Students have fun, perform service during Catholic Schools Week - Catholic Courier

Students have fun, perform service during Catholic Schools Week

Students at Catholic schools around the diocese celebrated Catholic Schools Week Jan. 25-31 with a variety of special activities, including ice-cream socials, dress-up days of all kinds, cultural luncheons, liturgies and dances. Many students also participated in acts of service, in keeping with this year’s Catholic Schools Week theme, “Catholic Schools Celebrate Service.”

The following schools notified the Catholic Courier of their special Catholic Schools Week events:

Monroe-Livingston schools

* At Cathedral School at Holy Rosary in Rochester, highlighted events were Reading Day, during which students got to wear their pajamas and bring a stuffed animal or pillow; Dress Down Day, which gave youths the option of wearing their clothes backwards or inside out; roller skating; wearing favorite jerseys or sports-team attire; spelling bee; Pennies for Patients Day; Discovery Day; and Movie Day.

* St. Pius Tenth School in Chili celebrated a Mass Jan. 27 following a presentation by Sue Barnes from Sanctuary House. The students also had Beach Day Jan. 28 and Sports Day Jan. 30 and held an open house and ice-cream social Jan. 29.

* All those at St. John Neumann School who learned to make tie-dyed shirts earlier in the week were to wear them on Jan. 30, Principal Marie Arcuri said Jan. 29.

During the Catholic Schools Week Mass held Jan. 28, some of the songs used were written by the school’s music teacher.

“We did an opening procession with drums, we acted out the Gospel story and performed a liturgical dance,” Arcuri said.

* St. Louis School in Pittsford celebrated a Catholic Schools Week Mass Jan. 26. The community also was invited to an open house the morning of Jan. 27 and an ice-cream social Jan. 29.

Principal Kathleen Carroll said 30 families walked through the school on Jan. 27 with the sixth-graders serving as tour-guide ambassadors and parents serving as hosts. More than 500 people had been expected at their ice-cream social on Jan. 29.

“We’re very excited with the spirit of what’s going on,” Carroll said Jan. 29.

* Events at St. Joseph School in Penfield focused on volunteerism. Students’ families donated items for fruit baskets that were delivered Jan. 27 to local business that support the school. On Jan. 29 the school presented volunteers with special certificates of recognition then held an evening open house for the community. Other activities included roller skating, an ice-cream social and a day off from wearing uniforms.

* At St. Rita School in Webster, featured events included Crazy Hats and Wacky Hair Day with “hats off” for recently achieving national accreditation; Dress Down Day; Slip Into Service Day with slippers accompanying regular uniform attire; Senior Tea; Pajama Day; and Soup-er Service for which students wore their favorite team shirt, attend a special movie outing and brought in a canned good to be donated to charity.

* Kindness was the key at Seton Catholic School in Brighton. Examples included students making gratitude notes and pictures for their parishes; “Sunshine Notes” exchanged by students telling each other how they “shine”; Compliment to Somebody Day; Thoughtful Thursday with donations of food and supplies for charity; and Bus Driver Appreciation Day. Another event of note was Literature Sharing Day, with students, dressed as a character or author of a given book, presenting book reports.

Martin Swenson, principal, observed that many parents visited Seton during Catholic Schools Week, and a recurring sentiment expressed was the desire for their children “to learn in an academic, caring environment anchored in the Catholic faith and supported by the families of the school community.”

Finger Lakes schools

* St. Francis-St. Stephen School in Geneva kicked off Catholic Schools Week Jan. 24 with an afternoon Mass followed by a dance — complete with pizza and a professional disc jockey — in the school gymnasium for parents and adults alike. Later in the week the students celebrated with a schoolwide bingo game and had the opportunity to earn a dress-down day by bringing in a can of soup for the Geneva Food Pantry, said Principal Elaine Morrow said.

“I think we really just (celebrate this week) because in so many ways we’re grateful for our students and our parents, for all they do for us,” Morrow said Jan. 27. “Also it really is a way of celebrating who we are and trying to show the public about what goes on inside our schools, and that we really are a family.”

* At St. Joseph School in Auburn, the younger students made a collage showcasing some of the various school projects the students completed this year, as well as ways the students serve others at school and at home.

The students also made cards for priests, nuns, faculty and staff members, and school volunteers to thank them for their service, Principal Kathleen Coye said.

“I think it gives them a chance to step back and realize what people do for them,” she said Jan. 27. “I received a couple of cards from the children. It’s just sweet. It makes you stop, and it’s a good feeling.”

* St. Mary School in Canandaigua held its annual Catholic Schools Week cultural luncheon on Jan. 29. This year’s theme was “Taste of the Orient,” and after the students finished sampling Asian foods, they participated in a dragon dance and watched a martial-arts demonstration. The students also put together more than 60 trays full of cookies, candies and handwritten notes of thanks and appreciation for the school’s supporters in the community.

St. Mary middle schoolers also planned a carnival for students in the younger grades. They planned the games, staffed the booths and even brought in prizes from their own homes, Principal Ann Marie Deutsch said Jan. 27.

“It’s something that they are putting on for the younger students. It gives the middle-school students a sense of purpose, which is always something that we try to strive for,” she said.

* Students at St. Michael School in Newark held a Bundles for Babies collection in honor of Catholic Schools Week. They collected various baby-related items for the Baby Closet at St. Mark Episcopal Church in Newark.

“I think they enjoy doing it,” Principal Pauline DeCann said Jan. 27. “The children see where it’s going and that it’s helping someone right in the community.”

Students also received small gift bags and enjoyed a roller-skating party, snowshoeing outing and a schoolwide bingo game during the week.

* Students at St. Michael School in Penn Yan celebrated Catholic Schools Week with bowling and ice-cream sundae parties and a pajama day. They also invited their grandparents to join them for Mass and lunch at the school.

* Eighth-graders at Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic School in Auburn had a chance to try their hands at teaching during Catholic Schools Week. Each student was assigned to teach one class to a younger grade, and the “teachers” even had to dress professionally and were graded on their performance, said Principal Sister Kathleen Hutsko, SSMI. Students in every grade also collected canned goods for the needy and wrote letters and made cards for servicemen and women and nursing-home residents.

“I think the basic premise (of Catholic Schools Week) is to show that Catholic schools are an alternative to the public schools,” Sister Hutsko said Jan. 27.

Southern Tier schools

* A stirring event at All Saints Academy in Corning saw students honor the U.S. military by dressing in red, white and blue and singing patriotic songs. The event was recorded on DVD and packaged with student-created artwork for patients at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Bath. Other activities during the week included Chinese New Year; an international supper featuring cuisine from all over the world; and “Back to the ‘70s” luncheon with DJ disco music.

* At Holy Family Schools in Elmira, the annual Mass bringing together all three schools took place Jan. 27, at St. Mary Southside Church. Students from the primary, intermediate and junior high schools filled roles as musicians, cantors, lectors, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion and gift bearers.

Holy Family Primary highlights were Teacher Appreciation Day, with students bringing in apples for their teachers that were then donated to a local food kitchen; Hooray for Catholic Schools Day; Bring A Friend to School Day; Theme Day, with students parading through school to show off such theme wear as patriotic clothing or sports uniforms; and appreciation treat bags being issued to bus drivers, crossing guards, mail person and parents.

Holy Family Junior High featured a Catholic-school trivia contest in homeroom and each classroom; spelling bee; Spirit Day for students, which included a Dress Down pass and lunchtime treat; “winter hop” student dance; and ski trip to Greek Peak. The junior high also hosted a day for sixth-graders from Holy Family Intermediate and St. Mary Our Mother in Horseheads so as to acclimate those youths to junior-high-school life.

“In our Catholic Schools Week liturgy, we took the corporal works of mercy and looked at them as concrete ways in which we celebrate service and follow in Jesus’ footprints. We wear footprint pins as a reminder that by being followers of Jesus, we are called to walk a life of service as Jesus did,” noted Elizabeth Berliner, principal.

At Holy Family Intermediate, students helped staff the monthly Holy Family Schools breakfast which was held in the intermediate-school gym. Also that week, students and staff were treated to specially decorated cookies noting Catholic Schools Week; a special luncheon was held for teachers and staff; students enjoyed no-homework passes and Out of Uniform Day; and a special dance program was conducted.

* Among the highlights at Immaculate Conception School in Ithaca were a kickoff pasta dinner; “Spirit Alive” Mass; collections of food and supplies for local outreach agencies; learning about the Asian culture for Chinese New Year and putting on a parade; quiz bowl; book fair; open house; reading festival; teacher-appreciation luncheon; parent/staff vs. student basketball game; Dress as Your Favorite Book Character Day; and Coney Island Fun Day.

* Special events and activities at St. Ann School in Hornell included Spirit Day; Proclamation Night at City Hall; Visit Our School Day; students giving out thank-you signs to nearby merchants; a “Summer in January” hot-dog picnic lunch with children wearing shorts, T-shirts, sandals and sunglasses; Town Heroes Day on which local town heroes read and talked to children, and Famous Americans Day on which students dressed up as, and talked about, notable Americans.

“For us here in Hornell, Catholic Schools Week is a celebration of our school. I think one of the parents summed up what St Ann’s means to us when she said, ‘St. Ann’s is a second family where you entrust your child to receive the best in everything — an outstanding education, one-on-one attention, reinforcement of values and discipline, and most importantly, love,'” said Richard Barone, principal.

* Notable doings at St. Mary Our Mother School in Horseheads included students giving thank-you letters to parishioners and hosting the coffee hour after Sunday Mass; donating to the Horseheads Food Pantry and Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse; open house; Out of Uniform Day; a card-making project for Stephen Lindsey, an injured U.S. soldier who is an alumnus of the school; kickoff of the Vacations for Veterans Penny Drive; penance service; and family movie night.

* Activities at St. Patrick School in Owego included Dress Out of Uniform Day; Cozy Feet Day on which students wore slippers and read folk tales; Hat Day; a family dinner night; a book fair; and Blast from the Past Day featuring clothes and other items from previous centuries. The crowning event, on Jan. 30, was to be a Mass celebrated by Bishop Matthew H. Clark noting the school’s 150 years as well as the 140th anniversary of the Sisters of Mercy beginning their service there.

Contributing to this story were Jennifer Burke, Annette Jiménez and Mike Latona.

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