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Catholic Schools Week at Our Lady Star of the Sea School in Solomons contained just about everything from service, to Super Bowl betting, to talent displays, to a bittersweet dedication.

The students also learned that there was indeed such a thing as a “free lunch.”

Catholic Schools Week, which took place last week, is a national event, and this year had the theme “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.” Trish Barrett, the vice principal and third grade teacher of OLSS, said the school did just that with two successful open houses Tuesday and Thursday.

“We were quite happy with the attendance at it,” said Barrett, who said the school’s enrollment was currently 137 students.

Other special activities at the school included a day where eighth graders taught classes; team jersey day; a free lunch from Chick-fil-A; a reading from Lusby-based author Julia Maki; a talent show; and a “Soup-er Bowl” can drive for SMILE Ecumenical Ministries Inc. in Lusby, for which students placed their cans beside the name of the team they thought would win Sunday’s Super Bowl.

“The Ravens had 91 cans and the 49ers had 43,” said eighth grader Erin Balderson of California, Md.

“Because the Ravens are going to win,” eighth grader Cameron Dziekiewicz of Leonardtown correctly predicted Friday.

The week culminated with the school’s library being dedicated to the school’s former eighth grade teacher Margaret DeVillier, who died of cancer in May 2012. Her husband, Moise, now teaches algebra at the school.

“She was the quintessential perfect teacher,” Barrett said of DeVillier. Barrett explained that the school recently restructured some of its classroom spaces so the library ended up being moved. Barrett said the idea to dedicate the library to DeVillier came up during an advisory board meeting.

“It was the natural thing to do. She did everything around here,” Barrett said.

Even when DeVillier’s illness prevented her from teaching, students said she was constantly at the school, helping in ways that included donating items to school bake sales.

“You never saw her with anything but a smile,” said eighth grader Jessica Thompson of Hollywood, Md. “You could barely even tell she had cancer. She was a strong woman.”

Erin, 13, said DeVillier had run a cooking club at the school, of which she was a member.

Jessica said highlights of Catholic Schools Week for her were the free lunch and the talent show.

“That’s a lot of fun. I just watch, but I can sing sometimes,” Jessica, 13, said.

Barrett said the talent show, an annual event at OLSS, shows just how at home the students seem to feel among each other.

“I would never do what those little ones went up there and did. It shows that they feel comfortable here and it’s like one big family,” she said.

Eighth grader Jacob Halterman of Lusby said his favorite parts of the week included giving tours of the school during the open houses and getting to teach a social studies class.

“We learned about Haiti and a little bit about Cuba. It was fun,” Jacob, 14, said.

Both Jessica and Erin said they rewarded their younger “students” with candy if they paid attention.

“I didn’t give candy out,” Jacob said.

“So they respected you,” Jessica responded.



ldukes@somdnews.com