ROCHESTER — The Diocesan Select Orchestra could be heard over the pouring rain beating down on the roof as one entered Frontier Field June 11 for the first-ever Catholic Schools and Alumni Appreciation Night. The scoreboard said it was 80 degrees inside, but the sticky humidity made it feel even warmer. People scrambled from their seats to find shelter from the pelting rain, as they waited to hear whether the game between the Red Wings and the Indianapolis Indians would actually take place.
Meanwhile, two "Iron Eagle" airplanes flew over the stadium from the ESL Air Show for some pre-game entertainment. At approximately 8:30 p.m., the rain subsided, and, once the grounds crew removed tarps from the field and prepared it for the game, Bishop Matthew H. Clark threw out the first pitch.
Despite the less than ideal weather, Catholic-school alumni, students and their families happily braved the black clouds looming overhead to show their support for Catholic education.
"People have been loyal and persevering to stay through the rain," Bishop Clark noted.
Their tenacity through the rain hints at the level of commitment Catholic-school families make to their children’s education.
Amanda Coyle and her husband, Peter, said their children had originally attended public schools, and then switched to Rochester’s Aquinas Institute and All Saints Catholic Academy in Gates.
"Financially, it’s a sacrifice, but it’s worth it," Amanda Coyle said.
Not only do the Coyles think highly of Catholic education, so does their daughter, Emily, who completed fifth grade at All Saints and plays the French horn in the Diocesan Select Orchestra.
"I think it’s great. I’ve learned a lot more at Catholic schools than in public schools," she said.
Lori Osgood and her husband, Lou, watched their youngest child, Hanna, who completed fifth grade at Chili’s St. Pius Tenth School, play the French horn in the orchestra.
"We’ve had four children in Catholic education; this is our youngest," said Lori, music director and liturgy coordinator at Holy Ghost Parish in Gates. "We think it’s wonderful."
Hanna said she liked the idea of coming to a baseball game to celebrate Catholic education.
"I’m enjoying it — its fun," she said.
Nancy Huff, who has four children attending St. Joseph School in Penfield, said she also came to the game to support Catholic Schools.
"(Our children) go to Catholic schools because they teach the things we teach at home, like morals," she said.
Huff is also a lunch mother at St. Joseph, which she said offers her the opportunity to "get to know the kids better, and your kids’ classmates, and how they interact with each other."
"Obviously, since I teach there, I think it’s a great education," observed Sue Strowe, a teacher at Rochester’s St. Monica’s School, as she waited for the game to begin. "We provide good services and education with a faith base."
She and her husband, Jim, are not Catholic, but they send their son, Will, to All Saints.
"It’s a better alternative to city schools," Jim Strowe said. "It’s safer, smaller classes and most of the people in the building get to know the students."
The game, which was originally scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m., finally began at 8:43 p.m. Even with support of many fans from the Catholic-school community, the Red Wings lost to the Indians, 13-4.