(Click here for an easy to read, printable version)
Mrs. Hartnett writes,
As incredible as it may seem, we are at the end of the first month of the school year. I have such clear memories of this past summer, all the fun things we did, the trip to Maine that we took…so clear that it seems as if it were yesterday. And yet, here we are, almost in October, and then a quick flight to winter.
As this new year is unfolding, as I look each day at the fresh, bright-eyed faces of all of the boys in the Junior School, I am constantly reminded of the critical role that all of us, parents and schools, play in the well-being and happiness of all of our children. In addition to our educational responsibilities, each of us here at Priory must protect our children from what is noxious and ugly and connect them to what is beautiful and good and true in each other and in our world.
Children need to hear from their teachers and parents: “I love you, and I have expectations for you.” Children need time and patience and caring and consistency from the adults in their lives. It is also important for teachers to share their values with their students. Values such as honesty, integrity, justice, and honor take on a whole new dimension when they are modeled by all of the adults in a child’s life.
All of us who are involved with children need to learn about the world in which they live. We should be aware of the music they listen to and keep up to date on the television shows they watch. We need to be aware of the video games they play. In this way, we are able to function as a counter culture. We need to encourage our children to choose their media as carefully as they choose their friends.
Our culture has changed but the needs of children are the same. They need the respect and love of family and friends, meaningful work, appropriate challenges, and psychological and physical safety. They need identities based on talents and interests rather than appearance or popularity. They need good habits for coping with stress, and a sense of purpose and perspective. They need an awareness of others who are not blessed with their gifts and a willingness to help make the world a better place for everyone. And they need a family and a school focused in love, faith, and mutual support, confident in the love of God and prepared to face the world with joy and enthusiasm and hope.
AN INFORMATIVE UPDATE FOR PARENTS REGARDING SOCIAL MEDIA
Protecting God's Children for Adults
Facebook: Is it Still Cool Among Young People?
By Robert Hugh Farley, M.S.
Facebook has become the 21st century "brag book" for parents and grandparents to tout the photos and accomplishments of their adorable children and grandchildren. While many adults are exploring and enjoying the social networking site, where are our young people and children? Keeping abreast of how our children (or the children we serve) spend their time online is essential to helping them create proper boundaries, maintain safe and healthy relationships and avoid potential dangers. It is only by understanding the technologies used by so many young people that we can protect them.
Originally introduced in 2003 as a network for college students and alumni, Facebook is a social networking platform. A high school version was launched in 2006; at this time Facebook became widely accessible to children who must affirm that they are 13 or older (though there is no way to actually verify users' ages), only requiring an email address to register. Although other Internet social networking platforms existed prior to Facebook such as AOL (1997), Friendster (2002) and MySpace (2003), none of these platforms were embraced by the public quite like Facebook. Facebook was cutting edge, yet also extremely user-friendly and also multi-functional.
Facebook was identified as the site that one should utilize to locate old friends, keep in touch with new friends and even identify people who could be potential friends, all with a simple search feature. In some cases, popularity at school or among young people was based on the number of Facebook friends one was able to tally. As of 2012, Facebook purported to have over one billion active users.
However, just as numerous adults began to join the fun of social networking, young people seemed ready to move on to the next social media trend. For many, Facebook's long newsfeed, the public nature of comments, and very fact of their parents' participation, caused teens to look for something new.
The Expanding Landscape of Social Networking
As Facebook became less popular with young people, they turned to social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Twitter is a microblogging service that enables users to send and read short 140 character text messages, called "tweets." Instagram is a mobile photo-sharing and video-sharing application that allows users to take pictures and videos and then share them with others.
Another reason for the trend toward new social media platforms was the progression from the use of a desktop computer to the pervasive use by young people of apps on their smartphones and tablets for social interaction. Messaging apps offer free private communication, through the use of a cell phone number, for text messaging, face-to-face video conversations and other forms of communication. Young people are able to communicate with people they actually know without using Facebook, which allows less familiar "friends" to see their social interactions.
It is also important to note the rise in popularity of the "selfie," or what some are even referring to as an "ussie," which are self-portraits taken at arm's length with a smartphone, as well as the ever-present accessibility to smartphone cameras with their instant ability to circulate images. Because selfies and other photos may be taken in an awkward or silly situation, one may not want it posted on Facebook for just anyone to view. As a result, one of the most popular photo sharing alternatives is a free cell phone app called Snapchat. This app allows one to send a selfie or other photo "snap" to a controlled list of recipients. This problematic program is different from other picture sharing applications because Snapchat photos, or even videos, will self-destruct 2—10 seconds after they are received, making it impossible for parents to know who is communicating with their teens and what they are sharing.
Today a variety of social networking platforms that are easily accessible on smartphones offer some type of anonymity that many young people seem to crave. For instance, Whisper is a free app that allows users to send short public messages anonymously and receive replies. Users post messages that are displayed as text superimposed over an image—similar to a greeting card.
Yik Yak is another free app that allows anyone to post anything without attaching themselves to a username. It does not even require a password to log in. The timeline of Yik Yak is similar to Twitter, but without the ability to post photos. It is extremely localized; anyone within 1.5 miles of an app/message can read the post. The use of Yik Yak in the middle of a high-school cafeteria could result in students within the cafeteria teasing, maligning, gossiping or even threatening someone else nearby with the bully remaining anonymous.
Highlight is an app that runs quietly in the background of a smartphone, continuously providing and also sharing information about the people nearby - about 100 yards away. When one meets someone who is also running Highlight, the two users may be able to see what they have in common. Highlight has been criticized for its ability to disclose private social networking information to strangers.
Tinder is another location-based app that gathers nearby Tinder user's 500 character profile information in an attempt to match individuals who are likely to be compatible. The app allows one to anonymously like or pass by swiping or tapping. If two users like each other then it results in a "match" and Tinder introduces the two users and opens a chat. Tinder has been criticized as being a haven for ultimately creepy exchanges and sexual encounters.
There is little doubt that millions of young people will embrace these and many more innovative apps that exist or are on the social networking horizon. Adults should not be lulled into believing that because they have a Facebook account that they are attuned to today's social networking landscape as it relates to young people and children.
Technology continues to rapidly change. Parents, teachers and all of us who are charged with protecting children must continue our efforts to stay abreast of the many new programs and latest apps that may be used by young people and child molesters seeking to manipulate and sexually abuse children.
This article above is the copyrighted property of National Catholic Services, LLC (National Catholic), all rights reserved, and is republished here with National Catholic's permission. It originally appeared on the VIRTUS Online™ website as continuing training for adults at www.virtus.org. For more information about VIRTUS Online or other VIRTUS® products and services, please call 1-888-847-8870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert Hugh Farley is a thirty-year veteran of the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Department in Chicago, Illinois. As a highly decorated Detective, Deputy U.S. Marshal and the Supervisor of the Sheriff’s Police Child Exploitation Unit, he has over 28 years of experience investigating and supervising child abuse investigations. In 2007, he supervised the internal investigation, following sexual abuse allegations, at Oprah Winfrey’s School for Girls in South Africa. He is now an international child exploitation consultant for INTERPOL, Microsoft and the VIRTUS® Programs.
THE PRESENTATION OF THE HONOR CODE AND CODE OF RESPECT
Those of you fortunate enough to join us on Wednesday, September 17, for the presentation of the Honor Code and Code of Respect to Headmaster Fr. Gregory would surely have been edified by the homily which Fr Gregory gave to the class, and to the whole School, about the importance of honor and love in each person’s life. And not only did Form I confirm their desire to be men of honor and of respect, the entire student body and faculty reaffirmed their own desire to be likewise.
The honor guard of the document, Ian Crossey representing Room 5, John Cunningham representing Room 6, Jack McEnery representing Room 7, and Ben Maynard representing Room 8, carried the Honor Code to and from the Junior School and presented it with great pride to Fr Gregory. The document now hangs in testimony in the Form I hall, living proof that these boys are men of honor.
NUSSBAUM SCHOLARSHIP WINNER
Congratulations to Form I student Agustin Kokenge, who is the 2014 winner of the Nussbaum Scholarship for Music. Agustin played Humoresque by Dvorak.
Nussbaum Scholarship winner Agustin Kokenge
Sunday is the day of departure for Camp Ondessonk. I will meet all of you at the Junior School no later than 7:45 am, for an 8:00 am departure. Please do not park in the circle drive on Sunday morning, as the buses cannot negotiate the curve if cars are there. Also, please plan Tuesday pickup around 3:30 pm, which is our estimated time of return. Form I campers are allowed to go home at that time.
DRESSING DOWN GOES TO THE DOGS
On Thursday, October 2, Priory will literally be going to the dogs. On this day, students may dress down, and the money collected will be donated to the Saint Louis Senior Dog Project. The SLSDP began 15 years ago as an organization dedicated to the protection and the re-homing of older dogs that had been abused, tortured, or neglected; animals available for adoption now include younger dogs, puppies, and occasionally, a cat or two. In the past few years, the organization has grown to include orchestrated and effective efforts to close substandard Missouri puppy mills, as well as to provide expert witness testimony in trials of organizers of dog fighting. The SLSDP was instrumental in the passage of the updated Missouri Canine Cruelty Prevention act of 2011. The SLSDP also works in conjunction with the Humane Society of Missouri on issues of animal abuse, welfare, and community outreach.
I encourage you to visit the SLSDP website at www.stlseniordogproject.org if you are thinking about a new pet for your family.
PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES, OCTOBER 3
Please see the Priory website for details about signing up for parent teacher conferences.
FORM II HIGH SCHOOL ORIENTATION PROGRAM – SAVE THE DATE
Following the theme of time passing by quickly, Form II parents should please be aware that the Priory High School orientation program will be held in the Kevin Kline theatre on Wednesday, December 10, beginning at 7:15 pm. High school academics, athletics, and advisory will be on the agenda. I urge all Form II parents to plan to attend this important meeting.
JUNIOR SCHOOL MIXER
This evening, the first JS mixer will begin at 7:00 pm and end at 9:30 pm. If necessary, please refer to the previous issue of this newsletter for information about the dress code for young ladies who may be in attendance.
**Last Call for Priory Vineyard Vines Belt Pre-Orders
Don’t miss out on this fabulous Vineyard Vines Priory Belt which has been specially commissioned for Xanadu 2015. Only a limited number will be sold, so place your order now! The belts are $50 and will be available at the Christmas Boutique on Wednesday, December 3rd. To order your belt, please fill out and return the order form. Deadline for pre-orders has been extended to Monday, September 29th.
**Xanadu Gift Gathering Parties For Priory Moms
We hope that you join us for the three Xanadu Gift Gathering Parties this fall. These parties are essential to the success of Xanadu.
What is a Gift Gathering Party? In a nutshell, here is how a gift gathering party works – in exchange for attending a wonderful event, you are asked to bring something for Xanadu, either an item or cash donation (please make checks payable to: Saint Louis Priory School). Everything you donate directly benefits Xanadu and Priory.
Here are the dates and locations for the Gift Gathering Parties:
Thurs, October 2, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Sports Section Gift Gathering Coffee
Hosted by Monica Boveri, Susy Holmes & Karen Tajkarimi
Location: Home of Monica Boveri, #6 Country Life Acres, 63131
Please bring an item or cash donation for the Sports Section (Tickets,
Sports Memorabilia, Autographed Items, Electronics, Sports Equipment).
Wed, October 8, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Chic Boutique Gift Gathering Party
Hosted by Jean Hively
Location: Café Provençale, 427 S. Kirkwood Road, 63122
Please bring new items or a cash donation for Chic Boutique (Fashion
Accessories, Home Goods, Jewelry, Garden Items).
Thurs, October 30, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Girls’ Night Out Gift Gathering Party
Hosted by: Jill Trout & Ashley Funk
Location: Home of Jill Trout, 1239 Devonworth Drive, 63017
Please bring a $25 Restaurant Gift Certificate or cash donation.
You don’t want to miss these magnificent parties filled with delicious food and fun. Please be sure to RSVP by emailing Development@priory.org so that we have an accurate head count.
Priory Trick or Trivia Night
Saturday, October 25th
Priory Multi-Purpose Gym
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. -- Trivia begins at 7:30.
$30 per person (tables of eight)
Don your favorite Halloween costume and compete for fabulous prizes!
Beer, wine and soda provided, but make it a feast and bring
your own snacks and drinks for your table.
Highlight your family or business by being a Round Sponsor for $100!
Call the Development Office at (314) 434-3690 x 361 for more details.
Don't miss out on one of the most enjoyable nights of the school year!
HOMECOMING WEEK FESTIVITIES
Listed below are the activities planned at School for Homecoming week, Monday – Saturday, October 6 – 11:
Monday, October 6: Regular dress and regular Monday assembly w/homecoming video included
Tuesday, October 7: Hawaiian Shirt Dress Down Day
Wednesday, October 8: School Mass replaces 1st Period, Coat & Tie dress
Thursday, October 9: To be determined.
Friday, October 10: Wednesday 1st Period replaces School Mass. Dress Down Day for all those wearing a Homecoming Shirt. 7th Period drops for Pep Rally in Klein Theater. Friday night bonfire and car smash up.
Saturday, October 11: Homecoming Football Game vs. Cardinal Ritter
|Friday, September 26
||7:00 - 9:30 p.m.
|Sunday, September 28
||Camp O departure
|Monday, September 29
||Faculty inservice day
|Tuesday, September 30
||c. 3:30 p.m.
||Form I returns
|Thursday, October 2
||Dress down day for
St. Louis Senior Dog
|Monday, October 6 -
Satuday, October 11
with a variety of
|Wednesday, October 8
||All School Mass (coat
You may not agree with some of the things that your parents are teaching you now, because you don’t understand them. Maybe you think that your parents are out of date and out of touch. Maybe you think that they are too involved in what you do and make too many rules to keep you safe. But wait. Just wait. Wait until you meet people with no respect for themselves or anyone else, no manners, no morals, no values, and no self-discipline. Then you will understand more clearly and really appreciate all of the things that your parents are trying to help you with now.
I had the luxury of parents who really made me feel loved. They have been at every game I’ve played in. They have supported me and encouraged me in everything that I have ever tried. They have saved me from a lot of heartache and some really bad mistakes, even though I did not always know it, or even appreciate it, at the time. What do I owe them? Love. Respect. I owe them credit for making me successful. When they speak, I listen. I hope that you do the same for your parents. Priory student, class of 2001
Diana B. Hartnett
Director of the Junior School
Saint Louis Priory School