Heart Survivor

**Sacred Heart Catholic School is raising heart health awareness and raising money for the American Heart Association by participating in the Jump Rope for Heart Event. Our P.E. teacher, Ms. Marlo Lopez shares her personal story below.**

Every morning when I get ready for work I am reminded that I had open heart surgery, when I see the ten inch scar going down my chest. Every day I am reminded how lucky I am for having my family, my friends, my students, and my co-workers to help me and to look out for me.

The first time I heard Atrial Septal Defect was four years ago. When my doctor found a hole on the back side of my heart. The hole was the size of a peanut and it was affecting the blood flow within the heart chambers. Because the blood flow was affected, I was feeling tired. When I would walk or run I would have trouble catching my breath. When I would teach a class I would have trouble keeping up with my students. Even a simple thing like going up the stairs at school was getting hard.

During open heart surgery, surgeons opened my chest by making a 10 inch cut. Surgeons use a special saw to cut through the breastbone. The breastbone or the sternum is slowly spread apart with a retractor. This allows the entire chest and heart to be open. The surgeon uses and electrocautery, which cauterizes as it cuts and seals the small blood vessels, to cut through the pericardium, a sac that protects and contains the heart. The surgeon then removes the whole heart except for the back of the left atrium. When my heart was removed from my body, I was put on a heart-lung machine called a cardiopulmonary bypass machine. This machine oxygenates and circulates blood throughout the body, replacing the function of both the heart and the lungs, while on the machine the surgeon stitched up the hole in my heart. My heart was put back into my chest cavity and the heart was connected ton the left atrium again. The sternum was put back together with wire. The wire remains in my chest cavity for the rest of my life. The cut is stitched up and now I have a vertical scar on my chest that is 10 inches long.

My life up to to this point was being a teacher to my students. I wake up every morning eager to go to work. When it was decided that I needed surgery, I asked the doctor if I could wait another year. I was hoping that he would say yes and that my heart would somehow fix itself and I wouldn't need open heart surgery. The thought of it scared me to death. I remember the words the doctor used to answer my question, "Let's put it this way, one day you will be teaching a P.E. class any you can collapse in front of your student's. Are you prepared to put your students through that kind of situation?" I didn't take a second to agree to have surgery. I decided that my students, friends and family deserved to have me in their lives as long as possible. I deserved to live the life that was meant for me and to live it to the fullest.

Today I have a full schedule of physical education classes. I am reminded every day in every single class how special each student is in their own way. I am reminded how rewarding it is to watch my students grow and develop into the human beings that they are today. To this day I haven't regretted the decision to have surgery, because when I really think about it, I would have hurt a lot of people around me.

Classroom Spotlight: Graceful Seventh Grade

**Classroom Spotlight posts highlight interesting projects, activities and events occurring in the classrooms of Sacred Heart Catholic School. This Classroom Spotlight article is written by our Seventh Grade Homeroom/Middle School Science and Theology Teacher, Mrs. Carmen Flores**

The 7th Grade class is deeply involved in the study of Sacramental Grace. We are looking to identify all those different aspects of life where Grace has "come to the rescue."

We also are learning how we must practice forgiveness so that we may have God's Grace. Sometimes we make the mistake of limiting God's Grace and frequently block its benefits with our un-forgiveness.

Forgiveness is also amazing...It is powerful, but it pales in comparison to God's Grace which we receive through all the Sacraments...We can't forgive if we don't have Grace, we need that little extra help to forgive. This sounds like a cycle, and it is, a good one!

Grace can save us in the most unexpected places...all you have to do is trust in God's gift!

Classroom Spotlight: First Grade Loves To Read

**Classroom Spotlight posts highlight interesting projects, activities and events occurring in the classrooms of Sacred Heart Catholic School. This Classroom Spotlight article is written by our First Grade Teacher, Mrs. Mercedes Spence**

Happy New Year!

First Grade is beginning to read fluently. This is the stage in your child's life where it is easy to instill the love of books and reading. Please help me instill this by reading together with your child. Have them read to you and make sure your child practices their fluency everyday.

Thank you and have a great new year start!

- Mrs. Spence

Classroom Spotlight: Kindergarten's Kinder Garden

**Classroom Spotlight posts highlight interesting projects, activities and events occurring in the classrooms of Sacred Heart Catholic School. This Classroom Spotlight article is written by our Kindergarten Teacher, Ms. Yemil Andrade**

Hello Kinder Followers!

Thanks for following our school blog! This month (November) we have some very exciting things happening in Kinder. We have been learning all about plants. We are learning what they are, what different kinds of plants there are, how they grow, and most importantly how to take care of them. Our Kindergartners have started a little garden of their own, which we simply like to call The Kinder Garden. You can check out our Kinder Garden by taking a trip to the back school gate. You can also see the before and after pictures below. You will be able to see how a simple and small garden can help make our school more beautiful than it already is and make us think about how we are caring for the gardens of our own souls. Imagine all the little things we can do every day to take care of the gardens of our souls and make them more beautiful, like visit a chapel or smile at our neighbor ... let's work together to nourish and cultivate our beloved Kinder Garden and the gardens withing our souls!

God Bless You!
Ms. Andrade
 

 BEFORE

BEFORE

 AFTER

AFTER

Classroom Spotlight: Physical Education (Preschool, Kindergarten and First Grade)

**Classroom Spotlight posts highlight interesting projects, activities and events occurring in the classrooms of Sacred Heart Catholic School. This Classroom Spotlight article is written by our P.E. Teacher, Ms. Marlo Lopez**

During the last two school years, Preschool, Kindergarten and 1st Grade were participating in Physical Education classes once a week for 30 minutes. This school year, these three grade levels are now participating in Physical Education classes twice a week for 30 minutes to educate the whole student body, not just the to portion, from the neck on up. The main task is to provide structured and progressive physical activity experiences.

Preschool

The Preschool students were taught how to walk on a balance beam. The first time the students walked on a balance beam they had trouble keeping their balance but by the end of the month, the students were able to walk on a balance beam without stepping off. In order to keep their balance, the students stretched out their arms as they walked. During the month of November, the students started working on hand-eye coordination. They are now bouncing a playground ball and catching it with two hands.

Kindergarten

The Kindergarten students were also taught how to walk on a balance beam and how to run an obstacle course. In the obstacle course, the students ran, jumped over hurdles, and walked on the balance beam. During the month of November, students started working on developing hand-eye coordination skills by bouncing a playground ball and catching it with two hands.

First Grade

First Grade students began the school year by learning to develop locomotor skills by moving the body from one place to another and projecting the body upward by jumping or hoping. Locomotor skills include walking, running, skipping, leaping, sliding and galloping. These skills form the foundation of gross motor coordination and involve large muscle movement.

During the month of October, First Grade students began working on throwing and catching. They were taught to throw by watching the teacher model the skill. The right way to throw is to: (1) stand with the non-throwing side of the body facing the target; the throwing arm side of the body should be away from the target, (2) Step toward the target with the foot opposite the throwing hand, (3) Rotate the hips as the throwing arm moves toward the throwing arm moves froward, (4) bend the arm at the elbow and (5) Keeping their body weight on the rear foot during the early phases of the throw. The students were taught how to catch the ball by watching the instructor demonstrate the following steps: (1) Maintain visual contact with the ball, (2) reach for the ball and absorb its force by bringing the hand into the body, (3) Placing feet in a stride position and (4) placing the body in line with the ball.

During the month of November, First Grade students began learning some basic football skills such as how to throw a forward pass, how to carry a football, how to hike or center a football and how to block. The students are also learning the difference between offensive and defensive plays.