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Saint Rita Catholic School

Preschool - Grade 8
3801 Russell Road, Alexandria, VA 22305

8th Grade


Saint Rita 8th Graders

Steps for success:

How are you doing on these goals?

  1. Take agenda to every class and write down homework
  2. Check off homework in your agenda as you complete it
  3. Get your lunch, backpack and uniform ready for the next day before you go to bed
  4. Pay attention in each class and work on the virtue of self-control by not interrupting or talking over your peers or teachers.

Check in with your parents about what you are doing well and what you need to work on.


Links and Documents
Power School
Scantron for Parents

Core Subjects: Mrs. Bush (Modern Era: English, Lit, and History)

Welcome to 8th Grade!

I will be teaching Language Arts, Literature and U.S. History from the Civil War to modern day.  I have opened up a google classroom, access code is pq7dp2s, where all assignments and documents will be posted.  Please message me from Google Classroom once you get in.

We will have a fast pace with lots of great reading.  I am very excited about the upcoming year.

Mrs. Bush (


Links and Documents
Google Classroom

Religion: Mrs. McGraw

Welcome to 8th Grade Religion 2018 – 2019

Seeking the GOOD, the TRUE, and the BEAUTIFUL


Class News and Homework (HW) -newest info to oldest…

Mon, May 20:  Shakespeare – No Class

Tues, May 21:  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – discussed the 4 major parts and what is included in each:

  1. Introductory Rite
  2. Liturgy of the Word
  3. Liturgy of the Eucharist
  4. Concluding Rite


*Test on Marian Doctrine and Marian Chapels/Titles on Friday, May 17

Mon, May 13:  Father Bork

Tues, May 14:  Reviewed scriptural references of  Mary’s 10 Evangelical Virtues.

Thurs, May 16:

Fri, May 17:  Test!  🙂  Gospel Journals for HW and return the Apologetics book



Mon, May 6:  Father Bork

Tues, May 7, Thurs, May 9, Fri, May 10:  1/2 day:  4 Marian Dogma – explain, why important, scriptural references, Holy day if applicable

  1. Mary, Mother of God (January 1)
  2. Perpetual Virginity (NA)
  3. Immaculate Conception (December 8)
  4. Assumption (August 15)


Mon, April 29:  Father Bork; 2 Min 2 Mary talk track and videos due today.

Tues, April 30:  Begin reviewing our 2 Min 2 Mary Videos!

Thurs, May 2:  Keep celebrating Easter – 6 ideas to keep the joy going!  We are in a joyful season and we should celebrate until Pentecost!  (read Sacred Scripture (Acts of the Apostles, perhaps); enjoy the garden or give Mom a bouquet of flowers – see all creation in light of God (Gift of the HS:  Knowledge); write down 3 things each day you are grateful for; eat desserts and sweets; say ALLELUIA after you pray (God be praised!); treat your neighbors and friends – do something special for others – share with your family!  2 Min 2 Mary:  Today we watched Mary Queen of All Hearts, Our Lady of Hope, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, and Our Lady of La Vang!  HW for Tues, May 7:  read pages 23-28 in the Apologetics book I loaned you – Marian Doctrines and Q&A on Mary.  Be ready to discuss – take notes and summarize in your notebook.

Fri, May 3:


Mon, April 15:  Father Bork

Tues, April 16:  Lenten retreat to the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land

Holy Thursday – Divine Mercy Sunday (April 18 – April 28):  Easter Break


April 2019:  Thank you parents and students for your patience during this “broken elbow time”!  I will keep this teacher page and Powerschool current, and fill in the old stuff that is missing as soon as I can.  Thanks!

Mon, April 8:  Father Bork

Tues, April 9: ACRE Testing this morning; Review of the 2 Minutes 2 Mary Assignment:

  • 2-3 minutes (no more, no less)
  • Video and talk track to be submitted to Mrs. McGraw on thumb drive or email
  • Due Date:  Monday, April 29th by 9:00  am – sharp
  • Introduce yourself and your Chapel / Marian Title
  • Give background, history, details, etc. about your Chapel / Marian Title
  • One picture at least
  • Speak clearly, be creative with your video, be engaging, have fun, and teach us!
  •  Follow the 2 Min 2 Virtue video format

HW due tomorrow, Wed, April 10:  thank you letter to the seminarians and sisters from our Shrine day.  Please leave it on my desk since we do not have class on Wednesdays.

Wed, April 10:  Mass – honoring our military families and kids today

Thurs, April 11 and Fri, April 12:  Review Our  Day with Mary (Shrine retreat)  – the spiritual scavenger hunt, vocation talks, Holy Hour and materials from Miss Blank, etc.  HW for Mon, April 15 is your 2 Gospel journals (April 7 and April 14).  And you are diligently working on your 2 Minutes 2 Mary Video due on Mon, April 29!


TAKE NOTE…Important dates coming up:  Tuesday, April 2, 2019 Shrine Retreat

Permission Slip:  Permission Slip SHRINE Retreat

Week of March 18, 2019:

Mon, Mar 18:  Father Bork

Tues, Mar 19: Hand out bibles and pray Psalm 139 at the opening of class, after sharing intentions.  Take home permission slips and get them filled out – these are for the Shrine retreat on Tues, Apr 2.  (Link is above.)  Finish the last 2 petitions of the Our Father:  “Lead us not into temptation” and “But deliver us from evil.”  HW:  Review your notes on the Our Father, the salutation and the 7 petitions.

Thurs, Mar 21:  Hand out bibles and pray Psalm 139 at the opening of class.  Write thank you notes to Bishop Burbidge for a beautiful Mass and the gift of the Thomas More / Elizabeth Ann Seton medals.  Ensure him we are praying Psalm 139 this Lent and assure him of your prayers.  Finish during class.

Fri, Mar 22: Seder in School Hall.

HW for Mon, Mar 25:  Sunday Gospel journal.  HW for Tuesday, Mar 26:  5+ sentences on the Seder (can write this in your Gospel Journal.)    What did you learn?  Describe and explain the significance of it to the Jewish people and to us as Christians. 


Week of March 11, 2019:

Mon, Mar 11: No School

Tues, Mar 12, Thurs Mar 14, Fri Mar 15:  The Our Father – petition by petition



Week of March 4, 2019:

Mon, Mar 4:  Father Bork

Tues, Mar 5:  Bishop Mass

Wed, Mar 6:  Ash Wednesday

Thurs Mar 7 and Fri Mar 8:  Lenten Posters


Week of February 25, 2019:

Mon, Feb 25: Father Bork

Tues, Feb 26: Part II of the Written Confirmation Test (2 hour delay last Friday)

Thurs, Feb 28 and Fri, Mar 1: LENT Overview

  • LENT = The Great Fast
  • 40 Days (Ash Wednesday – Holy Saturday)
    • Does NOT include Sundays (mini Easters)
    • Triduum:  Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday
  • Penitential Season
  • Preparation for the PASCHAL MYSTERY (Passion, Death, Resurrection, Ascension of Our Lord)
  • Lent -> Lencten (Anglo Saxon) -> Spring
    • Spring cleaning of the soul
    • Give Up (fast/sacrifice), Take Up (prayer/spiritual efforts), Lift Up (others)
    • Prayer:  Mass, Stations, Increased Personal Prayer
    • Penance:  Fast/Abstain, Confession, Sacrifice
    • Almsgiving:  Others first, Donation of Time, Talent, Treasure
  • Fasting and Abstaining
    • Venerable traditions of piety among Jews at the time of Christ
    • Our Lord Himself practiced these as we see in Sacred Scripture
    • Fast from Food -> Ash Wednesday and Good Friday -> 1 meal, 2 other meatless meals that do NOT equal another full meal – to maintain strength)
    • Abstain from Meat -> No meat on Ash Wednesday and ALL Fridays of Lent

During class we have started our Lenten posters that will be finished and displayed by Fri, March 8.

Lenten Videos:

USCCB Q & A about LENT:


Week of February 18, 2019:

Mon, Feb 18:  President’s Day

Tues, Feb 19:  Confirmation test review (and Science Fair today)

Thurs, Feb 21 and Fri, Feb 22:  Written Confirmation Test



Week of February 11, 2019:  

Mon, Feb 11:  Father Bork

Tues, Feb 12:  Confirmation test review and then we learned from Sacred Scripture how Jesus is a Model of Prayer, and, we discussed the 3 dimensions of Jesus’ Prayer Life.  Outline of notes:

  • Jesus as a role model of prayer ->
    • Pray in secret (humility)
    • Use these words (Our Father)
    • Ask and you shall receive… (do not be afraid)
    • In readiness for the 2nd coming (think: Advent)
    • For our Persecutors (for enemies, those we find hard to like/love, etc.)
    • Group prayer (where 2 or more are gathered in my name…)
    • Persist!
  • 3 Dimensions ->
    • Jesus prays for us as Priest (perfect high priest and victim)
    • We pray to Him
    • He prays in us as our Head (the grace in our soul)

Thurs, Feb 14:

We turned to Sacred Scripture and identified passages when Jesus taught us about prayer.  Some we read and discussed:

  • MT 26:  36-46 -> Garden of Gethsemane
  • JN 11:  38-44 -> Raising Lazarus from the Dead
  • LK 6:  12-16 – > Selecting the 12 Apostles
  • MK 1: 35-39 -> Preparing for His Mission and Day
  • LK 23:  32-49 -> Praying from the Cross

Fri, Feb 15:  For this shortened class, we reviewed for the Confirmation Test for bonus points (like we’ve done all week).


Week of February 4, 2019:

Mon, Feb 4:  Father Bork

Tues, Feb 5:  Youth Apostles 25th Annual Pro-Life Essay; a poem about growing old;  story of the Auschwitz midwife (“Mary in a striped uniform”).  HW due Thurs, Feb 7:  5+ sentences on loose leaf in cursive with proper heading… a reflection on the video “Growing Old.”  What is the jewel?  What is the gift wrap?  What did you learn?  How is this a “pro-life video”?

Thurs, Feb 7 and Fri, Feb 8:  5-4-3-2-1- PRAY!  Outline of notes:

  • 5 Preparation Steps
    • Practical preparing (special time set aside, alone, no distractions, focus, etc.)
    •  Humility
    • Faith
    • Resignation
    • Persistance
  • 4 Types of Prayer
    • Adoration
    • Thanksgiving
    • Contrition
    • Petition
  • 3 Forms of Prayer
    • Vocal
    • Meditative
    • Contemplative
  • 2 Times, as least
    • AM
    • PM
  • 1 Focus for our Prayer
    • GOD

Pro-life Essay Contest Flyer

92-year-old’s poem on aging shines light on how we should live our lives

Midwife from Auschwitz: The woman who saved hundreds of newborns

PRO LIFE Aleteia article Chicago woman helps during polar vortex



Week of January 28, 2019 – Catholic Schools Week:

Mon, Jan 28:  Father Bork

Tues, Jan 29:  The Beatitudes and reflections from Saint Augustine.  HW due Thurs Jan 31: have your Beatitude and explanation ready for your “dove”.  

Thurs, Jan 31:  2 HR delay – short class  Discussion on which Beatitude is YOUR SAINT.  Approval on your “dove” design.

Fri, Feb 1:  2 HR delay – short class  Finish our Beatitude Doves.  HW due Mon, Feb 4:  Anyone not done with your dove during class, it is due on Monday.


Week of January 21, 2019:

Mon, Jan 21:  Martin Luther King Holiday

Tues, Jan 22:  2 Hour Delay – No Class

Thur, Jan 24 and Fri, Jan 25:  Mid-year self assessment due tomorrow (Friday) and today in class we reviewed key dates coming up AND we prepared for the Religion Bee.  HW for Tues, Jan 29: Read pages 242-244.



Week of January 14, 2019:  Snow day and 2 hour delays… PRAYER DRIVE for LIFE all week!  MARCH for LIFE on Friday, Jan 18!  On Thursday, Jan 17 we broke into small groups and learned about baby development inside and outside the womb.  We tried to guess when each important event happened in a baby’s life.  We learned, yet again, through science and medicine, that life begins at conception.  Here’s the worksheet we used:

Baby Development Inside and Outside the Womb




Week of January 7, 2019:   Discussion of what the Sacrament of Confirmation is, and, what it is NOT.   Review the 4 Truths of the Sacrament of Confirmation, 5 Truths of the Faith, and the 5 Truths of the Eucharist (see your study guide).  Also, reviewed Bishop Burbidge’s Confirmation Q & A handout.  Listen (again) to Father Rob Galea’s video on The Eucharist.  Scroll down to the very bottom under “Websites, Links, etc.”

HW due Thurs, Jan 10:  Re-write each of the 4 truths in your own words.  Write 1 sentence for each truth.  Demonstrate your understanding of each truth with a quality sentence.

Thursday, January 3 – Friday, January 4, 2019:  Discussion on The 12 Days of Christmas as a “catechism song” and the meaning and importance of Epiphany.



Friday, December 14:  Test on Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the corresponding Beatitudes.

Thursday, December 13:  Finished discussing the Our Father (petition by petition) and related each petition to the appropriate Gift of the HS.  Watched the slide show on Gifts of HS and Beatitudes (helpful review).


Tuesday, December 11:  Finished the Gifts of the HS and corresponding Beatitudes (all notes copied and handed out to students during Study Hall),

Main topics for December:   Father Bork on Mondays (Jesus’ passion and death).  The remaining 9 religion classes in December will be dedicated to reviewing the Confirmation Study Guide.  Every student should be working on memorizing the content of the guide and increasing their understanding of the material, as we grow in knowledge of our Faith.  Reminder:  8th grade students will sign up for a time slot for their oral test from Feb 1 – 15 (oral test is on ALL prayers, Commandments, Beatitudes, Stations, Mysteries) – and – the written test (covering all the material in the study guide) will be held on Feb 21-22 during class.



Main topics for week of Nov 19 – 25:  Father Bork and continue The Commandments.  Thanksgiving break!

Tues, Nov 20:  We’ve discussed commandment # 1- # 3 in detail.  Continue discussion of commandments # 4- # 10 using the worksheet provided by the substitute teacher.   “Re-write” the commandments with SPECIFIC actions/ideas on how we can follow that commandment.  You may work in teams if you wish  to.  SAVE both of the worksheets for further discussion after Thanksgiving.

Mon, Nov 19:  Father Bork will continue the discussion of the Passion and Death of Our Lord.



Main topics for week of Nov 12 – 16:  From now until year end, we will review the topics and content of the Confirmation Study Guide.  Beginning with the Commandments – Moses gave us the Law.  Exodus 20:  1-20.

Fri, Nov 16: Feast of Saint Gertrude the Great!  No class b/c of the 2 hour delay.  🙁

Thurs, Nov 15:  Review of “The Law” – the 10 Commandments, what each means in detail, and how each is used as an examination of conscience.  Finished commandment # 1 – # 3.



Main topics for week of Nov 5 – Nov 9:  Father Bork discussed the miracles of Jesus and next week we will continue with His Passion and Death.  From our text – Solidarity and The Kingdom of God (pgs 38-39).

Fri, Nov 9:  Test on Unit 1 Vocab; Sainthood Process; The Holy Trinity (Triune God) as the source of our Dignity; Holy Friendships / Marriage / Vocation of Love; People of Life and what that means from the very beginning to the very end – and everything in between.



Main topics for week of Oct 29 – Nov 2:  Valuing all human life – outcasts and those on the margins; All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints, and All Souls.

Fri, Nov 2:  Due today…Sponsor paperwork and your life paper titled “Cherished + Chosen + Sent”

Thurs, Nov 1, Feast of All Saints:  Mass, No Class

Wed, Oct 31, All Hallows Eve:  Substitute teacher today, I have a morning appointment – unavoidable 🙁 .  You have the entire class period to work on your paper, that is now due Friday, Nov 2, All Souls Day.  I’ve changed the due date from Thurs 11/1 to Fri 11/2 – thank you Mrs. McGraw.  🙂  Details about this paper are under Oct 23 (below).

Tues, Oct 30:  Discuss the outcasts and those on the margins – complete/review pages 32-33 together in class.   Also discuss the real meaning of Hallow’en (All Hallows Eve).  HW:  none other than your paper due on Nov 2.

Mon, Oct 29:  Father Bork continues his discussion on Jesus’ public life.  Specifically, we are discussing the Eucharist and His miracles.



Previous Weeks…

Thurs, Oct 25:  Being a “people of life” encompasses every facet of life and every stage of our life.  At risk and vulnerable:  the unborn, the elderly, the terminally ill, the handicapped, the disabled, the forgotten, those who seemingly cannot contribute or live independently, etc.  Answer these questions: What binds humans together? What is an outcast – who are outcasts in our society? What does it mean to be on the margins of society? HW due Tues, Oct 30:  watch the video again and pray for the those on the margins.  Here’s the “Lottery Video” …

Tues, Oct 23:  If you had a “re-do” on your Marriage Paper, it is due today.  Great discussion on defending the unborn and the dying / terminally ill despite difficulties, adversity, pain/suffering, etc.  We  need to prayerfully consider how to communicate to others that from the moment of conception to natural death, no one can take a life, or should, no matter what the reason.  ALL are made in the image of God and therefore have dignity and worth.  HW:  Work on your life paper… Cherish + Chosen +  Sent      It is due Nov 1.  Here are the details of the assignment as we discussed:

Cherished + Chosen + Sent PAPER

Sat, Oct 20:  ROSARY for LIFE Morning of Reflection for Confirmation candidates.

Fri, Oct 19:  Today we talked specifics about Modesty being an important Pro Life Virtue.  Modesty goes hand in hand with Humility.  And these 2 virtues are critical to understanding that Humility demands that we put others first, ahead of ourselves.  This in many ways supports Life!  HW:  review your notes and prayerfully begin to work on your life paper:  Cherished + Chosen + Sent 

Thurs, Oct 18:  Modesty Is More Than What We Wear – see the link for this article just below .  We discussed the relationship between modesty and humility; how modesty goes well beyond clothing; how modesty is defined by our apparel (what we wear and how we wear it); how modesty is also defined by our language, speech, tone, how we look and how we act, etc.  And Pope Francis, during his general audience today, speaks to us about MODESTY in OUR WORDS (5th Commandment):

Sticks and stones … and words really can hurt me: Pope explains why Christ includes insults in 5th Commandment

Tues, Oct 16:  October is Respect Life Month…Cherished + Chosen + Sent
Read the story about Our Lady of Guadalupe and Juan Diego from 1531, and how this important event relates to our current fight for the protection of all human life. Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Juan Diego, help us build a culture of life! Click here: Cherished Chosen Sent

More articles we read and discussed in class and for HW:

Terminally-ill teen seeks to end abortion with the help of Make-A-Wish Foundation

Saint Gerard Majella

Chiara Corbella Petrillo

Modesty Is More Than What We Wear

Click on the USCCB link at the bottom for lots of information on Respect Life (Month of October)

Fri, Oct 12:  Steps to Sainthood; Popes from John XXIII to the present; Celebrating the canonizations of Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Oscar Romero.  The process to declare and recognize someone as a saint right here:

Thurs, Oct 11:  Discussed what is LOVE, what is MARRIAGE, what is a SACRAMENT, and we covered the Sacraments on Initiation (Form and Matter).  Marriage paragraphs can be redone next week if necessary.  Stay tuned to get them back by Monday, Oct 15.

HW due on Thurs, Oct 11:  10+ sentence paragraph on marriage.  The form you should use is right here.  And also… watch the video again right here!  🙂 

MARRIAGE paragraph



HW due on Tues, Oct 9:  Gospel Journal

Oct 5:  We will watch this video on marriage and discuss the questions on page 31.

Oct 4:  Excellent discussion on HOLY FRIENDSHIPS in today’s world.  We built our flow chart as well:  God (TRIUNE God) > Man (made in His image) > Dignity (because we were made in His image) >  Love (man’s vocation) > Family /Friends / Society > Works of Mercy (what we do for others we do for God)

HW due Thurs, Oct 4:  pages 29-30 in religion text book.  Read, write, ready to discuss.

HW due Mon, Oct 1:  Gospel Journal

HW due Thurs, Sept 27: pages 21-24 in religion text book.  Read, write, ready to discuss.

Re-Take PRAYER TESTS: Your opportunity to re-take and potentially (hopefully) raise your grade(s) on the prayer tests is on Tues, Sept 25 during religion class, study hall, lunch, and lunch recess. Be ready! 🙂 Note: if there is a blank instead of a recorded grade in Powerschool for any 1 of the 3 prayer tests we’ve taken thus far, you are re-taking that particular test(s).

HW due Mon, Sept 24: Gospel Journal

HW due Thurs, Sept 20: Read over vocab words on pages 4-6.  Be ready to discuss.  Also, complete your Scripture Copy Work.  You were assigned 1 verse/1 page from pages 11-17.  Copy the verse over neatly and beautifully, and also write 2-3 sentences on the meaning of the verse.  Why?  We are learning important scripture verses, practicing our penmanship, and increasing our scriptural prayer life.  🙂



“The blossoms of…FAITH and PIETY do not grow in the desert places of memoryless catechesis.”

Websites, links, documents, and other great information…

Sunday Gospel Journal due every Monday:     GOSPEL Journal

Links and Documents
Saint Quotes about PRAYER
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Franciscan Media - Saint of the Day
Mary, Undoer of Knots
The Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Mother, In 2 Minutes..
The Holy Rosary, In 2 Minutes...
Father Rob Galea on THE EUCHARIST
Father Rob Galea on CONFIRMATION
8th Grade Key Dates 2018-2019
Religion Class - Expectations
Confirmation Study Guide

Algebra: Mrs. Manaker

Math: Mr. Klosterman

Science: Mrs. Carroll

Links and Documents

Latin: Fr Gee