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Thursday, January 18,  2018 *  Volume 15  *  Issue 25

Dear SBPS Families: 

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We hope everyone makes it out for the Pajama Jam III which is scheduled for Saturday, January 20th. It is a great night here in the gym with live band karaoke while hanging out in your PJ's have a few adult beverages. It is a very fun night for adults.  Put your PJ's on and get ready to sing! Ms. Waldron, Ms. Deletioglu and I will have ours on!  Ready to sing? That is questionable..

Second trimester conferences will be happening at the end of this week. Be sure to sign up for conferences. You should have received emails regarding the sign up links. Also, be sure to look in your respective sections - preschool, elementary, middle school and high school - for more information. There is NO SCHOOL this coming Friday due to conferences. Progress reports will go out on Tuesday. 

Catholic Schools Week is coming up! There is a lot of information below regarding the upcoming activities. Be sure to show your BENGAL PRIDE and get a yard sign. They are in the offices...they are free and they will run out! 

Please enjoy your week - stay healthy, warm and safe. 

 Peace - Ms. Rachel Gemo, Head of Parish School



Here are January Dates to Keep in Mind –

  • Friday, January 19th - Preschool Coffee with Ms. Waldron for all Preschool Families 8:15AM  
  • Saturday, January 20th -  Pajama Jam III 7PM (for adults only) - Supports the Athletic Program 
  • Saturday, January 20th - Kateri Center Speaker Cheryl Bear
  • Monday, January 22nd - Help sessions available for those who want to apply for Tax Credit Scholarships
  • Wednesday, January 24th - Pilgrimage to Ireland Info Session
  • Monday, January 22nd - 8th Grade Parent & Candidate meeting
  • Thursday, January 25th - 4-8PM - 2nd Trimester Conferences 
  • Friday, January 26th 8AM to Noon 2nd Trimester Conferences NO SCHOOL TODAY 
  • Sunday, January 28th - Saturday, February 3 - Catholic Schools Week
  • Sunday, January 28th - 10:30AM Catholic Schools Week Mass
  • Sunday, January 28th - 11:30 to 1PM - Catholic Schools Week Open House for all 
  • Wednesday, January 31st - Java with Gemo - Kicking off the Book 
  • Saturday, February 3rd - Sacred Liturgy Morning of Prayer
  • March 3rd - Save the Date! Gala 2018!


Don't forget to buy your ticket for Pajama Jam III!  JANUARY 20, 2018

Pajama Jam 3 - The Search for Harmony. The party where adults act like kids is back!  Join us in the gym in your pajamas for Live Band Karaoke. Enjoy a beverage while watching faculty, staff, and other parents sing with the band! Or jump on stage and sing with the band yourself! While Pajama Jam is not a fundraiser, any proceeds from the event will go towards a new scorers table in the gym and a new tent for cross country and other outdoor sports.

The party is from 7 pm -11:30 pm. After that, head over to Reclaimed (3655 N. Western) for a post-party. They'll be staffed to provide items from both the appetizer and beverage menus. It's going to be an amazing night!



Your time is much appreciated. We are again looking for help in a few areas for relatively short time slots.  If you get called on stage to sing a song during your shift, we will certainly understand! 

Click here to sign up!

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What You Need to Know About the “Invest in Kids” Tax Credit Scholarships

NEED HELP APPLYING ? - We are hosting a "help day" on Monday, January 22nd - email Dr. Mickelburgh for more information -  

Through the “Invest in Kids Act,” Illinois children from low-income households who want to attend private schools will have access to new scholarships. The scholarships offered through this program could cover up to 100 percent of tuition and eligible fees for next school year*. Below is more information about how to apply and details on eligibility requirements.  

Tax credit scholarships: Students from low-income households in grades K-12 have the opportunity to receive tax credit scholarships for the 2018/19 school year. These scholarships are funded by donors who receive a credit on their Illinois state income tax as a result of their donation.

Application process: You will need to apply for tax credit scholarships through a scholarship granting organization (SGO), which will manage this process, instead of the Archdiocese or your school directly. There are several SGOs in Illinois. The Archdiocese of Chicago is working with two SGOs: Empower Illinois and Big Shoulders Fund. 

The application process with Empower Illinois will be completed online at The application process will open January 31, 2018. Empower Illinois' application will be available online at All Empower Illinois' applications must be submitted online. For more information on Empower Illinois, please review their School Resourcestab, which includes a downloadable How to Apply document for students and families.

The application process with Big Shoulders Fund will be completed online at www.bigshouldersfundsgo.orgThe application process will open January 22, 2018. 

What you need to apply: Based on what we know today, families will need the following documents in order to apply for a tax credit scholarship:

  • Copy of 2016 federal tax return or 1099, W-2 or year-end pay stubs
  • Proof of Illinois residency (driver's license, state ID or utility bill)
  • Documentation of student age (birth certificate, federal/state ID or passport)
  • If available, a letter of acceptance or enrollment at an eligible, participating, non-pubic school

Note: There may be changes to this list as the application process is finalized by the SGOs. We will provide updates as they are available.

Help applying: You will be able to get help applying for the scholarship in-person at a variety of events in your community in the coming months. The Archdiocese will share the dates and locations of these events as these details are finalized. For families whose first language is not English, we will have in-person resources available to help you through the application process.

Application deadline: The deadline for submitting applications is still being determined. Scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first served basis, so it is very important that when the application process begins, you apply early.

How to qualify: Eligibility to receive a scholarship is based on your family’s household income. For example, a student could receive a scholarship if his/her family income is less than $73,800 a year for a family of four. See chart below for more information on eligibility for tax credit scholarships.  

Scholarship amount: Your family could receive a scholarship that covers up to 100 percent of tuition and eligible fees for next school year. 

See the chart below that shows how much you could receive to cover tuition based on your income for a family of four.

Household Income Per Year**  (Family of Four)

Eligible Scholarship Amount

Less than $45,510   100 percent of tuition
$45,510-$61,500      75 percent of tuition
$61,500-$73,800      50 percent of tuition

To learn more, please visit or contact the Archdiocese at or 312.534.5321. 

*Scholarships may NOT exceed $12,973, the 2018/19 statewide average public school cost for K-12 students. 

Java With Gemo and Friends - Upcoming Dates in January and February 2018

Each year we try to have parent "coffees" where school administrators, staff and myself present on topics and receive feedback from our school community. We've set the dates for our parents to put in their calendars. All Javas with Gemo are in the SS library and begin at 8:10AM. They often finish about 9:30AM, but parents are okay to leave earlier if they need to head to work, etc. 

Here are the dates - topics and presentation partners will be coming soon. All are on Wednesdays. 

  • January 19 - Preschool Family Feedback Java with Ms. Waldron and Ms. Gemo
  • January 31 - The 7 C's of Catholic School Excellence at SBPS with Ms. Gemo and Ms. McMillan (Youth Ministry Coordinator) - Kicking off the Book Talk/Discussion 
  • February 21 - High School in Chicago-Don't Panic your child will go to high school! with Dr. Mickelburgh 


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Here is your weekly update of all things GALA 2018! REMEMBER TO SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, March 3, 2018

Gala Ticket Information Update:

We have had many questions regarding ticket options and pricing.  Formal invitations will be arriving to your home soon!  We will be providing approximately 400 seated tickets.  Now that pricing has been set we have opened online ticket purchasing through our website.  

Reserved Seated Admission $200 (Table of 10 - $2,000)
Premium Seating including Champagne Toast $300 (Table of 10 - $3,000)

New This Year:

1) Maroon and Gold Premium Table of 10 includes premium seating, upgraded liquor package with private bar server and limo service for 10 to and from Morgan MFG. (Only 6 tables available) - $5,000

2) Not able to join us for dinner, join us after dinner (9:30 p.m.) for drinks, dancing, and of course auction bidding: $100 


Buy your tickets, view our new venue, consider a sponsorship or contribution to the silent auction, make a donation towards sending a teacher / staff member to our event as a thank you for their service to the children at St. Benedict.

Thank you to our most recent sponsors: Karen Cholipski and our own HSA - the Home and School Association

Want more information about our year-long sponsorship options view our


Sneak Peek into our LIVE AUCTION:


Be a VIP at the PINK Concert!  2 Gold Package tickets to the Pink! Beautiful Trauma World Tour 2018 on March 10, 2018 at the United Center. The package includes 2 premium reserved Price Level 1 seats, merchandise item designed and created exclusively for package holders, collectible laminate and lanyard to remember your evening.


A CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS Experience To Remember!  Four (4) guests will enjoy a pregame dinner in the Ketel One Club followed by a 2018-19 Regular Season Home Game with 100 level tickets followed by a post game locker room tour. GO HAWKS!

Class Project Info Coming Soon!

Class Projects are both unique and multi-sale items for sale that support the Gala 2018 and all profits benefit the children of our school.  All homerooms participate and we are grateful to last year's efforts that brought in over $20,000 in profit to assist with school operating costs. Thanks to Mrs. Jen Patras, committee lead, for putting together another great catalog of must have items and one of a kind homeroom projects such as photobooks.  New this year is a Bldg. 1 Preschool Classrooms Cookbook!  3rd grade and 4th grade multi-sale items information will be coming home in backpacks on Friday.  You can also go online to our Gala website to place your multi-sale item order.  

Questions?  Don't hesitate to call Mr. Accardi at 773.509-2832 or email

Show Your Bengal Pride During Catholic Schools Week and Beyond - THE LONG AWAITED YARD SIGNS ARE IN! GET YOURS BEFORE THEY ARE GONE! NO CHARGE! 

Show your SBPS pride during Catholic Schools Week (and even after) by displaying a SBPS yard sign on your front lawn.  St. Benedict Prep yard signs will be available for pick-up in all school offices beginning next Monday, January 22nd.  Signs are free of charge.  Only 400 of the 2-sided signs have been ordered and once they are gone, they are gone.  We will not be re-ordering.  See Mrs. Dodovich, Mrs. Nota, or Mrs. Moore in the school offices to get yours staring Monday.



Catholic Schools Week is Jan 28 - Feb 3, 2018   Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed

We have many fun activities planned for the week that celebrate our Catholic School: Saint theme guessing jars, thank you cards, mystery readers, surprise snacks, door decorating contests, pep rallies and a talent show to name a few. Remember to stay connected on Facebook to see photos of our daily activities!

Please join us at 10:30am for mass to celebrate the start of Catholic Schools Week! Join us after from 11:30-1:00 for our Open House. Students in grades K-8 please see your homeroom teacher for an out of uniform pass if you attend the Open House.

All students in grades PreK-12 may wear Crazy Hair and Socks! Students in grades 1-5 must wear their gym uniforms today so they are ready for the Pep Rally.Students in grades 6-12 can wear House / School Spirit Wear today with Crazy, Hair and Socks. 1:45 PEP RALLY GRADES 1-5  

Tuesday, January 30th:  Celebrating Our Faculty, Staff, and Volunteers
Come Dressed Like a Teacher Today! Students may come dressed up as one of their teachers! Prayer Buddies Today

Wednesday, January 31st: Celebrating our Faith!
DRESS UNIFORM TODAY 1:30pm All School Mass Today

Thursday, February 1st: Celebrating Our Nation and Heritage
Celebrate Our Nation and Heritage: Students may wear Red, White and Blue or come dressed in something that celebrates their heritage.

Friday, February 2nd: SPIRIT DAY TODAY!
Students may dress in spirit wear and celebrate Bengal Pride!

1:00PM Our Elementary School Students (1-5) will celebrate their gifts and talents in the afternoon with the Talent Show in Ackerman building the afternoon.
Secondary School Student House leaders (HS only) will lead the 5th Annual mini olympics Bengal games for students in grades PreK-K throughout the day.  

IN THE EVENING Come Cheer on Our Boys and Girls Basketball teams Tonight
8th Grade Girls Basketball game vs. NCA at 5PM
Cross Country Team Recognition and Banner Ceremony 6PM
8th Grade Boys Basketball game vs. Hardey Prep at 6:30PM
7:30pm- 11:00pm HOUSE ROCKIN LOCKIN: GRADES 6-12


Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Expands Use of 529 Plans for Private Elementary and Secondary Education

While I am not in the business of offering tax advice (nor qualified!)...I thought I would pass along this nugget of information. If you think your family might benefit from this expanded provision, please contact your accountant or tax adviser. 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has expanded the use of 529 plans – accounts that allow savers to accumulate money and pay for college on a tax-free basis – to include elementary and secondary school expenses at public, private or religious institutions.

That means individuals can take up to $10,000 in distributions annually from their 529 plans to pay for private school tuition and books through 12th grade – in addition to using their account proceeds for college costs.

Parents of Young People - Alert! 

Why are teens putting detergent pods in their mouth?
CBS News

Government watchdog is expressing concern over the latest social media fad called the "Tide Pod Challenge" Read the full story

Free Film Screening of Movie, Angst at Resurrection College Prep 

Parents, educators and community members are welcome to attend a free film screening Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 7:00 pm at Resurrection College Prep
sponsored by Resurrection College Prep and the Resurrection Student Services Department at the Resurrection College Prep Library 7500 West Talcott Avenu,  Chicago, IL 60631

The IndieFlix film Angst is an inspirational and educational movie that discusses anxiety and the challenges it brings to our children and teens. This documentary brings people together to talk about anxiety and its impact on children and teens. The movie features candid interviews with children, teens and young adults who discuss their anxiety. Among those interviewed is Olympian Michael Phelps, who discusses the difficulties he experienced after being bullied. Advice from mental health professionals round out the movie's content to foster a thorough understanding of anxiety's effects.

The screening of the 56-minute film will begin at 7 pm and will  be followed by a Q & A session with mental health professionals. 

Advance registration preferred - walk-ins welcome. Admission to the screening is free. 

Download Angst Film Screening Flyer here.


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Coming this summer Vacation Bible School, Shipwrecked: Rescued by Jesus

July 15th through the 19th from 6:30 until 8:30 for 6th graders through High School, we will engage in conversations about faith as well as train volunteers to assist with the younger children the following week.

July 23rd through 27th from 9:00 am until 2:00 for Kindergarten up to 5th grade.

Parents! Give your Children this Amazing Keepsake!
Order Your St. Benedict Elementary School and/or Middle School Yearbook Today!



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Invisible Chains – January 21st

     Join us in Beaven Hall after the 9 am Mass on January 21st to learn more about the issue of Human Trafficking. Human Trafficking is the most heinous crime of our age.  Victims of all ages are the invisible people in our neighborhoods, cities/suburbs, country and world. They are caught in the web for one reason - GREED of the trafficker. Trafficking of persons is the second largest criminal industry in the world bringing in $32 billion annually to the traffickers.
     Our speaker will be Sister Jean Okroi, IBVM who is a passionate woman when it comes to human trafficking.  For fourteen years she has been raising awareness about this new form of slavery. She initiated the Illinois Women Religious against Human Trafficking committee, and, is a member of the Cook County subcommittee task force. In 2016, Sister Jean was recognized for her work by the Paluch Family Foundation. Come to learn about this issue and ways we can help to stop it in our world!


DONUT SUNDAY – January 28!

 If you’ve kept that New Year’s resolution to lose weight Congratulations!  Reward yourself on next Sunday January 28 by coming to our Holy Name Society’s donut Sunday after mass.  Donuts and refreshments available for a reasonable price but fun and good feelings are free!

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St. Benedict Alumni Association & Knight of Columbus #15052
5th Annual Scholarship Lenten Fish Fry’s  
Friday’s: February 16 & March 16
5:30- 8:30 PM in Beaven Hall

Prices: (All you can eat)        
Adults $10
Seniors $7
Children $5 (Children 4 and under) 
For information or presale tickets please contact 773-509-3836 or visit

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PRAYER CORNER -  Prayer for Healing  

Please keep in your prayers one of our 6th grade students, Ethan Li, who is battling aplastic anemia. He and his family needs your prayers for healing, courage and strength!