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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End of Year Will Be Busy

Posted on March 22, 2018 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (0)

It's hard to believe that on Friday, March 23, we have reached the conclusion of the third marking period of the 2017-18 school year. At the end of the school day on Thursday, March 29, our students will begin their week-long Easter break. When we return on Monday, April 9, it will begin a very busy time for St. Patrick School students and their families. There is a plethora of activities scheduled between now and the rest of the school year and we want to take time to share some of them with you. We would love to have you join us when possible.


• April 21: We host our annual Shamrock Auction fundraiser at the Knights of Columbus Hall. The doors open at 6 p.m. The silent auction runs from 6-9:30 p.m. and the live auction runs from 8-11 p.m. Money raised at this event are split between the school’s general fund and the athletic budget.


• April 22: CMAC Scholar Athlete Banquet – At this event, seniors who have achieved a grade point average (GPA) higher than a 3.40 and lettered in two or more varsity sports will be acknowledged with all the other league student athletes who achieved at this level.


• April 24: Senior awards banquet - The junior class will host our annual senior awards banquet which honors this year’s graduating class.

• April 28: Prom – The junior and senior prom will take place at the Watermark Country Club in Grand Rapids.


• May 6: First Holy Communion – 2nd grade students who participate in the group ceremony will receive their First Holy Communion at a 2 p.m. Mass.


• May 11: Spring Carnival, book fair and art show – We will host our annual spring carnival, book fair and art show throughout the school beginning at 6 p.m.


• May 14: Grandparents Day – We will host our annual grandparent’s day beginning at 1 p.m. in the school gym. After hearing songs by our elementary students, grandparents will visit classrooms for a treat.


• May 15: H.I.T. Awards ceremony – Our eight Heartlands Institute of Technology students will be acknowledged at their annual awards banquet.


• May 17: Seniors’ last Mass – The seniors will lead Mass for the final time at our 9:30 a.m. school Mass in the church. This will also be their last day of school.


• May 20: Graduation Mass and commencement - We will celebrate the successful school careers of our 26 seniors at a 2 p.m. graduation Mass with Bishop Walkowiak presiding. Commencement will follow in the school gymnasium.


• May 28: No School – Memorial Day.


• June 6: Last day of school – The 2017-18 school year will conclude with a half day of school.


Wow! It will be an extremely busy end to the school year at St. Patrick School. Please consult our school calendar for these and any other activities that are taking place around St. Patrick Parish and School at We look forward to having you join us!



Lifting our voices in song

Posted on March 13, 2018 at 6:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Each March, the Diocese of Grand Rapids hosts an annual event called Songfest. All the fourth-grade students in the diocese are invited to West Catholic High School in Grand Rapids for a fun and exciting day.

This year, more than 300 students from 19 schools across the diocese participated in the 22nd annual Songfest. The day starts with the students gathering at West Catholic for rehearsal. Deacon Dennis Rybicki, director of liturgical music for the diocese, directs the program. He begins the day going through and explaining the music and has students practice all the songs they will be performing that evening. The students have all been practicing in their music classes before the big day. He is assisted throughout the program by Mr. Kevin Varner, principal of Our Lady of Consolation School in Rockford, and Ms. Cindy Thomas, principal of St. Stephen School in East Grand Rapids, as moderators.

Each fall, the 4th grade students are assigned a pen pal from another school from within the diocese. They write letters back and forth throughout the fall and winter. Then following morning rehearsal, they get to meet each other during lunch.

After lunch, it is back for dress rehearsal. Deacon Dennis leads them through the program one more time trying to emulate their performance as close as it will possibly be for the evening performance.

After dress rehearsal, each school has open time to explore before the evening begins. For St. Patrick School, we visit Frederick Meijer Gardens. This time of year is perfect because we can check out the butterfly exhibit along with walking around to look at the various works of art in their gallery and on the campus.

After visiting Frederick Meijer Gardens, we head to Applebees for dinner and time to relax. Following dinner, it’s back to West Catholic for the show.

The evening program begins with a welcome and prayer from our diocesan Superintendent Mr. David Faber. Fourth-grade students lead the singing of our national anthem. It’s then followed by songs including but not limited to Blessed Are They, the Fifty Nifty United States and Go Light Your World. It is always a student and crowd favorite when the students “make it rain.”

Our students are excited about this opportunity to participate in Songfest. It provides for a memorable day and it also gives them an opportunity to see they are part of something bigger and more than just our school here in Portland. It’s an experience they share with their classmates making memories that will last a lifetime.


Making a difference for children

Posted on February 23, 2018 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

This column was submitted by Annalise Laumeyer, vice chair of the St. Patrick School Board.

Most of us search for ways to give back to the communities we live, work and play in, those we have a connection to. For the school board members of St. Patrick, our reason isn’t any different from another volunteer activity we could spend our time participating in. Just like those who feed the hungry, sort clothes for the needy, or volunteer at a local organization, we feel a connection to help. All of us have a connection to the school in some way, we’re an alumnus, a parent, a grandparent, a parishioner, or a community member who has a vested interest in local education.

Through our volunteer efforts we aim to provide a better future for the next generation of Catholic school children. As a Board of Limited Jurisdiction, we work closely with the administration and assist in the governance of the school. As defined by the diocesan manual, “The Board of Directors shall have as its primary concern the ministry of Catholic education via strategic planning, formulation of policies relating to academic, student, and faith community affairs, and evaluation of policies and operations.”

The committees we serve on and the work we do directly correlates with the skills and talents we have. There are seven different subcommittees which means there is a spot for you. Our hope is that you will join us in our mission to form the next generation of leaders for our Church, community, and the world.

The current members of the board are: Keelie Honsowitz, chair of the board and the Executive Committee; myself serving as vice chair of the board and co-chair of the Marketing and Public Relations Committee; Nancy Wohlschied, recording secretary; Shayla Schneider and Lisa Bartlett who serve as Policy Committee co-chairs; Jennifer Davlin and Brandi Bengel who serve as co-chairs of the Mission Effectiveness Committee; Sue Van Lente, co-chair of the Marketing and Public Relations Committee; Dr. Bruce Beachnau who serves as the Finance Committee chair and is a member of the parish finance council to ensure our financial goals align with that of the parish; Mark Thelen, chair of the Technology Committee; Marc Nichols and Teresa Schneider, co-chairs of the Strategic Planning Committee; and Melissa Schrauben and Michael Wolfston who co-chair our Development Committee.

We meet about every six weeks as a board of the whole and subcommittees set their own schedules for meeting and accomplishing their tasks.

The meeting dates for the remainder of the school year are:

• February 22, 2018

• April 12, 2018

• May 31, 2018

Thank you to my fellow board members for your service; I look forward to continuing to work with you. We’re currently accepting nominations for next year’s school board and I guarantee there’s a spot for you. You can submit your name or the name of someone you know at

Additional information about the school board, including meeting minutes, can be found under the Administration icon on our school website

St. Patrick Catholic School Prepares for Lent

Posted on February 14, 2018 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Lent, from the Middle English word Lentum, meaning springtime, is a period of 40 days of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving before Easter. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday when the Sacred Triduum begins.

Lent offers us all a special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to a way of life, rooted in our baptism. It is an opportunity to reflect on our lives, pray more deeply, repent of the wrongs we have committed or in what we have failed to do, and to be charitable to those in need.

All of us at St. Patrick School have begun to spend time preparing for Lent. Students and staff attended Ash Wednesday Mass on February 14. The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance. In the early Church, Ash Wednesday was the day on which those who had sinned and wished to be readmitted to the Church would begin their public penance. The ashes that we receive are a reminder of our own sinfulness and many Catholics leave them on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility. Some other activities that our students will be involved with during Lent are:

• Stations of the Cross: Each Friday during Lent, students will come together and pray the Stations of the Cross. The Stations of the Cross are a Catholic devotion which commemorates the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Each of the fourteen traditional stations represents an event which occurred during Jesus' passion and death at Calvary on Good Friday. Stations of the Cross are open to the public. Please consult the parish calendar for times of St. Patrick School Stations of the Cross.

• Operation Rice Bowl: Middle school students put the Rice Bowls together and studied some of the areas around the world discussing how this program will help those in need. On Holy Thursday, the staff will serve our students lunch. The students will donate what they would have spent on lunch that day to the Rice Bowl. You can learn more about the Rice Bowl campaign here:

• Hard as Nails Ministry will host a You’re Amazing assembly for students in all grades on March 9.

• Preschool students will be talking about and reading age appropriate books about Lent and Easter. Each day they will have a Lenten activity. They will collect coins throughout the Lenten season and the money will be donated to the Rice Bowl campaign.

• Students individually commit to fasting or performing Christian service.

Lent is a time for all of us to focus on repenting from our sins and consecrating ourselves to God, not on trying to earn God's favor or increase his love for us. It is our goal that all our student body and faculty be prepared for the resurrection of our Lord on Easter.

Join us to explore our early education programs

Posted on February 6, 2018 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)

The education of a child during their developmental years is crucial to their lifelong success. Therefore, it is never too early to begin thinking about your child’s education. St. Patrick School has programs for students beginning at three years of age.

The focus of preschool education is socialization skills. Students learn how to follow rules, play with and be respectful of others including how to share or take turns, converse, problem solve, explore, experiment, and develop their fine motor skills. They learn to do things for themselves and this helps them to build confidence. Finally, they focus on discovering God’s world, developing friendships, and discovering a lifelong love of learning.

Our preschool staff of Mrs. Stacy Russman and Mr. Aaron Thelen have more than two decades of classroom experience and are passionate about preparing our youngest students for the journey of life.

Our developmental kindergarten program acts as a bridge between preschool and kindergarten for those students who aren’t quite ready. This may include students who may not meet the age requirement, or they just may need a little more time to mature socially, emotionally, academically or physically before they enter kindergarten. Mrs. Amy Weems, our developmental kindergarten teacher, has almost 20 years of classroom experience.


Kindergarten students are expected to learn much more than their parents and grandparents did in kindergarten. While the curriculum is rigorous, our teacher, Miss Melissa Chamberlain makes it fun and engaging so the students enjoy learning. Students will learn letter sounds, how to put words together, rhyming, sentence building, number sense, patterns, shapes and so many other important skills. They paint, use crayons, markers, and pencils to strengthen their fine motor skills. Students also have access to touch screen chrome books in our computer lab and a Smartboard in their classroom.


Both our DK and kindergarten programs have a full range of specials that include Spanish, art, music, library, physical education and computers.


We encourage you to learn more about our early education programs and scholarships by attending our open house on Thursday, February 15, beginning in our Parish Hall at 6:30 p.m. The open house will include information about each program and will provide an opportunity to visit the classrooms for our early education programs. Welcome Scholarships will be available for new families from the Diocese of Grand Rapids again next year. $250 will be available for preschoolers, $750 for K-8, and $1,000 for 9-11.


If you have further questions regarding St. Patrick’s preschool, DK or kindergarten programs, please contact me at or by calling the school at (517) 647-7551. I hope to see you at the open house on Thursday, February 15 at 6:30 p.m. 

The Pro-Life Generation

Posted on January 29, 2018 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (0)

This week’s column is being submitted by junior Summer Russman who attended the March for life in Washington D.C. on Friday, January 19 with 30 other St. Patrick High School students.

The March for Life has always inspired me. Every year, I have always wanted to be a part of it, but have had other obligations. This year, when I heard that all sports and school activities were cleared, I jumped at the opportunity to go. I expected the March to be a great experience, but I never expected that it would have such a profound impact on my life. It is difficult to put into words as to how great my experience was.

Our trip began on Thursday with an early morning on the road. After a long bus ride, filled with singing, movies, and stories, we arrived in Washington D.C. After freshening up, we attended a rally at George Mason University. It was a beautiful experience that I will never forget. At the rally, we listened to very powerful speakers, sang of God’s glory, and experienced our Lord in adoration. These things set the mood for the morning to come.

We began the next day by sightseeing. We had the privilege to visit some of the most famous monuments in the United States. About an hour before the March, we attended another rally. This rally was especially inspiring because it consisted of many testimonies from mothers who had experienced the effects of abortion first hand. There were also many politicians who showed up to offer their support for the pro-life movement. It was comforting to know that there are many elected officials working for the rights of the unborn.

When the March began, I was overwhelmed by the amount of people there. It was beautiful to see so many people give up their time for a cause that they believe so strongly in. Just being with all those people gave me hope for the future. The theme for the March this year was, “Love Saves Lives.” While I was marching, I began to meditate on the ways that this phrase embodies the pro-life movement. I came to the conclusion that the only way that we can win the battle against abortion, is through love. The March for Life is rooted in love. We do not march with hateful hearts, but march with loving hearts, full of hope for the future.

When the March was over, we spent some time at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We attended Mass, and offered up our prayers for the unborn. The next day, it was time for us to return home. Although I was not ready to leave Washington D.C., I was excited to come home and share all that I had experienced with others. I was deeply moved and ready to expand the pro-life movement. I am eternally grateful for the experience and am looking forward to going again next year.

Saying Goodbye to Father Larry

Posted on January 23, 2018 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (0)

In 2004, our current pastor, Fr. Larry King was assigned to St. Patrick Parish. Since that time, he has served as the canonical administrator for St. Patrick Catholic School. This essentially means that one of his main roles as pastor is to support and encourage the programs and activities of the school, as an integral piece of the parish’s ministry. On Wednesday, Jan. 31 we say goodbye to our beloved pastor as he enters retirement. But even in retirement he’ll be busy as he fills in for priests on vacation or helps out at other parishes.

Fr. Larry has always been there supporting our school and students in many ways including:

• Presiding at and conferring most of the sacraments for our students. The majority of our students were baptized by Fr. Larry and received their first holy Communion from him. They most likely attended reconciliation with Fr. Larry for the first time and have received this sacrament from him at least once a year beginning in the 2nd grade.

• He and his puppet Elmo always visited classrooms to welcome students back at the beginning of each school year.

• He has presided at hundreds of school Masses delivering a different message each week. Many of his homilies were unforgettable for our students including his touching stories, unique props such as flashlights and windshield wiper glasses. There were also his unique messages such as “unclean,” “namaste,” and “dare to be a follower of Christ.”

• His puppets Elmo, Sophie and Gator were a staple at school Mass when an elementary class was leading Mass that week. We even had the opportunity to meet his new puppet Eagle Eye at a recent school Mass.

• He is an active supporter of the school. He has been adamant about being present at each school board meeting and providing feedback and direction for the school and its programs.

• He is excited to attend school events such as our annual National Honor Society (NHS) induction ceremony, Christmas program, and is often seen on the sideline at home football games or in the stands at other games.

• He is also a big supporter of our school play and local theatre. He attended most performances staged by the Portland Civic Players and other area theatre groups.

Fr. Larry is perhaps most known by the students for his message to keep their “candle lit for Christ” since they are the light of the world. If you’ve ever seen Fr. Larry walk through the playground at recess or through the school, you will see the elementary students (and sometimes secondary students) all putting their thumbs up and their hand on their head indicating their candle is lit for Christ. You will also see him laughing and talking with the students as they gather around him whenever he visits the school.

Now, it is time to say goodbye to Fr. Larry as he moves into a new chapter of his life. On behalf of the students and staff of St. Patrick School we say thank you for your years of service to St. Patrick School. We also say goodbye and we wish you the best in your retirement. May God continue to bless you and keep you!


Celebrating the Successes of 2017

Posted on December 23, 2017 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

The end of the year always finds the circulation of many lists counting down the major events that happened. And before we ring in 2018, I would like to create my own list and look back at the top events for St. Patrick School during 2017.

It would be impossible to rank them in order of importance so I have placed them in chronological order instead:

1. In March, we brought back our school play for the first time in recent history. Our students performed “The Entire American Revolution (in 40 minutes or less!)”

2. The Class of 2017 graduated in May! 75% of the class were members of the National Honor Society and were recognized as CMAC Scholar Athletes. 17 out of the 20 enrolled in higher education. Two signed National Letter of Intents to participate in college athletics. 12 graduated with honors (3.79 GPA or higher) with seven of those having a weighted 4.0 GPA or higher. They were offered a total of $793,330 in scholarships over the next four years.

3. The varsity boy’s baseball team followed up last year’s historic season with an even more historic season that culminated in our school’s first baseball state championship.

4. After piloting a 1:1 Chromebook program, each student in grades 9 – 11 received a Chromebook for the 2017-18 school year. Middle school students have a cart of 30 Chromebooks at their disposal and elementary students have new touch screen Chromebooks in the elementary computer lab.

5. St. Patrick High School and Aquinas College signed an agreement to host classes on our campus. More than 40 juniors and seniors signed up for the inaugural classes.

6. St. Patrick School received a Building Healthy Communities grant. New Ga Ga Ball Pits were installed in the area between the church and school as well as at Alton Park, much to the liking of our student body. You can read more about this project in my previous columns.

7. The St. Patrick Student Ambassador Team was established and began doing missionary work in our parish and throughout the area with the goal of reaching out and making St. Patrick High School an even more welcoming place for students of all ages.

8. The varsity football team finished the regular season with an 8 – 1 record. They went on to the Division II 8-player state championship game and finished as State runner-up’s.

9. Our Quiz Bowl team competed on the Quizbusters show on PBS and won the play-in match and advanced to the tournament round. They completed an excellent season bringing home a second-place league trophy and a second-place league tournament trophy, where they were defeated only by one point.

10. The school is wrapping up 2017 with many Advent initiatives that include our students collecting boxes of food for local families, our Big Rock and Little Rocks working together to fill 130 shoeboxes for the Community Fund’s shoebox project, NHS members collecting more than 170 toys and appearing on WZZM in Grand Rapids for the annual Toys for Tots collection and an excellent elementary Christmas program under the direction of music teacher Mr. David Skeels.

“We Achieve!” is the third and final part of our mission statement and it is evidenced by this list. Many hours of work by a great number of individuals were completed to make all of these events happen throughout 2017. We are excited about these accomplishments and are even more excited for the prospect of bigger and better things to come in 2018. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at St. Patrick School!


Students Celebrate Advent

Posted on December 23, 2017 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Advent is a time to prepare for Christmas; which means the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks is always busy and packed with activities. Each year, much preparation and planning takes place to ensure that our students are well prepared for the coming of Christ on Christmas. To prepare our students to be good disciples here are some of the activities that have taken place throughout Advent at the school:

 Each Monday, our high school campus ministry team hosted an Advent wreath lighting ceremony in the church for our staff and students.

 On December 5, German Club students travelled to Frankenmuth, Michigan to learn about the German culture and some of their Christmas traditions.

 On December 7, Big Rocks assisted their Little Rocks in filling 130 shoeboxes full of items for those in need as we participated in the community-wide Christmas Giving Shoebox Program.

 On December 8, our students attended Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a holy day of obligation for Catholics.

 Our annual preschool through 5th grade Christmas music program was held on December 11 in the school gym. Our music teacher, Mr. David Skeels did a masterful job of preparing the students and the students were outstanding in their performances.

 Our school participated in the Portland Community Fund’s annual winter coat, hat, and food drive collecting a plethora of items that will all be donated locally.

 St. Patrick School was a drop-off site for the Toys for Tots program. Members of the National Honor Society collected over 170 toys that were delivered to the Ionia Free Fair grounds for distribution. Unfortunately, due to a snow day, our students were unable to help with the sorting and distribution of the toys which we have done since Toys for Toys was originally started. NHS also had the honor of travelling to WZZM in Grand Rapids where they were able to celebrate the Toys for Tots collection with high schools all over West Michigan.

 High school students took first semester exams throughout the week of December 18. This is our fourth year of holding exams before Christmas break.

 Mrs. Fleischer's second grade students did three brilliant performances of the Nativity play titled “The Christmas Story.”

 All of our elementary classrooms hosted Christmas activities on December 21 before they embarked on Christmas break.

I appreciate the efforts of our students and staff throughout the Advent Season and appreciate all the support of our parents and grandparents. We had a great time with all the special activities before Christmas break and look forward to a very fun, exciting, and successful New Year.


Strong Community Partners Lead to a Vibrant Community

Posted on December 12, 2017 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

As a member of this community, we value our relationships with city, business, and school leaders. There are many services provided by our local government. In fact, you may not even be aware of the many pieces of the partnership we have with them.

• A member of the Portland Police Department serves as a liaison to the Chief of Police on our behalf. In addition, the officer helps conduct lock down drills with the students and plans safety measures with the school administration. The police department also provides an officer for our community events in which we may disrupt traffic or need extra assistance, such as leading our annual homecoming parade.

• The Portland Fire Department has an annual fire safety assembly the first week of October. They also assist in running and supervising at least one fire drill each year and assist with any changes that may need to be instituted or implemented. The fire department also sends several members to ignite and supervise our annual homecoming bonfire.

• We work with the City each year in the planning and coordinating of the picking up and removal of leaves on our Annual Thanksliving Day.

Most recently, we have been working with the City on additional safety measures for our school and parish grounds. These include but are not limited to:

• Looking at and reviewing parking on Union Street when ballgames and the parish festival are taking place. It was recently approved to only allow parking on one side of Union Street by the City Council during their November meeting. No Parking signs have been installed with the goal of improving the safety of pedestrians, traffic flow and emergency vehicle access.

• Reviewing the intersection of West Street and E. Grand River Avenue for the safety of students crossing to and from the student parking lot as well as Alton Park. You may have already noticed the new school crossing signs that have been installed recently. We are active members of the Safe Routes to School grant application committee. Other members of the committee include Portland Public Schools Superintendent Will Health, Transportation Director Gary Bond, City Manager Tutt Gorman and City Engineer John Moxey.

• Reviewing the safety of students playing in Alton Park with the possibility of finding grants and/or donations to upgrade the playground equipment. As a part of the Building Healthy Communities grant, St. Patrick School donated and installed a Ga Ga Ball pit at Alton Park. The Portland City Parks and Recreation Department accepted a donation of fencing, on our behalf, for the front of Alton Park along Grand River Ave. and approval for the installation has been completed. We need volunteers to install the fencing. Please contact us if you would be willing to lead this project and more information will be provided.

Ultimately, it is important to us that we continually stay in contact with our local government to not only work together for the betterment of our community but also to teach our students to be good citizens. It is important that we all take responsibility for being good stewards of what we have here in our community.

We thank everyone who is employed by and represents the City of Portland for working with St. Patrick School and for all they do for our community.


2017 Fall Sports Wrap Up

Posted on December 5, 2017 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

With our 2017 varsity baseball team ending the previous school year with a state championship, we were all excited to see what kind of encore our fall sports season would bring. Our varsity football team did not disappoint as they allowed us to hang a second consecutive banner by finishing as the state runner-up in Division II 8-man football. We would like to congratulate all our teams for their efforts throughout this fall sports season! A lot of time and hard work was put forth in the gym, on the field and course, and in the classroom by our student athletes.

As previously mentioned, the Shamrock football team had an outstanding season going 8 – 1 during the regular season and advancing to the state finals and finishing 11-2 as state runner-up. Individual honors include:

• Colin Cook: Honorable mention all-state defensive line

• Tanner Lawson: Honorable mention all-state QB, Channel 6 and Lansing State Journal Athlete of the Week

• Ned Smith: Lansing State Journal Athlete of the Week

• Tyler Schrauben: Tim Chamberlain Award

The varsity volleyball team followed last year’s historic season with another strong one. They were awarded honorable mention in the state rankings during the season and brought home a first-place trophy at the Burton Bendle tournament. They finished the season with a 23-16-3 record and finished 5th in the CMAC (a league in which both the first and second place teams advanced to the state finals in their respective division). They also exceled in the classroom qualifying for team academic all-state. Individual awards include:

• Amelia Schrauben: Academic all-state, school records for most assists in a career and most aces in a career.

• Lauren Bengel: Academic all-state, Class D all-region, honorable mention CMAC

• Emma Gunderman: Academic all-state

• Jerika Kihn: Honorable mention CMAC

Our cross-country program had a girls’ team for the first time in a number of years and finished in 6th place in a competitive CMAC. The girls’ team finished 14th out of 34 schools while the boys’ team finished 13th out of 38 schools at the Class D meet. Individual honors include:

• Tyler Coyne: Medalist in three meets, honorable mention CMAC, academic all-state

Our JV volleyball team finished with a 14-2-12 record and advanced to the championship game in two of their tournaments. We were also excited to field a freshmen volleyball team again for the first time in a couple of years. They finished with a record of 8-2-4 and won the Silver Bracket of the Lakewood Invitational.

As a Catholic School, we expect our student athletes to represent our school in a positive manner, bringing Christ to everything they do, and making us proud with their sportsmanship. Without a doubt, they have done so in what turned out to be an extremely successful follow-up to our great spring sports season. They represented our school mission statement: We Pray! We Learn! We Achieve!


A Time to be Thankful

Posted on November 21, 2017 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Each year around this time I, like many others, spend time reflecting on what I am thankful for. There are many things that come to mind, first and foremost having the opportunity to serve as principal in my home parish and at the school from which I graduated. But, there are several other things that always stand out as well.

I am so appreciative that our school is built on our faith in Christ. Having the freedom to put God first in everything we do is a precious gift. We pray each morning as we start the day, we give thanks at lunch time, we gather for Mass each week, and we pray before each large event, including athletic events. What a gift it is that we can give thanks for all our successes and blessings.

I also enjoy the family-like atmosphere here at our parish school. We are one big family and our school is an extension of students’ homes. All families have issues they struggle with. Families go through tough times where their love is tested. Fortunately, tough times don’t last but tough people do. Families forgive and forget and move on and grow from the trials and tribulations that test their love and faith. And in the end, it is always a great feeling to come home.

The commitment to academic success throughout our school community is another thing I appreciate about our school. Our school families value rigorous standards in the classroom and invest themselves in that success. Smaller graduating classes give teachers the opportunity to truly get to know their students and provide them with one-on-one attention. It is easier to monitor a student’s progress, remediate a struggling student, and help foster the family environment we have at St. Patrick School.

I am proud that are students are willing to step up and be leaders in our school and in our community. Our Student Ambassador Team continues to do great work in our school, in our community and beyond. Students continually look around and where there is a need, they find a way to fill it. We have a new computer club and a handwriting club this school year which were started by our students.

Our students are missionaries in the truest sense as they represent their faith, school and families. Here is just one example of how our students and their families represented our school.  We received this note this week:

My husband and I were in Marquette, MI on Saturday night (11/18/17) to celebrate his birthday. It was a getaway we were looking forward to because it was our first night away from our six children in over a year. When we checked into our hotel (the Country Inn) we were thoroughly disappointed to see teenagers everywhere.

However, the students and their families who stayed in the hotel were excellent stewards of your school. The kids were mannerly and well behaved, and the families were all at Mass on Sunday morning.

I wanted to pass on the compliments to you as the head of your school. These young people were really a beautiful example of why Catholic education is worth it. We are from Iron Mountain and our children go to a Catholic school there but there is no option for Catholic high school. I hope and pray that your school is thriving.

God Bless!

Jessica Cameron

One cannot go wrong with a foundation built on faith, family, love, and learning. It is a foundation that is made to weather even the toughest of times. St. Patrick School and Parish are definitely something to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

St. Patrick High School Students Prepare for Retreats

Posted on November 21, 2017 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

As a Catholic school, our most important and crucial responsibility is the development of our students' faith. There are many channels that we use to accomplish this, one is our annual high school retreat day. It takes place each year around the beginning of Advent.


Although our Catholic faith is infused into our everyday curriculum, it’s important we allow students to further their spiritual mission and experience God’s work outside the classroom. On Wednesday, Nov. 29, all St. Patrick High School students will attend a retreat.


Any high school student in grades 9 - 11, including those who are homeschooled or attend Portland High School who belong to St. Patrick Parish are invited to attend at no cost. If your child does not attend St. Patrick High School and would like to attend, please RSVP to the school office by Tuesday, November 21 to assist our planning.


The retreat day schedule is as follows:


Freshmen: Aquinas College Light Team

  • Theme: SHINE: Serving Him IN Everything
  • Location: Aquinas College, Grand Rapids
  • Time: Depart at 7:30 – Return at 3:00
  • Lunch: Provided at AQ Cafeteria


Sophomores and Juniors: Mr. Bill Mousel

  • Theme: The Source and Summit of Our Faith
  • Location: St. Patrick Parish Hall
  • Time: 8:00 – 2:30
  • Lunch: Catered by Sue Kreiner around 11:30


Seniors: Fr. Solanus Casey Center

  • Theme: “Called to Serve”
  • Location: Fr. Solanus Casey Center, Detroit
  • Time: Depart: 6:30 a.m. – Return: 6:30 p.m.
  • Lunch: Eat at Food Kitchen
  • Dinner: Sit down restaurant on the way home (students must bring their own money)


Permission slips for freshmen and seniors need to be turned in to their theology teachers by Monday, Nov. 27.


The retreats provide our high school students the opportunity to grow as individuals and to grow spiritually. They also provide lifelong lessons that may forever impact them. We will continue to encourage our students to participate in events and activities over and above our theology curriculum so they can become the best they can be.


For more information contact Mr. Randy Hodge, school administrator, at 647-7551 or


Join us for a Fall packed full of events

Posted on November 7, 2017 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

We have completed a very busy and exciting first marking period and are preparing for many activities that will take place before we reach the end of 2017. Looking ahead, there is no immediate let up in the schedule with many activities scheduled between now and Christmas Break. Here are some of the activities taking place that we would like you to know about and join us for.

• November 16: The St. Patrick School PTO hosts its annual wine tasting fundraiser at the Wagon Wheel. This is a great time to socialize and meet new friends while helping our Parent Teacher Organization raise funds.

• November 20: Diocesan seminarians will visit St. Patrick students and share their stories of how they were called to become priests.

• November 21: Students will participate in our school’s annual community service day which we are calling “Thanksliving” this year. Students will be out in the community helping local residents and organizations with various projects. If you need your yard raked or a small service project completed please contact the school office (647-7551) and let us know what we can do to help, along with the location of the project.

• November 29: High schoolers will participate in our annual retreat day. Our seniors will travel to the Fr. Solanus Casey Center in Detroit and the freshmen will travel to Aquinas College for their respective retreats. The sophomore and junior retreat will take place on our school campus.

• December 5: Our high school German classes will travel to Frankenmuth to have an opportunity to engage in German culture right in our own state.

• December 8: We will celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. Masses. All are welcome.

• December 11: At 2:30 and again at 6:00 p.m., we will have our annual elementary Christmas program in our school gymnasium.

• December 14: Our National Honor Society students will travel to Ionia to help prepare for the annual Toys for Tots toy giveaway.

• December 19 – 21: Our high school students will have their annual exam week before embarking on Christmas break.

• December 20: Our elementary students will celebrate Christmas with parties in their classrooms.

Stay up to date with what’s happening at St. Patrick by reading our school newsletter online (, following us on Twitter (@PortlandStPats) and liking our Facebook page (St. Patrick School – Portland, Michigan).


St. Patrick Students to Celebrate "Thanksliving"

Posted on October 31, 2017 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (0)

For many years, St. Patrick students have participated annually in an event called “Pay It Forward”. In recent years, it has mostly consisted of raking leaves around the community. After much thought, prayer and brainstorming, this event will be getting an extreme makeover this school year including a new name.

The St. Patrick High School Ambassador Team has spent a great deal of time planning "Thanksliving.” As the name implies, our students will offer thanks for the blessings they have received through living service to people within our own community and in the surrounding area.

Our younger students will continue raking leaves for the elderly and homebound within walking distance of the school. But the secondary students will embark on much more ambitious service projects. Specific plans are still being formulated by the Student Ambassador team, but among those under consideration are:

• Hosting a Red Cross Blood Drive at the school

• Going to area nursing homes and visiting with those residing at the facilities. They will also help complete any projects that these facilities need help with.

• Assist Positive Solutions Informed Choices, a pregnancy resource center in Ionia, with any projects they may need assistance with.

• Complete any other service projects that our local government or citizens need help with.

• We would like to collaborate with other area Catholic Schools. This allows us the ability to expand our good will and provides the ability to reach out to those beyond our own community.

This big event will take place on Tuesday, November 21.

If you know of someone or any organization in the greater Portland area that we can be of assistance to on this date, please contact the school office at (517) 647-7551 or email your project or suggestions to

Continue to check our school website and Facebook page for "Thanksliving" updates and photos the day of. We will continue posting details and information as it becomes available.