Magis Blog Archive

May 23, 2016

Thoughts on Summer

by Thomas

This summer, to add a service aspect to my life, I might start doing yard work for my neighbors. The closest thing to yard work I’ve ever done is washing my mom’s car with my friends, but maybe I can do some more. I’ll do it more for the good feeling of doing something productive besides the things I have to do than the reward.

Even though praying in the summer is hard to do, I can do a 3 minute retreat and take a moment to pray anytime. This retreat, or Examen, is a nice way to reflect with God.
Good luck, this summer!

May 23, 2016

2nd Grade: Reflection on First Communion

By Sarah and Sophie

Remember when we interviewed the second graders about their preparation for First Communion in March? We interviewed them recently to find out if their relationship with God had changed as a result of the sacrament.

Do you think your relationship with God has changed as a result of First Communion?

  • Mary Cullen answered that she feels a little bit closer to God. She said that she feels closer because now she is “doing more things with God.”
  • Sophie said that she is “starting to pray more and more” as a result of her First Communion.
  • AJ said “I think I got closer to him” because of receiving the Eucharist.
  • Sofia G says her relationship with God has changed as she “understands Him more.”
  • Sofia T told us that she feels changed because she “can now feel God clearly.”
  • Aidan also shared his sentiments saying, “Yes my relationship changed, because now I actually like (going to) Church! It’s cool now.”
  • Maeve said that it feels like now she can understand God when she goes to Church.


They all agreed that receiving communion was their favorite part of the Mass.

May 16, 2016

Finding God in Finals

By: Jade


Finals can be a very stressful time for students and teachers. Long days of studying and testing can sometimes make us lose sight of God. I know that happened to me sometimes during mid-terms. I was too busy focusing on getting a good grade that I forgot all about Finding God in all things, and MAGIS, and AMDG which is just as important for taking the test.You have to try your best, and should TRY and find God, even though I know it can be hard.

I recently interviewed a few students who will be taking their first finals (7th graders) and asked them about what they do to prepare, what they’re feeling as they take the test, or are preparing, and how, if they can, stay connected to God. When I prepared for mid-terms I made A LOT of notecards and quizzed myself over and over again. I might try to study with more people, or just study with one person but more often because I think that will help me understand it a little more, and if I have questions there is someone I can ask. I felt really stressed while studying and for the day or two leading up to taking the test because I didn’t really know what to expect. The teachers told us what the test was going to be like, but even that didn’t really stop me from being pretty freaked out.

After I take the test I am still a little stressed because I don’t know if I did well or totally flunked. Most of the time I felt pretty confident, but you never know. For the most part after the test, I was just relieved it was over. I did and didn’t lose sight of God. While there were definitely times where I did, I think there were also times where it was the opposite. That week we went to see some chapels over at Georgetown University during religion, and in the 10-15 minutes of quiet, peaceful time I used it to calm myself down and have some alone time talking to God and asking him to help me prepare.


  • What did you do to prepare for mid-terms and are you going to change anything to prepare for finals?
    • Paul said “I studied the textbook, and do practice problems for studying for midterms. I don’t think I am going to change anything for finals” (Paul)
    • Carolina said “I used study guides, and reviewed all of my notes from the past quarters, and I reviewed with my family and my classmates. For finals, I would probably start making study guides earlier and make sure all of my information is correct.”


  • How do you feel as you prepare? How do you feel when you take the test?
    • Myles said “I felt a little stressed when I was studying, but I also felt good because I was mastering the material. I also felt stressed when I was taking the test, but I felt relieved after the test ended.”
    • Carolina said “When I prepared at times I felt stressed, and other times I felt confident I knew the information. When I take the test I feel confident because I had studied for a long time, and when I didn’t know a question I would think about what I had studied and tried not to stress out.”


  • Do you think you lost sight of God during mid-terms? How do you think you can prevent that from happening during finals?
    • Paul said “I almost lost sight of God when studying for mid-terms, however going to church helped me to find God.”
    • Carolina said “I don’t think I lost sight of God, but there was one night when I almost did because I left all my studying for later and was a little overwhelmed. But when I got to that test, God was definitely with me because even though I didn’t feel super confident while studying, I felt prepared for the test.”


Jade took this picture of our own HTS Mary garden.

May 16, 2016

Summer of Service

by the MAGIS Bloggers

As a final collaborative post for the year, the MAGIS Bloggers decided to give you 10 ideas about service you can do over the summer (or any time during the year!).

  1. Volunteer at a soup kitchen such as Martha’s Table which not only donates food, but also promotes education and opportunities for less fortunate people.
  2. St. John’s Episcopal, across the street from Hyde-Addison Elementary School, hosts a Sunday Supper every Sunday for homeless people in the area. Volunteers get to bring, set up for, and serve the meal.
  3. Volunteer at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.Here is a link to their Youth Volunteer Program and a list of projects that you can do at home and donate to the shelter.
  4. Donate new and gently used clothes to Goodwill or a shelter.
  5. Donate toiletries, clothes, and other items to Alternative House, a place for abused children and pregnant teens. Here is a link to their wish list.
  6. Collect canned goods.
  7. Host a yard sale to raise money for an important cause that helps the elderly or the sick.
  8. You can “adopt” a whale with Pacific Whale Foundation.
  9. Spark the Wave is a great way for teens to meet other teens and do meaningful service at the same time. It was founded by a Holy Trinity parent!
  10. Cradles to Crayons helps low income and homeless children by supplying them with items they need. Here are some donations that they accept.

May 16, 2016

4th graders, are you ready for the Upper School?

by Caitlin

The transition from fourth to fifth grade can be a little scary. There’s lots of new stuff that wasn’t there in fourth grade, such as locker combinations, harder work, and more responsibilities. Responsibilities can also be a good thing because you get more privileges when you work hard. The biggest fear I had was the act that we had to remember all our books and get to the right classroom on time. It terrified me, but after a few days I knew my way around the upper school. With the help of “AMDG” remembering that this is for the “greater glory of God” I was able to persevere. Upper school isn’t that scary once you get to know it!


  1. Are you more nervous or excited about the upper school? Why?

Olivia: “I am both. I am excited because it is a lot of new things, but that is also why I am nervous.”

Stella: “I am more excited because I love homework and there is going to more. There is also more classrooms and teachers, so you get to walk in the hallways alone.”

Meredith: “I’m nervous because I think it will be hard to become organized.”

Matt: “I am excited because it will be harder and a there will be a lot more studying.”



2. Do you think the upper school will be more challenging than the lower school? In what ways?

Olivia: “I do think it will be more challenging because kids are getting older and teachers expect more out of you.”

Stella: “Yes because there will be more tests which means more studying, and if you have more things after school, you will have to find a time to get your work done.”

Meredith: “It will be more challenging because there will be more homework and tests, and classes will be harder.”

Matt: “I think it will more challenging because there will be more learning and tests.”

May 12, 2016

Finding God in the 4th Quarter: Teacher Interviews

By Sarah and Sophie


We started this year with thoughts of the prior year and hope for the possibilities at the end of this year. This fourth quarter, like this school year, is a gift to us from God. Since it is a gift, our best response is to listen and work actively to find meaning in this time together. We interviewed a few teachers to see how they see God in the fourth quarter.

Mr. Hayes said that he prays for guidance to help his students stay focused on what is needed to be accomplished before the end of the year. He said that, “It is important to end on a high note, so that there is excitement to return next fall.” Mr. Hayes takes time for himself when he gets busy by exercising, such as running, working out, and playing pick up sports. He said that exercise “Gives [him] a chance to clear [his] mind.” He says that after exercising, he feels like he has accomplished a task, which “creates momentum to finishing my other tasks and I feel better!” He would also like to tell students graduating from HTS to “Be excited for your next step. It can be difficult to change schools and environments. This type of opportunity leads to new friends, finding out more about yourself, and grow as a person.”

Ms. Kirby finds God in preparing her students for next year by encouraging them “to do their best and be their best.” She said that she “find[s] God in the MAGIS of the upcoming year: [she needs] to be better for [her] students.” She asks the students to persevere, saying, “Think of next year as a new beginning, not the end of something.” She quoted Dory from Finding Nemo saying “‘Just keep swimming.’” She also reminded students that “When you are optimistic about the changes that may come, they don’t seem so sad.” In the words of Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming!” When she gets busy, she takes time for herself by running and doing yoga. If there is not much time, she might treat herself to a coffee from Saxby’s or have a piece of chocolate.

Mr. McShane says that “preparing [his] students for next year IS finding God in helping students to help themselves.” He prepares 8th graders for high school math placement tests and younger students for summer math projects. He said that students should “Look to summarize the year we have had so that knowledge consolidates and can be used next year.” He would also like students to throw away their video games and spend several hours outside each day “doing activities that are not planned by adults.” He would like students to “Construct and deconstruct things. Build a model, a tree house, a prototype or pull apart an old computer or an old toaster.” Mr. McShane takes time for himself when he gets busy by riding his bike, going for walks with his wife, or playing golf.

When we asked Ms. Farmer what she likes to do to take time for herself when she gets busy, she answered that she enjoys staying in touch with her friends by writing letters to them. She likes doing this because it is more exciting for her friends to receive a letter in the mail than an email. Also, writing letters allows her to decorate the envelopes with her friends’ names in calligraphy and practice her handwriting from the class she took about a year ago.


We ended the interviews by asked the teachers what their favorite things about fourth quarter are. They answered…


Mr. McShane: “I do like to celebrate the growth of the students over the year and how they have grown as people and thinkers.”

Mr. Hayes: The excitement for summer and warm days. It seems to always energize everyone to get back outside and not be in layers.”

Ms. Farmer: “This year I am particularly looking forward to the yearbook delivery at the end of the quarter. It was fun to be able to compile memories from this entire year into one book. I am excited to see students’ reactions and I hope that they’ll enjoy looking at this yearbook for years to come.”

Ms. Kirby: “Seeing how far everyone has come since the beginning! I love to see how much everyone has grown, both in height and in knowledge!”


Thank you to all of the teachers that participated in this interview! Keep finding God!

(Photo source)

May 2, 2016

Ms. Green’s Iceland Trip

By: Caitlin and Thomas


Our seventh grade teacher, Ms. Green, recently went to Iceland on a missionary trip.  Ms. Green is a great teacher, and very dedicated to her work. We decided to ask her a few questions, since we knew she would give us detailed answers about her trip.

Q: What do you do when you go to Iceland?

A: I am a member of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) as a third order lay missionary. I have begun working mainly in Iceland to support the Catholic communities and their education efforts.  This recent trip allowed me to present to this community the EXAMEN videos that the seventh graders recently completed on the Works of Mercy.

Q: What kind of programs did they have that you worked with?

A: The programs that they have are structured more as CCD/Religious education groups. The IVE use the term oratories, in the spirit of St. John Bosco. The communities may be using them for their adult as well as their youth programs. They even may have their students create their own videos.


We also wanted to give her a shout-out for winning the ADW Golden Apple Award! We are so proud of Ms. Green and her generosity to the students, THANKS MS. GREEN!!

April 11, 2016

What Do HTS MAGIS Bloggers Do on Spring Break?

By Billy, Sarah, Sophie, Caitlin, Jade, and Thomas

Have you ever wondered what your MAGIS bloggers do on Spring Break?
Here are some things from this year:

  • Eat at new restaurants away from home
  • Go to the Aquarium
  • Go to church with your family
  • Visit grandparents
  • Celebrate Easter traditions
  • Easter egg hunt
  • Have Easter dinner with friends
  • Being outside and playing with friends
  • Eat jellybeans
  • Sleep
  • Play on the xbox, iPad and watch tv
  • Be lazy on the couch
  • Visit and see the cherry blossoms
  • Visit with family members in community
  • Bounce on the trampoline
  • Play with friends
  • Play sports
  • Have movie night with family
  • Wrestle with my brother
  • Go to Little Italy in Baltimore
  • Steal some of my brother’s candy
  • Meet my new teammates on my baseball team
  • First game(s) of the season for sports
  • Play tennis with my sister
  • Hang out with cousins
  • Win sports games

April 5, 2016

Student Faculty Game 2016

By: Jade
As most of us know, the student faculty game and the pep rally was  a few weeks ago. It was an intense and very close game that was definitely fun to watch. The teachers put up a good fight, and almost got the better of the students, but like our Honor Code says, they worked hard and gave their best effort and came back to win it 50-49.

I think all of us can look at this as an example for sports, school, and our lives outside of school. Even though the 8th graders were behind the teachers at times, they never gave up and it paid-off in the end. If we are behind in school, or having trouble outside or school, we have to remember to keep working and putting in the effort. That’s the way to win at everything!


March 24, 2016

Easter: A Time for Celebration!

by Sarah and Sophie

During the celebration of the Triduum, we remember Jesus’ crucifixion, and how He died for our sins on Good Friday. When Jesus died for our sins, he gave us new life. We can learn from Jesus and be selfless to help others just as Jesus did for us. He did not want to die, but he knew that many people would benefit from it… it was the ultimate act of MAGIS!!  
What do you think about and reflect on at Easter? How did your Lent go?
Take a moment to consider Jesus’ great love for us in his death.
There are many symbols for Easter: eggs, chicks, and rabbits are just a few. Why are these images symbols for Easter? It is because they are signs of new life or rebirth. Eggs represent Jesus’ tomb – when they are cracked open, they represent the empty tomb after Jesus rose from the dead!
Here is an interesting video with cool facts about this holiday!

March 14, 2016

2nd Grade: Preparation for First Communion

By Sarah and Sophie

The Second Graders have been preparing for their First Communion by attending a workshop where they tasted unconsecrated bread and wine, practiced songs for their special day, made banners for the pews, baked bread, and more!

To find out how the Second Grade feels about it, we asked some students at recess:

  • Mary Cullen said that she was not nervous, and is excited to wear a dress for the First Communion Mass.
  • AJ is excited to be able to “eat” in church.
  • Joseph is nervous for his First Communion and said that he will wear a suit.
  • Maeve is nervous that she will sip too much wine. She is excited at the prospect of not having to cross her arms to receive a blessing from the priest instead of communion.
  • Harper is afraid of forgetting some of the words to the songs and the taste of the wine.
  • Sophie knows the bread and wine turn into Jesus’ body and blood, and is nervous of “5,000 pairs of eyes” staring at her during the Mass.
  • Aidan is afraid of forgetting to say “Amen” after taking the host.
  • Eleanor is not nervous and excited to “eat” in church.
  • Jack is nervous because everyone will be watching him, and is excited to “eat the stuff.”
  • Cooper is not nervous, but excited about everything. He knows that he has to make the Sign of the Cross after receiving communion.


When we celebrate First Communion, we learn more about how to see God in all things, which is a part of MAGIS and searching for greater like God is greater. The First Communion solidifies our relationship with God.

March 14, 2016

8th Grade: Preparing for Confirmation

By Sarah and Sophie


Over the past few months, the eighth graders who are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation have been meeting with Ms. Seligmann and Father Peck to prepare for the sacrament in May and June. We asked a few eighth graders some questions about their experiences and what they hope to gain from them.

Here is what they had to say!

  • Seamus said that he was looking forward to being closer to Jesus. He learned about the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit and said that his Confirmation experience will help him be inspired to do more service.
  • Claire said that she hopes to “further [her] faith… get in touch with [her] faith… [and take] control of [her] faith.” She has learned about being a disciple of Christ. She said that her confirmation experience is teaching her how to be a person of the church and to get more involved with it.
  • Anu said that he hopes to get closer to God. During his Confirmation sessions he learned about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit and said that it will influence and has influenced his understanding of the Church.
  • Anna said that she learned that the Sacraments of Initiation happen in a certain order so the recipient is prepared for each one. She said she is looking forward to her Confirmation and volunteering more in the Church as a result of it.

March 14, 2016

Our Colorful Liturgical Year

By Sarah

Chasubles in Six Colors

Have you noticed that the priest does not always wear the same outfit every Sunday? Sometimes he wears a different colored chasuble, the cape like cloth over his clothes for mass.The color of his chasuble depends on the liturgical season. A liturgical season is a period in the church calendar. Each season has a color. Next time you go to mass, look to see what color the priest is wearing!

The liturgical colors are important because they give us a visual for the liturgical season that we are celebrating at that time. They help us keep in mind what we are celebrating, and why it is so important for us and our religious community. I think that the liturgical colors are related to MAGIS because when we see the colors, we see God in their meanings. For example, when I see the red from the season of Pentecost, I am reminded of the Holy Spirit coming down to the Apostles in the form of fire. Also, at Christmas and Easter the color white reminds me that Jesus’ light is shared with us.

Here is a song I learned when I was in Kindergarten. It will help you remember the colors in the Liturgical Year!
Purple and green, red and white,
are the colors of the year.
Purple and green, red and white,
remind us of the Light.
Purple‘s for preparation, 
white‘s for celebration
green is for the growing time,
red is for Pentecost. (repeat)
This is a video of the song:

February 18, 2016

Valentine’s Day Facts and Reflection

By Sophie

As you may know, Valentine’s Day was this past Sunday. Here are some cool facts about this fun holiday:

– It was named after St. Valentine, who was a Roman martyr.
– A red heart is its symbol because Valentine’s Day is the celebration of courtly love.
*It is of course also related to the human heart, which pumps blood.
– Pope Gelasius delared February 14 Valentine’s Day
– About 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent every year
Valentine’s Day is such a special day because it shows the people we love how much we care about them. We can live out this love for others by doing simple acts to make them happy on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year like we try to do at HTS.When we are doing kind things, we are being “People for Others.” Jesus told us to love one another just like he loves us every day of the year.
Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day from The Magis Bloggers!

February 1, 2016

Catholic Schools Week

By: Sophie

What is Catholic School’s Week? It celebrates all the Catholic schools across the United States. Every school celebrates it differently. In the past at HTS, we have had pajama days, dress like a teacher days, and crazy hat and socks days. This year we have special days too!

Tuesday: Crazy Sock/ Crazy Hat Day

Wednesday: Liturgy Day (wear your uniform)

Thursday: Dress Like a Teacher Day

Friday: Pajama & Sports Jersey Day
These fun activities are meant to give us a sense of community at our school in solidarity with other schools around the United States. My favorite day is Pajama Day, so I’m looking to Friday!


January 25, 2016

Students Asked: What do Teachers do on Snow Days?

By Ms. Kirby

Thank you to the 2nd graders for asking what teachers do on snow days!

Students are not the only ones who love snow days, teachers like them too! We get to sleep in later and do things we don’t normally get to do on weekdays when we’re at school. Sometimes, we can even play in the snow… I’ve made a list and taken some pictures of what some of these activities are to share with you!

Feel free to ask your own teachers what he or she did on their snow days!

On my snow days, I like to…
1. Watch movies
2. Play board games with my friends
3. Shovel out my car
4. Build a snowman
5. Take a nap or two
6. Do some homework
7. Pray and/or go to Mass
8. Read a book and some articles on being a better teacher
9. Cook a delicious breakfast
10. Bake cake pops and refrigerate them in the snow
11. Correct journals from my students
12. Take pictures of cool icicles hanging from the roof
13. Wait patiently to go back to school….next to my snowman!
Enjoy and be safe out there!! 

January 25, 2016

Snow Reflection

By Sarah
We all love at least one good snowfall during the winter. School is closed and you can have snowball fights and go sledding. But have you ever wondered how so many tiny, unique, delicate snowflakes can make such big impact in our daily lives? Even though one snowflake alone does not make a difference whether you go to school or stay home, they slowly pile up into something bigger.
How can you learn from these tiny natural wonders and make a difference in your community?
This is a picture from my friend Kelli’s Backyard. Kelli's Backyard Snow 2.jpg

January 19, 2016

New Year, New Happiness

By The Magis Bloggers800px-Bratislava_New_Year_Fireworks.jpg

It’s time to look back at the past year and see how you can make this year even better! Here are some suggestions to help you do MAGIS in 2016.

  • Smile all the time
  • Go to church on Sunday
  • Be a friend
  • Eat chocolate
  • Sing
  • Be the first to say hello
  • Say a prayer for someone you know and someone you don’t know
  • Don’t forget to hope
  • Thank your teachers and parents
  • Think first then take action
  • Talk to someone you do not usually talk to
  • Laugh
  • Clean up after yourself
  • Make peace

January 13, 2016

Martin Luther King Jr: A Role Model

by Jade


Martin Luther King Jr. day is Monday, January 18th. Most of us know his story, and have learned about him around this time of year. He was a man who stood up for things he believed in, but in a non-violent way. This is something all of us can try to do. We can stand up for people who are being treated badly, or encourage others and give them confidence. These are all things MLK Jr. did, and as you can see, he made a big difference. The difference you make may not be national, but you never know. If you help a person at your school or in your community, you can also inspire others to do the same. He is a role model.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an extraordinary man, who did extraordinarily inspirational things, but he had to start somewhere. That somewhere was probably helping people he knew and didn’t know, and that grew into a nation of people he helped and inspired. He acted the way we are supposed to act as part of HTS, helping others. This is why, I think, MLK Jr. is one of the best role models there is.

January 19, 2016

MAGIS in 2016

By Caitlin

It’s a new year. Time for more MAGIS and some New Year’s Resolutions. How are they connected, though? MAGIS means more or better. It refers to doing more for and to be like Christ. New Year’s resolutions are things you do to improve your life, to achieve goals, and to create good habits. They’re not that different. This year, I’m going to strive to do better in school and get good grades, but I’m also going to try to create a habit of praying once a day on my own time. Hopefully, these New Year’s resolutions will bring me closer to God.


January 13, 2016

Martin Luther King Jr: A Role Model

by Jade


Martin Luther King Jr. day is Monday, January 18th. Most of us know his story, and have learned about him around this time of year. He was a man who stood up for things he believed in, but in a non-violent way. This is something all of us can try to do. We can stand up for people who are being treated badly, or encourage others and give them confidence. These are all things MLK Jr. did, and as you can see, he made a big difference. The difference you make may not be national, but you never know. If you help a person at your school or in your community, you can also inspire others to do the same. He is a role model.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an extraordinary man, who did extraordinarily inspirational things, but he had to start somewhere. That somewhere was probably helping people he knew and didn’t know, and that grew into a nation of people he helped and inspired. He acted the way we are supposed to act as part of HTS, helping others. This is why, I think, MLK Jr. is one of the best role models there is.

January 4, 2016

MAGIS Christmas Memories

Here are some Christmas Memories from your very own MAGIS bloggers!

    • Jesus is the Reason for the Season
    • In my house, every year we have cinnamon rolls for breakfast before we open presents with everyone – it is a family tradition that has lasted over 20 years! (Ms. Kirby)
    • I love seeing lights displays around my neighborhood, so many people get into the Christmas spirit!
    • We (Jade, Caitlin and Billy) have an elf on the shelf for a few weeks before Christmas.
    • We no longer put up stockings over the fireplace because when we were little Caitlin pulled on a stocking and the stocking hanger fell on her head. Ouch! So we put our stockings on our couch or table Christmas Eve right before we go to sleep.
    • We (Sarah and Sophie) participate in a Christmas piano recital at a local church every year.
    • We (Sophie and Sarah) bake chocolate croissants while opening gifts, then eat them afterwards.
    • My favorite Christmas movie is Christmas with the Kranks. (Jade)
    • My favorite book to read at Christmas is Twas the Night Before Christmas.
    • Every year, (Thomas) my mom hosts a Christmas Eve party where I get to play Christmas songs on my piano.
    • We (Sophie and Sarah) leave secret santa presents at the door of their eight year old neighbor and he leaves some at our door throughout the month of December.
    • Every year, our (Jade and Caitlin) mom makes monkey bread to go with brunch.
    • My family sees the Nutcracker together and then we read the book at home.
    • Every year, my parents give Jade, Chase, and I an ornament to add to the tree. Sometimes, it’s related to something we did over the year.
    • The day before Christmas, my family goes to Christmas Eve Mass at our parish in MA and we visit the Nativity and say a prayer together. (Ms.Kirby)
    • My family usually has cinnamon rolls for breakfast too. (Billy)
    • We (Sophie, Sarah, Billy and Thomas) drive around a neighborhood near our house to see the Christmas lights.
    • My family watches The Santa Clause and other movies. (Billy)
    • A funny quote I love is: “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.” – Elf
    • I like to live by these words: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” – Elf


This is Ms. Kirby’s Christmas tree on Christmas Eve at her home in Massachusetts from this year’s holiday break.

December 21, 2015

Interview of HTS’s French Exchange Student

By Sarah

For the past two weeks HTS hosted Mathis, a French 9th grader from the Collège Louis Pasteur Istres in Marseilles. He attended the eighth grade classes and interacted with the students to experience lIMG_9859ife as an American student and learn English in a trip known in France as a “stage.”
When I asked Mathis if all of the 9th graders, students in the “troisième secondaire,” in France went on a “stage” abroad, he explained that many of his classmates stayed in France for their internships, and worked in companies, but he came to America to learn English because his aunt lives in Washington. This was not his first trip to Washington or the United States.
When I asked him about major differences between our school and his, he pointed out that Louis Pasteur is not a religious school like Holy Trinity and that the students do not wear uniforms. Mathis said that his two favorite classes at HTS were P.E. and Spanish and that he noticed that Americans appear to eat more frequently than the French. They snack throughout the day. On the topic of food during a presentation to the Eighth Grade last Friday, he also pointed out that they do not have peanut butter in France.
 At Louis Pasteur Mathis studies Latin, in addition to English and German. In P.E. they only play “real sports,” as opposed to the games we often play at HTS. In his French classroom the teacher still uses a chalk board. There are no smart boards at his school, only projectors and white boards. He spends more time in school and has less homework than we do. School starts at 7:55 a.m. and ends at 5:20 p.m., except on Wednesdays when they get the afternoon off. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays he plays about 1.5 hours of sports in the evenings.
 Mathis enjoyed his time at HTS so much that he asked Mr. Hennessy if he could come to school for one extra day on the 21st before his scheduled return to France on the 22nd. He hopes that he will be able to pop by to see our 75th annual Christmas show before his flight takes off.

December 21, 2015

The Fourth Week of Advent

By Sarah and Sophie

This week is the last week of Advent since Christmas is on Friday! The fourth candle on the Advent wreath is purple like the first two but this one represents love. The love that this candle symbolizes is the love that we have been hoping, praying, and rejoicing for during the Advent season.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all your MAGIS Bloggers!

December 15, 2015

The Third Week of Advent

by Sarah and Sophie

This week‘s candle is special; it is the only rose colored candle on the wreath.

The candle represents joy.

This tradition comes from an ancient tradition in which the Pope would give a citizen a pink rose on the third Sunday of Advent. Priests would wear the color pink as a symbol of the joy that Jesus would bring when he came.

Here is a picture of the rose candle being added to the Advent wreath for this 3rd week in preparation for Christmas.IMG_0605

December 10, 2015

Second Week of Advent

By Sarah and Sophie
It’s the second week of advent! Though this week’s candle is also purple, it does not represent the same thing. The purple candle reminds us of peace, or more specifically the peace that Jesus will bring when he comes again. By lighting this candle, we are one step closer to realizing the full brilliance of Jesus that will be represented by the fully litadvent wreath.

November 30, 2015

The First Week of Advent

By Sarah and Sophie


Advent Wreath 1

Picture taken by Mr. Tondorf in the 8-2 homeroom.

It’s already the first week of advent! You may have noticed the small advent wreath in your classroom or the big one in the church. Each wreath is made of evergreen branches and has four candles; three purple ones and one rose. We light one more candle every Sunday during Advent. The evergreen branches symbolize “continuous life.” The wreath shape symbolizes that God is eternal. He has no beginning or end. The light from the candles symbolizes the light of Jesus. The closer we get to Christmas, the more light there is on the wreath.
Here is a list to help you understand the candles and what they represent.
  • Week 1: The first purple candle represents hope.
  • Week 2: The second purple candle represents peace.
  • Week 3: The rose candle represents joy.
  • Week 4: The fourth purple candle represents love.
This week’s candle represents hope. Since Advent is the season when we wait for Christmas, Jesus’s birth, the theme of hope symbolizes the hope we have that the prophecies of Jesus’s arrival will be fulfilled.
Check the blog each week for posts about that week’s candle!
Happy Advent!

November 30, 2015

Cup of Joe Project

by Jade

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Cup of Joe is a service project, initiated by Catholic Charities, that helps men and women in homeless shelters in the Archdiocese of Washington get a good breakfast. HTS was lucky enough to help with that. We packed bags of juice, fruit, crackers, and more that will go to these people in need. As I wrote a note to put on top of the bag, I was thinking about how good it must feel to know people are looking out for you. Even if you are at a low point, there are always people that are willing to look out for you. And that is in any situation. It was an awesome experience to know that we are doing something to help people in our community. And to do it by working with people in our HTS community.


November 30, 2015

Interview with Fr. Peck

Fr. John Peck is a new priest at HTS! We wanted to welcome him into the community by featuring him on this MAGIS blog. Recently, Caitlin interviewed Fr. Peck to help us all get to know him better. We wanted the school to meet him, so we interviewed him about coming to HTS and becoming a member of our community. Take a read and get to know him!

Fr. John Peck

Caitlin-Where was your assignment before HTS?

Fr. Peck -“Before coming to Holy Trinity, I completed a degree in theology at Boston College. I studied in Boston for two years and was ordained a priest in June.”

Caitlin-Why did you become a Jesuit priest?

Fr. Peck-“I became a Jesuit priest because I love Jesus Christ and want to help other people love and serve him, too.”

Caitlin-What’s the hardest part about being a priest?

Fr.  Peck-“The hardest part of being a priest (but also one of the most rewarding parts) is hearing Confessions. It’s difficult, because sometimes in confession the priest has to gently help people see the difference between a good action and a bad action. Another challenge is how to encourage people and give them hope that they can overcome their sins. It’s a wonderful privilege to hear confessions, though, since when people come to confession they show priests such great trust.”

Caitlin-What’s your favorite part about being a priest?

Fr. Peck-“My favorite part of being a priest is celebrating the Eucharist.”

Caitlin-What have you learned from being a priest?

Fr. Peck-“I’ve learned a lot so far! Every day I learn to appreciate the goodness and holiness of God’s People. The people of Holy Trinity, for example, have been wonderfully welcoming and gracious to me.”

Caitlin-What message do you want to give to the Holy Trinity community?

Fr. Peck-“A message for the HTS community: The most important thing we do every day is to pray to God. When we pray, God gives us the grace we need to learn and grow, especially when things are hard and we feel discouraged. So never be afraid to tell God what’s on your heart!”

November 17, 2015

Basketball: You Win Some and You Lose Some

by Thomas and Billy


Thomas’ Experience

HTS is in a sports league for Catholic schools called the CYO  (Catholic Youth Organization). For us in 5th and 6th grade, there is a tournament team and a non-tournament team. Fortunately, I made the tournament team! I was pretty confident trying out for the tournament team because I also play for an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball team. I have worked hard and practiced, so it is nice to see my hard work pay off. I found it surprising that both the girls and boys tournament teams have only three 5th graders, but most of the 6th graders are really good. So far this season, I really like the drills we are doing with our coach who is really nice.  Honestly, I’m a little concerned about how we add up against the other teams but I can’t wait for the games!


Billy’s Experience

HTS has a lot of sports teams including basketball. There are two kinds of teams: Rookie Teams ( 3-4 grade ) and a Tournament and Non-Tournament (5-6 grade). I did not make the tournament team so I’m on the non-tournament team. The coach for my team is my mom. She played basketball in high school for Bishop O’Connell.  I’m looking forward to playing basketball this year and being part of the basketball community. So far, we are building up our team and working on skills in preparation for a good season.

November 16, 2015

The Martian

By: Jade

Everyone loves to spend an afternoon watching movies, eating popcorn, and over priced candy at the movie theater. It lets us relax and step into the lives of aliens, villains, superheroes, and anything you can imagine. In my case, I was transported to Mars and back.  But do you really notice the messages in movies?

A few weeks ago I went and saw The Martian. Now I know lots of people have heard the plot, read about it either in a review or book, or seen the movie, but for those who haven’t here it is. An astronaut is left behind on a mission to Mars by his crew members because they believed he was dead. After he was able to communicate with NASA, the NASA team started to put a rescue plan together. They did everything, and risked everything to save one of them.

When I asked some friends,  one girl said, “This reminds me of the Good Shepherd, and the idea that God never leaves anyone behind.” He will never give up on us, and will always be there by our sides. Even though the astronaut, Mark Watney, was by himself on Mars, he was never really alone. He was always talking to crew members, thinking about them, and they, and the entire US were thinking and praying for him. These are just the first few ideas that came to my mind when I was asked to reflect on The Martian.

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November 3, 2015

Halloween Parade Reflection

by Jade

As Halloween wraps up, parents and kids are counting candy and trying to think what in the world they can do with the hundreds of pieces of candy they have lying around on their floor, and tables. Here at HTS we are picking up the M&M path and packing up the rest of the goody bags, that haven’t already been eaten. As a 7th grader, I got to help set up, and get ready for the Halloween parade.

It was a great experience to see all of those little kids dressed up as their favorite movie characters, barbie dolls in boxes, robots, and so many more. The HTS community comes together like this many times a year and it is one of the great things of being part of a Jesuit community. I love being able to come to school everyday day and know that everyone’s goal is to be people for others, and to look out for one another.

Parade two years ago…

halloweeen picmor haloweeen

Parade this past year!


October 25, 2015

Reflection on Inner Quest

by Caitlin

The sixth grade recently took a field trip to Inner Quest. At Inner Quest, you work on lots of fun team building skills. It teaches you how to work with other people. You do trust exercises like electric fence, where you have to get three or more people over an “electric fence”(a wire). You also go on really big zip line. It’s a really fun and helpful field trip and I’m excited to see what we do in the future.

What they teach us at Inner Quest is like trusting in God. At Inner Quest we learn how to trust in people and friends. If we learn how to better trust in God, then we can learn how to better trust God. For example, if we learn how to trust other people to safely lift you off the ground, then you can learn how to trust God to take care of you and lead you down the right path in life. At Inner Quest, you get to know people you might not have really known before, and that helps us as a community because the more people you know and can trust, the better the community or school becomes as a whole.

MAGIS blog pic inner quest

This is a picture from last year’s sixth grade (this year’s seventh grade) trip to Inner Quest.

October 6, 2015

Pope in DC

By Jade


Thursday the 24th, I had the privilege to see the Pope when he addressed Congress at the Capitol. We watched the address on screens up front, and then after he came out onto the balcony and addressed the crowd in Spanish.

I thought he addressed some pretty important topics and clearly stated his opinions. He was really brave to say these things because he responded to some controversial topics, and he did so with confidence. I think everyone in the crowd was touched and inspired by what he said.

Overall, this was a fantastic experience, and there were so many moments that I will always remember, I mean it’s not everyday that you get to go see the Pope, and it was a pretty special event.

Pope Picture Source

October 5, 2015

My Pope Francis Experience

by Sophie


On Thursday, the 24th of September 2015, my mom, sister, and I went to the Capitol Lawn to see Pope Francis address Congress. It was a unique and exciting experience.

After an inspiring hour long speech in English to Congress, the Pope appeared on a balcony and addressed the tens of thousands of people who had gathered on the lawn. Even though it was very crowded and hot, we could hear clearly what the Pope was saying. The crowd’s strongest reactions were at the beginning when the Pope greeted Congress “in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave,” and at the end when Pope Francis said “God bless America.” People cheered many more times throughout the Pope’s speech, especially when he talked about welcoming immigrants, and said that this speech was a “dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day’s work, to bring home their daily bread, to save money and – one step at a time – to build a better life for their families,” and finally when he reminded his audience of the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12). Hearing and seeing the Pope live made an unforgettable impression on us. We felt very blessed to be able to witness this historic event thanks to Mr. Hennessy.

May 18, 2015

Finding God In All Things

By Caitlin, Jade, Sophie, and Sarah

What do you think “Finding God In All Things” means? Does it mean seeing God in only religious things? No. It means finding God in everything. God is in all things, like cookies and ice cream. Even in a rock. God is also in losing a family member, or a pet. When I say everything, I mean everything. But how? When you see God in a cookie, or a rock, is it because you see the beauty of God in it, or does it mean you recognize God as the creator of that cookie or rock? It also means that He isn’t so far away, and that He is there with you in your daily life. You are allowed to trust God with your life, but you also are allowed to make your own choices.

01013Chocolate Chunk Cookie 5image

April 27, 2015

Interview of Ms. Kirby

By The MAGIS Bloggers


Q: When did you start being interested in Jesuit education? (Caitlin)

A: Three years ago when I was learning to be a teacher with Mrs. Breuer in Pre-K, I loved HTS and the community immediately. When I graduated from Catholic University, I reflected deeply on many of the wonderful aspects that Jesuit education has to offer and most specifically on how I wanted to support the academic excellence that HTS provides for every student. Something I have tried to incorporate into my teaching is to always “be a Person for Others” a Jesuit ideal that helps me through each day.

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up? (Caitlin)

A: I don’t consider myself grown up – I still have a long way to go! When I was little though, I wanted to be the President of the United States, a figure skater, and a fashion designer. But now I’m a teacher and I love my job more than I could have imagined!

Q: What’s your favorite activity to do outside of teaching? (Jade)

A: It’s a tie between running outside and shopping (way too much).

Q: Do you have a role model saint? If so, which one is most inspiring to you and why? (Sophie)

A: St. Therese of Lisieux, known as “The Little Flower,” is a strong female role model for me. She loved Christ more than anything else, and she inspires me to find joy in each moment like a small child does.

Q: What is your earliest memory of going to school? (Sarah)

A: I was in Kindergarten and I was late on my first day of school. I remember walking in when everyone was saying the Pledge of Allegiance!

April 27, 2015

Students Win Again!


by Jade

Did you go to the student-faculty game? That was a great example of a community coming together and supporting each other. Whether you were rooting for the students or the teachers, we were all there together for one purpose. We hung out, ate pizza, yelled so loud we lost our voices, or maybe you didn’t even watch the game, maybe you were running around outside. It doesn’t mater what you were doing, but you were surrounded by friends, and family. God was with you through all of them. They made you laugh, cheered, and supported you (8th graders and teachers). I think this is the most fun way to come together as a community and be with God.

P.S. 45-40 Students won, final score.

April 4, 2015

Preparation for Easter

by Caitlin

The Stations of The Cross

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about the Stations of the Cross? Is it Jesus being crucified, or Jesus opening the Gates of Heaven? When I think of the Stations of the Cross, I think of Jesus forgiving our sins and trusting God the Father to take care of him. He tells us that God is with us and will take care of us forever.

There are 14 Stations of the Cross:

Jesus is condemned to death by Pontius Pilate
Jesus receives the cross he is to be crucified on
Jesus falls the first time
Jesus meets his mother
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry the cross
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Jesus falls the second time
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
Jesus falls a third time
Jesus is stripped of his garments
Jesus is nailed to the cross
Jesus dies on the cross
Jesus is taken down from the cross
Jesus is laid in the tomb

Which station means the most to you? Talk about this with a friend, or sibling, or parent. Ask them which station is most meaningful to them?.

Don’t forget to pay close attention and listen to the stories at the Stations of the Cross Prayer Service. Happy Easter!

March 31, 2015

Being People for Others

On Friday, the 6th graders participated in an Anointing of the Sick mass. In religion class, they had been preparing for it, by praying for people who would receive the sacrament. They were learning more about what happens and the effect it has on these people. We met with Ms. O’Shea, the pastoral associate for retreats and prayer, and she led us in reflections, taught us more about praying for others, and lots of things that helped us prepare for the mass.
All in all, I thought this was a really eye-opening experience and it was really cool to see the effect it had on people who were getting the sacrament.
By Jade

March 24, 2016

What is MAGIS?

by Sophie
What is MAGIS?
Have you seen all the signs in the hallways and in your classrooms at school that say MAGIS? What does that mean? MAGIS refers to Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, a Latin phrase that says “for the greater glory of God.” It means doing more for Jesus and for others. We can live that by helping each other even in the smallest ways. For example, when we help feed the poor by bringing in McKenna sandwiches every Wednesday we do what Jesus wants us to do.

March 17, 2015

St. Joseph

by Sarah
St. Joseph is not mentioned much in the Bible, but he plays a great role in the life of Jesus. He helped Jesus become the kind and caring man he was.
St. Joseph and St. Ignatius are very similar figures. Both were fatherly figures; one to an order that spread the faith, the other to the stem of the faith. They both faced a difficult choice during their lives. St. Ignatius had to convert from a pompous soldier into a humble saint. Joseph had to accept Mary and take upon the responsibility of protecting Jesus and Mary from Herod. He is the Patron St. of Workers.

March 9, 2015

For Lent, we are called to give up comforts and habits that maybe we should aim to give up throughout the year.

  • For example, watching TV, playing video games, going to bed late, drinking soda, and eating candy or desserts.

Giving up those things for a short period of time helps us reflect on our lives and how we could actually be healthier and happier without all these distractions.

How can you make your life simpler, happier, and healthier?

  • I am trying to do this by clearing snow off my elderly neighbors’ cars and offering other assistance even more proactively than I usually do, and I am donating the money I received for pet sitting to my CRS Rice Bowl.


February 18, 2015

Welcome to Our New Student Blog!!

Our student editors are looking forward to sharing this new blog with you!

Instead of deleting the old blog, we decided to add a link from it HERE so you can view it anytime you like! We will also add the link to THIS blog from our old one, too.

Check back for updates and information about service projects, school updates on our calendar, Tag Days, and any other cool school-related information we thought you might like to read or see!!



Your HTS MAGIS Bloggers

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