Sunday, July 26, 2015

A New Year - A New Mission!

In April, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity receive their "assignments" or "missioning appointments". This lets us know if we are going to stay at our present place or if we are going to be moving. Mine said I was moving on to Casa Grande, AZ-closer to Phoenix rather than Tucson.

The moving began. This time I didn't just move my clothes and books like we usually do when we go to a new mission but I moved furniture and dishes also.

I was very grateful to the friends I made in Sierra Vista who helped with the big project of moving all of the furniture, dishes, beds and my own clothes to Casa Grande which is about 2 hours and 15 minutes north west of Sierra Vista. Some of them helped to drive all my things and furniture to  St.Anthony of Padua Parish and School in Casa Grande.  They were the best helpers and very efficient movers.

Casa Grande is a lot hotter than Sierra Vista where the higher elevation made the temperatures cooler. However, we do get dust storms. Here is my first Casa Grande dust storm.

I arrived early this year to get started in school for the upcoming school year. The reasons being: 1. ) I had to hire many new teachers and I am still advertising for some yet. 2) The school offices were being gutted to make the front entrance more secure. I was asked for my input and 3) The classrooms were getting a total make over as well. The school is over 50 years old and nothing had been done to the physical structure since it was built.

We are still under construction as you can see from the following pictures:
The office hallway to the front door. 

Secretary's desk and lobby-my office to the far right

The Principal's Office - I am happy that I have two windows to look out.

Everything from the offices was being stored in the cafeteria that is attached to the office area. 
What's a little dust or should I say "alot of dust!"

The Conference Room

The front of the building is getting a face lift as well - an arch is being put around the front doors. The new doors will soon be arriving. 

The cafeteria ceiling had to be replaced which was not part of the original plans. One time I came to school to see my office files, chairs, secretarial files, health supplies-everything you might find in a school office area being hauled outside.  I found out then that we were getting a new ceiling in the cafeteria. So this put us a day behind for the projected finished date.

We have not had any monsoon rains during this monsoon season, which we are grateful for. If we did, we would have wet files, curriculum standards, band aids and wet textbooks as well. As you can see further below outside the classrooms all books, desks, educational equipment are outside each room as well.

It was decided to give the 50 year old classrooms a face lift too at this time. Two major construction projects at one time!  All workers are working hard.  I made a deal with the Business Manager,who is also one of our deacons-if you get the offices done by the date he originally told me I would buy him lunch otherwise he owes lunch for my secretary and I. The workers are working hard so the Deacon wins the bet but I don't think he is going to win.
 One day I took time from all my paperwork in making out schedules, inservice days and interviewing to see what I really had in my office since I have not gone through anything. Since it was outside I thought -get a little sun and fresh air.  Some of my office materials were in 2 large garbage cans so away I went digging through them. Found some things I had been looking for and some things I could throw away and not haul into my new office. 2 hours of 100 degree temperatures was all I could take at  one time. It was back to my temporary office in the library.

 Items from one of the classrooms as they get a face lift. In all -10 classrooms (the classrooms are in a U shape)had the old plaster boards taken down to the bricks, new wiring for electricity was installed, then new plaster boards put back up. They are now in the process of being painted. Two of the rooms already had their floors nicely waxed already. These teachers are the lucky ones.

In between all of the construction, the parish took time to have a welcome party for the newly ordained associate, Father Alan Valencia, for me, the new principal and for Sr.Mary Karen and Sr. Catherine who will be living with me but still hadn't made it to Casa Grande yet. They were enjoying the coolness of Wisconsin and the summer green. 
Mariachis were invited to the welcome party. 

Some of the parishioners who came to the party along with Fr. Alan and Fr. Ariel, our pastor. 

Here is our school sign on the sidewalk in front of school. When was the last time you saw a large school mailbox like this?

 One of the memories of this summer's construction project was the afternoon the fire alarm went off and my secretary and I were there alone with two of the construction workers who had set it off. They were sawing through a brick wall in the office to make a door to the nurse's room when all the smoke and dust from the saw set off the alarm. They had no clue how to turn it off or my secretary,who is also new like me to the school. Someone told us to look for the fire alarm key. My secretary found a box of keys and proceeded to go through all to find one that looked like a key for the fire alarm box. The two construction workers left to get sledge hammers to finish knocking out the brick wall. I called Deacon, who was on vacation, to ask if he knew how to turn it off. All he said was, "Get out of the building. Just get out of the building. I will call the contractor." I called the pastor to ask the same question. His response, "Remain calm, Remain calm". So after 15 minutes of hearing this alarm I looked harder at the fire alarm panel, with no lights or even a flash light. I finally found a small button that said "reset". That did the trick when I pressed it.When the Deacon returned from his mini-vacation he brought me a fireman's hat back. He told me to wear it every time we did a fire drill. Memories with this hat!
This weekend I finally braved the heat and went for a jog at 5:30 am. Here is part of the scenic route. I met others out walking at this hour-usually with their dogs.

Let us all pray to St. Anthony of Padua-the miracle worker-that we get back into the classrooms and office before the first day of school which is August 10th.