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Middle School Director's Notes

A message from Director of Middle School, Ilse Norris:

Dear Visitation Middle School families,

Today, May 3, the eighth graders embarked bright and early at 4:30 a.m. on their Civics/Music capstone trip of a lifetime to Washington DC. They will visit such sites as the various Smithsonian museums, the Holocaust museum, an excursion to Mount Vernon and Arlington National Cemetery, and a guided evening tour of the Washington Monuments. The highlight of the trip is sure to be a visit to the Georgetown Visitation campus, together with the eighth-grade class from St. Louis Visitation. This is the first time in history that students of the three Visitation Schools will have an opportunity to meet each other and spend time together. The students will also meet the Georgetown Visitation Sisters, enjoy a guided tour of the campus followed by a luncheon, and sing their school song for one another; very special indeed! To top it all off, our eighth graders will enjoy a veritable White House visit through the offices of Angie Craig, Minn. Congresswoman! During their stay in Washington DC, they will be doing a Vis Instagram takeover, so we can follow them on their journey. Oh, the places they will go! 

The Middle School Open house last Thursday, April 27, for new, newly enrolled and returning families was a big success! About 25 families took time out of their busy lives to join us for this fun and informational event. The evening started with hearty hors d’oeuvres, prepared by our own Chef Tyler, and an Activities and Clubs Fair on the second floor of the Heart. Then, our visitors were treated to a tour of the school, guided by our WEB leaders, followed by six 8-minute sessions, facilitated by our wonderful Middle School faculty. This offered them an opportunity to get a first glimpse of classes and programs. A good time was had by all and families left happy and inspired.  

Friday, April 28, marked Grandparents’ Day at Visitation School. Grandparents Day has been a long-standing tradition at Visitation, and many grandmothers graduated from this very institution so they have been a part of the Visitation community for a long time. About 600 grandparents took time and effort to be by their grandchildren’s side to love and support them. In my welcoming remarks, I reminded our students how lucky they are to have grandparents who help them grow into the person they were meant to be, or better yet, to help them grow into the person God meant for them to be. The day ended with the celebration of Holy Mass in the Commers Gym. Our grandparents brought joy, laughter, and rays of sunshine throughout the building!

On Saturday, April 27, about 40 Upper School students gathered for the annual Days for Girls event on campus. Days for Girls is a nonprofit organization that prepares and distributes sustainable menstrual health solutions to girls who would otherwise miss school during their monthly periods. A big shout-out to our very own Josie Katras (8) and to Anita Burg, Middle School Art teacher, and Anne Plessner, Middle School Health and Phy Ed teacher, for donating time and talent on Saturday to this worthy cause.

On Tuesday, May 2, Jake Williams from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics made the effort to come to our school and deliver the Trailblazing STEM Educator Award and the award check in person to Caroline Little, Middle School science teacher. In my letter of recommendation, I provided only a snapshot of Ms. Little's accomplishments as well as the many learning opportunities she creates for our students and underscored her passion for science and engineering. I am overjoyed that she is the recipient of this well-deserved award, only one of three in the nation, and I am honored that she is receiving this as a member of our Middle School Team. I am also humbled by the monetary award of $5,000 to our Middle School Science Department. This will go a long way toward developing our young women to see themselves as explorers and agents of change.

Looking ahead: 
On Thursday, May 11, the Visitation GRIT Girls, along with GRIT Girls from seven chapters around the nation, will have a graduation celebration at 8 a.m. in Ain Karim. The young ladies prepared presentations and will share their reflections on the past year with family and friends. The awarding of the graduation certificates and medals will be followed by a reception. We thank Kelsy Irizarry, our on-site GRIT coordinator, and congratulate this inaugural GRIT group on a successful year and a job well done! 

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

With gratitude,

Ilse Norris
Director of Middle School