Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Congratulations to Kennedy Do, rising 6th grader at All Saints Catholic School in Norwalk. Kennedy received a Rising Star Mention in a competition sponsored by Math and A1 Girls.

The Math and AI Girls Competition aims to encourage young girls to develop an interest in math and AI by taking part in STEM competitions at an early age. This competition also aims to encourage long-term planning of academic and career goals in STEM. The competition was open to middle school female students throughout the United States. Award recipients are selected based on their aptitudes, activities and aspirations in STEM.

Kennedy’s answers and essay were considered in the final judging process and she was part of the Rising Stars group that received a mention (certificate) and a prize from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), one sponsor of the event.

“The goal of the organization is to challenge girls to go the extra mile, to learn at school but at the same time go beyond it and learn new things as well, with support from school, teachers, and parents,” said Mr. Xavier Guzman, All Saints Science and STEAM teacher.

The competition has one set of problems for girls to challenge themselves and provide the best possible answers to them. In addition to the problem set, they had to write an essay about why they like STEAM, and what is their ideal future in the area.

Thank you to Mr. Xavier Guzman for organizing the submissions and encouraging our students to participate!

All Saints Catholic School is a fully accredited elementary/middle school with approximately 450 students in Preschool through 8th grade. With two classrooms per grade, the school provides an environment rich in academic, spiritual and emotional learning. For more information on All Saints, visit www.allsaintsnorwalk.com


source: https://www.allsaintsnorwalk.com/apps/news/article/1458790

FAIRFIELD—Connecticut’s COVID-19 Vaccination Vans are on the road and coming to Notre Dame High School in Fairfield to provide no-cost, walk-up vaccinations.

The highly visible yellow Vaccination Vans, provided by the CT Department of Public Health and run by Griffin Health, can administer 100-125 shots per day in a six-hour window of time.  The shots are available without appointment.  It is not necessary to have health insurance or a state-issued ID:  all residents are welcome and no one will be turned away for lack of insurance or ID.

Choosing to get vaccinated is an additional powerful tool in our fight against the COVID-19 virus.  

The vaccine will protect you from becoming seriously ill from COVID19, 

The vaccine will protect your family and friends from becoming seriously ill from COVID19.

The vaccine will allow you to once again gather safely with your loved ones and neighbors.

The vaccine will allow you to get back to a sense of normalcy.

Look for our bright yellow Mobile Vaccination Team SUVs at Notre Dame High School in Fairfield.  

DATE:  Thursday, July 29, 2021

LOCATION: Notre Dame High School

220 Jefferson Street

Fairfield, CT  06825

203-372-6521

Clinic will be held in the Cafeteria

TIME: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

The DPH Vaccination Vans are part of the State’s effort to vaccinate as many Connecticut residents as possible.  More than half the state’s population has received at least one shot since vaccinations began in December 2020.  

For more information on vaccinations and COVID-19 visit ct.gov/covidvaccine.

STAMFORD—On Saturday, June 12, Ashley Lenhart, a sixth-grader at The Catholic Academy of Stamford won the Knights of Columbus Catholic School State Spelling Bee.

After winning the Knights of Columbus regional spelling bee competition last month, Ashley was invited to compete in the Knights of Columbus Connecticut Catholic School twenty-second annual STATE spelling bee this past weekend. She won first place making her the State Champion for sixth grade!

Congratulations to Ashley, everyone at CAS is so proud of you!

The Catholic Academy of Stamford is a fully accredited Pre-K through 8th-grade school located at 1186 Newfield Ave in Stamford, CT.

BRIDGEPORT—In this video released today to parents and members of the Catholic school community throughout the diocese, Superintendent Dr. Steven Cheeseman offers an update on the accomplishments of the past year and a glimpse into what will hopefully be a normal re-opening for the Fall.

He thanks teachers for their “herculean feat” in keeping the schools open during a very difficult time, and donors for their extraordinary generosity in helping to make that possible.

Dr. Cheeseman also has high praise for teachers and administrators and all those who contributed to a successful school year.

“While many surrounding schools left their families feeling let down, you showed up and you met the challenge,” he said… “All of you – teachers, parents, students, administrators and benefactors – worked together and as a result our Catholic schools were open all year with minimal disruption. Our ability to deliver in person learning along with the supports provided to students who had to learn remotely helped lead to demonstrated academic growth in our students. While many surrounding schools – and schools throughout the nation- lament huge learning losses, our benchmark data shows that, for the most part, our students made academic gains and showed appropriate grade level growth. While we didn’t have the same high level of growth our schools usually have, the fact that we still had growth with all the interruptions of the past year and half is, to me, pretty amazing.”
 

 


Following is the complete transcript of Dr. Cheeseman’s talk:

Good evening everyone. As the school year winds down, we breathe a sigh of relief that we have made it through what has certainly been a year like no other and As I reflect on this past year, I am overcome with a tremendous sense of gratitude.

Let me begin by expressing my thanks to our parents and families. Thank you for putting your faith in our Catholic schools and for all your flexibility and understanding as each school navigated the sometimes choppy waters of the past year and a half.

Thank you to our students for your cooperation with covid protocols, your willingness to go with the flow, and for the optimism and positive energy that you displayed as you mastered new learning models and, often, the disappointments of missing traditional events.

I am especially grateful to the administrators and teachers. You pulled off a herculean feat to allow our students to experience in person classes this year. While many surrounding schools left their families feeling let down, you showed up and you met the challenge. There is no greater evidence of the love you have for your students and no greater example of your mission-minded focus. I can only imagine how difficult this year was for you – balancing in person, online, and “zoomed in” students. Completely virtual was hard enough, but I have been to a few meetings where half the group was in person and the other half was on zoom and each time I left those meetings in awe of your ability to balance the two.

I also want to thank the many benefactors who supported our schools this year: Through your support we were able to make chrome books available to schools and to the students who needed them, we were able to provide over 1 million dollars in additional financial assistance, we were able to provide counseling services for students and a telehealth program to support parents and faculty.

All of you – teachers, parents, students, administrators and benefactors – worked together and as a result our Catholic schools were open all year with minimal disruption. Our ability to deliver in person learning along with the supports provided to students who had to learn remotely helped lead to demonstrated academic growth in our students. While many surrounding schools – and schools throughout the nation- lament huge learning losses, our benchmark data shows that, for the most part, our students made academic gains and showed appropriate grade level growth. While we didn’t have the same high level of growth our schools usually have, the fact that we still had growth with all the interruptions of the past year and half is, to me, pretty amazing.

Your hard work is also paying off in enrollment growth. At this moment, we more students registered in Catholic schools for next year than we have attending this year. And while I am guarding my optimism, I am hopeful that for the first time in a very long time we will actually have an overall increase in Catholic school enrollment for next year.

Speaking of next year, I know many of you are asking, “what the fall will look like?” While we will continue to monitor the levels of transmission and the impact it is having on our communities, I am comfortable saying that we will have a near normal looking start to the year and we will be able to reduce the need for social distancing and that we will lift the mask mandate for the fall. It is still recommended that children have masks indoors when in close contact, but it will be optional. Additionally, unless we are forced by government action, we will not mandate the vaccine for students. Although we had hoped to have some additional guidance by the CDC or the state by now, we have decided to not wait and to make a decision based on the facts available to us today. The facts that influenced our decision include:

  1. The significant reduction in the number of cases and levels of virus transmission along with the expectation that this trend will continue
  2. The fact that many studies – including those published or cited by the American association of pediatrics-indicate that children have significantly decreased susceptibility and infectivity rates compared to adults
  3. The fact that we have a near 90% rate of vaccination among teachers and staff in our schools diocesan wide

Of course, we announce these decisions today with the caveat that if the level of transmitted cases rises significantly over the summer we may have to reconsider some or all of them. Let’s pray that does not happen.

I am personally so excited for all the possibilities next year will bring for our schools and our students as we emerge from this pandemic stronger than we were before and, at least for myself, more appreciative of the gifts we have been given and for the commitment of the people who make up our Catholic school community.

I pray you all have a joy-filled summer of fun, relaxation and laughter. May God bless you and may Our Lady continue to shower Her blessings on our Catholic school community.

DANBURY – Graduates of St. Joseph Elementary School were greeted with the sound of cheers and honking car horns from passing motorists as they emerged from their Graduation Mass ceremony.

On Friday, the fourteen joyous graduates tossed their graduation caps in the air in a celebratory gesture to completing this chapter of their education.

“This is a very special and important milestone in your lives,” Pastor Father Samuel Scott told the young graduates gathered with their families at the Robinson Avenue church. “As you take this step on your future path today, go forth as the hope of the world and the light of the world,” he said.

Father Scott congratulated the students for not just fulfilling the obligation of their education but for also learning the value of truth and selflessness.

He urged the graduates to always engage their hearts and minds to make a difference.

“St. Joseph School exists in order for you to have the intellectual and spiritual tools needed in this world,” he said.

Principal Dr. Louis Howe, Jr., agreed and also emphasized the importance of service leadership.

“Take risks,” he said. “As a leader, be able to be different, go outside of your comfort zone and try things, and if you fail, that’s ok,” he said, adding that there are many lessons to be learned along the way.

Father Scott thanked the parents and the parish community for the sacrifices they made to make this day possible. He encouraged students to show their gratitude through their actions to all those who have supported them and continue to support them.

“Thrive not only in school but as Catholic Christians in this world,” Father Scott said.

Scholarships and academic awards were given out to the graduates proudly wearing their school colors of purple and white graduation robes.

“St. Joseph has been a second home to me,” said graduate Olivia Rose Chila, during her address to her fellow classmates. “Even though our last year wasn’t how we envisioned it, we made the most of it,” she said. Among other things, the coronavirus pandemic affected the school’s athletic programs and prohibited the traditional eighth grade class trip.

Dr. Howe said the students showed tremendous resolve and dedication to excel when faced with challenges.

He acknowledged their hard work by sporting a new look of purple hair at the graduation. It was a nod to their accomplishment of exceeding a goal of fundraising $15-thousand dollars. The students’ fund-raising efforts generated more than $42-thousand dollars for the school.

In her closing remarks, graduate Cynthia Kesslin Silverman noted that although the class lived through a pandemic and challenging classes, they knew they could always lean on each other.

“Friendship has the power to conquer everything,” she said.

The graduation Mass was the beginning of an evening of festive celebration. Following the Mass, family and friends were invited to Anthony’s Lake Club on Columbus Avenue for the annual graduation dinner and the presentation of non-academic awards.

“I’m proud of each and every one of them,” Howe said.

By Kathy-Ann Gobin

DANBURY—Immaculate High School graduates 108 seniors at its Commencement Liturgy on Saturday, June 5 at St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown. The seniors will be recognized for their many scholarships and academic, athletic, arts/music, community service and other awards they earned over the school year, and for their resilience and Mustang spirit in sticking with their studies and commitments during the last few months of virtual school.

Zachary Meyerson of Danbury is the Class of 2021’s Valedictorian and Meryl McKenna of Brookfield is the Salutatorian and both will be recognized at the ceremony. Of the 108 members of the Class of 2021, 100% of those students who applied to colleges and universities were accepted and were awarded college scholarships and grants totaling $28 million. The top ten percent of students achieved a SAT score average of 1375.

Valedictorian Zachary Meyerson will attend Cornell University where he received and will major in neuroscience and global/public health. Zachary is a Distinguished Honors student, a recipient of the 2020 Cornell Club award for academic excellence, recipient of the Excellence in Graphic Design and Arts as well as the St. Thomas Aquinas Award, President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence, the Isabelle T. Farrington Academic Excellence award. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society and a two time award recipient of the CT Science and Engineering Fair.  Zachary is a three-time recipient of the President’s Service Award for his service at Jericho Partnership, Maplewood Senior Living and Ann’s Place.

Salutatorian Meryl McKenna will attend Washington University in St. Louis, where she will study biomedical engineering. Meryl was recognized as a National Commended Merit Scholar in 2020.  At Immaculate, Meryl received a four-year merit scholarship, is a Distinguished Honors student and a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, the Science National Honor Society and is the recipient of the Isabelle Farrington Academic Excellence Award. She is a talented three-sport varsity athlete, having played varsity soccer, tennis and outdoor track for Immaculate, and was named a Scholar Athlete by the CAS-CIAC, served as captain of her soccer team, named SWC Championship Most Valuable Player and was invited to play on the All Academic Team in 2020. Meryl has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award and the Rensselaer Medal for her dedication and excellence in science and math.

Mark Radigan of Danbury was named Immaculate High School’s Student of the Year for the 2020-21 school year. Mark earned this honor for consistently demonstrating school spirit and dedication to IHS, strength of character and faith in action through kindness to others, and a passion for learning and going beyond what is expected, including encouraging others to do their best.

Completing the Top Ten graduating senior list are Alexis Demko of Danbury who will attend Assumption University, Ailene Doherty of Danbury who will attend Cornell University, Grace Garvey of Bethel who will attend Bucknell University, Caitlin Fanella of New Milford who will attend Fairfield University, Ethan Goodman of Newtown who will attend Xavier University, Nicholas Iannetta of Danbury who will attend St. John’s University, Alexa Pannese of Monroe who will attend Western Connecticut State University and Kaitlyn Segreti of Danbury who will attend Bucknell University.

The Immaculate High School graduating Class of 2021 contributed over 3,680 hours to a school-wide total of 15,140 hours of community service this year and many students were honored and/or received scholarships from many local community service organizations and the Diocese of Bridgeport for their service and academic achievements. Seniors received numerous individual athletic SWC and CIAC leadership and sportsmanship recognitions as well as academic and music and art awards, including Commendations from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, Connecticut Association of Schools Fine Arts Awards and more. Other seniors were part of the CyberPatriots, Brave Engineers Team and Mock Trial teams.

Immaculate High School is a private, non-profit Catholic college-preparatory institution serving students from 28 communities in Connecticut and New York. Founded in 1962, Immaculate High School also allows students to focus on academic excellence, spiritual development, service to others and personal goals.  Located in Danbury, CT, Immaculate High School is part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s school system.

FAIRFIELD—After being one of the few high schools to offer full in-person learning during the 2020-21 school year, Notre Dame High School held its 62nd annual graduation ceremony on Sunday, June 6. At the ceremony, Christopher Cipriano, principal, announced that the 127 graduates had set a school record, receiving over $28 million in college scholarships and grants.

Students ranked in the Top 10 of the class (actually 11 students due to a tie) will be attending: Princeton University, UConn (3), Fairfield University (2), Villanova University, Bentley College, New York University, Northeastern University, and the College of the Holy Cross. 

Valedictorian, Sarah Sportini from Stratford, will be attending UConn to study Psychology. Salutatorian, Rose Linkasamy from Fairfield, will be attending the College of the Holy Cross to study Chemistry and Calculus. Both students delivered speeches to the audience at the graduation ceremony.

Principal Cipriano also announced the recipient of the Most Outstanding Senior at graduation. Voted by the faculty, Rose Baker of Trumbull received the prestigious honor in recognition of her academic excellence and contributions to Notre Dame and local communities. Most recently, Rose, as a member of the school’s Leadership Institute, coordinated a St. Baldrick’s fundraiser for pediatric cancer research, raising over $11,000.

(For more information visit: www.notredame.org)

(Photos by Christina Rodrigues)

TRUMBULL—St. Joseph High School, southern Connecticut’s premier catholic college preparatory school, is proud to announce that on June 5, 2021, the school conferred diplomas upon 228 students who boast a 100% college acceptance rate.

The 2021 Commencement was held on the school’s athletic fields in a socially distanced ceremony. Parents, siblings, and friends honored graduates with an abundance of love an excitement for their perseverance and determination throughout this unique school year. During the ceremony, graduates heard from distinguished leaders Ms. Vicki A Tesoro, First Selectman (Town of Trumbull), Mr. Christopher Wilson, Chairman of the Board (St Joseph High School); and Dr. Steven Cheeseman, Superintendent of Schools (Diocese of Bridgeport). Remarks and prayers to the Class of 2021 were marked with an overwhelming sense of pride.

In addition, Joseph Harrington and Helen Mahoney, this year’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian respectively, shared inspiring and heartfelt words with their peers in reflection of their high school journey. “Getting to this point, this year, hasn’t always been easy. It required hard work, determination, and sparknotes,” reflected Valedictorian, Joseph Harrington, who delivered the Farewell Address. “But we keep fighting. Keep learning. Keep changing. Keep growing. Keep persevering… Because that’s what we do best: we work hard, we play hard, and we win, every day. And even though we won’t win each and every day, we don’t give in.”

Salutatorian, Helen Mahoney also shared, “At the end of one chapter of our lives and the beginning of another, we look to our Patron, Saint Joseph. And like him, we will be open to tackling new challenges, living fearlessly, and making a positive impact in the lives of those God puts in our path.”

“The Class of 2021 will be remembered for their legacy of kindness, tenacity, and unshakable faith”, remarked President Mr. David Klein, who presided over the ceremony. “We are incredibly proud of the senior class. They have lead our community as examples of optimism and perseverance. This class has proven that with adversity and challenge, comes growth and change, and I have no doubt that this class of Cadets will have a remarkable future. We cannot wait to celebrate their next accomplishments, as we know there will be many.”

“St. Joseph High School is an exceptional place,” remarked Mrs. Nancy DiBuono, Principal. “The school community, led by the positivity of our seniors, has found a way to celebrate one another, express gratitude, and look to the future with enthusiastic confidence. The Class of 2021’s hard work and dedication have paid off and we would not be more proud of their accomplishments.”

St. Joseph High School is an independent Catholic college preparatory community that educates and motivates young women and men to live purposeful lives as ethical leaders committed to the common good of all. The School remains unflappable in its commitment to excellence while confronting the unique obstacles of these times. In a year marked with unprecedented challenges, not only do SJ Cadets Carry On – they thrive.

For additional photos of St. Joseph High School’s ceremony, visit SJCadets.SmugMug.com.

DANBURY— Immaculate High School revealed its new fitness center at a dedication ceremony. The center is part of the school’s initiative to expand its health and wellness programs for all students. Equipped with stationary bikes, low impact treadmills, training bench, ellipticals, rowing machines, mirrors, TV monitors and more, the fitness center will serve as a place for students to work individually with a trainer, workout with coaches and during some PE classes.

The fitness center project was designed and created by parents of alumni, Michael Basile, Anthony Rizzo, Jr. and Ross Rizzo and alumnus Ed Kilian III ‘99. “They found an unused space in the school and converted it into a state-of-the-art facility for our students”, says Athletic Director Nelson Mingachos. The dedication of the fitness center was made to the Basile Family, Edward Killian III and the Rizzo Families for their stewardship as well as to Clancy Moving & Logistics, Earthmovers Inc., Enhance A Colour, F&M Electric, NY-CONN Corporation, Rizzo Companies, Silent Watchman, The Summit at Danbury, David Sousa Plumbing & Heating and Wilshire Real Estate Advisors for donating their time and talent to complete the project.

As part of the ribbon-cutting dedication program, Monsignor Robert E. Weiss, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Church, led with an invocation followed by a blessing of the facility. Chairman of the Board David Cappiello and School President Mary Maloney unveiled the dedication plaque and shared their appreciation of the almost twelve months of hard work by a collaborative and innovative team who were able to transform a vision into a reality.

The opening date of the fitness center will be determined by CDC school guidelines. Principal Wendy Neil expressed her thanks to all involved in getting this project completed for all students.

Immaculate High School is a private, non-profit Catholic college-preparatory institution serving students from 28 communities in Connecticut and New York. Founded in 1962, Immaculate High School also allows students to focus on academic excellence, spiritual development, service to others and personal goals.  Located in Danbury, CT, Immaculate High School is part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s school system.

FAIRFIELD—Notre Dame High School in Fairfield will hold its 62nd graduation ceremony on Friday, June 4 at 6:30 pm on the school’s football field.

The Class of 2021 is comprised of 127 graduates, representing 23 cities and towns, as well as several international students.

Valedictorian of the class is Sarah Sportini of Stratford. The salutatorian is Rose Linkasamy of Fairfield. The exact amount of college scholarships and grants received by the class will be announced at the graduation ceremony.

The media is invited to attend the graduation ceremonies.

(Please contact Principal Chris Cipriano with any questions at:
ccipriano@notredame.org or 203.372.6521.)

SHELTON—Joy, laughter and tears were all a part of the Holy Trinity Catholic Academy girls’ varsity basketball team championship celebration.

The undefeated team, coaches, parents and staff gathered at the school to celebrate the 2019-2020 season by unveiling a championship banner in the school gym and a special plaque to honor one of their coaches, who was killed this year in a car accident.

Assistant Coach Jim McKenna, father of teammate Angelina, was killed early New Year’s Day on his way home, when according to police, another driver crossed the double yellow line on Whitney Avenue in Hamden and the vehicles collided head-on.

“It’s bittersweet to be here celebrating our championship and his legacy,” said Assistant Coach Aurelio Gracia, who coached with McKenna at the school for three years.

The celebration, delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, was now missing a beloved member of the winning team. McKenna would have been with the team to celebrate their successful season if the coronavirus pandemic had not shut down the country before the end of the school year.

“He enjoyed coaching the team, he cared for the team,” Gracia added. “He really had a good connection with the girls.”

The connection the team had amongst themselves and with their coaches was evident this night, as people gathered while a slideshow of photos highlighting the team’s successful year played on a big screen in the gymnasium. The photos of joyous smiles of victory, punctuated with hi-fives, was the backdrop to teammates reminiscing about a successful season while enjoying a dinner of salad and pizza.

“It softens my heart that people came out to honor him in such a special way and especially since it is connected to what he loved, which is basketball,” said Gina McKay, Angelina’s mother.

She said coaching their daughter and the team was his newfound purpose in life after a career in law enforcement with Metro-North Police. The Army veteran who served in Desert Shield/Desert Storm and was a reservist at the time of his passing, wanted to spend more time with his daughter, often picking her up after school.

“He spent his time teaching the girls so they could develop and become good players. He helped to build their confidence,” McKay said. “He wanted to teach them leadership skills so they could excel in their academic life and sports journey.”

Before the unveiling of the banner and the presentation of a plaque in McKenna’s honor, the coaches, school staff and McKay and her daughter, Angelina shared a few stories about what Coach Jim meant to the team.

“Coaching is a love and a passion and I was blessed to coach with Coach Jim and Coach Aurelio (Gracia),” said Head Coach Michael Wilson, who was overcome with emotion recalling shared times with his late friend.

“Basketball teaches us so many life lessons and in life you must work hard to accomplish your dreams,” said Wilson. He thanked the girls for their hard work and for their ability to make the coaches laugh, especially after a long day.

Everyone appreciated the dedication and drive that helped propel the team to success.

“He was so proud of his daughter, so proud of the girls,” Wilson said. “To remember him this way, is an honor and a privilege to us. We know he is here in spirit.”

Lisa Lanni, head of school, said McKenna’s impact on the school community, especially the sports community, will not be forgotten.

“He was an active and important member of our school community. He was well-loved, well-respected and is sorely missed,” she said. “He taught them sportsmanship, fair play and compassion, not just the skills of the game,” Lanni said.

“He was kind, calm, caring, carefree, fun, dedicated and matched up many times to being a big kid himself,” McKay said.

Her daughter agreed, barely able to contain giggles and laughter with her teammates as she shared stories of teenager hi-jinks during practices that once included hiding a teammate amongst the team gear to see when the coaches would notice the teammate was missing.

“This game brings people together,” said Dennis Kelly, athletic director for the school, who set up a GoFundMe page for Angelina’s education. Kelly reiterated a life lesson the girls learned and lived during their basketball career at the school.

“I want to encourage you to dream,” he said. “See it happen make it happen. Hard work and perseverance pay off.”

The banner was unveiled to cheers by those gathered and afterwards a team huddle, hands placed atop one another in a circle, as they had done so many times before, with a loud shout of “Hard work!” a nod to a team ritual and mantra before every game and now, a life lesson to guide their future.

“It’s very meaningful to have something like this,” McKay said, reflecting on the gathering with her daughter at her side.

“It’s definitely nice to have something like this,” Angelina said. “It’s sad he’s not here. He really enjoyed coaching the team. He cared for the team,” she said.

“It’s a good way to end the year,” she added, glad to be surrounded by her supportive teammates and school community leaders.

The positive ending to the school year is what McKenna would have wanted, McKay said.

“He would smile knowing this was part of his legacy,” she said. “A positive experience for everyone.”

Note: Contributions to the GoFundMe page for Angelina can be made here.

By Kathy-Ann Gobin

FAIRFIELD—On May 17, the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport held its 9th Annual Golf Classic at the Country Club of Fairfield. The event, held in honor of longtime supporters Barbara and Brad Evans, raised more than $560,000 for need-based scholarship and it was the best-grossing fundraiser in the history of the school. The Evanses have been actively engaged with the Academy for the past 13 years. Mr. Evans has served as board chair since 2015.

Twenty-four foursomes enjoyed a day of golf under blue skies and temperatures in the 70’s then joined an additional 80 guests later in the day for a cocktail reception, where speaker and alumna Jennifer Melo wowed the crowd with her testimony. A soon-to-be freshman at Princeton University, Melo grew up in Bridgeport with her single mother, Rosanna, who was also in the audience. “Coming from a family where no one had ever received or pursued a higher education, she had a dream that one day she would be able to watch her only daughter walk across the stage and grab her diploma. Equipped with a goal she would work tirelessly to ensure, she turned to the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport.”

Melo said the staff who educated and shaped her throughout her middle school years at the Academy were “unparalleled,” adding, “I knew I could count on them for anything. I felt so much love, support and generosity throughout my years there. The foundation I was given at CAB gave me the confidence in high school to form so many close bonds with peers and staff and to pursue leadership positions. I launched clubs, service projects and grew in wisdom.”

Melo plans to focus her college studies on international relations, third-world development and economics, and hopes to make a difference in Brazil’s socio-economic challenges, the country of her family’s origin. The children there with no educational opportunities, and the people struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables is what I choose to dedicate my life to. All of my academic and social accomplishments, all of my sweat and tears, and everything I have done that has proven me worthy to attend Princeton University I did not do for myself, but for them, the nation and humanity…. As a society, we cannot ignore the possibility of unrecognized genius that goes to waste due to lack of opportunity.”

Speaking directly to the audience, Melo added, “If the world was deprived of generous people like all of you, I would not have had the opportunity to be where I am today. Educational donors are not only making monumental impacts on people’s entire lives—like mine—but they are investing in the most powerful means to reach universal harmony. It’s not just students that donors impact, but humanity as a whole.”

Following Melo, a robust live auction took place with items including a threesome of golf at National Golf Links, a “Taste of the Track for Two” at Monticello Motor Club, a 1:1 Zoom with former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, and a 6-course chef’s tasting at Southport’s renowned Paci Restaurant.

Next was a paddle raise for scholarship since 85 percent of the Academy’s nearly 800 students cannot afford the annual tuition of $5,150 and the school must raise $2.1 million each year alone for this. Midway through, one guest spontaneously offered to match the next $30,000 in gifts. Once that was matched, another guest unexpectedly offered to match the next $25,000 in pledges. When that too was matched, unbelievably yet another guest offered to match the next $20,000 in gifts. The atmosphere was absolutely electric with participation bubbling up from every corner of the venue.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano then invited Barbara and Brad Evans to the podium where he presented them with an award for working tirelessly on behalf of CAB students, faculty and staff. “Their commitment to education and giving back can be witnessed throughout their lifetime together,” said Caggiano.

Mrs. Evans, a graduate of the Eliot Pearson School of Education at Tufts University and an elementary school teacher for many years, sits on the board of the Partnership Schools and is a former board member of The Southport School, the Mercy Learning Cente and the Collegiate School. Barbara has worked to foster significant alliances between many of these organizations and the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport in an effort to take curriculum and social-emotional learning to the next level.

Mr. Evans, a graduate of Dartmouth and Columbia Business School, and a senior advisor at Morgan Stanley where he has worked since 1970, is equally passionate about education initiatives, particularly in inner cities. He is the founder and co-chair of the Horizons Summer Enrichment Program at Sacred Heart University and a board member of Wakeman Boys and Girls Club and Foundations in Education. As a board member for more than a decade and current board chair for the past six years, Mr. Evans has worked to grow the board, develop strong subcommittees, increase enrollment, build new partnerships, and welcome its newest executive director—all while keeping the board focused on its mission.

The Evanses have been dedicated to supporting scholarship funds, as well as founding and funding a program called the New Student Initiative. “Their humility, integrity and lively faith in action reveal their belief that through generosity and care for others, especially the marginalized…they are continuing God’s work in this world,” said the bishop.

The evening culminated with recognition of the first-ever class of Leaders of Tomorrow (LOT) students and their faithful sponsors. The Catholic Academy of Bridgeport launched the LOT program in 2013 with 11 donors sponsoring 11 students. Today, 46 donors fully or partially sponsor 88 students. The applause was hearty and heartfelt as seven of these original LOT students and their sponsors or representatives were recognized together. All of these 8th graders were accepted into excellent private high schools, and many received merit-based awards for their grades, test scores and community service.

The Golf Classic was a success on every front and countless lives will be changed because of the generosity and support of so many individuals, groups, and family foundations.

(To find out more about the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport or to make a donation toward need-based scholarship, please visit: www.catholicacademybridgeport.org or call 203.362.2990.)

By Susan Cecere 

TRUMBULL— St. Joseph High School, southern Connecticut’s premier college preparatory school, announced today the names of eleven additional student-athletes who signed National Letters of Intent or Celebratory Letters in eight different sports. In January 2021, the school hosted a signing ceremony for 12 athletes—bringing the school’s total for the 2020-2021 school year to 23 students playing at either the Division I, II, or III level in college.

The National Letter of Intent (NLI) is a document used to indicate a student’s commitment to participating in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) colleges and universities. The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution. The Celebratory Letter (for Division III athletes) indicates that a student has been accepted to and plans to attend an institution.  On May 18, the following St. Joes Seniors were honored:

Nia Christie – Track & Field – Clemson University – Division I

Laci Lewis – Soccer – University of Connecticut – Division I

Caitlin Vozzella – Acro-Tumbling – Quinnipiac University – Division I

Mia Alicea – Softball – American International College – Division II

Carson Arkay Leliever – Football – University of New Haven, Division II

Rafael Masbad – Swimming – Southern CT State University – Division II

Michael Brown – Baseball – Norwich University – Division III

Sydney Leifer – Soccer – St. Andrew’s University (Scotland)

Kyle Marcinko – Lacrosse – Johnson & Wales University – Division III

Brian Robertson – Football – Endicott College – Division III

Joseph Snyder – Football – Curry College – Division III

“We are so proud of the academic and athletic accomplishments of all our student-athletes,” remarked Kevin Butler, assistant principal for Athletics. “Their dedication, hard work and commitment both in the classroom and on the fields is a huge achievement. We wish them all the best next year in college and beyond.”

As part of their NLI, prospective student-athletes agree to attend the institution full-time for one academic year and the institution agrees to provide athletes financial aid for one academic year.

About St. Joseph High School

St. Joseph High School (SJHS) strives to be the premier college preparatory school in Southern Connecticut. The school provides a learning environment that embraces the Gospel values of the Roman Catholic faith and promotes a commitment to family and community. SJHS prepares young women and men to realize their potential, helps them to excel in higher education, and provides a foundation to guide them throughout their lives. St Joseph High School is a member of NCEA, NAIS, NEAS&C. 

(For more information, visit: www.sjcadets.org.)

STAMFORD—Isabella Martinez, a junior at Cardinal Kung Academy, has been named recipient of the Cardinal Kung Defender of Faith Award. The award is gifted by Agnes and Joseph Kung, Stamford, to a CKA student exemplifying the life and virtue of Ignatius Cardinal Kung.

Cardinal Kung was a priest and educator for years prior to becoming a bishop of Shanghai. He was named bishop just as Communists were coming to power in the region. The then-bishop was imprisoned for refusing to renounce allegiance to Rome and remained in jail, often solitary confinement, for more than 30 years. He was released from prison and subsequent house arrest for medical reasons and spent his final years in the Bridgeport diocese.

Agnes Kung, niece to the Cardinal and director of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, addressed the CKA student body on March 12, 2021, “Cardinal Kung loved education. He considered education very important, he loved classical education. He was courageous…study hard and…pray to him!”

Bella was chosen from a pool of student applicants who submitted an essay and personal testimony for review by a school committee. Mrs. Logsdail, principal, had words of praise for the junior: “Bella is the perfect choice because she displays a commitment to our church through service to others.  She has a virtuous reputation of being honest, trustworthy and hardworking and she is tireless in her organization of corporal works of mercy through the Society of Mother Teresa.” Others echoed this: “Bella is one of the most compassionate and kindest people I know,” said Marya Grimm, her fellow classmate and friend.

Bella’s application essay is below: 

Studying the faith has always been a profound way for me and fellow students to grow closer to God. Having Cardinal Kung Academy offer different types of Catholic theology, most importantly, doctrine, Scripture, and moral, enables students to ponder the faith. Every student is challenged to confront their faith and dig deeper into what it truly means to be a young Catholic man or woman. 

Because being faithful is a celebrated gift at Cardinal Kung, each student is encouraged to contribute to class discussions that aid in developing understandings of the Church. Teachers, in every class, ask bigger picture questions, such as,“Why are we still learning this today?” and “What effect will this have on my life?” With this approach, students naturally begin asking themselves these questions when doing homework, talking with friends at lunch, and participating in sports, giving their lives a better, more meaningful purpose in the eyes of Jesus. 

Without Doctrine, Scripture, and Moral Theology Classes available, I would continue through school, still searching for an identity. But with religion class, I have found my identity strengthened: I am a Catholic daughter of God, who loves me, and I Him. I have found comfort in His teachings, and I have found Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. I am made whole, and I am Christ’s Life within me.

The studies I have received from Cardinal Kung allow me to be firm in what I believe, to never doubt myself simply because of the opinion of others. My Faith is my stronghold, and it will guide me through times of great joy and times of great tribulation. Every subject I study prepares me for my life’s mission to serve Christ by following His steps. Just as Cardinal Kung himself, I wish to fight persecutions that may come my way and keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.

Works of charity have played a major role in my life. Helping people, whether in small ways or big ways, always matters and has an impact. Being able to help organize running the Society of Mother Teresa along with my brother with the support of my parents at Cardinal Kung Academy, I have been given the opportunity to bring food, clothes, and other practical supplies to the less fortunate of the Norwalk and Stamford area. Food drives have been held for Room To Grow Preschool in Stamford, helping families provide a delicious meal for Thanksgiving. In January, we, along with other families from Cardinal Kung, prepared over two-hundred sandwiches for the New Covenant Center in Stamford, hopefully bringing smiles to many just wanting a reason to. Over the past couple months, I turned to face the needs within my own family, volunteering to tutor four of my younger siblings during the week after school. My primary objective I made known to my brothers and sisters is that everything done, whether it be a failure or a success, must be offered up to the Lord. Another work we do is hold rosary rallies, defending traditional marriages and the unborn. Oftentimes, my family is the only one standing on the sidewalk, holding up signs and banisters while praying. It can be frightening, but with perseverance and trust, we are made stronger.

Every day, I aim to be countercultural to what the world says is acceptable. I wish to be at least a small beacon of light, fueled with the love Christ has given me to share with others. School allows me to have my beliefs reinforced from what I have learned from home and church, a privilege not warranted to much of the world. Truly, studying the faith provides me with the knowledge to combat opposition, and to help myself and others climb the ladder that leads to our bona fide home: Heaven.

(Cardinal Kung Academy is a diocesan school located in Stamford, Conn., which offers a classical curriculum to grades 7-12. For more information visit: www.cardinalkungacademy.org)

LAREDO, TX—Mrs. Selma Santos, principal of Blessed Sacrament Catholic School, Laredo, was brought to tears when she found about 200 cards, homemade by students living halfway across the country, in a box she recently received in the mail. When Sarah Gengoe, secretary of the Parents Association Board at Greenwich Catholic School in Connecticut, heard about how Texans were affected by February’s freezing weather, she contacted several superintendents across the state to ask if any of their schools had permanent damage caused by the weather. On behalf of the school’s administration, faculty, parents and students, she expressed a desire to offer support.

Dr. Guadalupe Perez, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Laredo, was among those contacted, and she shared the information with all of the schools in the diocese. Mrs. Santos then communicated with Mrs. Gengoe regarding a few urgent and unexpected repairs that were needed. A pipe going to the restroom broke, and four of the classrooms had parts of the ceiling that were falling in due to water damage.

Little did Mrs. Santos know, or expect, such a generous outpouring of love and financial assistance. Students from each grade level at Greenwich made cards with heartwarming messages to be handed out to the students from Blessed Sacrament.

Additionally, $7000 was raised for Blessed Sacrament through a “jean day” fundraiser. On jean days, students are asked to make a small donation as a result of being allowed to wear jeans with a school shirt instead of their school uniform.

“This is what we instill in students at our Catholic schools—giving. We promote service,” Mrs. Santos emotionally shared, humbled by the kindness shown by people whom they will likely never meet.

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