Students in Catholic schools across the diocese celebrated Catholic Schools Week Jan. 30-Feb. 5 with various activities that focused on faith, family and fun.
Finger Lakes schools
Most students and parents in the Finger Lakes kicked off Catholic Schools Week with special liturgies on Jan. 31. Students in kindergarten through second grade at St. Joseph School in Auburn found themselves back in church on Feb. 3, when they toured St. Alphonsus Church with Adelaide Hutson, the Auburn parish’s catechetical leader and liturgy coordinator. Later, they drew pictures for Father Louis Vasile, pastor at St. Alphonsus.
Students at St. Michael School in Newark, meanwhile, put their faith into action by participating in a weeklong Bundles For Babies Campaign and collecting baby items for St. Michael Church to distribute to local families in need. Students and parents at St. Mary School in Canandaigua also reached out to the wider community, putting together gift baskets and delivering them to many of the school’s supporters. At St. Francis-St.Stephen School in Geneva, students who brought in canned goods for the local food pantry were able to dress down on Feb. 3. The next day, students who participated in a program promoting kindness at the school were able to wear pajamas and eat pancakes during the school day.
Each of the schools invited members of the community to visit during the week and see what the school environments were like, and students at St. Joseph and St. Michael schools invited some of their favorite people to join them for Special Persons Day and Special Persons Lunch, respectively.
Students’ grandparents visited St. Michael School in Penn Yan for Mass and lunch with their grandchildren on Feb. 4, and St. Francis-St. Stephen School hosted a dance for students and their families on Jan. 29.
The schools also provided plenty of opportunities for students to exercise their love of Catholic education — literally. Students at St. Francis-St. Stephen learned some new moves during a Zumba exercise session held on Jan. 31, the school’s Gym Fun Day, and St. Michael in Newark hosted a roller-skating party for students on Feb. 3. Children in kindergarten through second grade at St. Joseph exercised together on Feb. 1, and St. Mary’s seventh- and eighth-grade students competed against each other in their annual volleyball game on Feb. 4. The winning team then played another game against the school’s faculty and staff.
When local students weren’t busy exercising, hosting visitors and serving others, they found time during the week for some good old fashioned fun, complete with a generous dose of silliness. Students at St. Michael in Penn Yan wore funny hats to school on Jan. 31 and shorts, Hawaiian shirts and sandals on Feb. 1, and enjoyed a performance by a local clown on Feb. 3. Kindergartners at St. Joseph enjoyed a beach party at the school on Feb. 3. Students at St. Mary dressed in blue and white, the colors of the Greek flag, and enjoyed a variety of Greek dishes during the school’s annual cultural luncheon Feb. 3.
At Cathedral School at Holy Rosary in Rochester, students ate a mixed-up lunch on mix and match day, and they read to their buddies while wearing pajamas on pajama day. Students also browsed a used book sale, dressed down on crazy sock day, played bingo and had an ice cream party, showed team spirit on favorite team/jersey/hat day, and took part in discovery day. Faculty at the school also played in a spirited dodgeball game.
Students at Christ the King School in Irondequoit celebrated the week with an "A Plus for America" Mass and after the Mass students who earned Presidential Physical Fitness Awards were recognized. During the week, students also wore crazy socks, roller-skated and ate doughnuts with Dads at the school. Students also completed two service projects, making bookmarks for St. Ann’s Community residents and collecting soup donations for Souper Bowl Friday.
Our Mother of Sorrows School in Greece kicked off the week with square dancing and a nonuniform day. Feb. 1 was "Show Your Smarts" day, and classes played games created by teachers in such subjects as trivia, math, and English Language Arts. At the end of the day, each student received a roll of Smarties candy to celebrate an A+ effort. Students wore green, gold and white and took part in class cheers during Spirit Day. A Mass capped the week followed by breakfast with early dismissal.
Catholic Schools Week began Jan. 29 at St. Agnes School in Avon when the school was opened to prospective families during the annual Kindergarten Round-Up, which featured the "Buckaroo Breakfast," followed by a morning of fun and activities. The week also featured an information session, a prayer service, a program featuring wildlife defenders, student roller skating day, an awards ceremony and assembly, pajama day and story time, a potluck supper and talent show featuring the talents of St. Agnes families. On Feb. 4 families had their choice of going tubing or bowling.
To kickoff Catholic Schools Week, students at St. John Neumann School in Rochester prayed together in the front hallway and toured the bulletin boards to see what the other classes are learning. Students also took part in an academic bowl and free throw contest in the gym; wore crazy, mismatched clothes, told jokes and silly songs during lunch, and gathered for a prayer service.
St. Louis School in Pittsford kicked off the week with a Mass Jan. 28 and provided information at a reception after each Mass on Jan. 29 and 30, and hosted a formal open house with reception Jan. 30. Students also brought in cans for the Pittsford Food Cupboard during the "Souper Bowl" to earn a dress down day wearing their favorite team colors. Although an ice cream social was postponed due to a snow day, the social was rescheduled to Feb. 10. On Colonial Day Feb. 4, fourth-graders also re-enacted a colonial village complete with historically accurate costumes and an authentic colonial lunch.
St. Pius Tenth School in Chili took part in a "Read to your Buddy Day" in which fourth- through sixth-graders read books to their younger "buddies." The school also celebrated a special Catholic Schools Week Liturgy, and enjoyed an open house and ice cream social. During a sports-themed dress down day, students played floor hockey games with their buddies in the gym. Throughout the week the school collected socks and underwear for women and children in Catholic Family Center shelters.
St. Rita School in Webster kicked off the week by encouraging students to wear their uniforms to church. Students also celebrated with a prayer service and pajama day, patriotic colors day, bowling outings and wore mismatched clothes, hats and socks for wacky day. During the school’s Souper Bowl day, students brought in cans of soup for the Hope Hall food cupboard and showed team spirit by wearing a team shirt, and capped the week off with a family liturgy and movie.
Seton Catholic School’s week was filled with activities ranging from the spiritual to the social. Students at the Brighton School took part in a prayer service, read with buddies, wrote sunshine notes and notes of kindness, ate special snacks, viewed the mobile dome planetarium, listened to guest readers, played board games, and went ice skating.
They also wore their favorite sweatshirt and brought in a can of soup for the Pittsford Food Cupboard as part of the Souper Bowl, played math games, watched a movie while enjoying a treat, celebrated with a beach dance party, showed appreciation to bus drivers, listened to a bus safety presentation and celebrated Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes. The week culminated in the "Hooray for Hollywood" winter carnival on Feb. 5.
Siena Catholic Academy in Brighton focused on the character traits of courtesy and kindness, responsibility and reliability, self control and self-discipline, generosity and friendliness, tolerance and patience during the week. Seventh graders got to dress in ’70s garb and eighth graders dressed in ’80s clothes during Decades Day, while students showing their positive character traits earned a nonuniform day pass on "Show Your Character" day.
During Super Bowl/NFL Team/ Hoodie Day, the school collected soup cans for the Pittsford Food Cupboard, and honored Catholic schools during its First Friday Mass. The school’s Spirit Day featured three-on-three basketball games and a student-faculty volleyball game.
Southern Tier schools
Southern Tier schools held the following Catholic Schools Week events:
Immaculate Conception School, Ithaca, conducted Pasta Night; Red, White and Blue Day; Father Leo’s Quiz Bowl; scavenger hunt; reading festival/book fair; open house; student vs. teacher/parent basketball game; Mass and prayer services; visits by alumni and college athletes; Chinese New Year; Fourth of July Picnic; and collections of items for charity.
Among the festivities at St. Patrick School in Owego were Favorite Hat and Socks Day; classroom sing-a-long with Father John Yaw Afoakwah; Family Dinner Night; Wacky (Outfit) Wednesday; open house; Patriotic Day with students wearing red white and blue; Mass at St. Patrick Church; scholastic book fair; and collection of items for Tioga County Rural Ministry.
Holy Family Middle School in Elmira featured Mass with Holy Family Elementary School at St. Mary Church; open house; hosting St. Mary Our Mother sixth-graders and Holy Family Elementary fifth-graders; Dress Down Day with students wearing green and white; a "Puppy Love" dance to benefit the SPCA; and such games as Catholic School Trivia.
Holy Family Elementary School in Elmira held new family registration and open house; Pajama/Make Your Own Sundae Day; Bring a Friend to School Day; Theme Day with each classroom choosing its own theme; a presentation by Beau the Clown; presentation of appreciation gifts for adults who provide service; and writing of thank-you notes to parents.
Activities at St. Ann School in Hornell included open house; Favorite Team Day with students wearing hats, sweatshirts and other apparel signifying those teams; students making valentines and care packages for military; Crazy Hat and Sock Day; Pajama Day; swimming at the YMCA; dodge ball game; First Friday liturgy; and showing of the movie "Up."
Highlights at All Saints Academy in Corning included an International Sharing Supper with various ethnic food offerings; Dress Down Day; Winter Carnival; making valentines for veterans; making of tie quilts (along with parents and grandparents) for patients at a children’s hospital in Lviv, Ukraine; prayer services; and concluding Catholic Schools Week liturgy.
St. Mary Our Mother School in Horseheads featured open house and community fair; donations for Food Bank of the Southern Tier; writing thank-you letters to local organizations; Dress Down Day; spelling bee; Student Fun Day; Girl and Boy Scouts leading a flag ceremony; anti-bullying day with Notre Dame High School students; and Family Game Night.