Monday, November 24, 2008

SBP Middle School gets new science lab

St. Bernard Middle School is in the process of renovating a room in the basement of Founders Hall for a new science lab. Science teacher, Martha Wells is delighted to receive her own lab for students in the newly formed 7th and 8th grade school. “We have been borrowing equipment from the high school lab. Having our own lab and equipment suited to the skill level of a middle school student will allow our students to perform more hands-on activities.”

Middle School Principal, John Tekulve said he plans to have the room completed by the end of Thanksgiving Break. Tables and cabinets have already been moved into the classroom. Parents are volunteering their time and are helping by cleaning windows and painting floors.

St. Bernard Middle School is taking part in Science and Technology Concepts for Middle Schools, a pilot program through Carolina Science. A module for each class has been secured. The eighth grade science class will study properties of matter including investigations of the densities of solids, liquids and gases. Students will observe how matter interacts and how it behaves when heated. They then provide explanations of their observations. The themes of these inquiries are revisited in detail throughout the unit, giving students opportunities to re-examine and modify their explanations.

The seventh grade module is a study of organisms from macro to micro. This module will tap the curiosity of students by first helping students clarify what they already know about organisms and then perform a series of engaging, thought-provoking, hands-on activities that will enable them to extend their knowledge. They will work with a minimum of 16 living organisms over a period of 20 lessons.

“This new program will make concepts taught in the science classroom come alive” Wells added. “For instance, they will grow plants as well as experiment with cross pollination and collect data on second and third generations of plants to understand heredity. They will create a miniature ecosystem as they study various plants and animals.” With exposure to the many living organisms, Wells hopes that the students will come to understand that a delicate balance exists in nature. ”Often times this balance is upset and most of the time it is a result of human actions,” stressed Wells. “I tell my students the most important concept I want them to gain is that this planet is not just for human use. All God’s creatures belong here and we need to respect the environment.”

The pilot program allows St. Bernard to try the materials before purchasing. Each module for each class averages $3,000. St. Bernard plans to add four more modules over the next two years. An account for the science lab has been set up. Grants have been secured through Operation Round-Up and donations are being accepted. Anyone wishing to contribute to the new science lab should send their contributions made payable to St. Bernard Prep School, 1600 St. Bernard Drive, SE, Cullman, AL 35055 Attn: Science Lab.

Thanksgiving service held at St. Bernard

Students at St. Bernard Prep School celebrated Mass recently during the school’s Annual Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service. Traditionally each year St. Bernard students and staff are given the opportunity to invite clergy representing their various congregations and religious traditions.

Thirteen ministers from the area took part in the service composed of prayers, psalms, scripture readings and hymns, and students offer thanks and petitions to God as they lay symbols of their lives before the altar.

The Rev. Malcolm Marler, Chaplain at UAB Medical Center, presented the sermon . Rev. Marler thanked St. Bernard for educating and encouraging his children for the last four years. “I want to thank the teachers, coaches, and administrators for all they are doing and have done for all people.” He further complimented the students for being a unique community. Rev. Marler said, “Over the last four years, I have watched you cheer for one another in academic and athletic endeavors. I noticed the way you spoke kindly of one another and your wonderful sense of humor in caring ways.”

His homily was a reminder to each to give thanks for everything to everyone. “In today’s world, Psalm 100 would be interpreted like a text message. To me it’s like sending a short quick message to God saying thank you. It’s like t-h-n-x. I encourage each of you to thank God and others for all their blessings, and if thanked; make sure to allow the compliment to be fully taken in. Return the thanks with you’re welcome.”

The St. Bernard Choral Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Rebecca Whited took part in the service.

The service was followed by a dinner for all guests, students, faculty and staff. The guest clergymen were served by the students.

St. Bernard Prep Headmaster, Fr. Joel Martin, O.S.B. said, “This is an opportunity for all of us in the school community to give thanks to God for the many gifts we have received, and to do so along with those pastors, ministers and priests who are so important in the lives of our students. These men and women are very busy, so we are all impressed with and grateful for their taking time to join us.”

Ministers present were The Rev. Robert Blackwell, Grace Episcopal Church, Cullman; The Rev. Walter Cash, St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, Cullman; The Rev. Michael Deering, St. Elizabeth Anne Seton Church, Gardendale and St. Henry's Church, Warrior; The Rev. Peter von Hermann, First United Methodist Church, Cullman; The Rev. Andrew Kennedy, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Birmingham; The Rev. Robert Kurtz, St. John's Evangelical Protestant Church, Cullman; The Rev. Carl R. Lampitt, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Cullman; The Rev. Alan C. Mackey, St. Charles Borromeo Church, Jacksonville; The Rev. Malcolm Marler, Chaplain, UAB Medical Center, Birmingham; The Rev. Raymond J. Remke, Annunciation of the Lord Church, Decatur; Sr. Teresa Walsh, C.S.J., Annunciation of the Lord Church, Decatur.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Faulk earns All-State at varsity level

In August, SBP student Will Faulk was not very interested in running. However, things quickly changed as Faulk discovered he had a special gift on the cross country track. He recently competed at the varsity level with a 12th place finish in the State Cross Country Meet at Jesse Owens earning him All-State recognition. The eighth grade student at St. Bernard Middle School, quickly admits his mom was responsible for encouraging him to try out for the team. “I didn’t know I would be so excited about running when I started. It’s so hot in August and I wasn’t sure I was up to the task,” Faulk said.

During competition Faulk said his greatest challenge was to be in front of whoever he was trailing. “I could remember hearing the crowd say ‘pass that kid’ and I didn’t know if they were talking about me or to me, so I would say to myself ‘push it, push it’ to run faster too.”

He trains at the school on Boniface trail which is about two miles of rough terrain, and the paved perimeter road at St. Bernard. Faulk said most of the tracks we run are gravel so training on the Boniface trail is more difficult.

Since there is not a middle school competition, Faulk stepped up to the challenge of competing in the varsity division. Competition was harder and the runners were larger than me. However, not easily intimidated, the 5’4 featherweight set goals for himself and trained daily to run quicker than the guys in front of him. Faulk finished the three mile in 12th place with a time of 18:33; and the two mile in 11:43. Oscar Perez, a 7th grade student at SBP, finished in 41st position out of the 107 participants.

Cross Country Coach, Jeff Taylor, said he is very pleased and excited with these boys. “They broke every personal record they set for themselves, and represented our school well. Will is to be congratulated for earning All-State at the varsity level.”

Faulk plays tenor sax in the band and is currently taking a break from running to play basketball. He is the son of William and Paige Faulk of Cullman.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veterans remembered at St. Bernard

Students at St. Bernard Prep spent Veterans Day remembering the soldiers serving our country and those who have gone before us in death. Veterans Day is a time to come together to educate ourselves, and remember the solemn thing the flag is, the anthem, and the nation. Headmaster, Fr. Joel Martin, OSB said, “People from all over the world have flocked to these shores not because it’s an interesting place to visit but because there is great freedom and opportunity that has come at a great price.”

Fr. Joel offered thanks for those who offered the ultimate sacrifice, and asked God to bless them all. “Give us hearts expended with gratefulness for the generosity of those veterans because of whom we have inherited this land of the free.”

Junior student Elizabeth Schweers was the voice of the flag explaining itself: “My Red Stripes symbolize the blood spilled in defense of this glorious nation. My White Stripes signify the burning tears shed by Americans who lost their sons. My Blue Field is indicative of God's heaven under which I fly. My Stars clustered together, unify 50 States as one, for God and Country."

Jesse Schaffer recited a piece once spoken by Red Skelton. It was an explanation Skelton remembered from his 7th grade teacher, Mr. Laswell. In the work Laswell noted the students looked as though it had become monotonous to recite the pledge and decided to educate them on the pledge of allegiance. Shaffer read, “I, me – committee of one; Pledge – dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self pity; allegiance –my love and my devotion to the flag, our standard, old glory a symbol of freedom. Whenever she waves there’s respect, because your loyalty has given her dignity; which shouts freedom – it's everybody’s job. United – All come together; States - 48 individual states with pride dignity and purpose. And to the republic for which it stands – a state in which a severest power is representative in a message chosen by people to government. One nation – so blessed by God; Indivisible –incapable of being divided. Liberty- Freedom – the right power to live ones life without threats fear or some sort of retaliation. Justice – the principle quality of dealing fairly with others. For all – boys and girls it’s as much your country as it is mine.”

“Veterans Day reminds us who our real heroes are,” Fr. Joel said. “They are not athletes or Hollywood stars. They are people who put their lives at risk and give their lives for others . They wear combat boots, flack jackets, flight suits. We owe them gratitude.”

Veteran’s Day has its origin in Armistice Day in 1918 when on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when WWI officially ended with the surrender of the German forces. Since that time the day has been carved into our national memory and used first as a day to honor WWI veterans, and then expanded to include all veterans.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Open House this Sunday at St. Bernard Prep

St. Bernard Prep School in Cullman, Alabama has a rich history in providing a quality educational program at affordable prices. In the past 25 years, St. Bernard has graduated 525 seniors who collected millions of dollars in scholarship monies. Most of these seniors have graduated from college and are living successful lives in many professions all over the country.

“The average scores of students at St. Bernard Prep School are well above the state and national averages on every standardized test,” boast Fr. Marcus Voss, the school President. “We credit this fact to the instruction in the classroom. We teach a college prep program all year long and give our students the opportunity to be very successful in college and beyond.”

“In many schools, the raising of test scores has become the single most important indicator of a school’s improvement,” Fr. Marcus said. “Therefore teachers in those schools feel a lot of pressure to teach for the test using methods of teaching which conform to the multiple-choice format of the test.” He continued, “This method narrows the curriculum, forcing teachers, and students to concentrate on memorization of isolated facts, instead of learning in-depth and developing the fundamental abilities to organize and communicate ideas.”

“The faculty at St. Bernard is committed to teaching our students a well-rounded and in-depth education,” Fr. Marcus commented. “The feedback we receive from our graduates indicates that they are successful.”

“I invite families to come and see our program,” continued Fr. Marcus. “Since we are both a resident and commuting school, our program is available to students from the United States and internationally.”

St. Bernard will have its annual Fall Open House on November 9th at 2:00 pm. Call 800-722-0999 or 256-739-6682 for reservations or more information. Information is also available at

Monday, November 3, 2008

SBP host St. Ann's Eighth Grade Class

Recently eighth grade students from St. Ann’s Catholic School in Decatur, Alabama visited St. Bernard Prep School. While visiting the school, students were treated to a guided tour of Ave Maria Grotto, and lunch.

St. Bernard participates at Trumbauer District

For theatre students at St. Bernard Prep School it was their first time out in the twenty-five year history of the newly formed prep school to participate in the Trumbauer District Festival at Florence High School in Florence, Alabama. Under the direction of Barbara Guthrie, the SBP troupe performed The Game. The one act, four-character allegory play, is an “English morality play” written by Louise Bryant.

The play centers around characters of Death (Jack Palmer) and Life (Elizabeth Schweers) vying with a toss of the dice for the lives of the nameless “The Youth,” a male poet (J.C. Allbritton), and “The Girl,” a dancer (Jenna Tischler). Each of the two young people decide that their life is not worth living for lack of love, but Life helps them both realize that what they had called love was really just desire. After The Girl dances to two of The Youth’s poems, they each decide they have now found real love. A debate about the meaning of life and its value ensues, but ultimately it’s realized that the toss of dice will determine the young people’s fate: Life ultimately wins both tosses. The play makes a strange jump out of allegory when contemporary references to the War are thrown in early on: at one point Life is willing to trade the two youths to Death for “Kaiser Wilhelm, the Czar of Russia, George of England and old Francis Joseph and later for an army of soldiers. When Death asks her why she cares so little for soldiers, choosing the two “dreamers” over them, Life replies that “someday the dreamers will chain you to the earth, and I will have the game all my way.” However, after Death leaves, she declares in the play’s last line: “I must never let him know how much I mind losing soldiers. They are the flower of youth—there are dreamers among them.”

An outstanding performance placed Schweers and Palmer in the All Star Cast as well as earned them honors as best actress, and best supporting actor. The St. Bernard Troupe was also awarded the best costume award.

St. Bernard will perform The Game as part of three one-act plays on Thursday, November 6 and Saturday, November 8 at 7p.m. in the Heidrich Building. Other plays to be performed are Happily Never After and The Potman Spoke Sooth.