Emergency Procedures A Follow-Up Reflection To Last Friday's Events

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

Once, I was walking behind a group of Kindergarteners as they were passing by one of the fire alarms located in the 200 wing when I overheard one little boy say to another, "No one is allowed to pull that handle!" Immediately, the other little boy quickly rebutted, "No one except Mrs. Palka!" As I heard this, I just smiled hearing this was one of my claims to fame as the principal.  However, the truth of the matter is that every time that we rehearse this drill throughout the seven annually scheduled practice sessions, pulling the alarm is actually one of my jobs!
So imagine my shock a few years ago when I was in a meeting with another staff member inside my office and the fire alarm went off!

Ladies and Gentlemen... Start Your Engines and Get Ready as St. Matthew Lutheran School Prepares for Lutherfest 500 on October 13!

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift. Ephesians 2:8

Twenty-four years ago, the St. Matthew Lutheran School staff of 1993 were collaboratively working on a school family fellowship event when the first "Progressive Dinner" concept evolved. It was during this brain-storming session that the design of each classroom making a portion of a meal and parents purchasing tickets to "progress from room to room" to sample the meal was conceived.  As the part-time 6 - 8 Language Arts teacher at that time, my assignment was to work in the kitchen with a few 8th grade moms to make spaghetti for approximately 75 people, and it was a wonderful night!

What's Your Legacy?

"Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith."   Hebrews 13:7

If you were asked to name your earliest childhood friend, how far back could you stroll down memory lane?  Was this friend someone in your neighborhood?  Maybe someone you met at school? Perhaps you played together on a sports team?
My daughter is very blessed that her favorite St. Matthew Preschool 3 buddy back in 1999 still remains one of her closest and best friends, even eighteen years later! Despite the fact that Jen was always the tallest girl in the class and Kristine was always the shortest, their personalities, sense of humor, and convictions have always been extremely compatible and complementary of one another.  
After all these years of spending so much time together, both girls have also come to know each other's extended families quite well, but the one extended family member that Kristine always adored and admired was Jen's grandpa.

Back To School Celebration This Sunday Come and Train To Be One Of God's Mighty Warriors!

If someone would ask you "What is one of your favorite television shows?", how would you reply?  For me, one show that I find fascinating to watch is "American Ninja Warrior"!
This action-packed series follows extremely intense competitors as they tackle a sequence of tremendously challenging obstacle courses.  Preliminary contests are held in six different cities around the United States and the top qualifiers from each city progress to the National Finals, which are currently being held in Las Vegas.  During the National Finals, these amazing top competitors will face a grueling and incredibly demanding four-stage course. The winner will receive the title as the most elite American Ninja Warrior and take home a grand prize of $1 million dollars!

Large or Small... God Can Use Us All! A Third Grade Student's Experience of Having God's Eyes to Help Those In Need

"Whatever you do for the least of these, you have done unto Me." Matthew 25:40

We live in a society where "list making" is a very prominent organizational strategy.  We make grocery lists, "To Do" lists, favorite playlists, check lists, chore lists, and even wish lists.  Sometimes, my desk can be so cluttered with lists, that I need a list to remind me to finish each list!

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with third grader, Joe Lancaster, and learned about his "Do Something" list.  He told me that he began this list last year when our school motto was "Do Something", and he explained that his list includes ways that he could help people who are sick, hungry, or in need.  Over the summer, his mom heard a news story about "The Detroit Food Pantry" and how Citizens Bank would match any amount given to this organization.  He told me that his reply was, "Oooooh! That's a good idea to put on my "Do Something" list."

"Give Me Your Eyes"


If you have ever needed corrective lenses before, you know that experience of putting your new glasses on for the first time and being totally amazed at the clarity and preciseness of your vision! I was in third grade and still remember to this day walking out of the eye doctor's office wearing my new glasses, being in awe of my new and improved sight, and the ability to see things like street signs and birds flying through the sky with such clearness! It occurred to me that I had become so accustomed to my poor vision that I didn't realize everything that I was missing!

Praising God For A Tremendous School Year!

We began this school year with the motto of "Do Something", based on the Scripture verse "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)

Throughout the year, we have been in awe of the tremendous blessings that the Lord has showered upon us and the strength that He has given us to do many things in His name.

As I sat and reflected with a group of eighth graders, we came up with the following list of memorable 2016/2017 blessings:

What an Incre-DI-ble Experience!

Last week, two St. Matthew teams had the opportunity to participate at the DI Global Tournament, which was located in Knoxville, Tennessee. Both teams were blessed with a fabulous experience, which concluded with our seventh grade team earning a 16th Global placement, and our third/fourth grade team earning a 35th Global placement. Both teams would like to thank everyone for their encouragement, support, and prayers! To help paint a little picture of Globals, here are a few insights from the team members:

Finishing Strong

"And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith."  Hebrew 12: 1 - 2

There is a famous line that goes "back in my day..." followed by some outlandish statement such as walking five miles up hill both ways to school. I would laugh at how often my grandmother would use this statement.

Now that I am older and listening to my students' and my own children's stories, I also find myself frequently chiming in with similar statements such as, "Well, back in my day, I used to make .50 an hour for babysitting" or "Back in my day, I had to find a pay phone to call my parents to let them know I was running late" or "Back in my day, our first video camera was about the size and weight of a small safe!"

During one of our school's recent track meets,  I was reminiscing about the old video camera days as I was watching how easy it is now for parents to video their children from their phones.  As I was talking to a group of parents about my original gi-normous video camera, I remembered a treasured memory that this huge piece of equipment captured for a grieving family.


"Every good and  perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."   James 1:17

Lately, my middle son has fallen in love with the company entitled, "Personalization Mall", an online business that allows for you to create your own type of personalized items.  With a personality mix of creativity and a flair for selecting gifts, the sky is the limit for this boy, now that he has found a company that allows you to design your own gifts!
As a result of this new fascination, his family and friends have been recipients of some pretty unique presents.   For example, at Christmas, each family member received a coffee mug from his dog, Finnegan, decorated in a collage of family photos where each of us is posed with Finn.  For his buddy's baby shower, he put a photo of himself on a baby onesie with the caption that said, "Ask me about my single friends."

And for Mother's Day, he mailed me this:


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