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Quarterly Newsletter: January/February/March 2012

Dear All,

In the spirit of the new calendar year, St. Thomas Aquinas renews its commitment to quality education and academic success for all students. We are grateful to all parents who entrust our growing institution to be part of shaping the future of their children. With the grace of God, we shall succeed!

Monthly Recap

This past Christmas season at STA was filled with sharing and caroling! STA students and faculty provided gifts to over seventy five students from Ordot elementary school on December 15, 2012 in a community effort that involved the village mayor, the Hon. Jesse Gogue, Ordot elementary school administration and staff, and the STA school community. Concentus was invited to perform Christmas carols at the Micronesia Mall and at the Outrigger Hotel in Tumon. The highlight of the season was the STA Christmas program on December 21, 2011 at the Marriott Hotel & Spa. Over two hundred and eighty people attended the event.

The beginning of the third quarter started with several faculty professional development sessions, in partnership with the School of Education of the University of Guam. Mr. Larry Gamboa (Director, Professional and International Programs), Dr. Una Nabobo-Baba (Associate Professor) and Dr. Jacqui Cyrus (Assistant Professor, Instructional Technology) presented the following topics: How do Children Learn and Bloom’s New Taxonomy; Multicultural Education; and Technology in the Classroom. We are grateful to the collaboration with local talents and resources available at the University of Guam.

The Fourth Annual STA Science Fair was held on January 26, 2012. Judges from the College of Natural and Applied Sciences provided valuable feedback on student research projects in the following categories: Human and medical research; Physical sciences and Mathematics; Environmental sciences. Shana Yang from the class of 2014 won the overall trophy. Congratulations to all participants and thank you to all judges and volunteers, and special thanks to Ms. Lizama, the science fair coordinator.

Catholic Schools’ week involved all Catholic schools with different activities sponsored by most schools of the archdiocese of Guam. STA hosted members of the JROTC from Father Duenas Memorial School to a spectacular demonstration. All STA faculty and staff from STA attended the annual Catholic Conference at the Phoenix Center, on February 3, 2012. Fr. Val Rodriguez from STA was the keynote guest speaker of the conference. This year’s theme was: Faith-Academics-Service.

STA Guam Lions’ Chapter of the National Honor Society inducted eight new members on March 2, 2012, bringing the total number to sixteen members.

STA students showcased their research in Guam history during STA Guam History Fair on March 2, 2012. Experts in Guam history and Chamorro culture participated as judges. Julia Faye Munoz (class of 2014) was selected as the overall winner, and presented her research in the category of website. Congratulations to all students who participated in the fair and thank you to all judges, volunteers and parents who provided refreshments and lunch. Special thanks to the coordinator of the fair, Mr. Smit, for a successful fair.

Three sophomore students took the national AMC exam on February 27, 2012.

Formal faculty evaluation began in December 2011 and the process is ongoing. It involves a pre-conference, a formal observation and a post-conference as well as parent and student surveys.

The second parent-teacher conference of the 2011-2012 academic year was held on March 9, 2012. We value the high rate of participation and the partnership with parents for better student outcomes.

The College Access Challenge Grant Program (CACGP) with Guam Community College provides additional tutoring to STA students in mathematics, chemistry and English every Tuesday and Thursday, from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Four students on average are participating in the program every week.

The After School Enrichment program (ASEP) and Homework Completion Program (HCP) are other tools to provide an opportunity for success and a guarantee that no child is left behind.

Student Life

STAY for Christ lead a series of activities during the second and third quarters in the spirit of giving or making a statement of conviction: they include a can drive on November 23, 2011 to benefit Kamalen Karidat; Christmas gift giving on December 14, 2011 to benefit students from Ordot elementary school; soup kitchen on December 20, 2011 at Guma San Jose shelter in Dededo to benefit over a dozen families. Club members also participated in Walk-For-Life at the Skinner’s Plaza in Hagatna on October 3, 2011; Chain For Life took place at the ITC intersection in Tamuning on January 22, 2012. All these community related activities were made possible under the leadership of our dynamic school chaplain and adviser, Fr. Val Rodriguez.

Clubs such as Academic Challenge Bowl (ACB), Big Brother Big Sister (BBBS), Mock Trial, Model UN and the Environmental Club were very active and continue to be a forum of excellence locally and internationally. STA Model UN represented the island of Guam at the Model UN conference at UC Berkeley, CA. Club members organized several fundraisers including a very successful international night. STA Mock Trial team is defending its title for the fourth time in a row during the playoffs, after finishing with a perfect season. Congratulations to all club members and advisers, Mr. Smit, Mrs. Diambra Odi, Dr. Guile and Ms. Lizama for providing encouragement and guidance.

STA freshmen and sophomores had their respective hike and retreat to foster class unity and spiritual growth. We appreciate the efforts of the freshmen and junior class advisors, members of “Singles for Christ” of St. Anthony parish, and Fr. Val Rodriguez for providing supervision and facilitating the sessions.

STA Concentus choir is still performing every Sunday morning during the eleven thirty Holy Mass at the Cathedral-Basilica. We appreciate the faithful service of the choir members to the Catholic community of Guam and congratulate Mr. Babia for his leadership and wonderful music ministry.

In the sports arena, students from STA earned local and international distinctions including an IIAAG island-wide champion in wrestling, 106 lbs category: Jonah Whitt (class of 2014); third place in Far-East competition in wrestling held in Japan: Jonah Whitt (class of 2014); IIAAG All-Island Girls single in tennis: Emmanuelle Haurillon (class of 2014); world champion in Jiu Jitsu held in California in February 2012: Ambrosio Shimizu (class of 2015).
The end of the second quarter brought students and faculty together at the Leo Palace Resort’s bowling alley for recreation.

Summary of Upcoming Events

March 15, 2012: International Student Exchange from Tokyo Gakkan Niigata High School

March 16-17, 2012: Junior hike and retreat

March 23, 2012: STA Songfest- Guam Reef Hotel (6:00 pm to 10:00 pm)

March 24, 2012: Guam History Fair, Lujan House, Agana

March 24, 2012: STA 3rd Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament

March 26-28, 2012: WASC/WCEA accreditation team to visit STA
March 28, 2012: Open House for prospective students (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm)

March 30, 2012: NHS Chamorro Day’s activities.
Professional development and teacher record day

April 2-9, 2012: Holy week/ Easter break


Hauhouot Diambra-Odi, Ph.D.

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