ROCHESTER — A downpour of rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of more than 100 students participating in Carnival Day at Corpus Christi School June 13.
Principal Susan Sak, dressed up for the day as a clown, said the students usually take a field trip to Cobb’s Hill at the end of the year. But to allow for bad weather and to give the children something different, they went with the carnival theme this year, she added.
“We wanted to do something extra special,” Sak said.
Corpus Christi School is one of 13 diocesan-operated schools in Monroe County scheduled to close this month. In 1990 the school moved from its original home adjacent to Corpus Christi Church to a building formerly occupied by Blessed Sacrament Elementary School and later Junior High School. Corpus Christi graduated its first class from the original building back in 1890, Sak noted.
“We’ve had some good times together,” said Sak, who added that staff members worked hard throughout the final half of this school year to give the students happy memories to carry with them.
For Carnival Day, the school rented a “bouncy house” that was set up in the parking lot shared by the school and Blessed Sacrament Church, and students rotated through game stations set up throughout the school building because of the rain, she said.
Sak said about 85 of the 115 students currently in preschool to sixth grade at the school will attend other diocesan schools in the fall. They are headed to St. John Neumann School on the Rochester-Irondequoit border; Rochester’s Cathedral School at Holy Rosary; St. Pius Tenth School in Chili; Seton Catholic School in Brighton; St. Joseph School in Penfield; and The Nazareth Schools in Rochester, she added.
Corpus Christi has been one of Rochester’s six WIN schools, whose students have received tuition assistance through the Wegman Inner City Voucher Program. Five of the six WIN schools will be closing, but diocesan officials have said that WIN-eligible students will continue to receive tuition assistance at any diocesan-run elementary school they choose to attend. Sak said more than 80 percent of Corpus Christi students receive WIN tuition assistance.
Some of the sixth-graders also are moving up to the junior-high programs at such Catholic schools as Siena Catholic Academy, Our Lady of Mercy High School and Bishop Kearney High School, Sak noted. That includes Faith Branch, 11, who received a scholarship to Our Lady of Mercy, she said.
Faith said she “felt really happy” upon learning of her scholarship. But when students heard the news that Corpus would close, everyone felt sad, added Faith, who has attended Corpus since first grade. Even so, she said, no one let the news get their spirits down.
“We’ve just gone on with the school year just like usual,” she said. “The only thing that was different was that we packed up.”
Jordin Watson, 8, said she will miss her school.
“I’ve had many happy memories since first grade,” she said.
Jalen Pickett, 8, said he usually can’t wait for the year to be over, but not this year.
“Now, I don’t want school to be over,” he remarked.
His mother, Gwendolyn Pickett of Churchville, echoed her son’s feelings. Pickett said she wishes Jalen could have graduated from Corpus as did her older son, Annon Bennett. Jalen will attend St. Pius Tenth in the fall, she added. Annon attends Aquinas Institute.
“I loved it when I came (to visit Corpus),” she said. “I was so impressed with the classrooms.”
Pickett said she has always been impressed with the staff as well, especially how they have helped the students through this difficult transition. The teachers encouraged the children to be the best they can no matter what, she added.
“It’s helping to do things like this today,” Pickett said of Carnival Day. “It’s something special.”