundraisers (Fall Festival, Shamrock Auction)

3). Help with game-day activities (clean up crew, concessions, work at the gate)

4). Certify and work with the school to join our list of bus drivers

5). Buy and sell raffle tickets for our fundraisers (Fall Fest, Sports Raffle)

6). Buy an Athletic Sports Pass and attend as many events as possible.


Please consider attending our meetings and becoming an active member. Our meeting schedule is posted on the school website ( If you attend eight meetings per year you will earn a free family sports pass for the following year (a $200 value).


Feel free to contact me at 517.331.0715 or at if you have any questions. I love to talk about St. Patrick Sports programs and this very hardworking, generous group.


Thank you again to everyone who supports St. Patrick athletics!




St. Patrick Elementary Students Attend NED Assembly

Posted on September 11, 2017 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

This past Wednesday, St. Patrick elementary students had a unique opportunity to attend a program that has been presented to students in all 50 states and across the world. It is performed in nearly 5,500 schools and encourages nearly 2.5 million kids worldwide each year.

This school-wide character education program, known as “the NED show”, centers around a 45-minute assembly. Its main goal is to make all the students “champions”. During the assembly, students are introduced to a character known as NED. He is a loveable cartoon character whose name is an acronym for:

• Never give up

• Encourage others

• Do your best

During a NED assembly, the speaker begins by introducing the students to NED. After the introduction, they tell a story which involves NED and his attitude. Throughout the story which uses humor, audience participation and object lessons, students are kept on the edge of their seat as the speaker integrates yo-yo and magic tricks into the show.

The speaker continually reinforces and integrates character lessons that encourage students to maintain a positive attitude and to work hard to do their best. It is emphasized that we all can be “champions” in our lives and towards others. Throughout the lesson, the three main teaching points of never give up, encourage others, and to always do your best are reinforced.

Students and teachers were excited by NED who is a simple, relatable and kid-focused character. Mr. Gary was an excellent presenter who got this message across in a humorous way.

The great thing about this assembly is that it is at no cost to the host school. The program only asks for you to hold a sale of NED gear for a week after the show. NED gear includes three different types of yoyos, extra string, and yoyo holsters. They use all the money earned as a “pay it forward” for the next school that wants an assembly. Since Wednesday we have sold over 70 yoyos and numerous holsters.

For more information on the show go to and check out the free resources for students, parents, and teachers.




Updates and news for the new school year

Posted on August 21, 2017 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

St. Patrick School hosted its annual open house this past week and everything is set to begin another successful year. As we begin the 2017-18 school year, we want to provide you with an update on the many initiatives we have been working on. There have been many generous donations and a lot of individuals providing hard work and expertise to make sure St. Patrick School is prepared to meet the needs of our students.

>Technology: Next IT is overseeing our school technology program and is working in conjunction with Mr. Ross Schneider. They have been upgrading our wireless which includes the installation of new access points and new laptops have been purchased for the staff and already in use. The students will also have some new items when they return, including:

• 60 Chromebooks for our high school 1:1 program. All students in grades 9 – 11 will be issued a Chromebook. Seniors may be issued one at their request.

• The middle school (Grades 6-8) students will have a portable lab which will house 30 Chromebooks solely for their use.

• We opted to purchase 30 touchscreen Chromebooks for our elementary students. Research shows elementary-aged students benefit from touchscreen devices which many are already using at home.

• We have a new Shared Time Agreement in place with Portland Public Schools. We welcome Mr. Bob Powers as our elementary computer teacher.


>Dual enrollment opportunities: We have partnered with Aquinas College in Grand Rapids and they will be hosting two classes at St. Patrick during the upcoming school year. Approximately 40 members of the junior and senior classes have signed up and attended orientation on the Aquinas College campus and are ready to go for the fall semester. In the fall, students will take Introduction to Communications and they will take Public Speaking in the spring.

>Battle Creek Science Kits: Last year we purchased the first set of kits for our students. This year, they will continue using the first set of kits and we will be purchasing and using the second set. Last year, students were excited about the hands-on and engaging lessons that are an integral part of these kits.

>Switching back to the ACT: We have finalized our agreement for our high school juniors to take the American College Test (ACT) in the spring. Our official ACT test date has been scheduled for the end of February. We will have our students prepared and ready to go for this important college assessment which will help them when applying to colleges and for scholarships.

>Increased counseling services: For the past two years, one part-time counselor has served our DK-12 student body. To help our students, we will be bringing in a second part-time counselor which will allow them to have access to a counselor all five days of the week. Mrs. Valerie Hynes will serve as our secondary counselor. We welcome Miss Jackie Bass who will serve as our elementary counselor.

All of us at St. Pat's School are excited and ready for an outstanding 2017-18 school year! We are excited about these new programs and are currently enrolling new students. I encourage you to look at our prospective families webpage: and schedule a tour. Welcome Scholarships, along with our “Try Us! You’ll Like Us!” guarantee are available to new families.


PTO Looking for new members

Posted on August 14, 2017 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The St. Patrick School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) closed out a busy year in June by approving $5,000 towards technology improvements for the school. They also approved up to $10,000 in donations to upgrade the school’s whiteboards.

Now they are preparing for next school year with new officers and they are looking for you to help join them in their efforts. We welcome the following individuals to the PTO leadership team:

• Mrs. Jackie Morris, President

• Mrs. Jen Chamberlain, Vice President

• Mrs. Nikki Mosser, Secretary

• Mrs. Mara Pline, Treasurer

The PTO typically meets the third Wednesday of the month in room #115 at the school unless there is a conflict. Scheduled meetings for the 2017-18 school year are:

• September 20

• October 18

• November 8

• December 13

• January 17

• February 21

• March 21

• April 18

• May 16

The meetings begin at 6:00 p.m. and usually last about half an hour. Once a parent attends at least five meetings, they will receive an “Out of Dress Code” slip for each one of their children.

The PTO leadership team is planning the following events for the upcoming school year and are looking for volunteers to help them in their efforts.

• While their used uniform sale will already be complete by the time this goes to press, the PTO used uniform store remains open in the school. You can shop anytime during regular office hours. The PTO is always accepting gently used uniform donations to keep their stock updated, you can drop off your items in the school office (please no donations of clothing that is ripped, torn or stained).

• They assisted at the Back to School Open House with the setup, serving of hot dogs, cupcakes, and lemonade, manning an information table, running the used uniform sale and with the cleanup.

• The annual Back to School Tailgate will take place before our first home football game on Aug 25th. Everyone is welcome to attend! They will have kid’s games and serve hot dogs. They would appreciate if everyone brought a dish to pass, but we hope you’ll attend even if you cannot bring a dish.

• The PTO will host our annual Scholastic book fair from October 6th through the 15th. The book fair will be open during our annual Fall Festival which takes place on October 8.

• They will host our annual Kidsfest during the Fall Festival. Kidsfest games and drawings take place on the second floor of the school. They are always seeking out donated prizes.

• The annual Wagon Wheel Wine Tasting fundraiser will occur again on Thursday, November 16 beginning at 6:30 p.m. We hope you’ll join us!

• There are many other activities they are responsible for including feeding the students on our annual Pay It Forward Day, feeding the staff during the evening of Parent-Teacher conferences and providing goodies for our veterans during our annual Veterans Day celebration. Please visit the school website ( and click on our “For Parents” icon to learn more about PTO activities.

We are looking forward to working with our PTO as they continue to do great things on behalf of our students, staff and school. We encourage our school parents to be actively involved with our PTO. It is a great opportunity to get involved, meet other parents, make new friends and help lighten the load by assisting at the many activities and events that take place throughout the school year.

For more information about the PTO, feel free to contact PTO President Jackie Morris at


Gearing up for a new school year

Posted on July 31, 2017 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

The school office is open and ready to go and the final preparations are taking place to make sure everything is ready to go for the 2017-18 school year. There will be a whirlwind of activity as we ensure we get off to a great start at St. Patrick School. The teaching staff will soon be in their classrooms working hard and our fall sports teams will begin practice in anticipation of the upcoming season. St. Patrick is a school which serves the entire Portland community so we want to make you aware of our fall calendar.

• August 7: Fall practices begin for our football team.

• August 9: Fall practices begin for our volleyball and cross country teams. Please check our school website, Facebook and Twitter pages (page names are below) for practice times.

• August 15-17: The teaching staff reports for professional development.

• August 16: We host our annual Welcome Back to School Open House. This begins at 6:30 p.m. in the church with introductions and announcements. Parents and students will have time to visit classrooms, meet their teacher and drop off any supplies. We welcome all members of the community to join us for this important night!

• August 22: The school faculty will attend the diocesan back to school celebration in Grand Rapids.

• August 23: First day of school for students in grades DK-12.

• August 25: Join us for the Back to School tailgate at our first home football game against Waldron at Portland High School.

• September 1-4: No School for Labor Day.

• September 5/6: First day of school for preschool students.

• September 11-12: Picture day for all students.

• September 22: Annual Homecoming football game.

• October 11: Confirmation at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Grand Rapids at 7:00 p.m.

• October 12: Parent/Teacher Conferences from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

• October 13: Early Release Day with Parent/Teacher conferences taking place from 12:30-3:30 p.m.

We are excited about the new school year and are ready for another great start! There are many great upcoming events and we look forward to seeing everyone back at school soon.

If you want to keep informed of activities taking place at St. Patrick School, go to our website:, click on the “About Us” icon and pull down to our calendar. This lists all activities taking place at St. Patrick School. We also encourage you to follow our Facebook page (St. Patrick School – Portland, Michigan) and Twitter account (@PortlandStPats) for the latest information.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your summer and find time for rest and relaxation to renew yourself in mind, body and soul.

2017 Spring Sports Wrap Up

Posted on June 23, 2017 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

The 2017 St. Patrick School spring sports season has officially come to an end. We would like to congratulate all of our teams for their efforts throughout the season. A lot of time and hard work was put forth on the field, track, course, and in the classroom by our student athletes to ensure success.

The Shamrock baseball team won an outright CMAC title, repeated as the district and regional champions, advanced to the Division IV championship game where they were crowned as State Champions for the first time in program history with a school record 34 wins. Individual honors include:

• Bryan Scheurer – Division IV Coach of the Year

• Brendan Schrauben: 1st team CMAC, All District, 1st team All-State Catcher, Academic All-State, LSJ Sports Awards Top 10 Baseball Player, Diamond Classic Scholarship winner and attending Alma College to play baseball

• Graham Smith: 2nd team CMAC, All District, Academic All-State

• Noah Goodman: 1st team CMAC, All-District, 2nd team All-State Pitcher

• Dan Mackowiak: 1st team CMAC, All District

• Brandon Scheurer: 1st team CMAC, All District, 1st team All-State Infield

• Nathan Lehnert: Honorable Mention CMAC

• Devin Fedewa: 1st team CMAC, All District

• Sam Mauren: 2nd team CMAC

The varsity softball team also had a solid season finishing in third place in the CMAC and won the Vestaburg Invitational. Individual awards include:

• Kelsey Schneider: 2nd team CMAC, All District, Academic All-State

• Karlie Bartlett: Honorable Mention CMAC, All District, Academic All-State

• Samantha Leonard: Honorable Mention CMAC, All-District, Academic All-State

• Katie Coyne: 1st team CMAC, All District

• Chloe Cross: 1st team CMAC, All District

• Alaina Schrauben: 2nd team CMAC

• Team: Academic All-State Award and All District Sportsmanship Award

We were very excited to not only be able to field a full varsity golf team but a partial JV team as well. The golf team improved from 7th place in the CMAC last year to a 4th place finish this year. Senior Samuel Hodge finished 2nd team CMAC.

The girls and boys varsity track teams also had a strong season. The boy’s team earned a 3rd place trophy at the Webberville Invitational and finished in 6th place at regionals. The girl’s team earned a 2nd place trophy at the Webberville Invitational, finished 5th in a tough CMAC and placed 4th at regionals. Together, they tied or broke 10 school records and earned 151 medals. Individual honors include:

• Brittany Thelen: Honorable Mention CMAC (4x400); Honor Roll Meet Medalist (4x400); All-Region and State Qualifier (100, 4x200, 4x400); All-State & Academic All-State (4x200, 4x400); School Record (4x200)

• Annie Gunderman: 2nd team CMAC (400); Honorable Mention CMAC (4x400); Honor Roll Meet Medalist (400 and 4x400); Honor Roll Meet Qualifier (100); All-Region, All-State & Academic All-State (400, 4x200 and 4x400); School Records (400 & 4x200)

• Leah Cook: Honorable Mention CMAC (Long Jump & 4x400); Honor Roll Meet Medalist (4x400); All-Region and State Qualifier (Long Jump, 4x200, 4x400); All-State & Academic All-State (4x200, 4x400); School Record (4x200)

• Emma Gunderman: Honorable Mention CMAC (300 hurdles & 4x400); Honor Roll Meet Medalist (4x400); Honor Roll Meet Qualifier (300 hurdles); All-Region and State Qualifier (300 hurdles, 4x200, 4x400); All-State & Academic All-State (4x200 & 4x400), School Record (4x200)

• Jerika Kihn: School Record (Pole Vault)

• Ashton Walker: Webberville Invitational Runner of the Meet; 1st Team CMAC (3200); 2nd team CMAC (800); Honor Roll Meet Medalist (1600); School Record, All-Region, State Qualifier, All-State & Academic All-State (1600 & 3200);

• Greg Doll: Webberville Invitational Field Athlete of the Meet; Honorable Mention CMAC (110 hurdles); 2nd team CMAC & State Qualifier (shot put);

As a Catholic School, we expect our student athletes to represent us in a positive manner, bringing Christ to everything they do, and make us proud with their sportsmanship. Without a doubt, they have done so and represented our school mission statement: We Pray! We Learn! We Achieve! to their fullest, God-given potential.


Capping Off a Successful Year

Posted on June 17, 2017 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

It’s hard to believe but another school year has come and gone! Each year our success is possible because of everyone who lends a hand in making St. Patrick the place it is. We couldn’t do it without you. I hope you know how grateful all of us at St. Patrick School are of your commitment throughout the school year.

On behalf of our pastor Fr. Larry King, pastoral associate Deacon Don Sobolewski, Mrs. Townsend, and myself, we would like to offer many thank you’s for a great 2016-17 school year. We would like to specifically thank the following:

• Our school families for making the commitment to send their children to St. Patrick School. We appreciate that you are a part of our school family and that you let us be a part of yours. This thank you extends to all our grandparents, as well.

• Our top-notch teaching staff, school counselor, coaching staff and parish staff members. All of you are an integral part of our family and we couldn’t do anything without you. Thank you for continuously going above and beyond to ensure all of our students are cared for.

• The student body for working hard both in their academics and in extracurricular activities and for serving as living examples of their Catholic faith. We can’t wait to see how you grow and what you will achieve next school year.

• The entire school support staff. We are blessed to have excellent administrative assistants who work in our school and parish office. Their ability to multitask and accomplish so much each day never ceases to amaze me. In addition, we are blessed to have an excellent maintenance and custodial staff who keep our school and grounds remarkably neat and clean. There are so many others, too many to name, including those who work in latchkey, the lunchroom and on the playground. All of you are involved in the important task of running our parish school.

• The volunteers who do so many things behind the scenes! We rely on our school board, Father Flohe Foundation, PTO, and Athletic Association members as well as many other groups and individuals who help out at the school throughout the year.

• Thank you to everyone who donated to the school or parish this year! Your financial support allows us to offer an education that nourishes the entire mind, body, and soul of a child. You are helping us to create the future leaders of our Catholic Church and community. Thank you for your generosity!

We would like to express our gratitude to all for your trust, support, and cooperation during the school year. We are appreciative and thankful to everyone who has anything to do with making St. Patrick School a great place to educate the children of Portland and its surrounding communities. We hope that you will take time this summer to rest and enjoy the wonderful opportunity to renew body, mind, and spirit before we begin another school year.


What's New for Next Year?

Posted on June 2, 2017 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

As the school year winds down and we prepare to wrap up another successful one, many individuals have asked me what new items are being planned for the upcoming school year at St. Patrick School. So, what will be new when the bell rings in late August?

Technology: We will have NEXT IT as our information technology provider. They will assist us as we replace our teacher laptops with new devices. We will eliminate our secondary computer lab as our high school student’s transition to a 1:1 Chromebook program. We will have one Chromebook cart with 30 devices available for middle school use and our elementary school computer lab will be replaced with Chrome Boxes. Thank you to everyone who donated at this year’s Shamrock Auction! Through your generosity we can purchase these devices.

Dual enrollment opportunities: We are looking forward to partnering with Aquinas College in Grand Rapids to provide college courses on our high school campus. They will send an instructor to St. Patrick School on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. Members of the junior and senior class may take Introduction to Communications in the fall and Public Speaking in the spring. The public or students in area high schools may enroll and attend these courses as well. For more information, please contact our school office (647-7551).

Switching back to the ACT: When the State of Michigan made the switch to the SAT test two years ago, we attempted to make the switch as well. Unfortunately, this hasn’t worked out as we hoped. But, we have made an agreement with ACT and in the spring of 2018 our junior class will again be taking this test.

Senior class electives: One of our recent goals has been to increase the number of electives for our seniors. Along with the Aquinas College courses, our seniors may also enroll in one of the following new elective courses: teacher aide, a study to work cooperative, serving as a peer-to-peer mentor, strength and conditioning, human anatomy and physics. Seniors may still attend Heartlands Institute of Technology, take dual enrollment courses through another college or they may take AP Biology, AP U.S. History or AP calculus.

Increased counseling services: For the past two years, one part-time counselor has served our DK-12 student body. To help our students, we will be bringing in a second part-time counselor which will allow them to have access to a counselor all five days of the week.

Students praying the rosary before funerals: Our school board mission effectiveness committee will be starting a new program where one of our classes will be outside praying the rosary each time St. Patrick Church has a funeral during a school day. The students will be outside as family and friends arrive at the church. We hope this will help ease their pain, suffering and grief knowing there are others praying for them.

St. Patrick School is excited and getting ready for an outstanding 2017-18 school year! We are excited about these new programs and are currently enrolling new students. I encourage you to take a look at our prospective families webpage: and schedule a tour. Welcome Scholarships, along with our “Try Us! You’ll Like Us!” guarantee are available to new families.



St. Patrick Students Find Success at Heartland

Posted on June 2, 2017 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

There is much talk recently in financial and educational circles about the job and career opportunities in vocational technology fields which have come to traditionally be known as the “trades.” As opportunities in these fields continue to increase, we seek to help our students pursue the education needed to fulfill the demands of these careers. And at St. Patrick they can get started, while in high school, by attending the Heartlands Institute of Technology (H.I.T.), located on the Ionia High School campus.

Heartlands Institute of Technology is the career center serving the students of Ionia County. This program is at the forefront of preparing students to be career and college ready. It helps students build core academic skills by applying skills as they would in the workplace. They help students develop or improve their employability as well as job skills related to a specific career pathway. Students have the opportunity to work and learn a career that moves from a traditional classroom approach to one that offers a hands-on approach.

Heartlands Institute of Technology offers the following programs:

• Allied Health (Physical and Occupational Therapy professions, Athletic training)

• Aviation Technology

• Computer Network Administration

• Construction Technology

• Criminal Justice

• Culinary Arts

• Diesel Technology

• Machine Tool

• Plant/Animal Science

Since there are many jobs and career opportunities in these fields we have encouraged students to consider taking on a trade as a potential career. As a result, St. Patrick School has 13 students attending H.I.T. this year. Traditionally, only three or four students a year have pursued classes.

On May 16, H.I.T. hosted their annual awards banquet. The following St. Patrick students received awards:

Distinguished Student Award: Greg Doll

Program Award Winners: Blake Hodge (Construction)

David Kreiner (Computers)





Student of the Month: David Kreiner

Greg Doll

Sam Hodge

Blake Wohlschied


Senior Honor Cord Recognition: Gregory Doll

Noah Goodman

Blake Hodge

Sam Hodge

Graham Smith

Hunter Barber


4.0 Award: Bret Drake

Graham Smith


Recognition for participation in the MITES (Michigan Industrial and Technology Education Society) Competition: Blake Hodge

Sam Hodge


There are many benefits to students considering pursuing a career in a trade including:

• A strong future job prospect for a majority of these trades with pending shortages in some fields. This offers job security for careers that are nearly impossible to outsource.

• There are many well-paying jobs/careers in these fields.

• Most offer strong benefit packages that include insurance and retirement.

• There is a limited amount of schooling needed to get started, which in most cases means less cost for an education and an earlier start in the workforce.

• A majority of the education is hands-on and limited in traditional schooling.

We will continue to encourage our students to pray and discern their vocation and career choices as they continue their journeys throughout high school. We are very excited our students have the opportunity to receive the benefits that Heartlands Institute of Technology offers.


Too Good for Drugs

Posted on May 19, 2017 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

One of the ways we work to keep our students safe is to focus on their long-term health and well-being. One of the threats for young people everywhere is the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. Research indicates when substance abuse prevention programs are properly implemented in schools and communities; use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs is reduced.

For many years, St. Patrick students have participated in the D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) substance abuse program. Unfortunately, this program was not available this year.

We were fortunate however, to find and implement a new program at St. Patrick School for our 5th grade students. “Too Good for Drugs” builds the framework for drug-fee living through a fun and interactive journey of setting reachable goals, making responsible decisions, and refusing negative peer pressure. The lessons review the negative effects of alcohol and tobacco on the body, as well as the goal-compromising effects of marijuana and other drugs. “Too Good for Drugs” is an evidence-based curriculum by the Mendez Foundation.

Mrs. Debbie Thalison, Ionia county substance abuse prevention director and Ionia county community health supervisor, worked with our students on the program. Each week, she led them through the program with role playing, interactive games, discussions and sharing.

This week marks the 10th and final week of the program. Students will receive t-shirts, wristbands and a certificate of completion when they are done. Each participating school receives a plaque which is updated every year the program is completed.

We are blessed that the funding for this program has come from the Ionia County Substance Abuse Initiative (ICSAI), the Ionia County Health Department and Mid-State Health Network. The ICSAI is the county initiative for substance abuse prevention which has both an advisory board and a workgroup. The workgroup consists of community members, local public agencies, schools, and local treatment providers. The Advisory Board is a 7-member volunteer board that is appointed by the Ionia County Board of Commissioners representing each of the (7) commissioners’ districts. ICSAI meets monthly to focus on substance abuse prevention services in our community through data collection and analysis, information dissemination, community engagement and mobilization. Among the many programs offered through the ICSAI is the “Too Good for Drugs” program.

The St. Patrick School community would like to congratulate our 5th grade students on their completion of the program. We hope they continue to keep these lessons, skills and tools with them throughout the rest of their lives.

We would also like to thank Mrs. Debbie Thalison for working with our students each week and the Ionia County Substance Abuse Initiative board, the Ionia County Health Department and Mid-State Health Network for providing the funding for this program.


Keeping our children safe

Posted on May 12, 2017 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

As the school year wraps up we begin to enter into a summer mode where we’re more relaxed and carefree. However, this can also mean we become more carefree in other areas of our life like paying attention to the safety of students in our community in and around school zones. I would like to work together with you to make sure that safety continues to be a top priority for our students and all students in the Portland area both while school is in session and during the summer months.

Areas where we can work together to improve the safety and well-being of our students include:

• Speeding in a school zone. We’ve all done it once or twice but consistently drivers exceed the posted 25-mile-per-hour speed limit when travelling by the school on both West Street and Grand River Avenue. Students are crossing Grand River Avenue throughout the day to access the student parking lot or Alton Park. We ask that you watch out for students crossing at all times of the day, not just in the morning and afternoon and slow down always.

• Parking on both sides of the street near Father Flohe Field. When both baseball and softball games are going on at Father Flohe Field and during large events like Summerfest we have people parked on both sides of Union Street. Please remember that children are not looking both ways and may potentially dart out in front of cars when crossing to go to West Side to purchase goodies. Students should avoid jaywalking and cross at intersections where it is safer to cross.

• Car seats, as required by state law. Michigan law states: Children must be properly buckled in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4-feet-9-inches tall. Children must ride in a seat until they reach the age requirement or the height requirement, whichever comes first.

• Texting and driving. Most of us are glued to our phones 24/7 now. Even though it’s dangerous, many people still text and drive. I urge you to set an example for your children where you leave the phone down or out of sight while driving.

• Stopping for school buses. Many people are still not stopping for the red, overhead lights on school buses when they are dropping off and picking up students. These are the rules you need to remember when approaching a school bus:

o When overhead lights are flashing yellow: Prepare to stop

o When overhead lights are flashing red: Stop

o When hazard warning lights are flashing: Proceed with caution

I hope we can all work together to keep our children safe. They are our most precious treasure and their safety is our concern both inside and outside of school.


Seniors Put the Scholar in Athlete!

Posted on May 5, 2017 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

On Sunday, April 23, the Central Michigan Athletic Conference (CMAC) held its annual Scholar Athlete Banquet at the Eagle Eye Country Club. The banquet, which is held each April, honors seniors from the nine CMAC schools who have maintained a grade point average above 3.40 and who also lettered in two or more varsity sports (at least one in their senior year) in their high school careers.

The Scholar Athlete Banquet is a wonderful celebration, which invites the honored student athletes along with their parents and school administrators to a delicious meal, followed by a keynote speaker and presentation of the certificates.

This year's speaker was Pewamo-Westphalia High School Principal Mr. Todd Simmons. He commended the student athletes for their hard work in the gym, on the field, track, and course as well as for their accomplishments in the classroom. He recognized and acknowledged them for being the best in the CMAC. The focus of his keynote address was to challenge the student athletes to know their purpose for being and to know their role, whatever it may be.

The athletic director from each school read the names of the scholar athletes and talked about their accomplishments and future goals which included their college plans. As their names were called, the student athletes came to the front where they received a certificate from their superintendent or principal acknowledging their accomplishment and giving them individual recognition of their hard work.

St. Patrick School had 15 scholar athletes recognized at the banquet on Sunday, which represents 75% of the senior class. The students, recognized for both their academic and athletic success were Karlie Bartlett, Greg Doll, Noah Goodman, Hannah Greenwood, Blake Hodge, Sam Hodge, Matt Jandernoa, Sammi Leonard, Abrielle Mason, Jerrid Pline, Kelsey Schneider, Brendan Schrauben, Graham Smith, Brittany Thelen and Blake Wohlschied.

St. Patrick student athletes are also being noticed and recognized at a higher level than in the past. Previously, very few St. Patrick student athletes were recruited or chose to take their athletic skills and abilities to the next level. Now, each year, we have a number of students being recruited and signing National Letters of Intent. Currently, two students from the Class of 2017 have committed to a college athletic team. They are:

• Hannah Greenwood – Volleyball at Aquinas College

• Brendan Schrauben – Baseball at Alma College

St. Patrick School continues to encourage our students to use their gifts pursuing extracurricular activities in both athletics and in other areas. We are excited and proud when our students are recognized for working hard, honoring their commitments, and being successful in the classroom and beyond. It is the final piece of our mission statement: “We Achieve!” Congratulations to our seniors who have achieved both in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. May God continue to bless them in their future endeavors.