Z Preps 4 Joplin St. Mary's

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Z Preps 4 Joplin St. Mary's

From Greg Spencer

I'm raising money for a cause I care about, but I need your help to reach my goal! Please become a supporter to follow my progress and share with your friends.

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Z Preps will be webcasting LIVE, Oct 6th from Joplin, Missouri.  The game will be between Joplin McAuley High School and Joplin High's JV.  Z Preps is partnering with Mount St. Mary High School in Oklahoma City, other Oklahoma City area Catholic schools, and Mercy schools across the country to come together this night, watch a little football, and help give back to St. Mary's Elementary in Joplin.  St. Mary's Elementary School was destroyed by the tornado that hurt so much of the Joplin community on May 22, 2011.

My name is Greg Spencer, and in addition to being a part of ZPreps.com, I am also a teacher and coach at Mount St. Mary High School in Oklahoma City.  I was raised in Miami, Oklahoma, and I have always considered Joplin a home away from home.  I came up with the idea for this project because I wanted to give back, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get people together online for a few minutes and use the power of the internet/social media to help rebuild St. Mary's Elementary. 

You don't have to watch the entire game, just take some time and support the schools that are coming together for this cause, and give what you can.  All proceeds will benefit the rebuilding project of St. Mary's Elementary in Joplin, MO. 

Thank you so much for your time. 


Live Charity Webcast- Joplin McCauley High School vs Joplin High.

Live from the campus of Missouri Southern State University, Thursday, Oct. 6th. http://www.zpreps.com presents Joplin High School JV at McAuley High School (Varsity). Tune in at 7pm (CST) and catch all the action, all for a great cause! We will begin accepting online donations on Monday, Sept. 26th and continue until Oct. 7th. At half time of the game we will be giving away some great items which we will announce next week. If you donate $10 you will have just a good of a chance to win as someone who donated $100. This is going to be a great event and we can't wait for everyone to join us live from Joplin!


Joplin Area Catholic Schools Homepage


Students of destroyed Catholic school return.

Students of destroyed Catholic school returnKELSEY RYAN, The Joplin GlobeUpdated 02:54 p.m., Monday, September 5, 2011

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) — Visitors to the new St. Mary's Elementary School are greeted by a statue of Mary salvaged from the old school, which was destroyed by the May 22 tornado. The statue still shows some of the mud left by the storm.

The Joplin Area Catholic Schools system begins classes Tuesday, and St. Mary's students will start their school year like some of their counterparts in the public school system — in a warehouse converted into classrooms by long hours of work through the summer.

Jones said 210 students attended the Catholic elementary school on May 20, just before the tornado. He said last week that enrollment for Tuesday is up to 205 students.

An open house last week gave many families a peek at the new school, which is next to McAuley Catholic High School in a building that already was owned by the school system.

"This is the first time I've been in," said Angela Wrobleski, who has two children attending preschool at St. Mary's. "I think the location is going to be really nice to have all the Catholic schools so close together."

St. Mary's Principal Stephen Jones said the school is fortunate to have the warehouse. In fact, a few years before, the school system received a bid of $60,000 for demolishing the building. Had the bid been significantly lower, the building probably would have been torn down, he said.

"We thank God for giving us that high bid a few years ago, which kept it here," Jones said.

The tornado hit about 10 days before the last day of school, so students didn't have a chance to say goodbye to friends, said Jim Kastler, who has coordinated donations to the Catholic schools since the storm.

"They didn't really get to have closure at the end of school," Kastler said. "Now they'll get a chance to say 'Hey, we're all together again' and see their teachers."

The school has received countless donations since the tornado, ranging from an envelope stuffed with $7.27 in lemonade stand proceeds to $25,000 from Freeman Health System. Combined, the donations total more than $100,000, said Renee Motazedi, development director for Joplin Area Catholic Schools.

One of the most touching gifts, Motazedi said, was the donation of three school buses that were driven 1,300 miles from Long Island, N.Y., without air conditioning during one of the hottest summers on record..

"As they drove into the parking lot, we started to cry," Motazedi said. "It was about the generosity and the sacrifice those individuals made. They didn't know us, but one of them said: 'The only reason I do this is so I can see the look on your face. It was gold.' It was an incredible and great gift."

Some donations have come from closer to home.

When Cassie Chandler, a 12-year-old who went to St. Mary's last year and will now go to nearby St. Peter's Middle School, was planning her Aug. 13 birthday party, she asked that donations go toward rebuilding St. Mary's in lieu of presents.

Cassie held a three-hour dance party, complete with a disc jockey, at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club with 40 of her friends. She decorated a box for the donations and also had family members give donations instead of presents. The girl raised $950.

Her mother, Kathleen Chandler, said she is proud of her daughter's generosity. She said that while the family was not directly affected by the tornado, her daughter knew people who had been hit, and that made an impact on her.

"She felt the same way in her heart as I did in mine, that we didn't think it was right to ask people to buy presents," Chandler said. "She wanted to turn it around into something positive."

Motazedi said an overwhelming number of the donations have come from Catholic churches, schools, religious orders and individuals across the country.

"It's an example of Catholics giving to Catholics," she said. "We stick together. We have an understanding and empathy for the plight of others. It's a real emotional point for parents."

Motazedi said that while St. Mary's is well-equipped for school on Tuesday, it still is accepting donations to go toward families and to the school system.

Neal Group Construction and Restoration helped convert the old warehouse to be used as a school. Jeff Neal and his family are members of St. Peter the Apostle Parish.

Catholic schools back in business.

Catholic schools back in business

By Kelsey Ryan news@joplinglobe.com

JOPLIN, Mo. — Cyndi Hilsabeck’s classroom went from an empty shell last week to a colorful, bustling room filled with pre-kindergartners Tuesday with the start of classes at St. Mary’s Elementary School and the rest of the Catholic schools in the Joplin system.The old St. Mary’s building was destroyed in the May 22 tornado. But its 206 students are back at school in a converted warehouse on South Byers Avenue only three weeks beyond the scheduled start date.“It’s not the building that makes us who we are; it’s the people inside and our closeness,” Hilsabeck said. “I’m hoping that continues.”Over Labor Day weekend, more than 100 volunteers helped get classrooms ready by unloading boxes of donated items that have been collected over the summer.“All of the items that were at our warehouses were basically in the building by 1 p.m. (Saturday),” said St. Mary’s Principal Stephen Jones. “We’re now able to do what we know. Working in the warehouses has been a significant drain and strain on teachers. Getting the building prepared and ready has been very difficult. But we’ve kind of settled in. I’ve compared it to moving into a new house.”Fifth-grader Katie Harman wrote to more than 85 authors over the summer in an effort to help restock the St. Mary’s library that was destroyed. She has been a St. Mary’s student since preschool.“I wanted to have books for the school,” Katie said. “There have been a couple of authors that wrote back and donated books. But there’s one author that wanted to donate over 500 books, and there’s another author that sounds like she wants to donate her own personal collection of another 200 books.”On Tuesday morning, Jones’ office had only boxes and chairs, a testament to the focus the school has given to getting classrooms ready for students.“Overall, it’s a typical first day of school,” he said. “My hope is that in just a couple of days, normalcy will set in, and we will be teaching kids and working as we have in the past.”But the transition to the new school won’t be easy with the loss of St. Mary’s student Harli Howard, who died in the tornado with her father and little brother at the Home Depot store. Harli was one of Hilsabeck’s students last year.“The kids that have been impacted, I don’t think it’s going to show the first day,” Hilsabeck said. “Even for ourselves — I lost a student, so I know that they’re thinking about her. The kids that were in her class, they’re now in kindergarten.”Jones said counselors are available for students. Hilsabeck said she hopes she can give this new batch of students a sense of comfort and security.“Some are still living out of boxes,” she said.Still, Hilsabeck said she can’t wait to get into a routine, and start building relationships with the children and families again.“The new normal is what we’re calling it,” she said. “We’re ready for it.”While some students said they like the new building, they will have to make some adjustments to the new location. For now, St. Mary’s students will eat lunch in the nearby McAuley Catholic High School cafeteria.St. Mary’s has some new technology, like Epson BrightLink interactive projectors and wireless Internet. It also has a mobile computer lab where teachers can check out computers for their classes instead of going to a separate room. Students will walk to St. Peter’s Catholic Church for Mass at 8:30 a.m. Fridays. The old St. Mary’s had a tornado shelter in the basement of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The new location has a 2,000-square-foot basement.Plans for a permanent school building are being determined by the Catholic diocese’s strategic planning committee, Jones said.

Catholic San Francisco article

National Joplin pastor survives direct tornado hit to church by jumping in the bathtub May 25th, 2011

JOPLIN, Mo. -- St. Mary’s pastor Father Justin Monaghan survived a direct hit by a tornado that destroyed the church, school and parish buildings, by jumping in the rectory bathtub when he felt things start to shake. Father Monaghan’s parishioners dug him out -- spotting him by a stick he was waving above the rubble.

The deadliest tornado in more than 60 years destroyed as many as 30 percent of this city’s buildings on May 22, and severely damaged the nine-story St. John’s Regional Medical Center, which was directly in the path of the tornado, variously described as being from a half mile to a mile and a half wide. At St. John’s hospital, five patients who had earlier been admitted in critical condition were killed. A hospital worker was also killed.

A St. Mary’s preschool student, her little brother and her father were killed when the Joplin Home Depot was struck, said Recy Moore, director of communications for the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau.

In all, the death toll in Joplin stood at 117 early in the week, with hundreds injured, although the toll was expected to climb higher as rescue workers continue their search amid the rubble for survivors and victims of the tornado that ripped through this city of 50,000 people in southwest Missouri.

“Looking at the site of the former parish hall, one would be hard-pressed to tell that the building was ever there, so great was its destruction,” said Bishop James V. Johnston of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, after a visit May 24 to St. Mary’s. “St. John’s Hospital was also devastated. So many homes and so many livelihoods have been affected. Please keep our brothers and sisters in your prayers, now and into the months ahead.

“Many of those working had been devastated themselves,” Bishop Johnston said. “Their selfless spirit was a shining example of how common suffering can bring out the best in the human person.”

Father Monaghan, who was completely unharmed, went to stay for a few days with his brother who is also a priest of the diocese. Both are from Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland, Moore said. “All he has left is a plastic trash bag with some things in it and his golf clubs, with an Easter egg from somewhere lodged in the handle,” said Moore.

At Joplin’s other Catholic church, St. Peter the Apostle, parish administrator Elizabeth Runkle, told Catholic News Service May 23, “St. Peter’s is fine. We’re OK. We didn’t have any damage. Everybody’s fine.” St. Peter has an outreach center that they’re trying to use to speed aid to victims, according to Eidson.

McAuley Catholic High School, which serves the city’s two parishes, escaped damage, Eidson said. It was being used as an overflow triage center.

In a message posted on his Facebook page the evening of the storm, Father John Friedel, St. Peter’s pastor, said: “Just got back from closing down the Catholic high school, which was opened as an overflow triage center. Our area of town was untouched, though the neighboring parish (20 blocks away) has probably lost their entire physical plant. ... I know you’ve all seen the footage of St. John’s, our Catholic hospital, which is probably also a total loss!”

Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri was in Joplin and seeking donations to aid tornado victims, Eidson added. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul also was coordinating its own relief efforts in the Joplin area, according to Eidson, who said the Convoy of Hope, which has a large operation in southwestern Missouri, had already established a base in Joplin.

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