Messages of Hope

March 19. 2020

Dear St. Francis students and families, 

We are living in completely unprecedented times.  This has been a very busy week for us, and we miss you dearly!  The fact that classes got cancelled and we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye in person has been hard on all of our staff, yet we are happy to know that you are able to be at home and safe with your families.  We hope you are doing well and that you know how loved and missed you are!  

Yesterday at our staff meeting, we reflected on how, especially during times like this, we need to make sure that our faith shines through and that we help each other remember that we are people of hope and that God is there for us to turn to.  As such, some of our staff wanted to share some messages of hope with you: 


Mrs. Atkinson:  Hello St. Francis!  I love you and miss you all so much! Mornings are just not the same without being able to greet all of you outside and in the Atrium, and your joyful faces, smiles, hugs and positive energy are so greatly missed! I pray you are all doing well!  Here is my favorite bible quote that helps me stay calm when I get anxious; I hope that by sharing it, it might provide you with calmness and hope as well. Take really good care of yourselves and of your family! Pace e Bene!  

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4: 4-9


Mr. Schreiber: My first year at St. Francis of Assisi Academy has been quite the wild ride; it is reminiscent of my first year of teaching in High River — 2012-2013 — which was forever marked by the Alberta floods. I can say, through my experience in High River, that we will make it through this and become stronger than ever! I miss you all and know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,

    and why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

    my help and my God. Psalm 43:5


Mrs. Sziva: Dear St. Francis students,  I love and miss you all SO much.  I miss your warm smiles in the morning, your hugs,  and your excited conversations about your life. Without you all here,  our hallways are so quiet and still, you all bring life to our school. To my own class,  I hope you are well and want you to know how much I miss each and everyone of you. I miss the excitement you bring to my life and to our classroom everyday.  Just know that you are all in our intentions and prayers every morning. It is our Faith that will keep us strong. Please remember God is watching over you always..  Love you all.

Ms. Dutka: Dear Students,  I miss you terribly, however I am glad to know that you are at home and my prayer is that you and your families remain healthy.  Pope Francis inspires us to pray, The 5 Finger Prayer: “My thumb is the closest and reminds me to pray for family. My finger that points reminds me to pray for my teachers. The tall middle finger reminds me to pray for the leaders of our land. My fourth finger, the weakest, reminds me to pray for the sick, the elderly and those who need extra support and my pinky finger is the smallest and reminds me to pray for myself.” Pace e bene my darling angels until I see you again. Love, Ms. Dutka

Mrs. Bilawchuk:  Our classrooms and hallways feel so lonely without each and every one of you here.  We became teachers because we love to teach, and we love to spend our days with you.  Please know that everyone in the building has been praying for you and your family. As sad as we are to be apart from you, we must always remember that the worst moments are usually followed by the most beautiful silver linings.  We must stay strong, fill our hearts and minds with hope, and trust that God has a plan for us. John 14:1 says Do not let your hearts be troubled, trust in God.  To my own students, I am so sad not to get to stand at the doorway for my hugs, fist bumps and high fives this week.  I already miss our laughs, your stories, the sharing of our weekends, trying to figure out who forgot to put their name on their paper, reminding you to take your work home at the end of the day, wondering where all the pencils have disappeared to again, and most importantly YOU.  You truly are my shining stars. Sending a big air squeeze hug to each one of you!

Mrs. Bruketa;  To my beautiful students, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you.  I miss greeting you each morning as you tumble full of life into the school. I miss your smiles, your laughter, your innocent joy, and your warm hugs.  I am praying for you and your families daily and I am grateful that you are all home healthy and surrounded with love. I am sending you all a big hug filled with love and faith.  I adore you all, and know that God is watching over each and everyone of you surrounding you in his warmth and love. I love you and will be keeping you and your families in my daily prayer and intentions.  Please remember what a gift our faith is at this time. Love, peace and kindness wrapped in a big hug, Mrs. Bruketa :)

Miss Szoke: To my amazing, kind hearted, sweet, and caring class, I miss you all so much! I miss our silly moments in class that make us all laugh together. I miss our caring moments when we notice a friend may feel sad and need to smile. I miss seeing how kind and thoughtful you all are to each other. I miss being followed around the room with your finished work when you’re so excited to show me! I miss reading stories to you, hearing your personal connections to them, and laughing together at the funny parts we see on each page. I miss our warm and fuzzy moments each day filled with hugs, stickers, and pom-poms. Remember that you are all a saint in these worrisome times and trust that God has a plan. Know that I love you SO much, that I miss you even more, and that my prayers are with you every day! God Bless - Miss Szoke 

Mrs. Olynyk: I have always felt that our Saint Francis community is an extension of my own family. You all are in our hearts-YOU are the reason we teach! I am reminiscent of my time in Asia, dealing with the SARS scare, teaching through the High River Flood, and now this. Let’s breathe hope, love, and faith into each other and create a sense of calm for our beautiful, precious children, whom we love so much. Let’s make GOODNESS, PEACEFULNESS, KINDNESS and FAITH contagious! God is good, and he will be our calm during this storm. 

Miss. Hall: “The Light Shines in the Darkness and the Darkness has not overcome it” - John 1:5

It is hard to know where to begin and what to say to express how much I already miss each and every member of the St. Francis family. I can only pray for calm and wisdom as we get used to our new normal (for now :) ) To 2H: Please know that I am thinking about you constantly. I am still starting and ending my days with prayer and holding the intentions you are saying at home in my heart. Thinking of your bright smiles, infectious laughs and amazing energy is providing me great calm during this time. God bless our entire school community <3

Miss. Cockwell: “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for a smile is the beginning of love” -Mother Teresa

Life surely has been different without seeing my 26 spunky, loving, thoughtful and incredibly joyful group of kiddos. I miss our moments of laughter, random dance moves, daily jokes and riddles, and more than anything I miss each and every one of you so, incredibly much. Although we may not be learning together in the same room, we are still learning together in a new place and special way. I am always here to help you, listen to you, guide you and celebrate you. Remember to take a deep breath, see the good, enjoy the little things in life, be peaceful and most importantly show up each day with a positive attitude and love in your heart. 

Miss. Showalter: “If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”-Winnie the Pooh. 

We miss your presence in our building, classrooms, lessons, hallways, recesses, conversations and more. This uncertain and quick time of change is challenging to say the least, but my faith is strong because of the beautiful prayers each of you has taught me, and by your actions of preaching the gospel at all times. I know that though we aren’t able to share in our morning prayers and circle time or in the excitement of the day together, that your prayers are with me, just as my heart and prayers are with you! Sending all of my love and prayers to my beautiful class, their families, and all of the incredible students, families and friends of St. Francis of Assisi Academy who have built this resilient community! God bless you St. Francis!

Mrs. Kommes: Dear Grade 5’s, I miss you so much! Even though we aren’t able to gather each morning for prayer, my prayers are with you and your families. I miss your bright smiles, energetic conversations, personal stories, and fun learning together! Our Poetry Day, our Spooky Story Share, funny Quick Writes, loud French singing, religion skits, making gingerbread houses, and your awesome Element Presentations are some of the happy memories that I will treasure forever. Very soon, we will be able to continue our learning together, even if not in person for a while. God has a plan for our lives, even in trying times. This is a good time to pray Psalm 23, that we memorized together: 

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want, He makes me like down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters, He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His namesake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. He lays a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He anoints my head with oil. My cup overflows, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever, Amen.”

Mrs. Hassett:  Dear Students, I hope this finds you all doing well and making the most out of our new situation.  Although it is sad that we cannot be together, we are a resilient bunch and will get through this time stronger and have a greater appreciation for our time together.  I miss all of you and the joy, happiness and pure energy you bring to our halls and school! Jr. Highs, I miss hearing about all the exciting things going on in your lives and busting your impromptu TicToc and video making at the end of our hallway, using my “put the phone away” teacher voice, LOL.  The halls are very quiet without your dance moves and positivity. The atrium no longer smells of perfume, cologne, microwave popcorn and farts. :) I imagine you are having a great time making TicTocs and snapping your friends at home. Remember to stay connected to your friends and family, not just through social media but through real conversations...the old fashioned way of calling them  Go retro - pull out cards, board games and puzzles, try new recipes, go for walks and enjoy all of God’s beauty. Also, please know we are only an email, or call, away to help you if you need us. I look forward to seeing you in the future and hearing all about the great books you read and activities you did during our time apart. I am sending you all my love, will continue to keep you in my prayers and until we see each other again, remember our Friday goodbyes….. “Be safe, make smart choices and God Bless!”  

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Mr. Gibbs: If I have taught you anything over the last few years it’s, “Go out of your way to be kind to the lonely, sad and even the mad” .  Today that is more important than ever. By staying away from each other we are truly and physically going out of our way, and we will save precious lives and suffering by doing so. Though we are apart, we are doing this together, which is pretty cool.  To my grade 4’s, I am trying not to think of our time being cut short this year, but rather I think of the time we had in grade 4 as a blessing. I miss praying with you. I miss your questions. I miss your chattiness. I miss how you can not walk in a straight line down the halls. It’s easy to say that we are losing time (with friends, school, learning, teachers). God does not take time away, he just gives us different ways to use it.  So Enjoy time with your family. Rediscover the great outdoors. Create something the world has never seen. If you want to be close to me, pray the Rosary everyday around 3:00, because that’s what I will be doing. I love you all.   

Ms. Ford: Dear Students, you are all so greatly missed! I miss hearing how you are doing and sharing amazing stories. I miss the joy of making each other laugh and having insightful discussions in class. I pray you are all doing well, and that you are using healthy strategies for peace and calming during this time of anxiety. Please do not forget to find one thing each day to be grateful to God for. Today, I am so grateful teachers can send you all a message sharing how much we miss you and how important you are to us. Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” 

Mrs Stearn: Hello to all the lovely kiddos I teach! Missing my time with grade 3, 4 and 5 singing, dancing, and making all sorts of music together. You always give me something to laugh at, and I miss your energy already. Grade 6’s - I am SO sad we might not be able to showcase how far you have come this year with your playing. You should know that you are all way ahead of the curve and I’m so proud of the outstanding musicians you have become. To my junior highs - I feel God blessed us with our time together at Camp Caroline. We had an amazing journey of music and memory making  together, which I am so grateful for. Stay tuned for some activities to come in the future, Keep making music alone or together (maybe online?), as we know it’s good for the soul. Sending love, prayers and hugs to you all and your families also! (Ephesians 5:19 – “Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…” )

Mrs. Wynder: Hello and Bonjour! To all the students from K-9 I miss you all so much and hope you are well.  One quote from St. Francis of Assisi that comes to mind is, “Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” May God be with you today, always and forever.

Mrs. Threlfall

To my little Kindergarten students and all the parents:

My heart is sad that we can not be together right now, but I know that it is for the most important reason, to keep you safe. You are in the safest place right now, with your parents. I miss your laughter, hugs and busy little bodies. It has been such a privilege to be your teacher, and I am sad that our time together has been cut short. I hope that you know you are in my prayers every day and that I love each of you like you are one of my own children. Sending you hugs and love.

 Parents, we always wish that we could have more time with our kids, time to play, time to cuddle, time to listen to their little voices, without life’s obligations getting in the way. This is the time you have been given. It will be exhausting, and challenging some days, but it is a gift that comes out of this difficult moment in our lives. Soon enough they will be in grade 1 and life will get busy again. I know for me when I look back years from now I will always remember the games we played, the music they loved, the movies we watched, and the age my girls were when the world slowed down and family became everything. Please know that I am here to help and support you in whatever way I can. I hope to see you all very soon.

 “But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:17

 God Bless you, Mrs. Threlfall


Mr. Sa:

Hi folks,

It’s hard to believe that we never had a chance to properly say good-bye. The halls of St Francis of Assisi Academy are not quite the same without all of you.

These times of uncertainty can make us feel helpless. I would like to share with you something that I came across this morning regarding things that we can control:

  1. Our Attitude
  2. Our Efforts
  3. Our Actions 

Everyday we can focus on being positive, working hard and making others around us better.

We are all in this together. As always I encourage all of you to pray, read, write and don’t forget to move every day! We will one day look back on this time and share with everyone: regarding where we were, when it happened and how we felt.

May God Bless all of you and your families,


Mrs. Furedy: Wow, I can’t believe that our class time together has ended already. I miss our noisy, funny, inquisitive time together and the learning and laughter that we share every day. Please take time to be with your family, play, learn, listen to music, talk to friends and enjoy the outdoors. When we come back from this, I think we’ll feel blessed for having had this time to explore and spend some quiet time with ourselves and our loved ones. I miss you all very much and I hope I can see you all again soon.

Much Love and Blessings,

Mrs. F.

Miss Campbell: Hello Grade Six superstars! I miss you all so much! I am so proud of all you have accomplished so far this year and while we may not be learning within the walls of our classroom, I look forward to continuing to help you grow as learners. Thank you for always filling my days with life and laughter! Thank you for being kind to each other, and to yourselves. Thank you for sharing your stories with me and for bringing so much joy into our school. I hope that in the next few months you continue to read, explore and have fun! Remember that you matter and you are capable of accomplishing anything you set your mind to. In the words of Kid President, “The time to be awesome is now!”


Miss Campbell 

Mr. Baldwin:  

To all of you, my students, my little friends, and some, not so little:

I hope and pray that this message finds you and your families in good health and at peace.  Know that you are missed, not just by me. This school was meant for you and it is not the same without you.  There are some tough times ahead and I know we can overcome them by being there for each other. I will be here to continue to help out where I can with your education and your growth as a child of God.  May you all find peace and joy where you can find it. A quote that has comforted me was written by St. Francis de Sales.

“Do not look forward to what might happen tomorrow.  The same everlasting Father who cares for you today, will take care of you tomorrow and every day.  Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.”

 We Love You!!!!