For this month, Sister Diana reflects on the dark days of December, when “the light in our northern hemisphere is very much diminished,” noting that it reflects a certain darkness surrounding us in our city, nation, and our world.
She points out that this makes it so important for each of us to become a point of Light and Hope.
Because we are all connected, we can spread that light and hope, and become a force for good. When we do something purposeful for others, and recognize the things in our own lives for which we are grateful, “We can make a difference. We can make someone else’s world better even in a small way.”
She also shares tips for bringing that sense of connection, light and hope into the lives of our children.
In this issue, you’ll also:
Meet our Student of the Month (Adelina, a.k.a. Addie Hunneyman) and discover how she was chosen for this recognition by the Rochester A.M. Rotary Club.
Discover the achievements of two of our Alumni
Learn about our new and upcoming Celebrate Hope Interactive Open House on February 17.
Check out how our Trailblazing Blackhawks did in the Pumpkins in the Park 5K run.
Read several of “The Animal in Me” poems from the 6th Grade Poetry Project. (To see all of “The Animal in Me” poems, Click here.)
Learn how our 2022 Annual Appeal makes a difference in the lives of our students
See our “Twelve Days of Hope Hall Values” Christmas and Holiday Greetings.
Click on the newsletter below to download and read the issue.
Mr. Rick Hopp, Hope Hall’s Career Development and Woodworking Teacher, smiles when he talks about how he first got started in woodworking.
He was about 10 years old when he snuck into his father’s woodworking shop to start building a boat, unbeknownst to his dad. When his father caught drift of what the boy was up to, he took his son and the boat out to Mendon Ponds, where the young Rick Hopp climbed aboard. As swiftly as the boat set sail, it sank.
The elder Mr. Hopp took his son and the boat back home, showed him how to seal the seams of the boat, and the rest—including Rick Hopp’s love for woodworking—is history.
Today, Mr. Hopp shares his expertise with Hope Hall’s students to help prepare them for life beyond high school. The woodworking program’s project-based learning teaches them a variety of skills including planning, drawing, measuring, creation of mechanical drawings for the project parts, and importantly, the use of portable power tools and woodworking machinery.
While he and his team, which includes Ms. Anne DeMare and Mr. Adam Jay, sometime work with younger students in class and in an after-school program, the woodworking program’s primary focus is on 10th through 12th grade students, for whom the woodworking course is credit-bearing, and required for graduation.
In each grade, the students work on different projects designed to build on the skills of their prior projects, in a systematic, step-by-step manner. So for example, the small shelf they learn to build in 10th grade may lead to a shaker bench, a shaker table, a dressing mirror, or an arch door cabinet in the 11th grade. During their senior year, they graduate to making a curved leg end table, an Adirondack chair, or a rocking chair. Throughout their three-year journey, the students also get an introduction to house construction by building scale-size replica houses.
The program provides great motivation, because each student gets to take his or her creations home. The focus needed to go from measurement to mechanical drawings, and from construction to finalization of the piece helps build focus, increases students’ tolerance for work, and they become accustomed to an environment in which projects often last for extended periods of time. It also teaches students how to deal with constructive criticism.
“The systematic nature of this program really works to help build confidence,” shared Mr. Hopp.
He went on to explain how the woodworking program applies curriculum from other courses, including measurement, and various aspects of math and science. The presentations that are required, in which the students explain how they’ve built their projects, help to build oral presentation skills that contribute to success with interviews.
As students complete one project and move on to the next, their level of self-assurance grows, which is essential in the workplace, as well as in a higher-level academic environment to which many Hope Hall students proceed.
Most people will agree that the 2020/2021 year of school was unlike any other. Our students spent part of the year in hybrid learning, unlike many other schools, we shut down for only three weeks, and then in April we opened for full-time in-person learning for all. Students in teachers were overjoyed. This short video gives a snapshot of the year. Enjoy!
Congratulations to Joe and Paul Conroy who received the “Do the Right Thing” Award virtually this morning in a ceremony broadcast via a Facebook Live.
The award is received through a process in which community members nominate youth for this award, presented by the Rochester City Police, recognizing youth for their bravery, courage and valor. Characteristics and actions for which one might be nominated include striving to make good choices, doing well in school, giving back to the community or demonstrating “turn-around” or improvement in academics.
The two brothers volunteer, helping at a youth baseball training camp in the town of Gates. When the camp lost electricity, Paul and Joe pulled out their phones as flashlights, and stayed with the 8 to 10 year old campers, calming their concerns, until all parents arrived to pick up their children.
“There is nothing wrong with your child. All students learn differently. And when they get what they need, they flourish.”
From my first week of teaching, I knew that some students needed a little more time and a different approach in order to learn as well as everyone else. As my teaching years progressed, I developed more strategies to help students who learn differently. I could see that hundreds of these students were literally “falling through the cracks” and were viewing themselves as “failures”. Because the Sisters of St. Joseph were founded to meet un-met needs, starting Hope Hall, a place children who learn differently could call “A School of Our Own”, was simply the right thing to do.
Sister Diana Dolce, S.S.J. Founder, Executive Director