For parents and students, transitioning to a new school is tough. In 2002, Kandie O’Brien brought together parents, teachers and staff to form an overall welcoming culture at St. Anthony School in Tigard.
“I wanted new families to feel welcome and let teachers know just how much we love and appreciate them,” O'Brien says. With the blessing of the principal, her idea took off. She called it Community Connection Committee — C3.
Seasoned families are assigned a new family into the school. At Back to School Night, C3 sponsors an ice cream social. When there is a loss or illness in a family, C3 rallies with meals. C3 movie nights come complete with popcorn, pizza and soda.
At the parish/school work day in August, C3 provided volunteers with doughnuts and juice in the morning, pizza and drinks in the afternoon. At Christmas, teachers and staff find homemade cookie gift boxes in the teacher’s lounge, courtesy of C3. During Catholic Schools Week, C3 sets up a soup buffet in the teacher’s lounge.
A few years after C3 was formed, the group was honored with an award from the National Catholic Education Association as the best family community group at a Catholic school. From a coffee social for new parents at the beginning of the school year to the end of year taqueria spread in the teachers’ lounge, C3 has been a part of the St. Anthony community for 11 years.
In the main hall of the school is the C3 bench with a plaque that quotes Leo Buscaglia: “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God. On any school day, a student or two rests quietly on the bench, waiting for the morning bell. In other news from St. Anthony, seventh and eighth graders took part in class retreats during October. Seventh graders went to Mount Angel Abbey for a day of reflection and eighth graders deepened their faith with a day at the Grotto.
Fencer Noah Shepanek placed third in boys saber for 10 years olds many third grade girls were on the undefeated Tigard Youth Soccer team. Student Council officers and class representatives prepared the All Saints Day Mass. As part of their preparation, they each dressed like a saint and processed in with Father Leslie Sieg.