Hundreds of excited students and parents returned to Saint Brendan School last week. The morning began with a meet and greet for new kindergarten families and a “coffee klatch” for all the parents. “There was an electricity in the air,” said Father Roger. “It felt good to watch the sea of red-sweatered kids return to class and parents gear up for another exciting academic year.”
One of the big changes this year is the appointment of a new principal to replace Mrs. Grewal, who served the school community for twelve years and now works as Associate Superintendent for the Department of Catholic Schools. Through a unanimous decision by the search committee, Ms. Dianne Lakatta joins the school community, after nearly a dozen years as principal of two elementary schools in the Jefferson School District in Daly City.
Ms. Lakatta holds two master’s degrees from San Francisco State University in elementary education and educational administration, as well as a Certificate in Human Resources Management. Before stepping into her role as principal, she taught kinder-readiness and first and sixth grades. Currently, she teaches fourth grade catechesis in her home parish. “After spending seventeen years in public school education, I am so excited finally to be able to talk openly about my Catholic faith with students and parents and to lead a community that seeks to provide a twenty-first century Catholic education,” said Ms. Lakatta. “I feel proud and blessed to be the new principal of Saint Brendan School!”
In keeping with the school’s mission of “educating the whole child,” Ms. Lakatta’s vision includes working to instill a spirituality of stewardship within the students. Stewardship is the grateful response of a Christian disciple who recognizes and receives God’s gifts and shares them generously in love of God and neighbor. “Stewardship is a way of life,” Ms. Lakatta said at a recent meeting. “In every academic subject area and every part of a child’s life, we want to remind them of God’s generous and bountiful blessings and inspire them to give themselves back to God every day in service to the church and to the community.”
Ms. Lakatta reminisced about her own experience as a seventh grade student at Our Lady of the Valley School in Canoga Park, where she helped seniors at their monthly meetings and served as the first female Altar Server. “I felt so special being able to help the priest,” Ms. Lakatta said. “I know that all kids want to serve and give back their time, talent, and even treasure to God. We just need to encourage them to foster a spirit of stewardship.”
With this goal in mind and as part of the parish theme this year--Pray Together. Stay Together—the school announced a new opportunity for students in every grade to participate regularly in Sunday Masses by serving in a ministry of their choice. Depending on their grade level, students will be able to serve as Gift Bearers, Greeters, members of the Children’s Choir, Ushers, Lectors, Altar Servers, and Eucharistic Ministers. In a recent letter sent home to parents, Father Roger and Ms. Lakatta wrote that it was their “earnest desire” to give this opportunity for children “to develop a sense of pride and responsibility about [their] contribution to the parish community.”
“I am inspired when I see young children serving in the church,” said Father Roger, “and I look forward to this special opportunity for them to serve.”
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