Volunteers make a difference

We rely on volunteers for many things. From landscaping to assisting with classroom parties, to building a playground fence or helping raise funds for our technology program, our volunteers give so much to make students’ experiences at Mother Seton School as awesome as possible. Most of this is through our Home and School Association (HSA).

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Many of the traditions that we love–like Fall Fest, Father-Daughter Dance, and the Carnival–are only possible because there are people willing to step up and make sure it happens. We are all very busy with jobs, children, sports, and other obligations, and sometimes it seems that adding just one more thing to our already overflowing to-do list is impossible. How do you squeeze in one more obligation in an already-packed day? We never want people to feel overwhelmed. But the truth is, we are a small school community and we just don’t have the resources to continue these and other such events without help from our parents.

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We appreciate all our volunteers and we are forever grateful for the time, talents, and treasures that we receive from our community. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to become one of our cherished volunteers, for whatever reason, we ask you to prayerfully consider sharing your time and talents. Many of our current volunteers have been involved for years and will be moving on, either because their children are graduating or they need a break, or they want to take on another challenge. We need people willing to step up and step into their shoes so that we can continue to give to our students the best possible experience.

If you have suggestions or would like to be contacted about volunteering, please email the HSA at hsa(at)mothersetonschool.org. (Replace (at) with the @ symbol) Also, watch for volunteer requests coming home for our end-of-year events, such as the Carnival and Field Day. Over the summer, a volunteer interest form will be sent home with more details about opportunities to volunteer.

Thank you for all you do to make our school community a welcoming place of learning!

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Preparing for a 5K: How and What to Eat Before the Race

Last week, we shared some tips on how to begin preparing for a 5K. Today, we offer advice on the best foods to eat as you prepare for a 5K. Remember–the Mother Seton School Fall 5K Run/Walk is just around the corner!

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Join us for the MSS Fall 5K Run/Walk on Nov 8th. Visit http://bit.ly/MSS5K2014 for more information & to register!

Conventional wisdom has it that “carb-loading” is the best method for athletes-in-training to prepare for a race or other competition. While it’s true that runners need a full tank of energy, carb-loading is actually not the way to go about it. Too many carbs can have the unintended effect of slowing you down, especially if you pack them all in the day before a race.

Runners should instead aim to eat whole-grain and complex carbohydrate-rich foods in the weeks leading up to the race. A steady diet of moderate carb intake will provide the energy you need the day of the race, particularly if you are running a 5K, which does not require the energy and endurance that a marathon would. Livestrong.com recommends adults eat 3-5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body fat each day, which would equal 480 grams of carbohydrates  for a 160-lb person. And make those carbs count–avoid starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn, which eat into your carb allowance but don’t provide the same nutritional boost that oats or whole-grain pasta do.

As the race nears, you can increase your carb intake to store more energy away, but again, be mindful of the types of carbs you ingest. Food with a moderate to high glycemic index help your body release energy slowly and steadily.

A healthy yogury parfait with organic granola, blueberries and raspberriesOn the day of the race, eat a light, healthy breakfast at least three to four hours prior to start time. Yes, that may mean getting up extra early; but, this will allow your body enough time to break down the nutrients and start releasing those energy stores for endurance. Small amounts of caffeine may help improve your overall performance, but the small benefit should be weighed against the risk of dehydration or stomach issues. Do not consume energy drinks like Monster or Red Bull before a race. These drinks can increase your heart rate dangerously and dehydrate you. Your best bet is to stick with cold cereals, fruits, and whole-grain toast. Add a small amount of protein, like yogurt, cottage cheese, or a scrambled egg. And avoid high-fat foods, which will hamper digestion.

Of course, remember to stay hydrated, but don’t overdo it! For a 5K, it should be enough to stick to the recommended 6-8 glasses of water a day.

Once the race is over, your body will need some recovery time. You can help yourself by eating within the first 30 minutes to help your muscles rebuild their energy stores that were depleted during the race. Protein bars, a whole-grain bagel smeared with peanut butter, or fruits can help give your body that post-race boost it needs. A few hours after the race, you’ll probably want a more substantial meal. But take it easy–don’t fill up on high-fat and simple sugars.

Happy Running!

For a sample menu of what to eat before a 5K, check out this 5K Meal Plan from Women’s Running.

It’s not too late! Register for the MSS Fall 5K Run/Walk by October 31st to receive your tee-shirt!

Helpful Tips to Prepare for a 5K

Have you wanted to run a 5K, but didn’t know where to begin? Or has it been a while since you last donned your Asics for a jog, and you want to get back into it? Bridget McCarthy, an MSS parent and organizer of the annual MSS Fall 5K Run/Walk, offers this advice for beginners and those out of practice. Just in time for the 5K on November 8th!

5K-tips.1The best way to begin preparing for a 5K is to start with run/walk intervals. It is tempting to just go out and start running when you’ve decided on a 5K. You’re excited and it’s a beautiful fall day, and you may even feel good the first time out. But you’ll soon realize that running doesn’t feel so good.

The best plan to feel stronger, run longer, and stay injury-free is to add short bouts of slow running to your regular walks and gradually increase the amount of time you spend running. Start with 1 minute of running to 4 minutes of walking. (i.e. run for one full minute, walk for four, then run again for one minute, followed by four minutes of walking, and so on.) Slowly increase the time spent running over the next couple weeks until you are running/walking about 50/50. If you continue to be injury-free (sore muscles are to be expected, but there should be no real pain anywhere) continue to do more running than walking. Don’t be discouraged if, after a while, you are still including walking intervals in your runs. Walking is always a good way to take a break during a running workout, even during a race. The important thing to remember is that you’re out there doing it. That’s half the race right there!

Have fun!

To register online for the MSS Fall 5K Run/Walk, which includes a 100m Kid Dash, visit bit.ly/MSS5K2014. A small processing fee applies. For more information or to register via mail, visit our website.

Be Involved: Why you’re the key to your child’s success!

be-involved-coverAlmost every school has a parent organization. Whether it’s a PTA, PTO, or (as we have) an HSA, a school’s parent organization provides crucial support to students and teachers. Our HSA is not only our parents’ voice within the school, but also helps raise funds for the “extras” not covered by tuition or operating expenses. (See our post about the Annual Appeal for more information on that) The HSA helps provide funds for:

  • Subscription to Power School
  • Mulch for the primary playgrounds
  • Special Events (Fall Fest, Grade 8 field trip, 2nd Grade Family Mass, etc.)
  • Classroom materials
  • Learning Center programs
  • Technology updates

But like any program or committee, its success depends on the people involved. That’s where parents come in.

Parents who are involved in their child’s school, whether through the HSA or in the classroom, have children who:

  • have higher test scores
  • earn better grades
  • have better social skills
  • enjoy a more positive outlook towards school
  • graduate and move on to higher education

(Source: PTOToday.com)

The benefits of volunteering for the HSA also reach beyond the classroom. Parents who volunteer regularly tend to feel a deeper connection with the faculty and staff, and show their children that both their home and school work together. Volunteering can also provide a confidence boost, introduce you to new friends, provide an outlet for creativity, and help you hone skills or acquire new ones.

Why parents may be reluctant to be involved

In such a small school community where many relationships are long-established, it may be intimidating for newer families to step up and raise their hand to join in. As a veteran parent, you can have a big impact on these other parents just by reaching out. See a new face at an event? Introduce yourself. Is there a call for a number of volunteers for a specific activity? Why not ask that new parent in your child’s class if they’d like to join you. Think about when you were a new parent. Who or what helped break the ice and encourage you to be more involved? Try to do the same for the new families in our school, especially those in the earlier grades. It’s great to have a reliable pool of volunteers year after year, but eventually, those parents’ students will graduate and there will be no one to take their place.

Perhaps you aren’t as involved as you’d like to be because you are just too busy or burnt out from other commitments. That’s completely understandable. But don’t dismiss the idea of volunteering completely. Even if you can’t physically be present for an event, an offer to bake something or to donate paper goods or whatever else is needed goes a long way.

parent-volunteer-2Some parents may feel their contributions aren’t valued or acknowledged. None of us lend our time and talents for the purpose of receiving accolades or rewards, but a sincere thank you and appreciation does go a long way. One way in which we try to show our appreciation is through a year-end Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast. We also try to express thanks collectively and individually after each event in Tuesday News. But we are always open to suggestions on how we can express our gratitude better. Because, as a school, we really do value and appreciate all that our parents give and do to make Mother Seton School a welcoming place of learning, love, and spirituality; we want to do what we can to make sure you feel that.

How parents can start being involved today

The #1 way you can begin your involvement: attend the next HSA meeting. These meetings aren’t only for the HSA board. These are for everyone to come and receive information, as well as provide an opportunity to make your suggestions. Meetings are generally monthly throughout the school year. Check the online calendar or refer to Tuesday news to see when and where the next one is. (As of the date of this post, the next meeting will be Monday, April 7 at 6:00 p.m. at the Pizza Hut in Emmitsburg.)

The second way you can start to be involved is to simply raise your hand. Check the Tuesday News for volunteer opportunities. Look at the school calendar to see what events are upcoming and plan to help with at least one. Springtime events include the His Place Car Show and the MSS Carnival.

Your involvement will leave a lasting impression on your children and on our school, well into the future. See you at the next event!

Mark your calendars: Catholic Schools Week 2014

13-14_CSW_Logo_Circle_RGBConsider it the Pro Bowl for Catholic Education–Catholic Schools Week is a way to celebrate the blessing of Catholic education and to highlight the achievements of our students. This year’s theme is Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service. We have a host of events lined up for that week, so be sure to mark your calendars and plan on getting caught up in school spirit!

January 26: Spaghetti Dinner (12-5) and Open House (1-3): An annual tradition, our Spaghetti Dinner features homemade dinner, desserts, and raffles. $7/ages 11+ and older, $6/ages 3-11, Free/ages 2 and under. An Open House and school tour will be available for any prospective family. An information meeting will be held at 1:30pm.

January 27: Teacher Appreciation Day: Contact your homeroom parent if you are able to donate a homemade dish for the teachers’ lunch. Some other ideas to show the teachers how much you appreciate them: have your child create a thank you card for them, send in a small token (flowers, candy), or donate classroom supplies.

January 28: Catholic Schools Week Mass (10:15)

January 29: Pastor and Church Workers Appreciation Reception (11:00): Invitations will be sent out to the pastors and ministers in our community who help support us all year round through their encouragement of Catholic education. If you would like an invite for your pastor or other special church worker (e.g. Youth Minister, Choir Director), let us know!

January 30: Spirit Day-Service in Focus: Students will wear their Spirit Shirts and participate in an act of service (to be determined by homeroom teacher) to demonstrate their school spirit.

January 31: Academics in Focus: We will begin with a student-parent coffee-and-donut social from 7:30-8:15, followed by presentations from the HSA and our talented students, and recognition of named scholarship donors and recipients. Guests may also tour the classrooms for a first-hand look. Test your knowledge against your student’s by playing “Are You Smarter Than a 6th-Grader?” If you can only make it here for one day, make it Friday! (Did we mention there’ll be donuts?)