Holy Trinity School stays focused on its missions - Catholic Courier

Holy Trinity School stays focused on its missions

WEBSTER — Five-year-old Erin McAliney’s backpack was filled to nearly bursting with prizes she had won at carnival-style booths during Mission Day at Holy Trinity School.

"You have so many prizes in there, you can’t even fit anything else," her mother, Eileen McAliney of Webster, said with a laugh.

For Erin, the May 22 Mission Day was all about games and prizes. But for her mother, who served as one of Mission Day’s organizers, the event had an even greater purpose: All of the proceeds were earmarked for the school’s missions.

It’s just one of many examples of how Holy Trinity and the other 12 diocesan schools in Monroe County closing this month maintained their focus on serving others even as they prepared to say goodbye to their schools.

Proceeds from this year’s Mission Day will go to Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, American Athletes with Disabilities, School of the Holy Childhood, Operation Lookout, St. Peter’s Kitchen and Christian Foundation for Children and the Aging, through which the school sponsors a child.

"It’s a wonderful experience for such a wonderful cause," said Holy Trinity second-grade teacher Melissa McEntee. "It has totally brought our school community together for a good cause. They look forward to this day all year long."

Most students who participated in Mission Day wore T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase, "No matter what happens, God is always with me!"

That spirit may have played a role in the longevity of the school, which dates back to the earliest days of Holy Trinity Parish. According to a 2001 parish history, students were initially taught in the former church between 1861 and 1927. A new brick school was built in 1927, and additions were constructed in 1952 and 1959.

The most recent addition was completed this year. On May 17, parishioners celebrated the opening of Murphy Hall, which they had intended to use as a school gym as well as for parish functions.

Mission Day made full use of the new hall. Game booths and a large, inflatable slide were set up in the gym area, where students had the chance to win prizes by playing such games as kicking a ball into a net or predicting on what month a spinning birthday wheel would stop.

Students bought tickets to play the carnival games, which is how the school raised money for Mission Day. Field games also drew students outside, where they ran and laughed while maneuvering through obstacle courses and participating in three-legged races.

Fourth-grader Ian Pawluckie of Penfield showed off the Super Soaker water gun he won as a carnival-game prize. Ian will attend St. Joseph School in Penfield next year.

"He has friends there that he met through baseball," said his mother, Leslie Pawluckie. "He’s still sad that this (school) is going to be here empty. Nothing will be the same, but he’s excited about what could be."

The Pawluckies chose for Ian to attend Holy Trinity because Leslie’s husband, Bill, went to school there, and her mother-in-law, Carol Cerasoli, taught fourth and fifth grade at the school and still volunteers there.

According to the 2001 Holy Trinity Parish history, although the Sisters of St. Joseph helped staff the school for most of its 147 years, lay teachers taught there at the beginning and end of its history. The sisters joined the staff in 1879 and worked there until 1986.

Leslie Pawluckie credited the school’s current teachers with maintaining a sense of normalcy for the students even in the midst of change.

"They are doing such a good job of keeping everything the same for the kids," she said.

That praise was echoed by Holy Trinity Principal Christopher Meagher, who said teachers have focused on not letting the school’s closing overshadow the final weeks of school.

"It has been hard, but the teachers have been awesome," he said. "It’s hard to do when you are worrying about your own future, but they are an incredible staff, and I’m proud of each and every one of them."

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