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St. John the Baptist
Catholic School
12319 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20904 | 301-622-3076

Principal's Note 12/13/16


Christmas Program is Tuesday Night at 7 pm 

We hope to see everyone for the Christmas Program on Tuesday night. 

The children have been practicing for weeks with our music director, Mrs. Williams. Their teachers have been helping the students with their preparations. Mrs. Case and Mrs. Castillo have been coaching the readers. We are hoping for another beautiful spirit-lifting show. There are a few procedures to go over before the program. 

Students should meet in their homerooms at 6:40 pm. If they come earlier, they should wait with their parents.  Students should arrive dressed according to the attached “What-to-Wear” flyer. 

Students will make a procession from the gym to the church at 7 pm. They will fill the transepts, the side seating sections of the church, and the first four rows of the main section of the church.  

Teachers and auction/raffle winners have reserved seats in rows 5 and 6. 

The program will begin at 7 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 19, in the church. We will have a 10:45 am Monday matinee, which parents and grandparents are welcome to attend. 

Seating for Families 

Church seating is first come, first serve. A family member may save seats in a pew for other family members, as long as the family member is present. At 6:00 pm, we will pick up any coats lying unattended as place savers on church pews. If a family member is sitting near the coats, the coats will be allowed to stay as seat markers.  

Monday Matinee 

Students should come to school on Monday dressed to perform in the Christmas Program. All students may change into their PE uniforms after the dress rehearsal. Even if a student does not have PE on Monday, the child may bring a change of PE clothes to wear after the dress rehearsal. 

Band Concerts on Thursday 

Our fabulous SJB band, led by Jennifer Tifford and made up of students in grades 4-8, has two concerts on Thursday, Dec. 15. The first concert, before the student body, will begin at 2:00 pm. The second show, before parents, friends and relatives, will begin at 7:30 pm. All are welcome to attend the concert of our outstanding SJB band.

Our School Advent/Christmas Liturgy is Wednesday, Dec. 21 

Our Advent/Christmas Liturgy will take place on Wednesday at 10:45 am. We will have our annual Shower for Baby Jesus during the mass, which the 7th grade will host. Students will sit with their classes in mass and bring gifts to the altar at the Offertory. After the mass, volunteer drivers will take the gifts to the Mary House, a DC shelter for homeless families. 

Parking for Advent/Christmas Liturgy 

If you are coming to the Wednesday Advent/Christmas mass and staying until noon to take your child home, please park for the mass just as you would for regular afternoon pickup. The cones will be set up in advance. In other words, all cars should be lined up in rows, taillight to headlight, facing the direction of the library. This will make the break for Christmas Break all the easier. 

No After Care on Wednesday, Dec. 21 

Remember that there is no After Care next Wednesday, the half-day before vacation. 

Noon Dismissal on Wednesday 

Students will be dismissed at 12 noon on Wednesday, Dec. 21, to begin their Christmas Vacation. They will return to school on Tuesday, Jan. 3. The next Principal’s Note and Gold Folder will go home on Wednesday, Jan. 4.

Check Gold Folder for Upcoming Extracurricular Activities

Please see the Gold Folder for information about after-school activities including digital storytelling, coding and robotics.

Spring Play Audition Deadline is Friday 

Seventh and eighth grade students interested in trying out for an auditioning role in the spring musical should sign up with Mrs. Williams by Friday, December 16. This is the deadline to sign up. The actual auditions will take place after the holiday. Information about auditions is located in the Gold Folder. 

January 2017 Exam Schedule for Grades 5-8 

Friday, Jan. 6 




7 LA/Lit 

8 LA/Lit 

Monday, Jan. 9 



6 LA 

7 Science 

8 SS 

Tuesday, Jan. 10 

     5 Math 

6 Science 

7 Spanish 

7 SS 

8 Science 

8 Spanish 

Wednesday, Jan. 11 

      5 LA 

6 SS 

7 Math 

7 LA/Eng 

8 LA/Eng 

8 Math 

Thursday, Jan. 12 



6 Math 

7 Religion 

8 Religion 

Exam times are 9-11 am or 12:45-2:45 pm. Fifth grade students take two exams, in language arts and math, covering just the second quarter. 

Get Ready for the Cardboard Challenge 

The Global Cardboard Challenge (inspired by Caine’s Arcade) is coming to SJB.  Students in grades 5-8 will work together to make creations from cardboard during school on Friday, January 13.  Please save your cardboard in any form-boxes (large or small), paper-towel rolls, egg cartons, pasta boxes, wrapping paper rolls, etc.  Boxes may be broken down, but they don’t have to be.  We also need lots of duct, packing, and masking tape.  Please send materials to school beginning January 3. Contact Mrs. Irwin ( if you have any questions.

Cardboard Challenge.JPG

Call for Photos 

The Yearbook Committee is in need of the following photos to complete their pages:  Flag Football, Basketball, Girl Scouts, Baseball/Softball (can be from last spring season).  If you have any photos to submit, please email them to  

SJB's First Art Fair Was A Great Success


The Artome Art Fair was a success! SJB students had the opportunity to walk through the Art show in the Lyon Center with their buddies last Friday afternoon to see a piece of their work framed and on display. They were so excited and proud to share their masterpiece. Many families attended this event that showcased the creativity of EVERY child at SJB and the sales of the frames were extremely successful. SJB raised over $1,300. The money will help the school buy iPads for the art classroom. Mrs. Leishear is excited to incorporate some digital art into the curriculum with this new purchase.

A special thank you to Kathleen Langan, Liz Chakmakian-Lodge, and Jennifer Griffith for assisting Chrissy Leishear with the Art Fair.


Apply Now For Your Younger Children, SJB Parents

SJB Parents, if you have younger children who will be ready for SJB next school year, please complete the online application for their admission. You can find the application on the school website admissions page. Siblings of current SJB students receive priority preference in admission to the school. Applications to the school for 2017-18 are already arriving, so please complete yours by Jan. 7.

Thank You to the Parent Ambassadors

Thank you to all of our Parent Ambassadors who spread the word about our December Open Houses and then served as tour guides for parents interested in our school.  Jacqueline Dugroo, director of the Parent Ambassadors, and Jennifer Hazleton, School Advisory Board President, have provided great leadership in our effort to boost school marketing and recruiting. Nearly 20 parents showed their support by dropping off flyers, guiding tours, reviewing the school, mentioning SJB on their neighborhood list-serves, and helping us improve our message and our communication. All that help really makes a difference. Thank you, as well, to the teachers who came out on their night off to host their classrooms during the Open House. It was an all-volunteer night. The next Open House is scheduled for Jan. 27.

"Proud SJB Family" Yard Signs Available


There's a stack of them near the school's front doors, inside. Please take one, especially if your yard is seen by a lot of people. If the signs are gone, come to the office and ask if we have more. We're still putting some of the signs together. Incidentally, the prominence of gold is intentional. Old photos show more gold in the SJB burgundy-and-gold combination in the 1980s. Consider this a "throwback" sign.

Final Note of the Year

In this final Note before Christmas, I wish all of our families a safe and merry Christmas, and I will say prayers for all of our children and all of their families.

Breakfast With Santa Letter of Appreciation

Finally, a gracious thank-you letter from Breakfast with Santa Chair Vivian Diokno appears below.There are many who helped in many small ways and many who showed their support by coming to Breakfast with Santa. If we didn't mention your name, we still say, "Thank you for your help."

Most of all, thank you to Vivian Diokno for taking on the big job of directing the event and pulling it off masterfully. Here is Mrs. Diokno's letter:

Dear SJB Parents and Staff,

I would like to thank all of you who supported and attended this year’s Breakfast with Santa – Run, Run, Rudolph.  I really enjoyed this theme and I loved working with so many people over the last eight weeks to make this event fun for the kids and families.  The breakfast served over 600 people and we had plenty of croissants, fruit salad, and pancakes for everyone.  Father David and Tony came to the event, and Father Tony had his picture taken in the photo booth!

It really took a village to make this happen, so I am going to attempt to thank everyone.  A big thank you is owed to Principal Blomquist who answered all questions, offered assistance every step of the way, and led the clean-up effort.  Also, I am forever grateful to Mrs. Schwab, who is always willing to help me find support for stage characters, roll up all the silverware, and clean up between sessions and afterwards.  Mrs. Schwab also leads the charge every year with thank you notes to our various donors.

I am also forever in debt to Operations Extraordinaire, Tom Klotz, who hid basketball hoops and massive fans, hung wreaths, and attached ceiling decorations for the event.  And he never once called me “crazy”!

Heartfelt thanks and appreciation to:

Nancy Aparicio – for being the most even-keeled and calm front-of-the house (kitchen manager) volunteer.  This is Nancy’s last year at SJB (her son Christopher is graduating).  Nancy has been a rock for Breakfast with Santa for years.  She purchases all items from Costco and Restaurant Depot.  She cooks, cleans, preps, and organizes the volunteers.  We are going to miss her so much next year!  If you have a moment, please thank Nancy for her many years of dedicated service to SJB. 

David Strong – has graciously answered the call to be our next head chef, hopefully for years to come!  Dave brought fresh ideas and much needed equipment to this year’s Breakfast with Santa.  Because of Dave, we had a new and improved hot chocolate station, better method for cooking sausages and pastries, more hot coffee, and a TON of fun.  

Jen and Steve Hazleton – for picking up my slack and finding monetary donors to help offset the costs of Breakfast with Santa.  Jen asked me what she could do to help, and I told her that I did not have time to find donors this year.  Within days, she and Steve helped tremendously and provided me with much needed stress relief.  I am always impressed on how quickly the Hazletons can rally for SJB. 

Chrissy Leishear – for being the best mom-to-be designer of Rudolph characters.  She was also very generous with her supplies and advice.  I cannot wait to meet the next Leishear artist, her new bundle of joy!

8th Grade Art Class – for doing such a magnificent job painting the Rudolph characters.  They popped and everyone was super impressed with your talent!

Santa Secret Shop Crafty Ladies.  Thank you to Jen Margiotta and Astrid Diaz for chairing this amazing store.  The following crafty ladies crafted all month long.  They set-up the shop and made it magical.  They wrapped and inventoried.  Bravo! The shop was a whopping success! Thank you to Crystal Vinson, Carmen Jenkins, Rachelle Amador, Jeannette Barbarena, Lisa Conlon, Courtney Gardner, Maria Heard, Linda Sigg, Karen Schnell, Anna Damiano, Janine Smith, Diane Branch, Christine Brady, Katherine Banh, Liz Chakmakian-Lodge, and Pamela Charles.  Thank you to the people who sold items for the shop – Jen Hazleton, Barry Family, Bibi Hildalgo, Malits Family, Helen Carr, Hilma Chavez, Kelly Brown, Crystal Vinson, and Kim Trebel.

Kitchen Volunteers and Servers: Lee Amador, Frank Malits, Mark Dugroo, Hickey Family, Anna Damiano, Doug Palmer, Carmen Jenkins, Astrid Diaz, Karen Schnell, Tan Ober, Jennifer Hazleton, Hope Cooper, Ronke Uduebor, Rose Hechinger, Cindy Hall, Linda Sigg, Murray Family, Hromalik Family, Kristine Ribas, and Laura Hatzes.

Clean-up Volunteers: Barrys, Drapers, Hatzes, Breedens, Jenkins, Ebanks, Palmers, Hechingers, Damianos, Nguyens, Hildalgos, Browns, 8th Graders, and many, many others!

Photography Volunteers: Michael Diokno, Steve Hazleton, Rose Hechinger, and Camille Park, and Andreas Diokno.

Ticket Volunteers: Kristine Ribas was our amazing Ticket-Chair this year.  Ticket sales and coordination also could not have happened without the help of Maria Calis, Anne Thomas, Diane Branch, Angela Anthony, Vernessa Wright, and Bibi Hildalgo.

Gabby Malits and her family – for chairing the character parade, AGAIN.  I don’t know how many years that Gabby has done this, but she has it down to a science. Gabby cleans the costumes and sizes up all 7th and 8th graders that want to participate.  Her son Matthew, current DeMatha student, worked the kitchen alongside his father, Frank Malits.  Joanna Malits, current Visitiation student, also helped with the Santa Secret Shop.  The Malits family has been a staple to our BWS traditions.

John Thomas – for being the MC at the event for the umpteenth year.  I didn’t even have to ask John this year.  He emailed me and said “I got it”.  He provided the Rudolph music, scheduled the timing of the events, and set-up his own equipment.  He is volunteer-perfection. 

Centerpiece Decorators – Holly Hickey sacrificed her recovery from bronchitis to spray paint and decorate half of our centerpieces.  Rose Hechinger and family spray painted the other half and sacrificed their garage floor to brown spray paint.  And then Rose, Kim Trebel, Courtney Gardner, Hilma Chavez, Aunt Terry (Hippchen), and Jeanette Barbarena helped make those reindeer bottles look adorable. 

Decorating Volunteers: Caitlin Morse-Caslani, Linda Sigg, Ed McCormack, Eoin Fitzgerald, Karen Schnell, Janice Vazquez, Jeanine Regan, Monique Botkin, Sheila Maloney (alum mom), Valerie Wooldridge (alum mom), Katherine Ly, Helen Carr, Emebet Asrat, Mary Lombardo, Jeannette Barbarena, Kathleen Langan,  Kim Trebel, Mary Quinn, Aunt Terri, Hilma Chavez, Dessire Oladotun, Viha Nguyen, Jody Tuel, and George Breeden.

Chris Hatzes – for always picking up and returning those heavy gas griddles from the Methodist church so they can be set-up to cook over 1,500 pancakes.

Pat O’Hara – for supplying us with hash browns.

Amy Gomez – for picking up the freshest fruit around for our fruit salad!

Annette Mayr-Nowe – for supplying our fresh-baked croissants and cinnamon rolls.

Jen Kalita – for soliciting and picking up in-kind donations from grocery stores.

Debi Palmer – for picking up a Rudolph costume, purchasing and cutting the table runners, and acquiring in-kind donations.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas!


Vivian Diokno

BWS Chair

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