By Carrie Parker & Jano Tantongco
National Catholic Schools Week begins this Sunday, Jan. 29, and runs through Saturday, Feb. 4. This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” Various schools around the Town of Huntington will hold special events for students and open houses to the general public.
Holy Family Vice Principal Brian Caltabiano said the Catholic Schools Week events bring together older and younger students to collaborate on events including the Valentine’s Day cards for veterans, book reading event and bingo day.
This Sunday open house held 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. On Monday, students will make Valentine’s Day cards for veterans at the Northport VA Medical Center. On Tuesday, students will wear their pajamas for Pajama Day, as well as read books with a student from buddy classes for Buddy Book Day, with a book fair taking place as well. On Wednesday, there will be bingo played with prizes. Next Thursday, Feb. 2, students can wear jerseys for Sports Day and will bring in cans of soup for the food pantry. On Friday, Feb. 3, students will receive gifts for Student Appreciation Day with a closing mass to end the week.
Caltabiano added that the school’s mission is “to foster in each child a christian attitude of respect.”
Ss. Cyril and Methodius School (SSCM) kicks off Catholic Schools Week on Sunday with a 9:30 a.m. mass and student-driven liturgy. SSCM’s open house will follow the mass from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. During the open house, families can speak with alumni and take a student-guided tour of the school.
Mary Anne Cowan, who coordinates enrichment for SSCM, said the education they offer combines Catholic faith and teachings with academic excellence.
“We are grooming the youngsters to be productive citizens and Christians leaders of the 21st century,” Cowan said.
In step with the week’s overarching theme, Kindness Warms the Heart, students will engage in a community service project by donating white men’s tube socks to the Babylon Interfaith Homeless Initiative. They will also use the highly anticipated students vs. faculty volleyball game on Friday as an opportunity to collect soup and oatmeal donations for Parish Outreach.
Last Saturday, SSCM was featured for the first time on Telecare TV, the Diocesan broadcast network.
“It was a nice thumbnail look at life at St. Cyril,” Cowan said of the segment, which included interviews with current students, staff, alumni and parents and the SSCM Shakespeare Ensemble’s performance of Scene I from Romeo and Juliet.
St. Patrick’s School has provided a Catholic education for children from Pre-K through eighth grade for the town since 1922.
To open up the week, there will be an opening prayer service on Monday, and students will donate $2 each for dress down days on Wednesday and Friday, with proceeds going toward MercyFirst, a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy. On Tuesday, students, as well as faculty and staff, can wear pajamas to school, and Principal Sr. Maureen McDade will read a bedtime story for students. On Wednesday, students will dress down and mix and match items like shoes and socks. Then, on Friday, Feb. 3, the week closes up with a dress down day and a blessing of throats for the Feast of St. Blasé.
An open house is slated to take place today, Thursday, 3-7 p.m.
Registration takes place on Jan. 30, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 from 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m.
Trinity’s celebratory week will include open houses on Sunday and on Wednesday with tours and faculty available to answer questions. Visitation days on Monday and Tuesday allow parents with currently enrolled students to observe a typical day in the classroom.
On Thursday, Feb. 2, eighth graders will teach younger classes during “Switching Up Morning.” Principal Jeanne Morcone said the experience is fun because it “gives students an opportunity to take on a leadership role.”
Throughout the week and into early March, classes will go head-to-head in basketball games to raise money for parish outreach.
“Our philosophy is that we believe that an education is more than just academics. It’s the spiritual, social, and emotional parts of our personalities,” Morcone explained. “We aim to foster self-esteem and a sense of respect and compassion, all rooted in the firm foundation of Catholic teachings.”