Dear OLR families,

After a long time away, we are now only a few weeks from welcoming students back into the building!  There will be many changing policies and practices as we approach our first official day back at OLR, so please watch your emails for any updates regarding the 2020-2021 school year.  For the time being, please use this link to view our plans to begin in person learning during the ongoing pandemic.  As always, if you have any questions, call our office at 248-682-3422 or email me at  Enjoy the remaining days of summer break and we look forward to having our building bustling once again!

Mr. Rapal

Newsletter June 8, 2020

Dear OLR Families, 

I am happy to announce that with the completion of 8th grade graduation and our drop off/pick up last week, we have successfully closed out the 2019-2020 academic year!  I know there have been many questions and discussions regarding what the 2020-2021 school year will look like and I can assure you that our main priority is to welcome back students for in-person learning starting August 31, 2020.  

The Archdiocese has created a task force to work with the Federal and State representatives to establish guidelines and prepare all AOD schools for a safe return in the fall. It is the goal of Our Lady of Refuge, as well as all Catholic Schools, to continue to provide an excellent academic experience to our students and families. To that end, we have been diligently working to put together various plans to ensure this is a possibility. However, some aspects of our traditional learning days may look different at the start of the upcoming year. 

Our plans center around how to best reorganize classrooms to minimize student contact, the implementation of extra cleaning and additional measures to disinfect and sanitize our building, as well as possible changes to our large gatherings; such as Mass, lunch, and Leadership assemblies.  

In addition, as I mentioned in my last correspondence, we are transitioning to Freckle™, our new on-line learning platform for Math, Science, ELA and Social Studies that aligns with the Star360 assessment which the AOD will be using in place of the Iowa Assessment in the fall. Teachers have already started their professional development training on this program, which will give us the ability to quickly transition the curriculum to online learning should another mandatory shutdown be implemented by our Governor. More information on this will be forthcoming as the school year progresses.

Please know that the details of the plans we are developing, as well as the calendar you received during the drop off/pick up, are tentative pending the updated directives we will be receiving over the summer months from the AOD task force. Once definitive measures are ready to be put into place, they will be shared with all our families. I thank you again for all of your continued support and patience as we all navigate together through these unprecedented times. Have a wonderful summer and we look forward to having all our students return to school in school in the fall!

Stay safe,

Mr. Rapal


Hello OLR families,

Despite the snow this week, we are more than halfway to May, which means warmer temps and hopefully the start of the transition away from quarantine are right around the corner!  A huge thank you to all families who filled out the teacher surveys regarding how we can help you more at home. The overwhelming support and gratitude you shared makes our difficult jobs worth it, and please know that we are taking all your comments, suggestions and kind words to heart as we tirelessly work to improve our distance learning.  

Another huge thank you to our wonderful National Junior Honor Society students who willingly took time to record themselves saying our morning and afternoon prayers so any families who want to start and end the school day much like we normally do are able to view them on line.  Watch your child’s Google Classroom for those videos and use them to practice our daily routines. 

Keeping with thanks, I appreciate everyone who sent in pictures of our first Virtual Spirit Day, it was so nice to see all the students supporting our “home school”!  Look for our first of many video montages coming soon. To continue this celebration of students, Mrs. McElyea has created the following “Spirit Day Calendar”.  

  • 4/23 is “Thankful Thursday” – send a picture of what you are thankful for
  • 4/30 is “No Tech Thursday” – show us what your favorite book or board game is
  • 5/5 is “Cinco de Mayo” for grades K-8 – send a picture celebrating Cinco de Mayo for Senora Sheehan (PK can send a picture of them as their favorite Superhero)
  • 5/14 is “May Crowning/Mother’s Day” – send a picture of you praying the Rosary or doing an act of service for your mother (folding laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc…)
  • 5/21 is “Creativity Day” – send a picture of you doing something creative like drawing, building, etc…
  • 5/28 is “Summer Break Day” – send a picture of you in your flip flops and summer attire

Please send these specific pictures on the identified day so we can enjoy seeing one another in a fun way!

And finally, just a reminder, there will be no classes this Friday.  The staff will be attending a virtual Professional Development provided by the AoD.  Have a great week and hopefully the temperatures will continue to rise with each passing day!

Mr. Rapal

AOD update: Coronavirus

Hello OLR families,

As you may have seen, the Archdiocese of Detroit has commented on the topic of COVID-19 (click here to view the WXYZ broadcast) and Our Lady of Refuge is promoting the practice of good hygiene which includes:

  • washing hands regularly, particularly after using the bathroom and before eating
  • using hand sanitizer after touching other people/items
  • not sharing drink or food with others
  • staying home if symptomatic (coughing, fever, runny nose)
  • wiping down items commonly used by other students

Per the above strategies, if you are able and willing to donate hand sanitizer or wipes for your child’s classroom, please contact the teacher to let them know you can send items in for the students. Please DO NOT just send items in without checking first, because we do not have storage for excess amounts. For other information on this topic, use this link to get the latest details from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Remember, COVID-19 is simply a more aggressive virus, so following good safety protocol will go a long way toward keeping this and any other virus from spreading!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year OLR families,

Welcome back!  Hopefully your family enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and New Year holiday together.  It was exciting to see all our Ravens come back into school this morning all relaxed and ready to start a new calendar year of learning!  With the completion of the Parish’s new organ, we will return to our regular Wednesday school mass times starting on the 8th, so hopefully we will see you in attendance those mornings, starting at 8:15.  Also, remember to spread the word that we will have our Open House to kick off Catholic Schools Week on Sunday, January 26th from 10 AM – 1 PM.  Our best reference for future students is our own families, so if you know of any great additions we can bring to OLR, let them know to come by and visit!  Have a great week and once again, welcome back!

Mr. Rapal

Newsletter September 16, 2019

Hello OLR families,

It may just be my second year at Our Lady of Refuge, but it’s amazing to see the difference a year makes in recognizing the returning families at our Parent Night last week! We were hopeful to have another chance to see families at our Ice Cream Social on Friday night, but unfortunately, the weather did not make that possible. In lieu of a new date, we will be giving out the ice cream to all students on Thursday, September 19th during the day as well as providing an opportunity for an extra recess with their grade clusters for their socialization.

Also, we have been tracking student tardies a little closer this year, so please make sure you are leaving enough time in the morning to get your child to school BEFORE the 8 AM tardy bell.  There are a few students who are coming in after 8 and that makes for a scattered start to their school day. Additionally, please adhere to the handicapped signs for those families that are in need of those parking spaces due to their circumstances.  If you do not have a clearly identifiable reason to use those spots, you may be asked to move.  

Have a great week and make sure to keep this Wednesday evening open for our first Parent Club meeting at 7 PM in the Media Center, it’s yet another great way to keep updated with everything going on in the school.

Mr. Rapal

First week of school

Hello OLR families! Welcome (back for many of you) to the 2019-2020 school year, hopefully the summer was a restful and relaxing one for you. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, there have been some changes at the school, primarily in staff, from last year to this year. In addition to some new students and families, we’d like to introduce our newest staff members (or returning to a different position):

  • 3 year old preschool lead teacher Vanda Watha
  • 3/4 year old preschool assistant teacher Samantha Hannon
  • 3/4 year old preschool assistant teacher Jill Pollard
  • 4 year old preschool assistant teacher Kim Moss
  • 1st grade teacher Katy Knighton
  • 3rd grade teacher Bridgette Gumma
  • 5th grade teacher Val Whalen
  • 5th grade teacher Alli Printz
  • Middle School English teacher Lydia Baron
  • Middle School Social Studies teacher Katherine Naeyaert
  • Electives Drama teacher Howard Andress
  • Instructional Support teacher Tara Mulvaney

While we will miss those staff members who have retired or moved on to other things, we are lucky to have the teachers we have brought in to join our OLR family. We look forward to seeing you either at our Parent Orientation Wednesday evening starting at 7 PM in the church, or at our Ice Cream Social Friday evening in our lunchroom/playground! Have a great week!!

Starting a New School Year!

Hello OLR families,

We welcome all returning and new students and families as we prepare to start a new school year!

The first day of school for K – 8th grade is Tuesday, September 3rd from 8am to 11am. The first day for 3PS/3 and 4PreK is Wednesday, September 4th. The first day for 3PS/2 is Thursday, September 5th.

Please visit our Calendar page for up to date details throughout the school year.

We look forward to seeing you all this coming week. In the meantime, have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend.

Have a great summer!

Hello OLR families,

I would like to thank everyone in the Our Lady of Refuge community for embracing me in a fantastic first year as Assistant Principal!  I am so blessed and honored to have been accepted into this family atmosphere and look forward to many more years serving the wonderful students and parents of OLR.

Please have a safe and restful summer and remember to keep your brain sharp by reading (and do some math too) when you’re not busy enjoying the outdoors!!

Our office hours for the summer will be 9-2 Tuesday through Thursdays if there’s anything you need.

See you in September!!!

Newsletter – April 8th

Hello OLR families,

Hopefully you were able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather this past weekend!  With any luck, Mother Nature will keep the streak going into the NJHS Tiger game this Thursday.  Also, ask your child about our wild turkey guests at recess today!

At today’s Student Leadership assembly, the following students were recognized by their classroom teacher for their commitment to our school’s theme of Being Kind:

Hudson Thomas, Kindergarten, Miss Bickes

Scarlett Jarjosa, Kindergarten, Miss Bickes

Nicholas Kassab, Kindergarten, Miss Ingweiller

MJ Hajjar, 1st Grade, Mrs. Tahmouch

Stella Yono, 1st Grade, Mrs. Tahmouch

Luke Abro, 1st Grade, Miss Wolynski

Addison Toma, 2nd Grade, Miss Kerckaert

Milania Kassab, 2nd Grade, Miss Zeer

Andrew Abro, 3rd Grade, Mrs. Printz

Leah Mansour, 3rd Grade, Mrs. Murphy

Sonny Hesano, 4th Grade, Mrs. Garber

Luco Wisniewski, 4th Grade, Mrs. Garber

Isaac Watha, 4th Grade, Mrs. Martinez

Rocco Wisniewski, 4th Grade, Mrs. Martinez

Maxx Armstrong, 5th Grade, Mrs. Stec

Brooklynn Barbat, 5th Grade, Mrs. Stec

Kyle Isso, 5th Grade, Mrs. Mulvany

Giavanna Tanguay, 5th Grade, Mrs. Mulvany

Joseph Abro, 5th Grade, Mrs. Mulvany

Lastly, this Friday, April 12th is April’s Mission Jean Day, sponsored by the 8th grade for The Michigan Humane Society, which is a non-profit organization that provides animal welfare and sheltering services for homeless, abandoned, or abused animals in the Detroit area.  They are the largest and oldest animal welfare organization in the state. Volunteers at the Michigan Humane society care for over 500 dogs, cats, and other animals every day. They depend on donations to save the lives of thousands of animals in need.  On Friday, your child/children can help by wearing jeans and donating at least $1.00 and/or an item on the MHS Need List. The MHS is always in need of supplies, food, toys, etc. Please look over this list and kindly consider bringing in an item that can help save lives.  You can bring in donations any day this month. We all greatly appreciate your generosity and support of the Michigan Humane Society!

  • Blankets
  • Towels (Medium & Large)
  • Fleece Fabric
  • Hand Sanitizer (pocket size)
  • Lint Rollers
  • AA or AAA batteries
  • Paper Towel
  • Rubber Dishwashing Gloves
  • Dishwashing Liquid
  • 10-20 lb bags of dog or cat food
  • Canned dog or cat food
  • Raw-Hide chews med/large
  • Pig Ears
  • Heavy Duty dog chew toys
  • Cat and Dog toys
  • Stuffed Dog toys
  • Nylabones
  • Rabbit and Ferret toys
  • Cat litter (non clumping)
  • Dog and Cat treats
  • Peanut Butter
  • Ink Pens
  • Copy Paper
  • Post it notes
  • Sharpies (thin)

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