As St. Mary in Pinckney marks the end of an unprecedented school year, students will learn one more lesson; when resources are limited, community steps in to help.
Students’ last assignment was due May 22nd and grades were delivered May 29th, but efforts are just ramping up to launch a school donation collection for the Covid crisis. St. Mary organized area churches across dominations to support a local Pinckney woman on her quest to provide pregnant mothers in need with essentials for their families.
St. Mary school families from Dexter and the surrounding area will join community members June 12th to send off eighth grade graduates with a ceremony and mass. The end-of-year celebration doubles as a donation drive to collect baby wipes and diapers to support parishioner Crista Kolnitys’ mission to help pregnant women whose needs have doubled during the pandemic. A volunteer with Family Life Services, Kolnitys will use donations to supply local women’s clinics. Donated baby items will be accepted at St. Mary through June 28.
Coming together for the first time since March, St. Mary students, teachers and families will have a lot to celebrate as they social distance on Friday, June 12th, including an increase in enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year. Along with eighth grade awards, kudos will be given to teachers and staff for adapting immediately to continue St. Mary’s rigorous education without missing a day of instruction during the pandemic.
“We are so proud of our staff, parents and students who learned new virtual platforms at a moment’s notice to ensure our students had a quality distance learning experience,” said St. Mary Principal Veronica Kinsey. “Our teachers were participating in professional development training sessions on day one of the shut down to learn virtual education techniques. We are a tight knit community, which allows us to adapt quickly during toughest times.”
Parents were a big part of the equation to help teachers deliver comprehensive lesson plans in various formats including Google Classroom, Zoom, written and video messages.
“We were impressed by the level of education St. Mary was able to sustain during Covid-19,” said third grade parent Amy Berry. “My daughter did quality school work, including a book report, science project, personal narrative writing assignment, art projects and music. Her computer teacher even provided technical support for parents. We feel very blessed to be at St. Mary during this time.”
With assignments for the school year over, the St. Mary community wanted to do something to give back to those who are more stretched due to Covid-19. Community members can donate essential baby items like diapers and wipes at the 8:30am mass June 12th, any weekend mass or drop off at the parish office until June 28 at 10601 Dexter-Pinckney Rd.
“We are fortunate to have support from St. Mary school so together we can help out the most vulnerable during this time, and any time; the unborn,” said Crista Kolnitys who has lived in Pinckney for 20 years. “We are going through 1000 diapers a week to try to meet the increased demand of pregnant women in need of essentials. Material goods such as diapers, wipes and formula are just the beginning of the services we offer to help them in their times of crisis, added Kolnitys, who left her job last fall to dedicate more volunteer hours to Family Life Services. “We are all connected and we can lift each other up. This is perhaps the most important lesson these kids can learn this year.”
As St. Mary elementary looks at the fall and plans for potential changes, they have assembled a Covid-19 Task Force made up of educators and medical professionals who are school parents.
“Even though we had to end the school year virtually, St. Mary’s distance learning curriculum continued to challenge our daughter,” continued Berry. “And as homeschooling parents, we loved that she was able to earn an actual grade for her projects, versus just a pass or fail. No matter what the fall brings, we feel like we are in good hands at St. Mary.”
St. Mary Pinckney enrollment is open and on the rise for the 2020-2021 school year. For grades pre-school through eight, we offer smaller class sizes and tailored education with a variety of opportunities for enrichment, extra-curricular activities and sports.
MAIN PHOTO: Science projects were a good way to pass the time during the pandemic for St. Mary third grader Carmella Poroko. PHOTO: St. Mary Elementary School