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Middle School Director's Notes

A Message from Middle School Director, Ilse Norris:

Dear Visitation Middle School families,

Last Friday, April 29, was Grandparents’ Day at Visitation. We welcomed more than 600 grandparents on campus that day! Many of the grandparents had traveled great distances to reunite with their grandchildren, and some even flew in from out of state. After morning classes and lunch in the dining room, the Middle School students proceeded to the steps in the Heart to welcome their beloved grandparents. The students took the opportunity to take their grandparents on a tour of their school and also pose for formal portraits before proceeding to Commers Gym for Mass. During the sermon, Father Stefano Colombo, our chaplain, reminisced about fond memories with his own grandparents in Italy. Sitting in Mass, I had the good fortune of observing many tender moments, from a grandma spontaneously putting her arm around her granddaughter, to a student putting her head lovingly on her grandpa’s shoulder. I pondered what makes the bond between grandparents and grandkids so special. I think it is a relationship based on unconditional love, mutual appreciation and pure joy. Becoming a grandparent is one of the most special moments in a person’s life. And after a two-year hiatus, we are grateful that we were able to celebrate that special bond in person once again.

Last Thursday evening, we hosted a Middle School Open House for prospective students and their families. The enrollment office prepared volunteer student tour guides and the students were eager to show off their school. The orchestra students played as families strolled through the DeSales auditorium. Students staffed the science room and told parents about exciting science projects, and art students demonstrated how to operate the pottery wheel. When I welcomed the new families to the Middle School Commons, they shared with me that they were in awe of our students, “They are so poised, eloquent, and well-prepared!" I was proud of our students, but not surprised. Our students are, first and foremost, comfortable and at ease with being leaders and speaking in front of an audience. This evening demonstrated one of the most important benefits of an all-girls education, that young women are asked to take on leadership roles in all aspects of their educational experience. The Visitation students step up to lead time and time again when the need arises. What’s more, they have fun doing it!

The 6th graders have been hard at work in Religion class learning about food deserts. A food desert is an area where access to nutritious food is scarce. At the end of the Unit, the students were asked to take action and devise a project that could make a real difference in their community. For example, one group started a food drive through VEAP, a non-profit organization that works to create stronger, more hopeful communities through access to healthy food. The students called the organization and registered their drive, asked for receptacles to be delivered, and prepared a presentation for the MS Assembly. The food drive runs from May 5th through May 13th. I am very proud of all of our 6th grade students for their initiative and resolve to make a difference!

As always, it is my privilege to partner with you and to work with your daughter in this excellent school. 

Ilse Norris
Director of Middle School