Thanks to you, we have raised more than $35,000 toward our goal of $60,000. Wow! We are well on our way. This Spring Matching Fund-raiser will conclude on May 31. All donations up to $60,000 will be doubled.
This week’s highlight is Christine Keill, and her experience is an amazing display of connection through the CSF family. Christine is an alumna, teacher, and daughter and sister of past ICS teachers. Christine’s very own “kindergarten buddies,” Kip Angaiak and Lilly DeMerritt, are part of the 2020 senior class (pictured below). We hold all seniors and their families in our thoughts as we prepare for graduation celebrations that adhere to social distancing guidelines. Though we may not be able to hold our 2020 Graduation in a traditional manner, we look forward to celebrating the accomplishments of these young men and women.
We continue to be grateful for each and every one of you who support our Catholic Schools of Fairbanks community. We are blessed by your prayers and generosity, and we appreciate you celebrating the people, stories, and spirit that make these schools so special.
Amanda B. Angaiak
Director of Schools/ President of Monroe Foundation, Inc.
P.S. Your matching donors are Bert and Becky '69 Bell, Jim and Sandra Haselberger, and Skip and Linda Johnson.
Photo Caption: Christine is pictured with Kip and Lilly when they were kindergarteners. Kip and Lilly are members of the Class of 2020.
Spotlight on Christine Keill
“When I tell people I’m a junior high teacher, their first response is usually something like, ‘oh, bless you.’ They don’t understand that it truly IS a blessing to teach sassy adolescents,” Christine (Butcher) Keill says with a smile.
Christine graduated from Monroe in 2008. Today, she teaches middle school science, or what she lovingly calls, “science in the junior high jungle.” As a Monroe graduate, Christine had strong ties to the school community. These ties were reinforced by two things:
It wasn’t a difficult decision for Christine to return to Monroe to teach. In fact, when she enrolled in the Masters in Education program at University of Alaska, she did so with the goal of teaching at her alma mater.
“Monroe is my happy place. It’s my family and it’s a school that I believe in 100 percent,” says Christine. “When you give to the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks - time, talent, or financially - you’re not just giving to a school; you’re giving to a community where future community leaders are being formed. You’re donating to a child's happy place. You’re donating to a teacher's dream: a dream of teaching students both about academics and about Jesus’ love. You’re donating to a family that puts their kids above all else to help them become the best versions of themselves.”
Christine has fond memories of her senior year of high school, and especially the senior blessing that takes place at the final all-school Mass of the year. The kindergarteners line up at the front of the Chapel and their senior buddies kneel in front of them. The kindergartners are thoroughly prepped. The 5- and 6-year-olds know if their senior buddies cry, it means they are doing a good job singing the senior blessing song.
“I remember kneeling down in front of Kip and Lilly, then kindergartners. They were so focused on singing and smiled at me as I cried. In fact, the more I cried, the louder they sang. They were so pleased with themselves. The bond we formed was like something I’d never experienced; it's a bond that has continued.” Christine has enjoyed being a part of her kindergarten buddies' growth and experiencing them as the young adults they are today.
This year, Lilly and Kip, both members of the Class of 2020, bonded with their own kindergarten buddies. Who knows? Maybe one of them will choose to come back to Monroe like Christine has and enrich our community even further. We can hope.