Lean on Me

August 24, 2020
Student Council Co-Presidents
Patrick ’21 and Lily ’21 

Hello Marist! We are excited to be your Student Council Co-Presidents for the 2020-2021 school year! We want to extend a warm welcome to all the new teachers and new students, as you experience your first day of school in a very different way. We understand this year will be challenging for all of us, but we know our Marist Fam will get through it together. In that spirit, our theme for the year is Lean on Me.

While our hearts may grieve over our new normal, we want to emphasize that our community is strong because of our relationships. While we cannot physically “lean on one another” from six feet apart, we can still support each other in all that we do. As your co-presidents, we want to extend that friendship to you, along with all of Student Council. This fall, we will send invitations to Google Meet with us, ask us questions, make suggestions, and make new friends to lean on.

As we considered our theme for the year, those who have felt isolated since we left campus in March were present in our mind. This fall, we have the privilege of being back at school and all the excitement and engagement that comes with being together again. We also want to be there for students who are learning from home. While they may not be physically present, we are still one Marist Fam.

That being said, we also have to lean on each other to do the right thing to make our return to campus a success. To love one another this year is to act responsibly. Our school has worked so hard to ensure our safety, but it is in our hands now. It is our job to do everything in our power to keep our community safe. We are leaning on you to do your part.

We have been working hard to bring our campus back to life in every way possible, starting with the release of our new podcast “Unpresidented” with Lily Holmes and Patrick Withers. We will also give out Sadie Hawkins Dance t-shirts from last spring (we didn’t forget!), so be on the lookout for yours. We can all look forward to a dress-out day this fall for the Sadie that never happened. 

In closing, on behalf of Student Council, we are here for you, Marist, and we are all in this together. Let’s protect our nest!

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