Friday, September 20, 2013

St. Bernard Prep Biology class takes the cake

Biology instructor, Shelly Perry, added a culinary twist to her Biology lab recently as students were placed into groups and created cell cakes.  In fact, some might describe her latest teaching style as, “taking the cake!”
Perry baked a round cake for each group and provided all of the essentials—utensils, frosting, decorating items--for creating a scientific model of a cell for discussion.  Students were also encouraged to bring their own decorating ingredients.
“This is a fun time for students to break away from traditional book learning; and it helps with building memory skills,” Perry said.
Students received grades for their cell cakes worth 50 points.  In teams, the students worked quickly, frosting their cake, some adding green dye if theirs was a plant cell.  Students then chose various pieces of candy to represent all the parts of a cell—nucleus, nucleolus, lysosome, membrane, etc.—placing the different candy pieces on the cakes to create models of either plant or animal cells. 
Taffy was a popular choice for depicting cell membranes, while cherry licorice was often chosen for golgi and green jelly beans were frequently used for mitochondrion.  One team broke the “candy barrier” by using bacon strips for endoplasmic reticulum.  Students really got creative when portraying the cell nucleus, with choices ranging from a giant Reeces cup to a large glob of cotton candy!  

Students were graded based on their knowledge of each organelle, not only identifying each part, but also describing the function.   Science instructors, Br. Charles Manning and Mrs. Betty Wallace assisted with the testing of each group.  This is probably the only science experiment the students will ever be tempted to eat!

St. Bernard Prep hosts college fair

St. Bernard Prep held a college fair on Wednesday, September 18 in the Dining Hall - Brahma Room,  hosting private and public colleges and universities throughout Alabama.

Admissions Officers from the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Birmingham Southern, University of Alabama – Birmingham, University of Alabama- Huntsville, Jacksonville State, University of Montevallo, Berry College, Spring Hill College, and University of North Alabama were on hand to inform students and parents of the academic and campus life at each school. 
Students and parents explored each school and asked many questions pertaining to admissions, available majors, campus organizations, campus security, scholarships, and financial aid.  St. Bernard encourages parents to attend and participate as well as the high school juniors and seniors, since oftentimes, they think of questions that students overlook.  A few underclassmen could also be seen among the crowd Wednesday night; as one freshman put it, “it’s never too early to make college plans.”
Guidance Counselor, Mary Mayo said the schools were well received.  “Our students and parents found the fair very informative.  They collected a lot of good information and were able to find several differences in each college.”
Mayo stresses to her students to make sure they inquire about application deadlines for scholarships. 
Mayo said, “Deadlines vary from school to school, and are approaching very quickly.  Make sure to check your particular colleges for application and scholarship deadlines.”
St. Bernard Prep is a co-educational day and boarding school for grades 7-12.  For more information visit or call 256-739-6682.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Cancer survivor survives again

Brain  cancer survivor, Michael McBride had good intentions of ‘Riding for a Cure’ from Hopkins, Kentucky to Panama City, Florida  in eight days. However, after experiencing another near death accident, he is forced to add a few more days to his schedule.    
McBride, who began his ride on September 5, had already made plans to rest for the evening in Cullman through a website called  He had been in contact with another member of the biking community, Dorenda Doyle, who had made arrangements for McBride to spend an evening at the Retreat Center at St. Bernard Abbey.
Doyle received a call from McBride on Friday afternoon stating he was in Hartselle and would be in Cullman in about an hour.  However the next call received was one stating he had been involved in a hit and run.
“I got a call from Michael saying that he had been hit by a vehicle on Hwy 31, just outside Falkville.  We immediately called 911, and headed that way,” Doyle said.
By the time the Doyle’s got to him, police were on the scene.  McBride was visibly shaken and had a bloody ankle, but refused medical treatment stating he had spent enough time in and out of hospitals.
“I have a glioblastoma brain tumor, and have been a cancer survivor for six years.   I am riding my bicycle with the American Cancer Society to help children that unfortunately have been diagnosed with cancer too,” McBride said. 
Some may think McBride has more lives than a cat, but he is grateful to be alive.  “I have survived a fall from a roof, a new heart valve,  being electrocuted, having brain cancer, an automobile accident, and being hit on a bicycle; however, God has a plan, and I must carry on this mission,” McBride said.
The vehicle struck the trailer that McBride was towing with his bicycle, destroying it, and throwing him from his bike.  The accident occurred at dusk on Friday evening, just outside of Falkville.  Although Michael identified the car as a Camry, he refuses to give any further details, “because I don’t want to get anyone in trouble. “   Although the driver hit brake lights a few times, after the collision, he/she left the scene of the accident without checking on McBride.

Upon arrival at St. Bernard, McBride finds a different story – one  of compassion and hope.  The Retreat Center provided a wonderful place to rest and recover from what could have been a bad situation.  Guest staying at the center heard about the evenings tragic events, and placed monetary gifts  in his room.  But the giving didn’t stop there.  Once employees at the local Wal Mart  heard about the accident, they immediately pitched in and purchased a new bike trailer for him.
McBride was joined by his wife Melissa on Sunday afternoon at St. Bernard.  They were both very thankful and flattered by the kindness of the Cullman Community and especially the Doyle’s and Br. Brendan Seipel at St. Bernard.  McBride will now continue his bike journey, to complete his mission to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, with his wife following behind him.
“My family and I appreciate all of the support and comfort received on our brief stay at St. Bernard.  We love the Lord with all of our heart and know this would not be possible without HIM!”
Anyone wishing to support McBride may do so by   Donations may also be sent to Michael McBride, Ride for a Cure, American Cancer Society, 952 Fairview Avenue. Suite 4, Bowling Green, KY  42101.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Eucharistic Procession Held at St. Bernard

On Wednesday, August 28th, St. Bernard Preparatory School Students joined in a Eucharistic Procession, in which the Blessed Sacrament was carried to and reserved in the Swisher Classroom Building Chapel.

Beginning in the Abbey Church with Solemn Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Rev. Bede Marcy, O.S.B. preached about proclaiming the role of Christ in the everyday activities of our studies, sports, and relationships. Then, with seven Knights of the Altar assisting, the Blessed Sacrament was carried around the quadrangle and to the classroom building.
During the procession,  a schola of St. Bernard students led by Rev. Joel Martin, O.S.B. sang the Litany of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Arriving at the classroom building, the Blessed Sacrament was placed on an Altar of Repose, festively prepared for this occasion by the High School Ladies of the Altar.
St. Bernard students packed  the first floor hallway and sang the Tantum Ergo as the Blessed Sacrament was incensed. After a brief period of adoration, final benediction was given and the Eucharist was reposed in the school chapel as the students sang Holy God.

Fr. Bede said the procession was a very powerful and moving liturgy for the students, and they have already begun to inquire about plans for the next procession!