Thursday, November 15, 2012

Middle School hosts food drive

During the month of November, students at St. Bernard Middle School in Cullman are remembering those who are in need.   This holiday season the school has collectively donated enough food to create a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for four to maybe six families.

Martha Ann Warnke, who has spent her life in classroom education, spearheads the food drive and makes the necessary arrangements for the food to be distributed through the St. Vincent dePaul organization at Sacred Heart Church in Cullman.

Each year students are given a list of what it takes to make a perfect Thanksgiving dinner.   Some donate money which is used to purchase turkey, hams, and baking hens.

“We were extremely pleased with our response.  The students and their families were so kind to contribute to the food drive,” Miss Warnke said.

Principal William Calvert said this is a tradition for the Middle School.  “This is a tradition which we have carried since the Middle School was opened.  Miss Warnke does a great job spearheading the project, and of course our students are always ready to lend a helping hand.”

Thanksgiving service held at St. Bernard

Ministers and Priests of St. Bernard Prep School students and staff members were recently invited to participate in the school’s annual Thanksgiving Service.  Over forty people who minister to churches in various parts of the country were sent an invitation.

Leading the opening prayer was Rev.  Patrick Cullen, pastor of St. Aloysius Church in Bessemer. Scripture readings were given by Rev. Matt Carmichael of Daystar Church in Hanceville, Rev. Etsel Riddle of Oak Level Baptist Church in Cullman, Very Rev. Kevin Bazzel of St. Paul Cathedral in Birmingham, and Deacon Dennis Kobs of Annunciation Church in Decatur.  The final prayer was offered by Sr. Teresa Walsh of Annunciation Church in Decatur.  Also leading prayers were Rev. Robert Blackwell of Grace Episcopal Church, Cullman, and Rev. Michael Deering of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Gardendale.

Rev. Mitchell Williams of First United Methodist Church delivered a “mouthwatering” homily with a reminder of gifts for which we “oughta” be thankful.    Referring to the tornado that hit Cullman on April 27, 2011, Rev. Williams reminded the congregation of how bad things can happen in a community.  The Cullman area witnessed heavy damage to homes, churches, and businesses.  Power was restored within a week, water was still available, and neighbors from other counties assisted in the clean-up.  However, Hurricane Sandy is much worse.  People are still without power, and the water is becoming less and less, and there are no neighbors who are spared the disaster.

 “If we knew today that something of this nature was about to happen, what would be the first thing you would rescue?”  Williams asked.    “What would become precious to you?”

Williams encouraged all to appreciate the little things in life.    “Be thankful for the chance to be happy and to be connected with a God who has blessed you, and loves you.”

After the sermon, students offered prayers of thanksgiving/petition, during which gifts representing the prayers were offered at the altar of the Abbey Church. Thanks was expressed for the harvest that makes our lives possible, and all creation; the freedom of our Country, our armed forces, and elected officials; parents, teachers, and friends; education and wisdom; athletic abilities, people of all faiths, and loved ones who have died.

Music was provided by vocalist Caitlin Varquez who was accompanied by Alex Ginas playing the guitar.  Dr. Rebecca Whited was the organist and was assisted by trumpeter Alex Ginas.
After the service, Thanksgiving Dinner was enjoyed by all in the Dining Hall.

Families impressed at Open House

Fifteen Families from Alabama, Georgia, Florida and China visited St. Bernard during the recent Open House to gain more knowledge about St. Bernard Prep, and to see if it would be a good fit for their children and/or grandchildren.

Students from both the Middle and High School served as ambassadors for the afternoon, and did an outstanding  job of representing their school.

Dr.  Donna Bryant, Admissions Director, said parents were very impressed with the job the students did.  They commented on how friendly, helpful and confident the students were – wonderfully reflecting on their school and themselves.

One out-of-state parent commented that he thought the school would be the best place for his son because of what he had heard and read on the school’s website, but now he feels sure that St. Bernard is where he wants to be.

Some visitors were past alumni and spoke of their fond memories of the school and the quality education they received.  But most importantly they spoke of the impact attending St. Bernard had on their life, their relationships with the monks who taught them, their friendships with their classmates that have stood the test of time, and the values and life-long lessons they learned during their years at St. Bernard as a student.  

“These family members want the same experience for their grandchildren, or nieces or nephews,” Bryant said.

Fr. Joel Martin, President of St. Bernard Prep, recently returned from a trip to China where he was contacted by the family of a young man in Shanghai who is very interested in attending St. Bernard.  A family friend who now lives in Atlanta made the trip to Cullman to see the school on behalf of the young student and his family.  The friend was happy to report back that he was very impressed with what he saw and heard. 

"We know we have a good learning environment at St. Bernard,” Dr. Bryant said.  “When we have families visit our campus, it’s an easy sell.  They experience an atmosphere conducive to learning, and know their children will be known well by their teachers."

 St. Bernard students truly exemplify our mission statement, "St. Bernard is committed to fully engaging students in learning for the whole person –body, mind and spirit.  Corpus-Mens-Spritus."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Saint Bernard Swim Team off to a great start

The Saint Bernard Swim Team has had a fantastic beginning, grabbing two first place wins, numerous other places, as well as personal best times in the Cullman High School Invitational Swim Meet recently held at the Cullman Wellness and Aquatic Center in Cullman.   

One of the first place finishes was earned by Sean Moriarty, who competed with nineteen others for the Men’s 100-Yard Freestyle with a final time of 54.17.  With thirty-five competitors, Saint Bernard team members did well in the Men’s 50-Yard Freestyle—Sean Moriarty took second place with a time of 24.16, and John Paul Stolz placed ninth with a time of 25.59.  Stolz also grabbed a fourth place in the Men’s 100-Yard Breaststroke with a time of 1:17.95.

Saint Bernard’s other first place win was produced by Bennett Glasscock who had a final time of 55.87 in a pool of ten competitors in the Men’s 100-Yard Butterfly.

Although swimming exhibition,  the Saints 200 Yard Freestyle Relay finished 1st out of 8 High Schools represented in the meet with a time of 1:39.40.  They also finished fourth in the 200 Yard Medley Relay with a time of 1:54.27.  Relay swimmers were: JP Stolz, Nate Giffin, Sean Moriarty and Bennett Glasscock.

The ladies of the Saint Bernard team also had a great showing.  Sarah Peel took a fourth place out of ten competitors in the Women’s 200-Yard IM with a final time of 2:29.10.  She also claimed the fifth place position of nineteen participants in the Women’s 100-Yard Breaststroke with a final time of 1:17.11.

Torey Badar finished with a respectable sixteenth of forty-three, with a final time of 31.50 in the Women’s 50-Yard Freestyle; she took fifteenth place of twenty-four swimmers in the Women’s 100-Yard Freestyle with a personal best time of 1:14.19.

The Saint Bernard Swim Team is growing in popularity and talent under the direction of Coach Carson Glasscock.  The  Saints will travel to Chattanooga, TN on November 17 to participate in the McCallie Invitational Swim Meet.  For a complete schedule visit

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

St. Bernard Cross Country qualifies for State

The Cross Country Team of Coach William Calvert is making history!  Not only are they setting personal records for each of the 18 students—9 girls and 9 boys—they qualified for State Playoffs and captured first place finishes in each division.

During the Class 1A-2A division of the Section 3, Site A at Cold Springs, the Saints girls claimed 6 of the top 11 spots in the race, while the boys claimed 6 of the top 15 spots in their competition, easily leading to first place finishes for both teams and qualifying the teams for State Playoffs in Moulton.

Senior Seamus Russell dominated the boys’ race in the last quarter-mile to break away from teammate Will Faulk, to pull off the upset in the boys 5K, taking 1st place and 2nd place respectively.   Freshman Steven Mami added to the stack by placing 4th.  Junior Oscar Perez placed 7th; eighth grader Isaias Robles placed 12th and Senior Sam Robles rounded out the top 15.

A record First place finish was made by St. Bernard senior Logan Ayers, who narrowly broke a course record by 24 seconds and accomplished her personal best time.  Sophomore Ayleana Mami captured 2nd place, while Jaden Edge, an eighth grade student, grabbed 4th.  Seventh grader Leahrose Mami, along with Senior Caitlin Varquez and eighth grader Morgan Matz, swept up the 9th-11th places.

Coach William Calvert described the day as “awesome,” but said the competition will be extremely tough as the teams will compete against other strong teams from across the state.

“It was an awesome weekend.  However, I have told the team it will be a challenge, and we have to be hungry to win it,” Coach Calvert stressed.

The Saints will compete this Saturday, November 10, for the State 1A-2A Division title with the girls race at 9:30 and the boys race at 10:10 a.m. in Moulton, AL.