Students at Catholic schools around the diocese celebrated Catholic Schools Week Jan. 31 through Feb. 6 with a variety of special activities.
Whereas many schools followed the "Dividends for Life" theme that was celebrated nationally, students also focused on helping with the ongoing earthquake recovery in Haiti. In addition, a number of prayer services, Masses and activities were held in honor of Catholic Schools Week.
The following schools notified the Catholic Courier of their events:
- Christ the King School in Irondequoit held a Mass Feb. 1 followed by presentation of the Presidential Fitness Awards and the Kiwanis Terrific Kids. Students read to or with their favorite stuffed animal; wore spirit shirts; welcomed professionals including a dietician, a florist, a veterinarian, an architect, a funeral direct, a jeweler, a crime scene investigator and a personal trainer for career day; collected food for St. Andrew’s Food Cupboard; and collected coins for Haiti earthquake relief.
- Students dressed up at St. Pius Tenth School in Chili as how they see themselves in 20 years; played board games with partners and celebrated Visit a Catholic School Day; took part in an assembly, open house and ice cream social; wore uniforms during sports day; and played games and had an assembly Feb. 5. All money collected for missions during the week went to Haiti relief.
- At St. Louis School in Pittsford, one week wasn’t enough to celebrate Catholic Schools, so students started celebrating Jan. 28 with an ice cream social; took part in a Mass with Bishop Matthew H. Clark; and collected cans of soup for Pittsford Food Cupboard. The fourth grade celebrated colonial day while the sixth grade took part in career day. The celebration of Catholic schools will end Feb. 12 with a roller skating and dress down day. Students also will give trays of homemade cookies to bus drivers.
- At Seton Catholic School in Brighton, students took part in a prayer service; read with their buddies; and viewed the dome planetarium. They also played board games, sent sunshine notes of kindness to other students; dressed as their favorite book character; jazzercised; collected cans which qualified them to wear the colors of favorite teams; had movie and popcorn day; took part in a beach party; and gave cookies to their bus drivers.
- At St. John Neumann School in Rochester, highlights included a student vs. teacher free-throw contest; designing a bulletin board around moral themes; a spirit day with the wearing of tie-dye T-shirts, dancing, and classes doing their own poem, cheer or song to show school spirit; and a mobile dome planetarium.
- At St. Joseph School in Penfield, there was a celebratory kickoff Sunday Mass along with a weeklong book fair; tours and open house; thank-you lunch for faculty and staff; a special thank you to area businesses that support the school; luminarias lighted outside each home to spread the "light of Christ"; volunteers honored with special certificates and mementoes; technology presentation along with science and social-science fair; and out-of-uniform day with bowling and ice cream social.
- Mother of Sorrows School in Greece highlighted the week with a Monday opening Mass and breakfast; dedication of a saint chosen by students for each classroom, including plaques with the saint’s name that were blessed at Mass and permanently displayed on the classroom doors; an assembly, "Mama Earth’s Kitchen"; student talent show; school visitation; and school spirit assembly following First Friday Mass.
At Cathedral School at Holy Rosary in Rochester, featured events included a Geva Theatre field trip; "Sparkle Day" with a variety of sparkling attire; RPO field trip for grades 4-6 and reading event for grades K-3; and Discovery Day that included a special lunch, prayer service and dancing/step demonstration.
Finger Lakes schools
- Students at St. Michael School in Newark kicked off their Catholic Schools Week celebration Feb. 1 with a prayer service followed by a roller-skating party. The next day, students invited special guests to eat lunch with them at the school while enjoying a performance by a choir from Geneva’s DeSales High School. The school hosted a combined open house, ice cream social and art show Feb. 4, and throughout the week students took advantage of several dress-down days and collected items for the Baby Closet at St. Mark Episcopal Church in Newark. On Feb. 5, students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades read to the school’s younger students before the entire school participated in an afternoon bingo tournament.
- Students at St. Francis-St. Stephen School in Geneva took part in a schoolwide bingo tournament on Feb. 4. The fun and games continued the next day, when students in the fifth through eighth grades bowled at a local bowling alley while the younger students enjoyed games and treats in the school cafeteria. Earlier in the week, the students wore their pajamas and brought their favorite stuffed animals to school on Feb. 1, which was Teddy Bear Share Day. On Feb. 2 the teachers took turns teaching each other’s classes, and later that afternoon teachers and students alike participated in games and races at DeSales High School. Seventh- and eighth-graders hosted an ice cream social for the school community the next day.
- Food was a big part of the festivities at St. Mary School in Canandaigua. The school designated Feb. 3 as Cookie Spirit Day, and parents and students delivered trays of cookies to local police officers, firefighters, school-bus drivers and other community supporters. The next day students and staff wore their beach clothes to school for the school’s annual Cultural Lunch. This year’s theme was "Island Delights," so the lunch featured cuisine from Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and St. Lucia, and the third- and fourth-graders performed a Caribbean dance they learned from Frances Hare, an instructor at Rochester’s Hochstein School of Music and Dance. The steel-drum duo Trinidad and Tobaggo gave a demonstration, and a speaker from Constellation Brands shared her experiences in the recent Haitian relief efforts.
- Students at St. Michael School in Penn Yan also took part in a special luncheon Feb. 5, which was Grandparents Day at the school. The students prepared lunches for their grandparents and ate lunch with them in their classrooms. Grandparents Day marked the culmination of the week’s activities, which had begun Jan. 31 with a special Mass at St. Michael Church in Penn Yan. Students from the school served in various roles during the Mass and acted out the day’s Gospel. Students were encouraged to wear funny hats or buttons to school Feb. 1, and the next day they went bowling together. On Feb. 3 they wore their summer clothes to school for a beach party, complete with hula hoops, Beach Boys music and ice cream sundaes.
- Kindergartners at St. Joseph School in Auburn held their own beach party Feb. 4, while their fellow students in the third through fifth grades learned about vocations and hosted a special tea for priests, deacons and ordained religious. A day earlier, the third-, fourth- and fifth-graders had prepared gift baskets and delivered them to residents of a local nursing home. On Feb. 1 the students welcomed a number of guest speakers for Career Day, and throughout the week they invited the special people in their lives to visit them at school. St. Joseph hosted a book fair at the school all week long, and concluded Catholic Schools Week Feb. 5 with a faculty appreciation lunch and a special boxed snack for all students.
Southern Tier schools
- Activities at St. Patrick School in Owego were Hat Day; an open house; a collection of items for Tioga County Rural Ministry; Wacky Wednesday (wearing a wacky outfit); Faith Bingo; Student Appreciation Day with cake provided by the Fathers’ Club; Blast from the Past (wearing clothes from a previous decade); Family Dinner Night; Rock ‘n Read Diner (scholastic book fair); and continuation of Help for Haiti efforts.
- Immaculate Conception School in Ithaca had a kickoff pasta dinner; student greeters at Sunday Masses; time-machine presentations and guest speakers to denote the school’s 125th anniversary; Winter Olympics theme featuring "ICS Olympics"; teacher and student appreciation days; collection of items for local charities; reading festival and book fair; open houses; and a parent/teacher/student basketball game.
- Celebrations at St. Ann School in Hornell featured an open house after Sunday Mass and also a pancake breakfast that morning; Pajama Day; Favorite Team Day with bingo; Crazy Hat and Sock Day with movie and popcorn; Make Your Own Sundae Day; students making valentines for soldiers overseas; and students staging a Pennies for Patients campaign to raise money for kids with cancer.
- At Holy Family Elementary School in Elmira there was school registration and an open house; hosting of Catholic Schools Week Mass at St. Mary Southside Church; teacher and student appreciation days; appreciation gifts for priests, bus drivers, crossing guards and others; students writing thank-you notes to parents; Bring a Friend to School Day; and Theme Day (patriotism, sports, etc.) with correlating attire.
- Holy Family Middle School in Elmira held Favorite Sweatshirt Day, a spelling bee, and an open house and registration; hosted St. Mary Our Mother sixth-graders and Holy Family Elementary fifth-graders; attended a Catholic Schools Week Mass at St. Mary Southside; volunteered in a local soup kitchen; hosted a Catholic schools trivia game; and took part in Spirit Day, a Winter Hop student dance and a ski trip to Greek Peak.
- Activities at St. Mary Our Mother School in Horseheads featured students in uniform at weekend Masses; donation of books and food; an open house; a collection of Helping Hands for Haiti donations; students making valentines for residents at a nearby VA Hospital; Crazy Hat Day; Red, White & Blue patriotism day; a teacher and staff luncheon; a special recognition of Father Chris Linsler at First Friday Mass; a student rosary chain; and Movie Night.
- At All Saints School in Corning featured celebrations were wearing school uniforms at weekend Mass; wearing blue and white for Spirit Day; valentine-making for veterans; international supper with ethnic cuisines; a book-exchange and reading day with students wearing pajamas; donations for Haiti; a science and math fair with children dressing as their favorite number, scientist or mathematician; and "The Taming of LaRue" dinner theater by junior-high students.