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Week of Graduations: Congrats to Aine (8th Grade) and Kate (High School) by Ann Treacy
May 31, 2018, 4:19 am
Filed under: St Paul

We have had a very eventful week – two graduations – Aine graduated from 8th grade – and Kate graduated from high school. It’s the end of an era in a few ways. I have had a kid in Nativity for 14 years. No more.

Mostly we’ve been happy with it. It’s probably too religious and definitely too conservative for me. BUT the same school – in walking distance from home – for 9 years for each kid. The school knows them and they had a big comfort level with the kids and the school. Also – they have the best principal ever – Kate Wollan. She knows every kid’s name – and really gets what makes each individual kid shine.

Aine’s graduation was very nice. She looked like a grown up kid – and not only because she was wearing my high heels. After the ceremony the kids had a party. It was bitter sweet. The hope is that Aine will go to Nova (she’s 4 on the waiting list!), which is an unusual choice for her class. So she’ll be moving on and making many new friends. I think the thing Aine may miss most from Nativity is the robotics team – although she plans to visit to help out next year.

The week topped off with Kate’s graduation at the Cathedral tonight. Actually we started this morning with Mass and brunch. It was very nice. And then ended with the ceremony at the Cathedral. It was beautiful. Kate looked great in her cap and gown. It was fun to see her with her friends, especially Lucia. (They were voted Best Best Friends in the yearbook!)

I am excited for Kate next year. She is going to the University of Manitoba (Lily goes to U of Winnipeg). I’m glad that they will be near each other and also glad they are not at the same school. I think it will be good for Kate to be in control of her own day to day destiny. I think it will bring her peace. I know she’s ready.

Memorable in her graduation was the speech by her favorite teacher Mr. Spika. (His picture is included below.) He teaches religion but as Kate says, it’s not really like religion. He has had diverse guest speakers come to talk to the kids about everything under the sun. Then he got the kids to give speeches about some of their most personal accomplishments and stories.

Recently someone gave me a very hard time about sending my kids to Catholic schools. I did it because I think the education is good and I like the sense of community. But in many ways, I diametrically oppose the Church’s view on many things but Mr. Spika’s speech reminded me that part of the education is helping kids learn that doing good is as important as doing well.

He started off with the big guns – literally. He praised the kids for their March For Our Lives march in support of gun reform. (You may recall Kate was a planner.) He spoke about several students and their firsthand experience with  gun violence on and off the school grounds. He spoke about the need to make the community (all communities) safer – so that women could run down Summit Ave at night, so that GLBT kids could walk where they want, so that we all understood that all lives matter – but in a spirit that recognized that really we need to know that Black Lives Matter. He reminded everyone that financial success was not the only or best success. And he told the kids that the voice in your head says “someone ought to do something about that” was really the Holy Spirit telling you it was your job. I might not use the term Holy Spirit – but I like the idea – and I feel like teachers like him have given them the tools to succeed in making the world better.

And I have to add that while I disagree most with the Church on issues related to women it is worth noting that the Top Ten Academic positions were all held by young women.

As a mom I never wished my kids would stay little forever. I am always excited at their steps forward. It’s so much fun to see what they take on, to seem them rock it, to see them happy. Today we all took two giant steps forward.



34 hour trip to Winnipeg – Lily’s digs, CKUW and the Jets by Ann Treacy
May 9, 2018, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Winnipeg

We had the quickest international visit ever this week – Grandpa and I brought Lily and her roommate back to the University of Winnipeg. (We are super thankful to have a grandpa that would drive so far so quickly!) First – the rumor of it being cold in Canada – wrong. It was 86 degrees, which was a pleasant surprise. Second – it was really fun to see how well Lily is doing in Winnipeg. I’m so proud of her!

We got to see her apartment. It’s definitely a place for students but a nice place. She has her own room and it’s big. And there’s a fire escape-type porch on the roof. She has two roommates right now – and a big fat cat. They’re done a nice job decorating the place, including some really awesome art by Lily. (I snuck a couple pictures of her art here – without permission!)

I got a fun tour of the U of Winnipeg radio station, where Lily has a regular radio show Friday afternoons (2-3:30). They have about 32,000 CDs/Albums/cassettes and add about 1,000 each year.  Turns out they don’t have a lot of younger students with shows so that made me especially proud of her show.

We had a nice dinner with grandpa and got to walk by a number of Lily’s regular haunts – her yoga place, her old job, her current job, favorite restaurants. At night Lily and I took a walk around town. Turns out there was a Jet’s hockey game. Wow! There were thousands of fans happily watching. Well, happily at the start, kind of sad at the end of the game.

The city had set up 6 (or so) giant TV screens set up around town in a spoke a wheel pattern near the hockey arena. And they hosted a “white out” – which means everyone dressed in white. Apparently it costs the city $60,000 – but it a great investment for local businesses. My favorite moment was the guy (post loss) who chucked everyone on the arm and say – we’ll get them next time. The game tied up the series. I think the final game is tomorrow night.



Austin Texas – a conference, walking, some music and an awesome pair of boots by Ann Treacy
May 9, 2018, 6:36 pm
Filed under: Texas

Last week I spent a fun time at a broadband conference in Austin, Texas. I went with a couple of my favorite colleagues – so that was fun. Our presentation was well received.

We spent the first day checking out Austin. We visited the Texas Capitol, the Driskill Hotel and street art around the city. For eating we had oysters (royal we there), brisket and shrimp and grits.

We also saw some fun music at C-Boys Heart and Soul, The Continental Club and The Elephant Room. I was particularly fond of Dale Watson at the Continental – but the highlight was seeing the guy on the horse outside the door of the C-Boys. To be clear – it is located on a city street.

Another big highlight – finding red cowboy boots at the local Good Will – unfortunately the second best purchase was a box band-aids after I wore the new (to me boots) without socks.




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