An informal survey of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Rochester found that there’s plenty of after-school clubs available for students who want to go beyond simply doing their classroom work each day. Clubs offer students a chance to polish their social skills, expand their minds and strengthen their bodies, various schools noted.
The eight members of the Yearbook Club at St. Joseph School in Auburn have learned how to take photographs, lay out pages and meet deadlines, they said. Emily Bartran, Andrew Chadderdon, Kristen D’Alberto, Marijo DiMora, Kim Garafolo, Aiden Guinnip, Alex LoPiccolo and Meghan Sullivan are all in the eighth grade and have been working on the yearbook with the help of science teacher Laura Pesarchick.
"We have fun making decisions and having an opinion in the layout of the yearbook," Pesarchick said. "I enjoy watching the yearbook come together from beginning to end."
Students such as Andrew Chadderdon, whose mother, Susan Chadderdon, is in charge of marketing the yearbooks, agreed.
"The funniest part of the book are the candid pictures and the captions we write under them," he said.
"Certain teachers give me a hard time when I take their picture," Kim Garafolo added.
She noted that working on the yearbook has taught her to manage her time and improve her photographing skills.
Among his duties, Aiden Guinnip writes the texts for various pages.
"I like this job because I have responsibility, and I take it seriously," he said.
Kristen D’Alberto has typed letters to the yearbook’s sponsors and organized its sports photos, among other duties. Like the other students, she noted working on the yearbook has taught her to better manage her time.
"I learned that there is more to yearbook than taking pictures," she said.
Students at other diocesan schools are using their skills not only to benefit themselves but their community as well. For example, at Immaculate Conception School in Ithaca, the Knit Wits, a knitting club, is making baby hats for Birthright, which serves women in crisis pregnancies. The club was started in the fall of 2004 when the school’s Junior Girl Scout troop decided to knit hats, scarves and blankets for the needy in the community, noted Donna Kuhar, the group’s adviser.
"The girls enjoyed their new craft so much that the leader decided to create a club so that other students could join in the fun," she said.
This year the club has about 20 members consisting of students, staff and a few parents, she added.
Mother of Sorrows in Greece offers a potpourri of clubs, according to Carol Gutmann, school secretary. Among the clubs it boasts are ones devoted to chess, ice skating, roller-skating, ceramics, jazzercise, bowling, golfing, and skiing and snowboarding, she said. She added that the school’s junior-high children can belong to the Builders Club, which works with area Rotary Clubs on community-service projects. Meanwhile, a Homework Club meets three days a week after school to work on various projects, she said.
Last fall, Seton Catholic School in Brighton decided to make healthy lifestyles fun by establishing a Running Club, which has 32 members, according to Mark Cook, a marathon runner and father of Seton third-grader Jarrett Cook. The club ran in an area 5K race, he added.
"All too often we hear or read information on the unhealthy habits and inactivity of young children," Cook said. "We felt that by offering this unique sport and club that we could offer our children another option for promoting a healthy sports activity."
Anne Rizk, mother of sixth-grader Michael and fourth-grader Emma, said her children love the club.
"They could be outside, they met new friends, learned a lot about different kinds of running events, and they were really proud to represent their school in the 5K race," she said.