Last Friday Bishop Mark O'Connell celebrated a North Region Teacher Appreciation Mass at St. Joseph School in Wakefield. Faculty and staff members who were celebrating landmark anniversaries and who had earned advanced degrees in the past year were honored. After Mass, the 200 attendees had lunch in small discussion groups, which were based on content area/grade level so that teachers could interact with colleagues from other schools and build relationships.
The event was organized by principals of North Region Schools: Cheverus School in Malden, Saint Agnes School in Arlington, St. Mary School in Winchester, Saint Mary School in Melrose, Saint Charles School in Woburn, Saint Catherine of Genoa School in Somerville, Saint Joseph School in Wakefield, Saint Patrick School in Stoneham, and Saint Raphael School in Medford. This is the second time in the past year that North Region teachers were able to meet with colleagues from neighboring schools.
Faculty and staff honored were:
Samantha McNeill - Saint Agnes, Arlington
Mary Deangelo - Saint Agnes, Arlington
Christy Durazo - Saint Agnes, Arlington
Michele Gavidia - Saint Catherine, Somerville
Theresa Colbert - Saint Raphael, Medford
Kelly Cripps - Saint Raphael, Medford
Victoria Vieira - Saint Raphael, Medford
Michelle Kierce - Saint Raphael, Medford
Theresa Ronchetti - Cheverus, Malden
J.M. Sullivan - Saint Joseph, Wakefield
Terry Pedicini - Saint Mary’s, Melrose
Catherine Ens - Saint Patrick, Stoneham
Bailey Magazzu - Saint Patrick, Stoneham
Jamie Young - Cheverus, Malden
Mary Correia - Saint Catherine, Somerville
Kerry Murphy Gobbi - Saint Catherine, Somerville
Colleen Cunningham - Saint Charles, Woburn
Laurie Longo - Saint Raphael, Medford
Lena Caruso - Saint Mary’s, Melrose
Janine Hanley - Cheverus, Malden
Janet Wronski - Saint Agnes, Arlington
Pamela Mitchell - Saint Catherine, Somerville
Maura O'Connor - Saint Charles, Woburn
Kim Novello - Saint Mary’s, Winchester
Joanne Gaudet - Cheverus, Malden
Joanne Toppi - Saint Catherine, Somerville
Ellen Ciarlone - Saint Agnes, Arlington
Alayne Flynn - St. Joe's Wakefield
Lou Ann Melino - St. Joseph Wakefield
Mary Cusick - Saint Agnes, Arlington
Janet Ferlisi - Saint Charles, Woburn
MaryLou Johnson - Saint Mary’s, Melrose
Mark Flint - Saint Mary’s, Melrose
Carole Galleta - Saint Mary’s, Winchester
Ellie Brown - Saint Mary’s, Winchester
Jane Ellis - St, Joseph, Wakefield
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF ADVANCED DEGREES EARNED
Janine Hanley - Cheverus, Malden M.Ed., St. Joseph’s College
Marybeth Mineo - Cheverus, Malden M.Ed., Maine American International College
John DeMeo - Saint Agnes, Arlington M.Ed., Lesley University
Kelly Cripps - Saint Raphael, Medford M.Ed., American International College
Christi Colman - Saint Raphael, Medford M.Ed., Gordon College
By Mary Sue Faherty, Literacy Coach, St. Mary of the Hills School
This year, St. Mary of the Hills School is conducting an all-school read of “A Long Walk to Water” by Linda Sue Park. This amazing true story shows the struggle of a young man named Salva Dut growing up in a war-torn South Sudan in the late 1980s. It also follows a young girl’s journey in 2009 as she walks eight hours a day in search of water so that she and her family can survive. The water she collects every day is muddy and bacteria ridden, which leads to many diseases and even death. As the book unfolds, we begin to understand how a simple water well in one village could positively transform the lives of thousands. Unfortunately, South Sudan is still one of the world’s least developed countries and is currently experiencing a civil war with mass atrocities, coupled with a severe drought and famine. There are many innocent people living there who desperately need help.
The school-wide theme this year at Saint Mary of the Hills is one of service. In connection with this theme and the main message from its all school read, the school is participating in the “Iron Giraffe Challenge.” This challenge is part of the Water for South Sudan initiative and a direct challenge from Salva Dut. The school's hope is to raise $3,000 to restore a well in South Sudan. The students are bringing in loose change to fill gallon water bottles in their classrooms, and they are also walking to raise funds. The junior high students will obtain sponsors for each lap they walk with a gallon bottle of water held on their heads. The younger students will walk with a twelve- or sixteen-ounce bottle on their heads. Families and friends can also donate to at https://www.classy.org/team/190922?is_new=true. St. Mary of the Hills School are very excited about our fundraising efforts and the theme of service that our students will be putting into action through this endeavor.
Also, in connection to the theme of service, the school recently hosted a young organizer and activist who spoke to students about giving back. Wednesday, September 19, Sophia Gustafson came to speak to the student body about her experience in Guatemala. Sophia is a junior at Medfield High School and the niece of Academic Advisor Pam Vasta. Sophia discussed her service in Guatemala where the lack of clean water inhibits people in many ways. In particular, Sophia focused on the girls who collect water for their families and how this labor prohibits them from going to school. At the age of seven, Sophia started a charity called Hope for All to raise money for an orphanage in the Congo.
Sophia also discussed her passion for singing and how she integrates this gift into her life's mission. Sophia has always loved singing, writing her own songs and performing. With her parents' support, Sophia began singing in Boston and all of her donations were directed to Hope for All. Recently, Sophia made it through three rounds of American Idol, performing in front of Luke Bryan, Katie Perry and Lionel Richie. During her presentation, Sophia sang two of her original songs entitled “Purpose” and “The Good News Generation.” She challenged the students by saying that everyone, no matter what age, can make a difference with the life they've been given.
BRAINTREE, MA – As the new academic year began, the Catholic Schools Office (CSO) caught up with two parents who have found Catholic education to be the perfect fit for their children. In a conversation released via our Saints and Scholars On-the-Go podcast, Superintendent Kathy Mears had the opportunity to connect with Nikita Reis and LaQuita Young whose children attend one of the Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy campuses.
Nikita Reis is the mother of three-year-old Madison who will be entering PreK in a few weeks. When looking for a school for her young daughter, she realized that traditional daycare was not going to be the best option for her. It felt too unstructured and she knew that setting a good foundation, even in the earliest years of life, is important for success later on. Madison’s father and most of his family were graduates of the SJPIICA school, when it was Saint Gregory’s, and spoke highly about the school’s impact on them. Reis felt at home right away when she first stepped foot on the campus where her daughter attends. The choice paid off and her young daughter is thriving academically. Madison is able to recognize and identify letters of the alphabet, she can do simple addition, and knows all her shapes. For Reis, the financial sacrifice is worth the academic payoff. Additionally, she commended the school for giving parents a voice and taking their suggestions to heart. The family feel of the school extends to the community through service projects, fundraising, and connection with local police officers who visit and work with the school throughout the year.
LaQuita Young and her son Calvin also spoke with Mears about their four-year experience with the school. A K2 scholar, Calvin has benefited greatly from his time at SJPIICA. His mother describes him as very advanced in his academics and she credits that to the school. At one point her son had been accepted to a charter school but decided that she should heed her principal’s suggestion to go and take a look at a K2 classroom before making a final decision. What she saw cemented her choice to stay at SJPIICA. “I was so engaged by the teacher and I knew that this is where my son belongs,” remarked Young. She also expressed a high opinion of the school’s community partnerships, their fine arts programing, and the family environment.
The Saints and Scholars On-the-Go podcast is available on iTunes and via the CSO website here.
About Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston
Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston educate over 34,000 students in 112 schools. The schools offer a high-quality, rigorous education that is rooted in Catholic faith and values for students age 2.9 through grade 12. www.csoboston.com
St. Benedict Elementary in Natick Named to the Cardinal Newman Society's Catholic Education Honor Roll
Natick, MA- This month St. Benedict Elementary School in Natick was recognized as a Catholic Education Honor Roll School. The national Honor Roll program is directed by the Cardinal Newman Society and first began in 2004. While the National Honor Roll program has recognized more than 300 high-performing Catholic high schools nationwide, St. Benedict Elementary is among one of the first elementary schools in the country to have received recognition.
St. Benedict Elementary engaged in a thorough internal and external review of comprehensive program offerings before being awarded this status. The school has received specific recognition for the strong integration of Catholic identity throughout its efforts, including the integrity of its mission, the strength of its community and its rich spiritual life. The Honor Roll also recognized the school’s efforts at integral formation of the minds, bodies, and spirits of students as well as its comprehensive academic program, which seeks to instill a Christian vision of the world and human wisdom and culture.
Dr. Denise Donohue, coordinator of the Honor Roll, stated, “We are very pleased to have St. Benedict Elementary join in the nationally recognized ranks of excellence; this is a select group. The school has well demonstrated they are successful in meeting the key principles that guide Catholic education.”
SBE Headmaster Jay Boren remarked, "It is great affirmation for St. Benedict Elementary to be recognized by the Catholic Education Honor Roll. This distinction confirms our commitment to the mission of Catholic education. I applaud the leadership, administration, students, parents, teachers, and staff for their hard work in assuring a strong Catholic identity permeates all that we do in preparing our students to be future leaders in both society and the Church.”
More information on St. Benedict Elementary is available at www.stbenedictelementary.com. More information on the Catholic Education Honor Roll is available here.
News & Events from the Catholic Schools Office and the Archdiocese of Boston