Thursday, April 14, 2011

Holy Water

Some students were with me attending our Principal's mother's funeral Mass on Tuesday. It was raining so hard that there were buckets all over church collecting the leaks from the roof.

As the children were leaving Mass, I was standing in the back ensuring their respectful nature as they exited. One of the children came up to me and tapped me on the arm.

"Hey Mr. Norton, I have an idea," he offered.

Concerned that he may have been upset with the Mass, I encouraged, "What's your idea?"

"You know all that rain Father is collecting in the buckets? Since it is leaking from the church, maybe it can be reused as Holy Water."

I smiled. A ray of sunshine on a gloomy day.

"I'll let Father know."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Froggy Footwear Freakout

The Principal and I went to lunch, like we do most days, to the cafeteria a few weeks ago. We must both feel that the sound waves from the increased decibel levels and the frequent interruptions to our lunch to redirect the students, aid in our desire to lose weight. Sometimes we don't finish. Sometimes we finish and the salad is warm or the Sloppy Joes are cold. But we enjoy the kids. Especially the little Pre-Kers. Which brings me to my story.

So we were eating when this tittle boy Pre-Ker walks by us in his froggy rainboots. I pointed to his boots and said (a little loud maybe because of the noise), "I like your boots!" Instead of the expected response of a thank you or a smile - he froze.

Maintaining eye contact I said again (maybe he didn't hear me), "I like your boots."

Nothing. No response. No movement. It was like his boots were made of concrete. I motioned for him to come over. Maybe he still didn't hear me.

Moving only his eyes, he looked straight up. It was the weirdest reaction I had ever seen. I turned back to the Principal and said, "What's wrong with this kid?"

I turned back to the boy, who was looking at me again. He looked up again, this time moving his head upward in a "if-I-can't-see-you-you-can't-see-me" motion.

Off to the side, the Pre-K Teacher Assistant was watching the whole thing. She scooted the boy closer to me and asked him what wanted to say back to me. With a pivot comparable to any college basketball player, he remained silent and went back to his table.

The Teacher Assistant explained the freakout to me after lunch. Apparently, in order to keep the kids in check, every time they walk by the front office, the Pre-Kers are reminded that if they don't follow instructions they'll have to see the Assistant Principal up there, pointing to my office on the second floor.

Poor kid. He froze his froggy footwear and freaked out from fear!

Later the next day, I walked into the library and the Pre-Kers were listening to a story. Froggy Boy came up to me and said, "Hi Assistant Principal." He was wearing his froggy footwear.

I felt this tug on my shirt and turned around to see a Froggy Girl! "Look Mr. Norton! I have frog boots too! Just like him!"

I wonder if they make them in 10 1/2?

Friday, November 21, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes

In the Church Meeting Room, in the the same hall where I played Human Water Fountain three weeks before, I was in line with about 100 parents and their Pre-K"ers" for their Thanksgiving Potluck. Lots of really good Thanksgiving style food awaited us.

The Principal and I were talking and I feel this tug on my shoulder. I turned around to see a Pre-K"er" sibling being held by a man standing behind us. I said, "Hi."

She cut to the chase. No small talk. From the mouths of babes she says, "My Papa has a belly almost as big as yours."

Thanks kid. Can't wait to have you in school next year. All I could muster out was, "That's really neat."

What? That's really neat? That's all I could come back with? I had met my match. My wit was no match for her honesty.

I smiled at her Papa, whom I assume was the one holding her. The Principal was cracking up.

"I have write that one down," I said to The Principal. "Something I can tell my fellow Losers (partners in our staff's Biggest Losers weight reduction and denial group).

We finally made our way through the buffet. The raw broccoli, carrots and 1/2 piece of ham were delicious.

Just kidding - I ate all the bad stuff. After all, I have a reputation to maintain.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Water Fountain Baptism

I was at Mass with the elementary students on Friday morning at 8:10 am. During the homily, I went to the bathrooms to check on a third grader who had left Mass five minutes prior. As I approached the bathrooms, I noticed that one of the water fountains was on and shooting water over the edge onto the floor. The floor was flooded. I checked on the third grader and check to see if the water nozzle tot he fountain was in the boys' bathroom. Nope. Not in the girls' either.

As I was looking for a cup to catch and redistribute the water back into the fountain, I called over to the school and asked our registrar to find our maintenance man and send him over. She said OK and I walked back over to the fountain. After testing many different positions, and after soaking my entire left shirt and sweater sleeve, I managed to angle the cup in such a way that I was a perfect aesthetic addition to the water fountain. And I waited until the maintenance man came.

And waited. And waited. After ten minutes, I called back and was informed that the principal had the maintenance man setting up a VCR for the assembly. I reiterated to our registrar the situation I was in and also requested that she ask our custodian to come over and mop up the water. I hung up and pondered the authority of my assistant principal position as it related to the redistribution of maintenance personnel in the building. And waited. For another ten minutes.

Just as I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket with my dry hand, the maintenance man arrived and assessed the situation. After he finished laughing, He checked for the water valve. He looked in the bathrooms. He looked in the maintenance room. He looked outside. He reported back that he found every other valve, to every other water source, but not the one to the water fountains. So, he decided to take the panels off and see what he could do to the fountain itself. Once the panels were off, it was clear he didn't bring enough tools. He was sorry, but he had to go back to the school. That was OK, I said. Mass was just about over and I would have plenty of people to keep me company until he returned.

The first to greet me was our night security man who attends daily Mass as an alter server. His concern at seeing me becoming a permanent fixture in the church's hallway was soon overcome by the sheer comedy of my duty to stay in place as he took my picture with his phone. Twice. "You need anything?" he asked.

"I'm fine," I replied. The maintenance man was returning. "I did call up to the school to get our custodian down here to mop up the water, though."

"No need," he said. "The church's custodian is here. I'll ask her to mop it up."

"By the way," he continued, "this is my wife." He told her, "That is Mr. Norton, the new Assistant Principal."

"Nice to meet you," I said, "I'd shake your hand, but...."

"Nice to meet you, too," she replied.

They left after I asked him to email me the photo. I had the pleasure of meeting several other elderly parishioners as they filed out of Mass and into the bathrooms. Many complimented me on my lector skills from weeks before. Many complimented me on my attire. A few told me how pleased they were I was at the school this year. All wanted to shake my dry hand.

"Watch you step! The floor is wet!" I warned each of them as they walked on the water of Lake Norton to reach the bathrooms.

With each flush in the bathrooms, the water pressure of the water fountain changed. I soon became an unaware participant in the wet game of Catch the Cold Drinking Water in Your Sleeve for the next five minutes.

They were soon replaced my the church's custodian who carefully mopped Lake Norton as I clumsily danced around the fountain in what had to look like a pathetic pirouette, my left hand fixed in place to catch the water. BY now, the children were back in school and I was wondering if I was missed.

The maintenance man returned with his special tools and continued to disassemble the water fountain. He contorted himself into angles I thought were impossible to achieve by a man of his age, even finding himself on top of the wet mop the church custodian carefully placed in between the two water fountains for its future use. After he put his hand into the fan, unplugged the fan, and dug deeper into the machinery, he stepped back and said, "I've worked on alot of things..."

"No valve, huh?"

"There HAS to be," he said.

Just then, as if inspired by St. Anthony himself, he reached into the fountain and behind the gizmo and next to the thingamajig was a small handle he hadn't seen. With his bloody hand (just a few cuts from the fan) he strenuously turned the valve off and the water stopped flowing.

After I said a short thank-you prayer to St. Anthony and thanked the maintenance man for allowing me to share in this adventure, I walked back to the school.

As I walked in the rain, I chuckled to myself at how God expanded my job description that morning and how it didn't really matter how wet my sleeve was from the fountain - the rest of me was just as wet when I got back to the school at 9:30. I was baptised into my new position as Assistant Principal.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

To Remain Open, Catholic Schools Become Charters : NPR

To Remain Open, Catholic Schools Become Charters : NPR

What a shame. All the things that made these schools Catholic are gone. What's left and what proponents say is important are the qualities we should see in all schools - not just Catholic converted schools.

We need to continue to pray for the continuation and success and increased enrollment of our Catholic schools around the world.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Principally Catholic Podcast - Episode #1

Well, I did it. The first episode of the Principally Catholic Podcast is officially open to everyone. It is a very boring episode, and I have already gotten some feedback on it. I am using Audacity to put it together, but I'm not finding that really friendly to use.

Future episodes will consist of "classes" or segments, that reflect the course of a regular school day. For instance, in Language Arts I may do a "book report" on something I've been reading about Catholic schools. Social Studies might look at the history of the Catholic School in the United States, or world. In the Religion class I might talk about the Catechism, etc.

If you have any suggestions, please leave me a comment.

Pax -