Nearly 300 St. Mary of the Assumption School students, family members and faculty gathered before sunrise to begin the school’s Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration on Monday, December 12, 2011. After a twilight meditation, prayer, singing of Las Mananitas and procession with flowers, the students gathered for breakfast and were captivated by a Mexican dance demonstration by the Righetti High School Ballet Folklorico.

“For Catholics, Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patron Saint of the Americas,” said Michelle Cox, St. Mary’s School Principal. “For many of our families, especially those with Hispanic heritage, she is very important. One of the big differences between St. Mary’s School and public schools is our ability to celebrate the diverse heritage of our students and our Catholic faith.”

Students attended Mass, prayed the rosary and participated in various class activities celebrating and learning about Our Lady of Guadalupe, including making tilmas and tissue flowers. The day ended with lunch and a play by the 7th graders reenacting the visitation of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“My family has been doing this at St. Mary’s School for generations,” said one student’s parent. “It’s a wonderful way to start the Christmas season.”

“Our school is a very special place. Learning with faith develops a foundation that will shape our students throughout their lives,” concluded Cox.

Photo cutlines (If you require larger files, please contact the school):

StMaryGuadalupeFlowers: Nearly 300 St. Mary of the Assumption students, families and faculty gather before sunrise to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Students prepare for a procession to present flowers to start the school’s day of celebration on December 12, 2011.

StMaryGuadalupeRosary: St. Mary of the Assumption School third graders participate in saying the rosary as part of the school’s Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrations Monday, December 12, 2011.

StMaryGuadalupePlay: St. Mary of the Assumption School 7th Graders re-enact the 1531 visitation of Our Lady of Guadalupe to a peasant farmer, Juan Diego, on a hill near Mexico City as part of the school’s day long celebrations.

StMaryGuadalupeWatchPlay: St. Mary of the Assumption School students are captivated by the re-enactment of the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego. The play was part of a day long celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, 2011.

StMaryGuadalupe2dGradePicture: St. Mary of the Assumption School 2nd Graders draw pictures of Our Lady of Guadalupe as part of the school’s December 12, 2011 celebration of her appearance.

StMaryGuadalupeKinderarten: St. Mary of the Assumption Kindergartners make tilmas as part of the school’s Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrations, December 12, 2011.

St. Mary of the Assumption School, founded September 14, 1938, is the Santa Maria Valley’s oldest Catholic School.  Dedicated to providing a multicultural learning environment grounded in Christian values, the Western Catholic Educational Association accredited school serves over 250 students “Learning with Faith” in Preschool to eighth grade.

For additional information contact Michelle Cox at 805-925-6713 or email stmarysm@sbceo.org.