From soup collections to wacky outfits, schools throughout the diocese are observing Catholic Schools week Jan. 27-Feb. 2 in a variety of ways.
The annual week, which is sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, celebrates Catholic education and kicks off registration for Catholic schools for the 2013-14 school year. The national theme for the week is "Catholic Schools Raise the Standards"; the educational association notes that the theme refers to schools’ academic excellence and high moral standards.
Through the week schools have planned activities that include unusual attire, fun outings, special events and service projects. Prospective families are invited to visit the schools during open houses and tours during the week, or at other times by appointment.
Here are some of the ways that diocesan-affiliated Catholic schools are observing the week:
* Holy Cross School in Charlotte celebrated a Catholic Schools Week opening Mass Jan. 27, with a coffee hour and book fair following. The book fair will continue throughout the week.
Students in all grades will visit the Rochester Museum and Science Center Jan. 28, and registration begins at the school. On Jan. 29, students will have Spirit Wear Day and Mixed-Up Lunch Day.
There will be an open house for new students from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 30, and a kindergarten information night from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m. that day, with an open house for family and friends following from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
The school will host an anti-bullying magic show Jan. 31, and a Mass at 9:30 a.m. Feb. 1. Later that day, students will have ice cream sundaes with their buddies.
* St. John Neumann School in Rochester will make tie blankets and cards as a service project with their prayer partners Jan. 28. On Jan. 29, the school will have an assembly on the Erie Canal. On Jan. 30, the school will have "Basketball Frenzy" — which combines a free-throw contest with an academic game. Teams of students in mixed grade levels will answer academic questions to get the chance to shoot basketball shots.
There will be a Catholic Schools Week Mass at 9:15 a.m. Jan. 31, during which time students will thank God for the school. The blankets the students created will be blessed. Students will go bowling at Empire Lanes on Feb. 1, during a day dedicated to fun.
The school will host an information night for prekindergarten and kindergarten at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6.
* Students at St. Joseph School in Penfield participated in Masses during the weekend including with a children’s choir, tone chimes and a cantor choir. A coffee hour and open house followed the Masses.
The school will host a thank-you lunch for teachers and staff Jan. 28. There will be a school Spirit Day Jan. 29. A book fair will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 29-31.
Prospective families will be able to take guided walk-through tours of the school from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 30. Also that day, students will enjoy an ice cream treat and the school will also extend a thank-you to business in the community that have supported the school.
There is an open house at the school for current and prospective families from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, and families can visit classrooms and grade 6 science and grade 5 social studies fair projects on display in the gymnasium. The book fair also will be open during the open house.
On Feb. 1 students will bring in a can of soup to donate to the Penfield Ecumenical Food Cupboard and will wear their favorite football team’s jersey or team colors. Students will go bowling during the day. Registration for prekindergarten through sixth grade will begin at 9 a.m. Feb. 1.
* St. Kateri School, which was formerly Christ the King School in Irondequoit, will raise money for cancer patients and will host a canned food drive for the needy.
On Jan. 28 the "Pennies for Patients" fundraiser will honor kindergarten student Avrie Sinesiou and others who are battling cancer. Donations will be accepted through Feb. 28. Also on Jan. 28, the school is having school prayer and presidential fitness awards, and an assembly with storyteller Howard Edmond.
There also will be a fundraiser night for St. Kateri School at Bill Gray’s Sea Breeze location, 4870 Culver Road, Irondequoit, from 4:30 to 7:30 tonight. Bill Gray’s will donate 15 percent of purchases with a certificate to the school.
There will be a walk through for prospective families for all grades from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m. Jan. 30. The school also will have an open house at 7 p.m. Jan. 31 in the church with prayer and followed by an ice cream social in the Parish Center.
On Feb. 1, students will eat donuts with their dads, and will bring in a can of soup for the needy during Soup-er Bowl Friday. The school also will have roller skating, a dress down day, a crazy sock day and several opportunities for activities with their prayer partners.
On Jan. 27, the school had a fundraising book fair at Barnes and Noble Booksellers in the Greece Ridge Mall. Students also participated in Masses during the weekend at St. Cecilia Church, St. Margaret Mary Church and Christ the King Church in Irondequoit.
* St. Lawrence School in Greece kicked off Catholic Schools week with Masses at St. Lawrence Parish. Students spoke after each of the Masses and the school’s parent advisory committee hosted a coffee hour after the 9 a.m. Mass.
Students roller skated with their classes Jan. 28. On Jan. 29, students will celebrate Pirate Day by dressing like a pirate, and in the afternoon, the school will gather to watch a movie.
The school will host an open house and book fair from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 29. There also will be an anti-bullying presentation with available child care at 7 and 7:30 p.m.
During the week students will dress down with various themes to celebrate the week; Jan. 29 is Pirate Day, Jan. 30 is Mismatch Day and Jan. 31 is Crazy Fan/Hair Day, during which students will show support of their favorite team. On Feb. 1, students may dress up and bring in a favorite board game to play.
The week’s celebration will end with Mass at 8:15 a.m. Friday.
* St. Louis School in Pittsford kicked off Catholic Schools week by encouraged students to wear uniforms to Masses at their home parishes, and the school will end the week with a Rock the Arts concert at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 1 to benefit the school’s music and arts departments.
The school will host two open houses for families: from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 29, and 9:30 to 11 a.m. Feb. 8. Guests will have a chance to meet Principal Fran Barr, take a student-led tour of the school and observe classrooms in action. Current parents will be on hand to answer questions and share their experiences.
Students will celebrate Catholic Schools Week with a Mass at 9:10 a.m. Jan. 30. The school also will have an ice cream social from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 30.
During the week, students will dress in spirited ways; on Jan. 28 students wore slippers at school; on Jan. 30 they will wear spirit wear; and on Jan. 31 they will wear crazy hats. On Feb. 1, students will dress down in their favorite teams’ colors for "Souper Bowl," and throughout the week the school will collect canned soup for the Pittsford Food Cupboard.
* St. Pius Tenth in Chili kicked off Catholic Schools week by allowing students to earn a dress-down pass by wearing their uniform or spirit wear to Mass and a coffee hour on Jan. 27. Students took part in morning prayer throughout the week.
Throughout the week, the school will be collecting nonperishable food and paper goods needed by the Ronald McDonald House. On Jan. 28, the classes that brought in the most donations of these items received scarves as an incentive. Parish staff were invited in to the school Jan. 28 to be guest readers.
On Jan. 29, the school will host a Catholic Schools Week liturgy. On Jan. 30, the school will celebrate Buddy Day and an Accelerated Reader breakfast and Dress Down event.
The school is hosting an open house and ice cream social at 7 p.m. Jan. 31. On Feb. 1, the school will have a Spirit Day featuring afternoon relay races in the gym.
* St. Rita in Webster invited families to the school during visit a Catholic School day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 28. During the day, the school encouraged students to wear pajamas, and the day opened with a prayer service in the morning. On Jan. 29, the school will honor the country’s heroes by dressing in patriotic colors.
On Jan. 30, students will celebrate Mass with their families, and a social hour for parents will follow the Mass. Students also will be able to wear slippers after the Mass. Buddy classes will complete a project together on how the school opens the doors to faith.
On Jan. 29 and Jan. 31, students will go bowling. Also on Jan. 31, students will wear wacky outfits.
On Feb. 1, they will wear team-inspired shirts and colors for the Soup-er Bowl, which will collect canned soup for Hope House. There will be a closing prayer service at 8:10 a.m. Feb. 1, and students can bring in a pillow or pillow pet.
* Seton Catholic School in Brighton began its Catholic Schools week celebrations by encouraging students to wear uniforms to Masses at their parishes.
Prospective families will have several opportunities to view the school in action. There will be preschool visitation from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 30, and 9 to 10:30 a.m. Jan. 31. There will be walk throughs from kindergarten to sixth grade from 9 to 11 a.m. Jan. 31. There also will be an open house for all grades from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30.
Students on Jan. 28, wore crazy hats and socks and donated socks to charity during "Hats off To Seton!" day. Fourth-graders led a prayer service in the morning, and second- and fourth-grade students got to view the mobile dome planetarium.
During "Action-Packed Tuesday!" some grades will go ice skating while others have a beach day or will play board games.
Jan. 30 will be dedicated to books, board games and buddies. There will be guest readers in the preschool classroom Wednesday. Thursday, Seton will have a Sundae Funday, with make-your-own ice cream sundaes with buddies. Preschoolers will be able to bring in their teddy bears.
On Feb. 1, students will wear their favorite football team colors or shirts. The school will collect canned soup for the Pittsford Food Cupboard, and students will enjoy a movie and popcorn.
On Feb. 2, the school will have a chess tournament from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and a winter carnival from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
* Siena Catholic Academy in Brighton, which serves grades seven and eight, will celebrate Catholic Schools Week with a homeroom door decorating contest following the theme of “Raising the Standards.” Students will participate in a Career Fair Jan. 30.
On Jan. 31, students will face off against faculty in a volleyball game, and there will be the finals of a three-vs.-three basketball tournament. On Feb. 1, the school will celebrate Mass together, and students and faculty will face off in a basketball game at McQuaid at 7 p.m.
* Students at St. Michael School in Penn Yan plan to celebrate Catholic Schools Week by donning funny hats, crazy hairstyles, sports apparel, crazy socks and beach attire on designated days throughout the week. Grandparents will eat lunch with their grandchildren after a school Mass on Jan. 31, and on Feb. 1 students will spend the morning bowling and the afternoon enjoying ice cream at a beach party. Throughout the week the school community will show appreciation for its parents, volunteers and faculty and staff with thank-you letters, certificates of appreciation and hot beverages.
* Auburn mayor Michael Quill presented a Catholic Schools Week proclamation at St. Joseph School on Jan. 28. Later that day St. Joseph students completed an art project for Matthew House, a local comfort-care home, while other students collected items for a local food pantry. Later in the week students will make cards for patients at the VA Medical Center, tour St. Alphonsus Church, participate in a school Mass, listen to guest speakers on Career Day and enjoy a beach party. They’ll also invite some of their favorite people to join them at school for Special Person’s Day.
* Families in Geneva kicked off Catholic Schools Week with Mass followed by a family dance at St. Francis-St. Stephen School on Jan. 26. Each student got to read with a buddy and enjoy cookies and milk on Jan. 28. On Jan. 29 students will get to wear their pajamas and bring their stuffed animals to school, and on Jan. 30 they’ll enjoy an ice cream social. They’ll ditch their uniforms in favor of red, white and blue dress-down apparel later in the week, when they’ll also take part in a bingo game and a zumba party.
* Catholic Schools Week began with a Jan. 27 Mass and coffee hour for the St. Mary School family in Canandaigua and a Jan. 28 prayer service in the school gym. On Jan. 29 parents and family members of current and prospective students will be invited to tour the school and watch its students, faculty and staff in action. The next day St. Mary’s parents and students will assemble and deliver trays of cookies and candy to the school’s supporters, and on Jan. 31 seventh- and eighth-grade students will compete in their highly anticipated annual volleyball game.
* Ss. Peter and Paul School in Auburn held a Parishioner Appreciation Breakfast after Masses on Jan. 27, and on Jan. 28 students celebrated Catholic Schools Week by donning silly socks. On Jan. 29 they’ll each donate $1 in exchange for the chance to wear crazy hats, and the money collected will help defray the medical costs of two community members. On Jan. 31 third-graders will collect pet food and kitty litter to help people — especially the elderly — to properly care for their pets. They’ll wrap up their celebration Feb. 1 with a country-western party, complete with lunch, dances and games.
* Featured events at All Saints Academy, Corning, include attending Sunday Mass in school uniform; open house; Valentines for Vets; student/staff Mass with junior-high grades leading the liturgy; Pajama Day; Ice Cream Sundae Day; Family Sharing Dinner with each family bringing a dish to pass and including families that may be interested in All Saints; and Super Bowl Friday with students brandishing jerseys of their favorite National Football League teams.
* Holy Family Elementary School, Elmira, is holding Faculty Retreat Day at Mount Saviour Monastery; Mass with Notre Dame High School; Bump Up a Grade Day to visit with potential teachers/classrooms for 2013-14; open house; Theme Day with each classroom creating a theme with accompanying costumes and activities that reflect academics and Catholic identity; Make Your Own Sundae Day; Favorite Sports Jersey Day; and Wear your PJs to School Day.
* Immaculate Conception School, Ithaca, is featuring a pasta dinner; notes of appreciation at Sunday Masses; prayer service; students dressing as superhero or book characters; reading festival/book fair and open house; t-ball game; parent/student basketball game; Feast of St. John Bosco celebration; Faculty Appreciation Day; Visit a Catholic School Day; week-ending Mass; Student Appreciation Day; Beach Day; and collections for local charities.
* Notre Dame High School, Elmira, is hosting prospective students for Be a Crusader for a Day; conducting a Share Your Smile toothbrush and toothpaste drive through its Student Council to benefit Catholic Charities Samaritan Center; and holding an end-of-the week prayer service led by the seventh and eighth grades. Notre Dame also will conduct registration for the 2013-14 school year on Feb. 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Feb. 4 from 3:30 to 8 p.m.
* St. Agnes School, Avon, is holding a Kindergarten Round-Up for prospective students and families; information sessions and open houses; Curbside Coffee; prayer service; Red and White Clothing Day; Teddy Bear Picnic and Reading with Big/Little Brothers/Sisters; roller skating party; Favorite Jersey/Sweatshirt Day; Dress-Up Day; Grandparents’ Day; concert with The Dady Brothers; Pajama Day; potluck supper and talent show; and Polar Wave/Palm Island Day.
* St. Mary Our Mother School, Horseheads, is having a book fair; students in uniform at Sunday Mass; faculty/staff volunteers at Food Bank of the Southern Tier; Dress Down Days; spelling bee; Fun Day; Trail Mix Train; military recognition; open house/community fair; faculty/staff luncheon; benefits for the food bank, Bowery Mission and St. Jude’s Hospital; art contest; gifts for parish priests; Living Rosary; throat blessings; Character Counts events; and Movie Night.
* St. Patrick School, Owego, is featuring open houses; students wearing school sweatshirts at Sunday Mass; pancake breakfast; Scholastic Book Fair; Create a Hat Day; forwarding cards and supplies to military personnel; Gym Uniform Day; Out of Uniform Day with mismatched, backwards, inside-out, striped and polka-dot attire; Student Appreciation Day with the Father’s Club providing a special dessert; Scholastic Book Fair; week-ending Mass; and Faith Bingo.
Contains reporting by Jennifer Burke, Amy Kotlarz and Mike Latona.