Just as when a person dies and you give a eulogy, so a tribute must be given to St. Casimir’s School — now known as Holy Family Middle School — scheduled to close in June of 2012.
The school was constructed out of love and much sacrifice of Polish people. Every morning Mass was attended and then it was on to school, taught by nuns whose total devotion was to the children. Regular visits and handing out of report cards was done by the Rev. Kujawski and pastor, the Rev. Szczepanski.
All girls of the older grades sang in the choir for Sunday Masses, holidays and special occasions. It was a joy and privilege, and all boys and girls marched in processions, which were often.
Our school, at the time, was elementary — kindergarten through eighth grade. We had our first penance, our first Communion, our confirmation together, all as a family. Many of us were "church girls." We went together on Saturday morning and cleaned the altar area for Sunday. Candlesticks got polished and cleaned, and lots of chores were done. Children from the school helped clean the convent.
We saw each other at church, in school, in our neighborhood. Most of us lived in the same area and our families knew each other.
It was a fought-for church and school, fought for by poor Polish immigrants who sacrificed everything they could to make a beautiful church and school for their families. Four generations of my own family have gone to that school in its various stages, with my father being a member of the first graduating class.
We pray now that our old friend will not simply be cast aside as just another building, but be put to use to better something as our ancestors intended.