"Oh that Christmas would last the whole year through, as it ought."
Charles Dickens
Dear School Community: 

Following my message at the Christmas program, I was asked by a few parents to provide some traditions that I had established with my children as they were growing up. A sequel of sorts to my message of that evening.  I hadn't taken the suggestion seriously but after having had lunch with the McKeons on the weekend I was reminded again of how fortunate I am to have both my children living. (And to think that I am saddened by the miles that separate us.)

I can't even begin to imagine the pain and anger that any parent who has lost a child feels.  We are the lucky ones. We are the ones who still have the opportunity to build traditions in our families, to share stories from our childhood, to create new memories for our children. As I shared with you on Thursday, I would give anything to have my dad tell me another story. There will be no more new stories and the only ones I have are those that are in my memory and in my heart.

You have your children. This is the time to build those memories and to write many stories that your children will retell. If you haven't already done so I encourage you to start some traditions for your family or to add a new tradition each year. These are your legacy! 

I will share a few that my children and I have enjoyed over the years:

-We always wrote a letter to Santa (myself included) and mailed them to our local newspaper. Each week the editor would include some of the letters in our local paper.
-On Christmas Eve, I read a story to our family, typically from a children's book. As the children grew we would often each bring a story or poem to share before going to bed as we enjoyed hot chocolate and cinnamon buns.
-Each member of our family gives each other a book that reflects the year for that person on Christmas Eve. We write a message inside the book.  It is what we can take to bed with us and read while waiting for everyone to awaken Christmas morning. (I still have Amanda and Stephen's picture books from their first 10 years. My intent is to write inside them one day again and give them to their children each Christmas Eve.)
-We always had a Christmas Carol sing the first weekend of December for our neighbors and friends. Together we would make our invitation. We even made our own wrapping paper by painting our handprints on butcher paper. I have kept snippets of these over the years to give to Amanda and Stephen.
-When we sat down for dinner we always begin by sharing something that we are grateful for.  On special holidays, we have a box with questions in it (I write new questions each year) and we each take a turn to pull a question and answer it. Most times we go around the table and each person answers the question that was pulled (examples: "What is your favorite song, and why?" "What profession would you choose, if you could make a change?" "If you had a time machine for a day, what would you do with it?"). On the other days of the year, we would each share something we had learned that day at school and if we hadn't learned something we had to introduce the family to a new word. The Webster dictionary was always by the table.
-My grandmother would always set an extra plate at the dinner table just per chance someone stopped in while we were eating.   My father would have us select one of our gifts (prior to opening)  to be placed in a box to be given to the family that Mom and Dad were providing Christmas for. He never told us what was in the box and after years we stopped asking.
-Mom always made us sit at the table and write thank you notes for every gift we received.
-I always purchased a wooden Christmas puzzle each year and put it out on December 1st. It became our family goal to have it completed before Christmas morning. I will pass them on to my children to do in their homes with their families one day.

There are so many ways that you can establish traditions in your home. My Christmas prayer is that you make the most of this time that you now have with your children and that you will establish those traditions that one day will become theirs -- and, hence, you live on beyond this life.

Merry Christmas.

Ms. Coombs
Head of School

Dec. 19- LS at Chelsea Piers
Dec. 20- Early Dismissal (12:00 p.m.)
Dec. 21 through Jan. 5- Winter Recess
Jan. 9- US at Chelsea Piers

Thank you to Humbi Reboredo for sharing about C.S. Lewis, and to Elisabeth Romano, Jiayre Potter, London Potter, and Charlie Sylofski for leading assembly.


Shout out to Michael Chadwick for his donation of $500 to our school.  Michael is part of the Chadwick Team at Citi Habitats. 

Special thanks to Rylan David and his family for giving their winnings from the raffle back to the school.

Thanks to Jenna Menkes for keeping the tradition of remembering Ms. McKeon's family at this time of the year. Jenna has placed note cards in the atrium for you to write a note to the McKeon Family. You may place your note in the basket in the atrium. Jenna will be sure they get mailed out.



A last reminder about financial assistance:

Parents who are applying for financial assistance for the 2020-2021 academic year: Please note you will need to go through the TADS process again.  This is done each year.  You must have it completed by December 20th.
Please remember that you must email a supporting letter to Ms. Coombs or drop one off at the office.



Please see below a note from Mr. Dujmovic about our Giving Tree. Thank you for your support!
The Academy of St. Joseph is proud to announce the start of its Annual Giving Tree Project benefiting Hour Children and The Bowery Mission. Donations will be collected from Tuesday, December 3rd through Tuesday, December 17th. For more information about these outstanding organizations and the work that they do to help those in need, please see here: and

Please make sure that your donated items are unwrapped and that the gifts are clearly labeled with the "gift tags" that were taken from the Giving Tree. Gifts can then be placed underneath the Christmas Tree in the Atrium.


Special gratitude to Matt Guerrerio for putting up the garland, tree, and wreaths. Thank you, students, for decorating our tree. It looks beautiful.

We at AOSJ are inspired by this festive scene each morning, and we are grateful.


Thank you to all families who supported our annual food drive to support the needs of City Harvest. Special mention to Mr. Dujmovic for overseeing this project. 




We keep Daniella Grant's mom and all men and women in service in our daily prayers.
Much appreciation is extended to Cierra Potter for organizing the pantry. It looks amazing. Thank you, Cierra!


Grades close Friday, Dec. 20. Report cards are generated on Tuesday, Jan. 4. Honors recognitions are Thursday, Jan. 23.


In keeping with tradition, we may all dress out on Friday, December 20th. Think festive!


Congratulations to our spelling bee winners!

Third Place: Samantha Menkes
Second Place: Humberto Reboredo
First Place: Saffana Whitt

.....and thank you to all participants! It is not easy to try something like this, and we are inspired by your example.

Finally, our congratulations and our gratitude go to Mr. Dujmovic, who organized a successful bee. Bravo!

We celebrate the following birthdays in January:

1/3- Patrick Mulvihill
1/4- Ms. DiBlasi
1/7- Coach George
1/26- Ms. Crisostomo
1/27- Luca Diamantini



Much appreciation is extended to our Parent Association for hosting our traditional Thanksgiving dinner and to the many parents who joined us.


There will be no Scholars Haven provided on Friday, December 20. We will dismiss at noon on Friday, December 20.

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