About St. Michael School
Principal: Amy Weidner
Students: 162 grades K-8
612 N. Center Street, Plymouth, IN 46563
The Sisters of Holy Cross of St. Mary founded St. Michael’s Academy in 1861 on the corner of Center and Madison Street. The school now at 612 N. Center St., currently educates 162 students in grades kindergarten through eight.
Alumnus Amy Weidner is the principal and said of the ever-growing diversity of the school, “I am most proud that over the course of our population changing our teachers maintain very high growth percentage rate for our students of high ability and students who need intense intervention.”
Students are taught a core curriculum including religion, language arts, mathematics, music/band/choir, social studies, science/health, art, physical education, computer and Spanish. Interactive SMART boards are used in each classroom as well as computers available for student use. The school also has a computer lab and library. St. Michael’s also has a comprehensive speech program, including an annual speech competition and an annual spelling bee and science fair. The school has consistently received “A” grades for its exemplary academics.
Other opportunities include taking part in all areas of the Mass, leading the All School Rosary, Advent Prayer Service and Stations of the Cross.
St. Michael’s participates in the ICCL (Inter-City Catholic League), which serves 15 area Catholic grade schools. In grades 5-8, girls’ sports opportunities include soccer, volleyball, basketball, golf and cheerleading. Boys’ sports in grades 5-8 include soccer, basketball, baseball and golf.
St. Michael’s students are also encouraged to participate in community service with nursing home visits, bake sales and food drives.
Parents and staff members spoke about the benefits of St. Michael’s School.
Amber Payne said her family is new to the parish having relocated from Ohio and said they’ve always been dedicated to Catholic education. “Catholic schools embody the whole child — they receive a great education and are really helped to become disciples. I believe they carry that with them. We’re happy to be here and we feel a part of the family.”
Fifth-grade teacher Mary Beth Kolter also mentioned family. “I like that we all treat each other as family — we are one big family,” she said, adding, “We can teach them ways to love each other.”
Principal Weidner said, “We desire for our students to learn, no matter what life lays in their path, they are never alone. God is always with them supporting and guiding them. Their daily conversations with God will build an eternal and enriched relationship with Him.”
Bishop Rhoades awarded St. Michael’s Crusader of the Month
By Denise Fedorow
PLYMOUTH — St. Michael Principal Amy Weidner presented Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades with the Crusader of the Month Award at the conclusion of the celebration of the all-school Mass during his pastoral visit to St. Michael School on Feb. 5 in Plymouth.
Principal Weidner welcomed Bishop Rhoades and said they were looking forward to his visit with the staff and children. She explained that St. Michael’s has a “long-standing tradition of Catholic education, which instills in children faith and morals to help them fulfill their roles in life.” She noted that students are involved in community service projects, food drives, visits to nursing homes, etc.
“Our students shine with God’s love each day,” Principal Weidner said, explaining they are recognized at Friday’s all-school Mass for Student of the Week and Crusader of the Month. With thanks to Bishop Rhoades for his strong emphasis and passion for Catholic education she explained they were naming him St. Michael’s Crusader of the Month. “May God bless you forever,” she said.
Bishop Rhoades said, “This is quite an honor and a big surprise. I feel proud to be an honorary Crusader.”
During his homily at Mass that began his pastoral visit to the school, Bishop Rhoades spoke to the students and St. Michael parishioners about St. Agatha, whose feast day was being celebrated, and the Gospel about St. John the Baptist and how both were martyrs for the faith. He also spoke about the upcoming Lenten season, an opportunity to draw closer to Jesus through prayer and sacrifices. He told the students that he chose to be with them on the last day of Catholic Schools Week and how instrumental Catholic schools were for children to “grow in holiness.”
After Mass there was an all-school presentation in the gym and representatives from each grade shared what they liked about St. Michael School, including going to Mass with classmates, wearing pajamas to school on designated days, and being able to pray and learn about God in school. Seventh-grader Andrew Schmalzoied shared his reason — being able to go to Church three times a week and “thankful through St. Michael’s School God gave me a second chance to save my faith.”
Mary Beth Kolter’s fifth-grade students explained a top 10 list wasn’t sufficient so they came up with a top 30 favorite things about St. Michael’s. The fifth graders also demonstrated their sign language skills, and signed Happy Birthday to a surprised Today’s Catholic photographer, Kevin Haggenjos.
The students presented Bishop Rhoades with a book of photos of the students and some of their remarks and a St. Michael’s sweatshirt.
The bishop then visited each classroom. In kindergarten he was introduced to Mater and Fred, the class birds. The first-grade class was a “giant class of angels” according to their teacher and they prayed the Hail Mary with the bishop. In Marti Merrick’s second-grade class they spoke about their experience of first Reconciliation and one young man admitted it was “hard not to sin,” while another said she “felt like she was flying” after receiving the sacrament.
The third graders impressed the bishop with their ability to correctly respond to his questions about the seven last words of Jesus on the cross. In Marlene Dolan’s fourth-grade class Bishop Rhoades shared with the students his experience of climbing Mount Sinai and sleeping in the desert for four days. In fifth grade the students were studying the bishop’s coat of arms and listened attentively to his explanation of why he chose the symbols. He said he chose the host because celebrating Mass is the center of his life, the first three letters of Jesus name in Greek for his Greek heritage, the flames of light represent Jesus as the Light of the World, the three roses his devotion to the Blessed Mother and his motto in Latin means “truth in charity.” The fifth graders also asked to take a “selfie” with the bishop and said they’d send it to St. Michael alum Thomas Flynn, a Navy pilot, for whom they’ve been praying. Bishop Rhoades prayed for him as well with the class.
In the sixth-grade class Bishop Rhoades tried out their SMART board as he quizzed the class on the liturgical year and in seventh grade they discussed the two natures of Jesus — human and Divine. This year the eighth grade discussed the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Bishop Rhoades gave the students the opportunity to ask him questions and following the class visits he concluded his visit by sharing lunch with the faculty.