At Home with Marist

Special thanks to Christian ’21 for sharing his virtual learning experience.

Unprecedented: I think we can all agree it’s the buzzword of 2020. With schools suddenly going virtual, this rare time in our lives is one we will never forget. Marist transitioned to virtual learning for term three, and as a junior, I can say Marist’s approach proved to be successful.

Of course, it was difficult not being on campus. Not seeing my friends every morning in the junior parking lot, my teachers at the front of the classroom, and my classmates throughout the day was a struggle for me and the entire Marist Fam. While my heart goes out to our seniors, the Class of 2020, who spent their final term at Marist at home, I am proud of our entire Marist community for continuing to work hard and carry on like War Eagles do.

For daily classes, we modified our schedule to have 90-minute classes, four on Tuesdays and Thursdays and three on Wednesdays and Fridays. I enjoyed logging into Google Meet for each class to see my teachers and classmates face to face. It added structure and value to my days when I began to forget what day it was. Mondays were Asynchronous Learning Days, which I loved. We logged into Google Meet in the morning for advisory/homeroom, and then we had the rest of the day to catch up on assignments, attend virtual tutorial, and take advantage of programming, such as college counseling meetings, student council meetings, and virtual prayer services.

While much changed with the shift to virtual learning, much also remained the same. We still prayed at the start of each day and at the beginning of every class. We continued to learn new concepts, complete homework, and take tests. We connected with each other. For example, my friends and I continued our tradition of eating lunch in Alumni Plaza by FaceTiming during lunch every day.

During this stressful time, Marist has remained a constant, and our school community has never been stronger. While we all feel blessed to have had such a positive virtual learning experience, we remain hopeful to be back on campus together this fall!

End-of-year Student Reflection

On this final day of the school year, thank you to Abby ’21 for sharing her prose-style poem from Creative Writing class that captures the essence of what we miss at Marist the most!

Dear Marist,

We miss you. We miss those early morning classes, waiting around in the hallway, laughing with our friends, the beginning of another great Marist day. We miss the birthday blessings, the blow horn on the mic, and each and every morning prayer. We miss the day-to-day classes, the rush between each one, the hustle of everyone trying and hoping to be on time, maybe even for the first time that term. We miss the hallway chats with our friends where those five minutes can bring the biggest smile and turn someone’s day around positively just by simply seeing your good friends or favorite teacher. We miss the lunches, even the lower cafeteria, where the sweetest Sage employees would serve us a variety each day of Marist food and always make sure that the famous Marist cookies would be in abundant stock. We miss the whole day and the schedule of who, what and where?  Am I going to class with each change of the hour? We miss the end the day, pulling enough energy through the last class and final announcements and hearing Mrs. Luke always cheering us up by telling us exciting and upcoming news in our community. We miss the after-school day: tutorial, extracurriculars, hanging in the Arcade, grabbing an afternoon snack at Sage, and packing up every schoolbook that you need for the night (we even miss carrying our oversized backpacks too). We miss the little things such as a smile from Fr. Ralph, trying to stay quiet in the library so you don’t get kicked out, Bella and Justin’s voices of “hey Marist fam,” every sport season, tailgates, talks with our teachers, saying hi to all the history teachers in the hallway, having a place to feel welcome in such as Campus Ministry or the Counseling Department, and hearing another friend from a different grade calling your name to say hi. We miss the hype Fridays and getting to go crazy at every Pep Rally or football game where you watch the band, the cheerleaders, and the players under those dimming Friday night lights. We miss the dances, the club meetings, every Wednesday late start morning, and the fun experiences that we had planned for the spring. And we miss especially our seniors who brought so much light to the school and will continue to forever be a class to be remembered. These, above all, are the parts of you, Marist, we love the most. Thank you for giving us such an amazing place to go to school and thank you for making us who we are today.

Life Lessons from Ion

Morning Prayer
Ms. McGregor
Assistant Dean of Students and Mom of Ion, Marist’s service dog in training

373 days ago, I picked up an 11 pound puppy at the Atlanta airport. He was soft and snuggly and very, very hungry. Not much has changed in that regard. This morning, I’d like to share with you a few lessons about life and faith that Ion has taught me over the course of our year together.

Greet everyone with enthusiasm. Let me always strive to be the person my dog thinks I am, even if that level of awesomeness is completely unattainable. Amazingly, God’s love for each and every one of us is even greater than the love a dog has for his people.

Get plenty of rest. Remember to get a good night’s sleep and take time to rest during the day.

Play is good. So is fresh air, lots of water, and long walks. I am blessed by Ion’s persistence to drag me off the couch and outside for regular exercise, because he deserves it and I could use it myself. May God grant him the drive to chase a ball when it’s thrown instead of watching it bounce away and looking at me to fetch it. But don’t forget to stretch when you get up.

Enjoy the journey. Every time we get in the car, Ion nudges my shoulder to roll the windows down. He loves to stick his head out the window, smell the fresh air, and feel the wind in his face. May God grant us the awareness to enjoy the moment. The Gospel of Matthew reminds us: Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. So, enjoy the the journey of today.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent and listen, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Have hope. Ion has never received a scrap of food from the table, but that doesn’t stop him from staring at me while I’m eating. Ion has hope in receiving treats that should mirror our own hope for eternal happiness and union with God.

Be quick to forgive. Ion never holds a grudge even if I step on his tail when he stands under my feet in the kitchen, limit the number of treats he gets, or make him wear a holiday costume for a few quick photos. May we forgive others as quickly as our dogs forgive us.

Can you imagine what a better place the world would be if we treated everyone with the same love, kindness, and joy that we share with Ion each day?

Let us pray:
Dear God, I give you thanks for creating all of the peoples;
Two legged, four legged, winged and finned.
May I learn the great lessons from each of these…
From the Cat, let me learn healing, clarity, and keen vision.
From the Bird, let me learn how to let my spirit soar.
From the Fish, let me learn tenacity and to overcome obstacles.
From the Horse, let me learn strength and freedom.
And from the Dog, let me learn faithfulness, courage,
and unconditional love.
May I walk, swim and fly in harmony and balance with all of these.

In your infinite wisdom, Lord God, when you created the universe you blessed us with all living creatures. We especially thank you for giving us pets who are our friends and who bring us so much joy in life. Their presence very often helps us get through trying times. Kindly bless Ion and all our pets. May they continue giving us joy and remind us of your power.

May we realize that as our pets trust us to take care of them, so we should trust you, God, to take care of us, and in taking care of them we share in Your love for all Your creatures. Enlighten our minds to preserve all endangered species so that we may continue to appreciate all Your creation. Grant this to Christ our Lord, Amen.

As You Like It!

Congratulations to the cast and crew of the Marist fall high school production, As You Like It, that wrapped on Saturday night. Our Theater Director, Eric McNaughton, offers this insight on the show: 

This version of As You Like It is remarkable in many ways. It offers a gorgeous and contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s works, and it presents some of the loveliest new music to enter the musical theater canon in recent years.

We chose this show, however, because of its beautiful message of community. In this telling of the tale, people from a variety of places have sought refuge in the Forest of Arden, which is presented as a place where people can learn how to rebuild their worlds. The Forest provides everything for them, including a space to heal old wounds. Yes, it is a comedy, and yes, it is very charming and funny, but there are others layers to examine.

At Marist, we are participating in a school-wide conversation about refugees, and this show is an excellent example of how the theater can speak to larger ideas and be a place to explore themes central to our identity as a community. How fascinating that a play written more than 400 years ago can still have such relevance in the 21st century.

Dr. Kathryn Hamrlik, Chair of the Marist Theology Department, explains further:

Welcoming the stranger – the immigrant and refugee among us – is a central teaching of the Catholic tradition. Hospitality, inclusiveness and ardent love of neighbor are part of what it means to be Marist.

 

Faith, Fellowship and Food

September 4, 2019
Weekly Breakfast Club Mass, Student Reflection
Matthew ’20

This past summer I went on a run from my house late in the afternoon. When I turned onto Ashford Dunwoody from Mount Vernon Road, I looked to my right and saw the purple and orange sky along with the setting sun. The lofty clouds hovered around the buildings with a pink tint. It was one of those perfect moments that we just capture every once in a while.

I’m a bit of a transcendentalist. More than anywhere else, I can see God in the world around me. From any cloud that gets hit by the sun in just the right way, or in the slight movement of the branches on massive trees because of just a slight wind. But more than anything, I love the sublime. Stars in the night sky wherever the light pollution is not too bad or the vast extent of the Appalachian Mountains. It never fails to stir up something in me that tells me that there is something greater out there. And I am not the only one who can see the obvious connetion between our environment and God. In 2015, Pope Francis addressed his concerns for our lack of respect for the Earth God gave us in his encyclical Laudato Si’. He calls to action everyone to make small changes in our lives that would have a big effect on the health of our environment.

This is all an introduction to the start of The Season of Creation. It is a month-long period where we get a chance to participate and learn about God’s creation. As it says in the first reading today, “Just as in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing, so also among you.” We are called to grow. Grow in knowledge and wisdom. All month, Marist has planned events in preparation for The Season of Creation. All of which are aimed to teach and help push the theme of Love for God’s creation. I genuinely would love to see everyone take part in making the extra effort this season.

And for the next time you spot a colorful sky or a nice tree, I hope you can see a small bit of God there, too.

Share the Spirit

August 23, 2019
Opening of Term Assembly
Student Council Co-Presidents
Bella ’20 and Justin ’20 

Welcome back Marist Fam! Or welcome for the first time. We are happy to announce our Marist Fam theme for the year is Share the Spirit.

Sharing the spirit is more than just wearing crazy colors to football games on Friday night. It’s about the spirit in all of us and showing up when it counts. We want every football game, basketball game, soccer game, cross country meet, swim meet, robotics tournament, and theater performance to be filled with students and overflowing with War Eagle Fever.

Marist students have so much to offer and to celebrate. Whether it’s academics, athletics, or arts, Marist is teeming with talent. It is the Marist experience and the friends and memories you make here that will resonate with you forever. We challenge you to share your spirit. Whatever you like to do, wherever you like to go, and whatever makes you happy. Let’s share it with each other to make Marist a place where everyone feels connected and at home.

Spirit at Marist is different for everyone. It could be a friendship with your favorite teacher…the feeling when you drive onto campus under the big oak trees…the fierce glare in Coach Chadwick’s eyes under the Friday night lights…the “howdy” from Mr. Belland that echoes in the hallway…the cookies and smiles from Mrs. Mary in the cafeteria…the mountain of bags in the bag drop that shows how much we trust each other…the sign of peace at Mass that takes twice as long because we all love to hug and shake hands. Our school is extremely special because of the heart and soul we as a student body put into it and the bond that comes from it. That is what creates the Marist Fam.

Class of 2020, Seniors, we made it. This is the year to make it count. Not just for college but for Marist. As leaders of the school, we set the tone for everyone else. Let’s be remembered well and make this year the best one yet.

We are so excited for the year ahead and can’t wait to share the spirit with our family of 1,200 who always has our back. We’ll see you in the halls! @maristfam

Lenten Focus

Morning Prayer:
March 21, 2019
Prayer by Nora ’20

Last night, I was reflecting on the one thing that ties our school together: relationships. I started thinking about what makes up the Lenten season of the average teenager. I think most of us have stopped giving things up for Lent and started making resolutions to better ourselves. This Lent, I encourage each and every one of you to make a resolution to better your relationships. In the Church, Lent is supposed to be a time of fasting. For the average teenager, this can be put into the context of fasting from negativity and inauthenticity in our relationships. We can fast from negative talk towards ourselves and others, fast from gossiping and putting each other down, and fast from speaking without thinking first. I think that words have an incredible impact on our relationships, and if we use kind words and spread positive vibes, we can make a huge difference in our school community. Eventually, this positivity in our relationships will spread beyond our school and into the world. Between now and the end of Lent, I challenge you to find one person you have wronged and apologize to them, I challenge you to stay positive, and I encourage you to do all you can to help healthy relationships grow through authenticity and an open heart.

Let us pray:

Dear God, please help us cultivate healthy relationships based on good morals, kindness, and positivity. Amen. Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Pray for Us.

#positivevibesonly

Dream Small

Morning Prayer:
September 19, 2018
Prayer by Ms. Pamela Kinzly, Mathematics Department

God speaks to me through music, through family and friends.  I’ve often had moments where I’m stressed and I hear a song lyric that reassures me.  Other times, a person will say just the right thing at the right time to help me through a difficult time.

Recently while listening to the radio a song came on and told me to “dream small”.  What a strange phrase!  We are Marist.  We dream big, we strive for a 5 in our AP classes, we start thinking about the state championship before the season starts, we apply to prestigious colleges, and we excel in all we do…doesn’t God want us to have big dreams?

Yes, God urges us to do our best in everything, but Jesus also said we should be humble like a little child.  We should not be so focused on our big important dreams that we lose sight of all the amazing gifts that today, just an ordinary day, can offer.  The song continued to sing about little moments like visiting a neighbor down the street, or dancing with a friend with special needs both of which can be a small moment in your life, but it can have far reaching, wonderful consequences.  On second thought, maybe dream small isn’t so crazy.  I think it means slow down and take time to listen, to learn, and to notice.

St. Therese of Liseux knew this lesson.  She is known for her “little way” which describes her approach to life. Her daily attitude was to be kind to those she met and she made a point to avoid complaining.  These little actions made such an impression on others that we call her a saint today.  Dream small.

Another St. Teresa known as Mother Teresa was called to a life of little moments of compassion for the poor in India.  She described dream small when she said,  Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

I think that’s the point of the song.  We have the opportunity to do something kind for the people we meet and it can change their world.  I know this is true from my personal experience.  When I first came to Marist, one of the things I noticed in the first week or two was the kindness of my students.  A friend asked me about Marist and I said (with a little bit of awe and wonder), “I have had a student say thank you every single day.”  I can say even years later that those two simple words still have a profound impact on me here at school.  When I’ve worked really hard to prepare for that class and a student says thank you, it is meaningful and they probably don’t even realize how much I appreciate their gratitude.

I’d like you to take the next few seconds and think of some small way that you can make an impact on your community.

Even if you think of something as small as holding a door open for someone, it counts.   Think about another quote from Mother Teresa:

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

Trust that God can do a lot with our little bit of effort.  If we join our actions with love, Jesus can do again what he did with the couple of loaves and fish produce a miracle.  We can dream small and trust God to make it big.

Let us pray:

Dear God, We offer you all that we do today.  Every moment, every heartbeat, all of our thoughts and our simplest works.  Thank you for loving us.  Help us use the gifts we have received from you to love others in our community in small ways, today and every day.  Magnify our efforts so that they will become perfect through your love.

Amen. Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.

and we begin with Prayer…

Morning Prayer:
September 10, 2018
Prayer by Fr. David Musso, SM, Chaplin

One of the  reasons  that  parents  send  their  children to Marist, and  one of the reasons that students tell us they appreciate being  at Marist, is that we are a praying community. It isn’t that we  walk  around  all  day  long  murmuring   pious   words, or  that we see ourselves as  any more  holy  than  anyone  else, but  we  do  have  a  sense of the  importance  of  prayer in our lives.  We  acknowledge  the rightful  place  of  God  in  our classrooms, on our fields, and  even  now, as we begin the day for  a reflective  moment  in  the morning.  Prayer  is not only a way of  deepening our  relationship with God; it is a common bond  we  have with each other and a  method of discovering   who we are.  It  helps  us  to  better  understand  how  we  fit into the plan of God for us. We pray in thankfulness  and  celebration, and  in support  for  each other and for those we will never know.  We share the anguish of another’s loss and  find  comfort  in our own times  of  confusion and pain.  And  all  of  this is  a  gift from  God.  Our  hearts  cannot  leap  outward, or inward in  prayer, unless  God  is  there  first to  open  our  hearts as   the  source of all love.  As we begin this week, this day, we should remember that every moment is an opportunity to share with the God who gave us life and who  invites us to be with him forever.  He is, after all, always  with  us.

Let us Pray:

Loving God,

We  ask for the gift to always approach you in prayer.
Allow our hearts to be open,
…and in total  surrender to your loving care.
In the urging of our voices,
…in the flow of our rituals,
…in the utter silence of your whisper to our souls,
…may we come to know you better,
…and  to  better  serve  you,
…and  your children  here on earth.
Be with us this day, ..and every day of our lives.
We  ask  this  through  Christ  our  Lord,

Under the Name of Mary,
Amen.

 

an Experience of “the Journey”

Morning Prayer:
February 16, 2018
Prayer by Sara Jane ’21

Last Tuesday a group of students and I went to Clarkston, GA to tutor and learn more about refugees.

While I was there, one of the most frequently asked questions to me was “how many more minutes do I have?” What they meant is how much longer are you going to spend with them. Each time I would try to avoid the answer because it made me feel guilty, but inevitably I gave them the truth. I had 30 more minutes, and I think I wanted to stay just as much as they wanted us too. The child I was with was named Shemi and he would always try and bargain with me for more time. “1000 more minutes,” he kept on saying. The thing is they wanted us there, and that is a luxury that the refugees do not have. Only 63% of people in the United States are willing to have refugees come into our country. That means that 37% of people do not want to give refugees a chance at a better life. I found that they were 100% welcoming to us, and we as a country need to have a more welcoming mindset and give them a better chance to survive and rebuild their lives. Let’s share the journey with immigrants and refugees.

Dear Lord,

Please give us empathy to better understand the plight of the refugees. May we have an open mind to learn more about these individuals and a mouth that says only kind words to them. May we have hearts that show love and what it means to be part of a community to refugees. May we have open ears that hear their calls for help, and helping hands that want to respond. But most of all, may we open our arms to welcome them into our country and communities.

Amen,

Mary Seat of Wisdom Pray for us.