2016 Middle School Oratorical Contest Winners

Photo © 2016 Maia Rothstein / sacredheartnogales.org. All rights reserved. This photo may not be re-posted, distributed or altered in any way

Photo © 2016 Maia Rothstein / sacredheartnogales.org. All rights reserved. This photo may not be re-posted, distributed or altered in any way

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 Middle School Oratorical Contest!

1st Place: Manuel Camacho
2nd Place: Audra Bilow
3rd Place: Humberto Camacho
4th Place: Sinayini Suarez

Congratulations to all the participants. The speeches were fantastic and were exceptionally well written and presented. Thank you Ms. Rojas for organizing this wonderful event!

Challenge Program Update (February 2016)

**Challenge Program Updates are written by Ms. Leslie Rojas**

Elementary Challenge Update

Elementary Challenge students have a scarce two classes before our Odyssey of the Mind Regional Competition on Saturday, March 5th. Students are hard at work finishing their towers and special effects devices. Details about departure, transportation, food and return will be discussed at the parent meeting on the evening of Wednesday, February 17th. A written reminder will be sent home the week before our meeting.

Middle School Challenge Update

If the elementary Challenge students are busy, what can be said about the middle school students? They, along with some fellow students who volunteered, are in the thick of preparations for the Middle School Oratorical Contest. The expectations are undoubtedly high, but with enough practice, they will certainly shine. The parent meeting on Wednesday the 17th is also for middle school parents. This will be about the end-of-the-year project, in which students will be responsible for obtaining part of the necessary materials. A written reminder will be sent home the week before our meeting.

Book Club and Challenge Newsletter (November 2015)

**Book Club and Challenge Monthly Newsletters are written by Ms. Leslie Rojas**

Elementary Challenge

Students in Challenge got their first taste of negative numbers this past Wednesday, the 6th. These 4th and 5th Graders have come a long way since they first began using Hands-On Equations! They have also started solving logic puzzles in class to hone their deductive thinking; the conversation in class is hysterical and energetic when they work together to solve them!

Due to the November holidays, Elementary Challenge won't reconvene until December 2nd, but the students haven't gotten off free - they are expected to finish designing, justifying, and building their balsa wood structures for the Odyssey of the Mind Regional Competition. While the competition is still a few months away, the students will each be contributing to the team's objective of finding the most resilient structure design.

(Challenge Parents Be Advised: students must work on their solutions on their own. Part of the entry paperwork for this competition is a form in which the students confirm that they have received no "Outside Assistance," meaning the work they present is based on ideas which solely come from their own heads and work done by their own hands. Let's give them the opportunity to grow in independence!)

Middle School Challenge

Middle School students are looking at finishing up their short story project this month. Final drafts were turned in on Monday the 9th, and now all that is left is the matter of cover art and the back cover synopsis before all material can be turned in to be published. Our next two endeavors are: (1) students will begin to be prepared for the Middle School Oratorical Contest 9date to be announced) and (2) students will begin a unit of study around financial investments and creating a portfolio to record the results of a simulated investment of $100,000 over the span of a year.

Book Club

Primary grades (K-2), as well as or ELL students who are just beginning to learn English will be studying phonics this month. The focus of our lessons willrange from individual letter sounds of consonants, short vowels, and long vowels to digraphs and diphthongs.

The remaining Book Club students will be working on reading strategies and academic vocabulary words. We will be studying these words long and carefully to ensure that students retain them as much as possible. A robust vocabulary is one the keys to school success!

Book Club and Challenge Parent-Teacher Conferences Information

Dear Book Club and Challenge Parents,

Due to the large volume of students who are in Book Club and Challenge, Parent-Teacher Conferences will be handled differently this year. As it is logistically impossible to schedule conferences with all parents, there will be two options for you: 

  1. I will personally schedule conferences with parents with whom it is necessary to speak to about their child’s performance in class and will send home a schedule of conferences for an appointment to be made at the most convenient time possible. Parents whose child(ren) does/do not require a conference will receive a copy of their child’s grades attached to the regular report card from their child’s homeroom teacher. 
  2. If you receive your child’s grades and would still like to meet to discuss your child’s progress, you may contact the school office to make an appointment to see me, preferably before or after school on the following school week, which would be October 19th - 23rd. I will be happy to speak with you.

I appreciate your understanding and support. God bless you!

Yours in Christ,
Ms. Leslie Rojas

Estimados padres de Book Club y Challenge,

Debido a la gran cantidad de alumnos actualmente inscritos en Book Club y Challenge, las conferencias (Parent-Teacher Conferences) serán organizadas de otra manera este año. Como es logisticamente imposible citar conferencias con todos Uds. padres de familia, se les ofrece dos opcione:

  1. Yo citaré a los padres con los cuales es necesario comunicarles a más detalle el progreso de su hijo/a y mandaré un horario de citas a casa para que Uds. seleccionen la hora más conveniente posible. Padres cuyos hijos no requieran una conferencia recibirán una copia de la boleta junto con la boleta regular.
  2. Si Uds. reciben las calificaciones de su hijo/a y aún prefieren tener una conferencia, también pueden poner cita conmigo por medio de la oficina escolar la semana después de que regresemos de vacaciones, que sería del 19 al 23 de octubre. Simplemente llamen a la oficina escolar. Con mucho gusto podemos hablar del trabajo de su hijo/a. 

Gracias por su comprensión y su apoyo. ¡Dios los bendiga!

Srta. Leslie Rojas

Book Club and Challenge Newsletter (September 2015)

**Book Club and Challenge Monthly Newsletters are written by Ms. Leslie Rojas**

It has been wonderful getting the year under way. Book Club students and Challenge students are hard at work and September will be an exciting month for us.

Book Club

Kinder students will be working on letter recognition now. This will get them ready to work on their letter sounds in their regular classroom in October!

First grade students are reviewing CVC words with short vowel sounds. They are also practicing their sight words through different games!

Second grade has begun working on reading comprehension, which becomes very important starting this year. They will also review short and long vowels, as well as the ever-important sight words.

Third grade will be focusing strongly on vocabulary this month. We will be using the Powerful Vocabulary series to learn important academic vocabulary.

Fourth grade is reading Chocolate Fever. The misadventures of Henry Green, the little boy who never grows tired of chocolate, will have the students in stitches of laughter! We will use this humorous chapter book to sharpen our comprehension skills.

Fifth and sixth grades will both be reading Because of Winn-Dixie. This is a heartfelt, beautifully written book that will help us learn to interpret figurative language, analyze characters, and study the plot and structure of the story according to each grades’ standards.

Seventh and eighth grades will continue reading Wringer by Jerry Spinelli. This is a gripping book about a young boy who learns to be brave and do the right thing, even when he sees things differently than his fellow townspeople. Once again, each level will read the book to practice the skills appropriate to each grade.


Elementary Challenge students are starting on their first Odyssey of the Mind project! They will be creating their own, modern interpretation of an Aesop fable in the form of a play in which the lesson of the fable becomes wildly popular, and even include a character who doesn’t… quite… understand the true meaning of the fable and needs a little extra guidance. More information will be sent home.

Middle school students will have to tap into their creative side to write a short story in the genre of their choice for our Challenge short story collection. (The goal is to have these published privately into keepsake books for the students.)