Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Trinity Catholic: A Living Legacy

STAMFORD—We are writing in response to The Stamford Advocate’s June 30 story, “Trinity Enrollment Drop Has No One Reason.”

The Diocese of Bridgeport’s transparency about the decline in enrollment has been more than matched by its commitment to the future of the school and its belief in the crucial role played by Trinity Catholic High School.

At Trinity, more than $8 million has been invested in our infrastructure, renovations, athletic fields and curriculum over the past three years alone. Bishop Frank Caggiano has visited the school, spoken with parents and personally unveiled plans for a new Trinity that will introduce exciting and contemporary learning opportunities that are second to none in preparing students for academic and career success.

But one thing won’t change — Trinity will remain authentically Catholic and academically excellent.

While Trinity faces multiple demographic, financial and academic challenges, many of the same issues are shared by public and private schools alike. However, much of the Advocate’s story was built on the comments of a few unhappy parents, and it left out the voices of those who are committed to Trinity Catholic High School and its future.

Mike Carlon, a Trinity Catholic alumnus and father of triplets who are seniors at Trinity, says there are “a number of reasons why we chose Trinity for our triplets — the high graduation rate, the strength and rigor of the academics, and the quality of the colleges and universities Trinity students get accepted to every year.”

“Trinity Catholic is not only a ‘college prep’ school, but a ‘life prep’ school,” states Liz Sweeney, a parent of three boys, two of whom have graduated from Trinity and one of whom is a junior here. “The teachers here are committed to excellence, where every teacher knows each student by name. They put extraordinary time, mentoring and ensuring each child’s success.”

Monica Loughran Welch, an alumnus of Stamford Catholic High (Trinity’s predecessor), raised her children in Trumbull. Monica believes the community has a role and a stake in Trinity’s success.

“It’s up to all of us to rebuild Trinity,” Welch says. “‘Angels’ and alumni can help enrollment by funding scholarships for those unable to pay full tuition. Our parishes can stand with Trinity and provide a Catholic pathway for our students. And cultural organizations can develop scholarships in support of various groups to ensure and maintain a rich diversity at Trinity.”

Perhaps parents of recent 2019 grad Maddie Ingram, Doug and Kate Ingram, said it best: “Maddie had teachers who cared about her not just academically, but as a whole person. Because of this and their guidance, Maddie was accepted at the college (Holy Cross) of her dreams.” She has a great foundation for heading to college, not only in her studies, but as a good person, a good citizen, and a good Catholic.”

These parents and students are not alone telling the continuing success story of Trinity Catholic in the lives of its students and the community. This year, 95 of Trinity’s 97 graduates in the Class of 2019 are going on to college. That is 97 percent of the class; historically in-line with the schools 95-100 percent college attendance rate, over the past two decades. This fall, Trinity’s Class of 2019 will be moving on to such prestigious universities as Brown, Purdue, Syracuse, Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama, Villanova, Maryland, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and many others.

These same students received more than $10 million in college scholarships and aid.

Likewise, the average Trinity student’s SATs (English and Math), outperform the Stamford Public Schools and surpass the statewide average. With the real cost of educating a high school student in Stamford approaching $20,000 per year, and private schools costing upward of $45,000 per year, Catholic education remains a bargain at less than half that price. It delivers great dividends for the community.

We are proud that our administration and leadership at Trinity are stronger than ever and well positioned to meet the challenges. We are entering our second year as a Trinity/diocesan team, bringing what we believe is a level of stability the school has not seen in many years. Bishop Caggiano and his entire diocesan team have demonstrated extraordinary support of Trinity during this period of reinvention.

If there is some uncertainty about the future of Trinity, it is more important than ever to tell story of the extraordinary measures taken by the diocese and school leaders to move Trinity forward. It is more important than ever to celebrate the diversity and creativity of our students, their academic achievement, and the profound belief we share in the power of Catholic education to transform lives — even of the students of different faiths who choose to come to the Trinity campus.

The story of Trinity Catholic is not simply important to alumni and current students; it is also a story about the power of faith, education and enduring values that have contributed so much to our young people and to the community. We invite all to join us in this living legacy.

By Patricia E. Brady and Scott E. Smith; Patricia E. Brady is Trinity Catholic’s head of school and Scott E. Smith is principal.

Catholic Education is Essential

From her first years as a cloistered nun through her tenure as headmistress at Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich and Executive Director of the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport, Sister Joan Magnetti, RSCJ, has been committed to quality Catholic education for all students.

For more than five decades, she has followed the vision of her order’s foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, who formed the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1800 to make the love of God known through the Sacred Heart and to restore Christian life in the aftermath of the French Revolution by educating rich young women…and poor young women.

Sister Magnetti often recalled the words of St. Madeleine Sophie, who said, “You educate a woman, you educate a family; you educate a family and you educate a civilization.”

After ten years, she is retiring as Executive Director of The Catholic Academy of Bridgeport, which serves more than 925 children, many of whom are from the poorest families in the county.

Sister Magnetti has been recognized nationally for her commitment to Catholic education, her leadership, her innovation and her compelling desire to work with inner-city children. As she puts it, “Every kid deserves a good education, and it shouldn’t have to depend on a wallet.”

Joan Magnetti is, by her admission, a “Jersey girl,” who grew up in West Englewood and attended public school until fifth grade and later Notre Dame Academy. She went to Manhattanville College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1965. A product of the 60s, she was influenced in large part by Vatican II and John F. Kennedy’s presidency and believed that young people could make a difference. It is a belief she has shared with generations of students throughout her career.

She became quite impressed with the Sisters of the Sacred Heart at Manhattanville, almost all of whom had PhDs. “They were an extraordinary group of women,” she says. “There was a kind of joyfulness about them, and they had a very large world view. They cared about us as students, and the charity and love they showed us made an impression.”

After graduating from Manhattanville, she entered the Society of the Sacred Heart, an international group of 3,000 religious women who seek to reveal the love of God through education.

“I knew education was their mission and the radicality of giving your life to God; I never thought of doing it differently,” she says. “I love our religious order. I grew into a relationship with God and realized his love for me and wanted to serve him. I never thought about a career. It was all about God.”

During those years, the sisters lived a cloistered life with five hours of prayer a day, which included Mass, the Divine Office chanted in Latin, meditation and meals in silence.

“Everything was very regimented,” she recalls. “You couldn’t even go home if your parents died or there was a graduation.”

Sister always had a close relationship with her brother Donald, who entered the Jesuits and received his doctorate in Near Eastern Studies from Johns Hopkins University. He taught the Old Testament and Semitic languages at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary before receiving his law degree and becoming a professor of torts and trusts at Fordham University School of Law.

With two children in religious orders, their parents Margaret and Gerald Magnetti would often joke, “You can’t say we didn’t do our part to support zero population growth.”

After Sister Joan finished her novitiate in 1968, she received her master’s degree in theology from Union Theological Seminary. She went to the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, where she taught history and religion and ran one of the houses on campus in addition to overseeing a CCD program for 450 children.

She later became headmistress at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Princeton, where she stayed for 13 years before returning to Greenwich as headmistress.

“I had a lot of work to do when I got there,” she recalls. “There was a prejudice about Catholic schools not being academically strong…and it was a convent school.”

There were only 295 girls in preschool to 12th grade and she faced fierce competition for enrollment from other private schools in the area.

“We worked hard and made it clear what our mission was. We were proud of being an allgirls Catholic school,” she said. “When I left, we had 777 kids, a $20 million endowment and a new middle school, science building and library. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun.”

After 19 years, she retired in 2009, and shortly afterward, Bishop William Lori called her. He knew about her commitment to inner-city education and recruited her for the new position of Executive Director for Catholic schools in Bridgeport. Bishop Frank J. Caggiano later created the model of one school on four campuses.

The Catholic Academy of Bridgeport, which comprises St. Andrew, St. Ann, St. Augustine and St. Raphael, recently received its 10-year accreditation. Sister said it has had a balanced budget for the past three years and an enrollment of more than 925 students.

With 80 percent of the students coming from homes near or below poverty level, the Academy awards $2 million in financial aid annually. Seventy percent of students are at or above the national norm in reading and math, and the high school graduation rate is 100 percent (compared with 63 percent for the Bridgeport public schools), and 99 percent go on to college.

AT RECENT FOUNDATIONS IN EDUCATION GALA Sister Joan Magnetti is congratulated by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano.

“I have always wanted things not just to survive, but to thrive,” she says. “So many schools throughout the country have closed, and I am thrilled with all that has gone on—we are thriving.”

She also points out that the Academy produces better results than the public schools with fewer resources. “I am very proud of our achievements and of our board,” she says. “I have never had such an incredible board in my career, and the bishop is one of our biggest supporters.”

Board Chair Bradford Evans, a senior advisor in Morgan Stanley’s investment banking division who has worked closely with Sister for the past ten years, says, “Besides being an outstanding leader and educator, Joan has been a wonderful colleague, mentor and friend who brings great warmth and wit to everything she does.”

Sister Magnetti, who lives in Bedford, N.Y., with several Sacred Heart sisters and her golden retriever Maddy, will stay on temporarily as coordinator of major gifts to assist incoming Executive Director Angela C. Pohlen.

“Catholic education is so essential—and not just for Roman Catholics,” Sister says, noting that 40 percent of the students are non-Catholic. “Our goal has always been to create an environment where kids can learn and find themselves and build strong character and have a sense that no matter what, they are loved.”

Looking back on her career, Sister recalls a favorite saying of St. Madeleine Sophie, who always told her colleagues that she would have founded the order all over again…for the sake of one child.

That “one child” has motivated Sister Joan throughout her 50 years in education. She has seen successes that can be measured in small ways and in large ways, and recently shared the comment of a girl graduating from St. Augustine’s, who wrote in her yearbook, “The most important thing I learned here is that God is always there to help me.”

And that, to Sister, was a monumental success.

By Joe Pisani

Immaculate High School Will Celebrate 30th Golf Outing at New Location 

DANBURY – Immaculate High School is proud to announce that its 30th Annual Immaculate High School Golf Outing, one of the longest-running golf tournaments in the Danbury area, will be on September 18, 2019.  Immaculate invites the public to attend the golf outing at its new location at Ridgewood Country Club in Danbury by registering at www.immaculatehs.org/golf
This year’s golf outing features 18 holes of golf on a beautiful course, cart fees, lunch, awards reception, dinner, silent auction, and 50/50 raffle; new this year is beer tasting at one of the holes sponsored by Reverie Brewing Company of Newtown, and there will be a few chances to win a brand new car for a hole-in-one. Foursomes, as well as individual golfers, are welcome. 
Sponsors are also invited to help support this special 30th anniversary of the popular Immaculate High School Golf Outing. All proceeds from the golf outing benefit Immaculate High School students and school programs. To reserve your spot and/or sponsor the IHS Golf Outing, go to www.immaculatehs.org/golf.  For more information contact Jeannie Demko, Event Coordinator, at jdemko@myimmaculatehs.org or chairpersons Scott Mitchell ‘81 at smitchell@myimmaculatehs.org and Sal Chieffalo ‘81at schieffalo@myimmaculatehs.org.
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 their spiritual development, personal moral commitments, and service to others.  Located in Danbury, CT, Immaculate High School is part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s parochial school system. 

Saint Mary School Students Spread Kindness at Ridgefield Library

RIDGEFIELD—Saint Mary School grade three and four students recently visited the Ridgefield Public Library to spread kindness by hiding bookmarks with positive messages in books in the Children’s Library.

Mary Tappan, SMS Librarian led students in brainstorming words of kindness and positivity to put on their bookmarks.  Students in Kindergarten-Grade 4 then made 110 bookmarks with drawings, decorations, and messages, which were laminated and had ribbons attached.  “Our students really enjoyed the creative process of making the bookmarks, and grades three and four were delighted to be chosen to hide the bookmarks in the Children’s Library books. I only wish we could be here to see a child open a book and find one!”

Students were also given a behind the scenes look at the Library by Shay Glass, Children’s Librarian, including how books are returned and sorted.

To schedule a tour of Saint Mary School, call 203.438.7288. To learn more about the admission process, click here.

Saint Mary School is located at 183 High Ridge Ave in the heart of Ridgefield.

Originally posted on Hamlet Hub.

Holy Trinity thrives with renewed educational, religious focus

SHELTON—Two years ago, limited enrollment forced the merger of St. Lawrence and St. Joseph’s schools in Shelton and St. Jude School in Monroe as the Roman Catholic Diocese fought to maintain its private school presence in the area.

The newly consolidated school — Holy Trinity Catholic Academy — struggled in its inaugural year, but the guidance of Lisa Lanni and her staff has helped to bring stability to the fledgling facility.

“We are alive … we are vibrant,” said Lanni in describing the school this past year, her first with Holy Trinity Catholic Academy, a pre-K through eighth grade school housed at St. Lawrence Church.

“It has been a great year,” added Lanni. “I came into a place where the parents are very loyal, dedicated and want only the best for their children. I have a group of seasoned teachers who are excellent role models, both in the academic world and the faith-based world.”

Lanni said that the initial consolidation left some families upset, and that anxiety carried over into year one, which prompted many to leave for other educational institutions — either private or public. So the longtime educator said her primary role coming in was re-educational stability as well as better communication between families and school leadership.

“There were a lot of hurt feelings as a result of the merger,” said Lanni. “Many families left because they were disappointed. But we have started that process of rebuilding, and we just need to get the word out. We are telling families, ‘What you wanted has occurred, just not in the first year.’ We can only get bigger and better. We will be the school of choice in this area.”

Holy Trinity Catholic Academy, which celebrated the graduation of 16 eighth-graders last week, presently has 179 students, but Lanni said her ideal enrollment would be 275 students.

To get to that enrollment total, Lanni said the school has become one of six schools of Diocese of Bridgeport to use the Personalized Learning Initiative — a program which designs the lesson plan to the needs of each student using technology and data.

Lanni said students take a series of tests — Edmentum Progress Monitoring Tests — three times during the school year, and the results are used to develop a “learning path for each student by pinpointing each students’ strengths and weaknesses.” Lanni said the school is 1-to-1, meaning a Chromebook for each student.

“We also use a station rotation model for math and English Language Arts students,” said Lanni. “Students are broken into small groups, and they rotate through various activities in the classroom for learning in math and ELA. It is student-driven.”

Lanni said her staff focuses on individualized learning and relationship building with the students. And the instructors take pride in the improvement of the technology program, which Lanni called one of the best in the area.

“We know the kids,” said Lanni. “They are not just little people in a classroom. We know the kids, we know the parents, the families. The relationships are what really drive the sustainability of Holy Trinity Catholic Academy.”

Lanni said while the educational offerings have improved, the religious instruction remains at the foundation of Holy Trinity Catholic Academy.

“We needed to stabilize the academics by improving what we were already doing but in a more consistent fashion,” said Lanni. “But our other priority is maintaining our Catholic identity. It was there in the school, but really left to the teachers in their individual rooms. We needed to create school-wide Catholic identity, which we have done with the help of an incredible staff.”

Lanni also credited the parent organization for helping with fund-raising activities, which focus more on bringing families together while also raising money in the process.

While academic improvements have been enjoyed, so, too, has athletic success, with several age groups capturing titles during the winter basketball season. Lanni also promoted the track and field squad, which held its meet just prior to the school year’s end.

Students also celebrated field day to close out the year, said Lanni, which she said was important to note because it was driven by the student council, which is in its first year of existence. Students also spent Friday, June 7, outside on the street cheering on the police during the Special Olympics torch run — just another event that brings the school community together.

“School needs to be about memories,” said Lanni. “Reading, writing, arithmetic — that learning can happen wherever students go to school in some shape or form. But it is all the extras that make us who we are. Kids should be able to look back and say I would do it all again if I could. That happens here now. Holy Trinity is home.”

By Brian Gioiele | Shelton Herald 

Our Lady of Fatima School Celebrates Commencement

WILTON—Our Lady of Fatima School-Wilton held its commencement exercises on Friday evening, June 14 for its graduating eighth-grade class. The event included a Mass celebrated by Reverend Damian Pielesz and the gospel and homily offered by Our Lady of Fatima pastor, Father Reginald Norman.  Featured commencement speakers were Fatima “graduating” parent, John Doyle and school principal, Stanley Steele. During the commencement, annual scholarships and awards were presented as follows:  Eugene Rooney Award:  Brian Andrew Weiss; School Board Scholarship Awards: Anais Melanie Salageanu and Isabela Sofia Davalos; Speer Performing Arts Award: Liliana Benanti and the Phillip Lauria Jr. Memorial Award: James Robert Doyle.

Members of the Class of 2019 include William Joseph Beggan, Hailey S. Bembridge, Liliana Benanti, Isabela Sofia Davalos, Dominic DiCiacco, James Robert Doyle, Bianka Edouard, Amelia Piera Fleming, Samantha Nicole Grimmer, Mary Agnes Highland, Ryan Xavier Lovas, Molly Elizabeth McLaughlin, Anais Melanie Salageanu, Raegan Hope Wauthier, Brian Andrew Weiss, Devyn W. Westcott and Jadyn C. Westcott.

The graduates will attend the following high schools in the fall: Academy of Information Technology & Engineering-Stamford, Immaculate High School-Danbury, Norwalk High School, Saint Joseph High School- Trumbull, and Wilton High School.

Our Lady of Fatima School is a Roman Catholic co-educational school offering Pre-Kindergarten 3 through Grade 8. Recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School, Our Lady of Fatima has a rich history of Catholic education and academic excellence spanning over 57 years. The school was selected as one of six Diocesan schools to participate in the Personalized Learning Initiative launched in fall 2018. The blended learning experience of the traditional classroom with updated technology infrastructure and programming provides each child with a personalized approach to learning. Our Lady of Fatima School is located at 225 Danbury Road, Wilton, Conn.

(For admissions information for fall 2019, please contact 203.762.8100 or visit www.fatimaschoolwilton.org.)

Photo caption:  Pictured with graduates include (left, front row) ELA Middle School Teacher, Danielle Mancuso; (right, middle row) Reverend Reginald Norman, Our Lady of Fatima Church Pastor and (left, back row) Stanley Steele, Principal. Photo Credit: Lifetouch

Catholic Academy Upper School in Move-in to New Space

STAMFORD—If a rainy move-in day is really a sign of good luck, then the Catholic Academy upper school has a really bright future in its store for it.

The long-anticipated move to the newly-renovated space in the west-wing of the Trinity Catholic building is becoming a reality. The process of finishing classrooms, moving desks, furniture, boxes and effects began Monday and continued into a rainy Tuesday, as rooms were being assigned and the blueprint for the new upper school began to emerge.

The space, blessed by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano on Pentecost Sunday,  is bright, airy, with beautiful exterior views of the courtyard and athletic fields outside modern, clean classrooms. In a mere eight weeks, a new era in Catholic education and Personalized Learning will commence at 948 Newfield Avenue.

The Catholic Academy of Stamford will also open this fall to the addition of a second principal for the school. Principal Natalia Cruz will be based out of the permanent Lower School campus at 1186 Newfield Avenue, while veteran Trinity Catholic vice-principal, Christine Wagner, will assume the helm of the upper school, grades 6-8, just down the road.

Immaculate High School Announces New Ice Hockey Coach and Return to an Independent Team

DANBURY—Beginning in the 2019-20 season, Immaculate High School will return to an independent ice hockey team with a new coach and an excited commitment to build an independent team and take on the challenges of the highly competitive world of Division 1 high school ice hockey.  

Winning Head Coach Brian Lugo will lead coaches and team members to put on their skates and new Mustang uniforms and take to the ice at the Danbury Ice Arena for practices and games beginning next winter. The team played as a co-op for several years with New Fairfield High School and went from a DIII to a DI classification when they earned a 13-5-3 record two years ago. Now, with many returning skaters and an experienced coach, the independent Mustang team is poised for another successful season.

Lugo has coached from mite level hockey through the junior level. When he was the coach for J.W. Mitchell High School in Port Richey, FL, the team won the State Championships two out of three years, and the team also went on to win Nationals and now has many players currently playing D1 and D3 college hockey with one player drafted into the NHL. Also, in 2013 his U16 travel team won Nationals, and he coached the first Midget team in Florida to ever win Nationals. Back up in the Northeast, Lugo coached for the Yale Youth team in 2018 and his U12 team won States while his U14 team won States and then went on to win New England Regionals.

“The co-op team was a great experience and allowed student-athletes to play on a high school team, and we are grateful for all that New Fairfield High School athletics and players contributed to the team and its high level of play,” said Coach Lugo. “The goal now is to build the chemistry in one school and one place the players can call home and find the perfect balance between academics and athletics. Being an independent team allows the players the opportunity to better compete for State titles,” he said.

Lugo’s goal for the first year is to teach the new systems and style of hockey the team will be playing. “Immaculate High School has a great reputation for academics; my goal is to bring and build up a program the school can be proud of. “‘Will always beats skill, unless skill works with will.’ I want to build a program that supports the school as well as have huge community involvement, including among alumni. We want the community to see what the players are doing, and come out and support a program the city, as well as parents and alumni, can be proud of and see the legacy continue,” Coach Lugo explained.

Lugo pointed out that the team already has some great assets in place, including a “fantastic” locker room, an equipment repair and sharpening center and a nutrition area, and an arena that will be refurbished under new management. “We will train harder than ever before, and we take players that want to succeed and put them in a system that gives them the opportunity to succeed, and make everyone proud,” he said.

Lugo began coaching ice hockey 18 years ago when his son, who now plays for Post University, began playing the sport. He is now happy to take his talents, experience and excitement to the return of the independent Immaculate High School Ice Hockey Team, where the student-athletes, parents, alumni and school staff have already welcomed him.

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 their spiritual development, personal moral commitments and service to others.  Located in Danbury, Conn., Immaculate High School is part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s parochial school system.

Trinity Students Excel

STAMFORD—The summer months leave no shortage of news from Trinity Catholic! The following are two recent alumni stories and one future alumni story.

Trinity’s Willette in West Point Academy Program

Our own Fiona Willette took on a challenge of a different kind last weekend.

West Point Military Academy Summer Leadership Experience is a highly competitive program that gives high school juniors a one-week immersive experience as a cadet to inform their college selection decision. SLE is a fast-paced program consisting of academic classes, military training, physical fitness training, and intramural athletics. 

During the week, Fiona was part of a squad with students from all over the US who woke up at 4:45 am every day for physical training, followed by classes or military training and group activities until 10 pm each day. The Candidate Fitness Assessment was also administered to all participants, which is a requirement for admission to any military school and Fiona passed it. Timed sit ups, push ups, chin ups and running ensure that all prospective applicants are physically able to succeed in a military environment.

To all, keep the experiences coming and we’ll share them with everyone.

How Trinity Changed My Life 

2018 Grad Broncati Headed to Rutgers 

“Navigating through high school can be uniquely challenging for most kids.” Thus began a heartfelt note to the Trinity Administration from Trinity alumni parents Anthony and Elizabeth Broncati. Not only did changing high schools mid-stream (for son David ) prove to be a great decision, it “changed the entire path for our son’s life”, Elizabeth Broncati stated.

Following graduation last year, David Broncati decided to do a prep year at nearby St. Thomas More. It made sense for David. After a great experience his Junior and Senior years at Trinity, this definitive student athlete furthered his college readiness with the decision.

In the fall of 2019, former-Crusader David Broncati will enter Rutgers University as a preferred walk-on as kicker for the Scarlet Knights.

“David is a true a gentleman,” states his former guidance counselor John Carrigan. “A consummate athlete, David raises the tide for everyone. His faith, his confidence becomes infectious to his teammates, in every situation.”

The Broncatis credit “caring teachers… guidance counselors… those who willingly provided extra help…encouragement and guidance”. Their contributions to David’s life helped him play two sports while at Trinity (baseball as well). He continued to improve in his studies, and made the Deans List and Honor Roll at St. Thomas More before landing at Rutgers.

“This is the finest example I’ve seen of the best bond between home and school, parents, teachers, coaches and administration,” adds John. “David made Trinity his home.”

David will be studying Sports Management and or Turf Management at Rutgers. “Anything in the field of sports” he adds.

We wish David all the success in his world come this fall and beyond.

Pensiero Awarded UNICO National Scholarship

Recently-graduated senior, Sam Pensiero, recently received a $1,000 scholarship from the UNICO National, Inc. Stamford Chapter. The award was presented at a family-style awards night held last Wednesday at The Minturnese Social Club in Stamford.

Sam was among seven Stamford seniors from Stamford high schools who received the scholarships during the Stamford Chapter’s annual awards dinner. The awards were presented by UNICO Coordinator and VP, Mrs. Josie Costa Weller. The event was also attended by Sam’s proud parents, Keith and Liz, along with his guidance counselor, Ms. Kathryn Devine and TCHS Guidance Registrar, Miss Stephanie Smith-Morton.

Sam will be attending Quinnipiac University in the fall. Congratulations to Sam and his family!

Bishop Blesses New Academy Upper School

STAMFORD—On a bright beautiful morning that was Pentecost Sunday 2019, Bishop Caggiano blessed the newly-renovated classroom and lab space that will house the Catholic Academy’s Upper School this fall.

The mood was reflective and anticipatory as several hundred people attended mass at St. Gabriel’s church. This special mass was presided over by Bishop Caggiano, whose homily centered around the gift of the Holy Spirit commemorated this day. Likening the Spirit’s enabling of the first disciples to the hope for The Catholic Academy, the Bishop then led a procession up the driveway to the new Upper School space.

As the faithful gathered first outside the new building at the entrance to what is currently the Trinity Catholic High School courtyard, he read a special prayer for the school’s dedication, before blessing those gathered. Head of School Pat Brady, Lower School Principal Natalia Cruz, Upper School Principal Christine Wagner, Assistant Superintent of Schools Stacey Steuber and a dozen or so faculty and staff were in attendance. The Bishop, escorted by Deacon Michael Clarke and others, then proceeded inside to bless the hallways and each classroom in the new Upper School west wing.

A reception was held following the Blessing. The school will be formally dedicated and opened in the fall as students arrive. Classroom furniture and furnishings will begin to move-in next week. The exterior walkways and entrance to the new school are expected to be completed during the summer, prior to school’s opening.

May God bless the Catholic Academy of Stamford, all its faculty and staff, parents and students as we near a new beginning.

Diocesan Schools Celebrate Graduation

Four out of five of our diocesan schools have recently celebrated graduation. A heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2019!

Immaculate High School Class of 2019: Graduation and Top Ten Seniors

DANBURY—Immaculate High School graduated 124 seniors at its Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, June 1 at the Western Connecticut State University O’Neill Center in Danbury, Conn.

Sarah Bohling of Brookfield is the Class of 2019’s Valedictorian and Kristen Cirone of Newtown and Wenqi Angela Lai of Brewster are the Co-Salutatorians and were all recognized at the ceremony. Of the 124 members of the Class of 2019, 100% of those students who applied to colleges and universities were accepted and were awarded college scholarships and grants totaling $26 million. The top ten percent of students achieved a SAT score average of 1424, and nearly three-quarters of the class earned an average GPA of 3.5 or higher. At the graduation ceremony, President Mary Maloney told the graduates to “Empower yourself to empower others and never forget that your success is not determined by how much you own but by how much you live and love.”

Valedictorian Sarah Bohling will attend the University of Notre Dame as a Stamps Scholar and as a member of the Glynn Family Honors Society and major in Biochemistry. Sarah was an outstanding student at Immaculate, earning Distinguished Honors for her grades while successfully taking nine AP courses in her last two years of high school; additionally, she scored a perfect 800 on the SAT math section and a perfect composite score of 36 for the ACTs. At Immaculate, Sarah was a member of the National Honor Society, the Science National Honor Society and the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society. She received numerous awards and honors, including the Isabelle T. Farrington Award, the Campus Ministry Outstanding Participation Award, the President’s Volunteer Service Award, the President’s Education Award, the Harvard Prize Book Award and was World Language Student of the Month. Sarah was an active member of the school’s Campus Ministry, Key Club, She’s the First Chapter and Model UN team, and was a cheerleader.

Co-Salutatorian Kristen Cirone will attend the University of Notre Dame and major in Accounting and Finance. At Immaculate, Kristen earned Distinguished Honors all four years of high school and was a member of the National Honor Society and the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society. Kristen received the Diocese of Bridgeport’s St. Sebastian Award, the Fairfield University Book Award and was captain of the IHS varsity field hockey, girls basketball and girls lacrosse teams (she helped lead the field hockey and lacrosse teams to the All Patriot Division and was a key member of the 2019 field hockey team that won the Class S State Championship). Kristen was also a Student Ambassador, International Student Mentor, Class Secretary and a member of several extra-curricular clubs including Key Club, Campus Ministry, Peer Leadership Club, Special Friends Club, Film Club and Math Club.

Co-Salutatorian Wenqi Angela Lai will attend Washington University in St. Louis and major in Architecture. Wenqi also received Distinguished Honors at Immaculate and was a member of the Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society and the Science Honor Society. She received the President’s Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence and the Cornell Book Award. At Immaculate Wenqi was a member of the Art Club, the International Club, the Math League and Model UN. A clarinet performer who played in several youth orchestras, Wenqi also loves to visit museums and document her experiences—she visited over 60 museums in more than 20 cities across the world and secured her impressions by writing travel notes that included illustrations and still-life sketches.

Completing the top ten graduating senior list are Ryan Fanella of New Milford (University of Notre Dame for Finance), Angela Saidman of Bethel (Columbia University for Economics), Qianer Kris Lu of Ridgefield (UC San Diego for Accounting/Math/Statistics), Sophia Pilla of Ridgefield (University of Georgia for Veterinary Medicine), Meizhi Susan Zhao of Brookfield (University of Washington, Undeclared), Rodolph Antonios of Danbury (College of the Holy Cross for Biology) and Victoria McFarlin of Danbury (Springfield College for Physical Therapy).

Rodolph Antonios was also named Immaculate High School’s Student of the Year for the 2018-19 school year. Rodolph 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.

This graduating class contributed over 6,050 hours to a school-wide total of 24,762 hours of community service and several students were honored by the Danbury Exchange Club, the Danbury Rotary Club and the Diocese of Bridgeport for their service and academic achievements. Student-athletes received numerous individual athletic SWC and CIAC leadership and sportsmanship recognitions and the girls field hockey team, girls cross country team and boys cross country team won SWC and/or State Championships. Students were honored with academic, music and art awards, including Commendations from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, Connecticut High School Fine Arts Awards, Halo Theater Awards and more. Other seniors were part of the Brave Engineers Team and Mock Trial teams that won major competitions.

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 parochial school system.


St. Joseph Graduates 197 Students At 57th Commencement Ceremony

TRUMBULL—St. Joseph High School, southern Connecticut’s premier college preparatory school, is proud to announce that on June 1, 2019, the school graduated 197 students who boast a 100 percent college acceptance rate and have collectively earned nearly 25 million dollars in college scholarships.

The 2019 Commencement was held at Dalling Field on the school’s campus. Dr. Steven F Cheeseman, superintendent of schools (Diocese of Bridgeport), Ms. Vicki A Tesoro, first selectman (Town of Trumbull) and Mr. Christopher Wilson, chairman of the board (St Joseph High School) were in attendance and offered congratulatory remarks and prayers to all in attendance.

In addition, Anna Argulian and Christopher Rosetti, this year’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian respectively, shared inspiring and heartfelt words with their peers.

“I know we as a class, as we traverse this globe, are undoubtedly going to leave it better than before,” remarked Valedictorian Anna Argulian, who delivered the farewell address. “That’s our charge. That’s our mission. I find this moment to be quite poignant and I’m so grateful to be standing here today at the origin of a bright, bright future.”

“This Class of 2019 have won for themselves nearly 25 Million dollars in grants and scholarships to some of the finest schools in the country,” noted head of school, Dr. William Fitzgerald. “They are each remarkable and special to our St. Joes community and we look forward to watching them grow in the future.”

“St. Joseph High School is a very special place,” commented Dr. James Keane, principal. “The hard work and dedication of our students has truly paid off and we couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments they have achieved.”

In September 2019, St. Joseph High School expects an enrollment of 818 students. The 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. In 2017, St. Joseph High School opened a Wetlands and Nature Boardwalk; in 2018, a brand new Health & Wellness Center; and in 2019, twenty senior athletes signed NCAA Letters of Intent—a new record! Thanks to the generosity of our students, families, alumni and friends, the school continues to grow into great each and every day.

For additional photos of St. Joseph High School’s various Commencement activities, including Class Day, Baccalaureate Mass, or Graduation, visit SJCadets.SmugMug.com.

 

Immaculate High School dedicates its renovated chapel to Monsignor John B. Hossan

DANBURY—At a special Mass celebration recently, Immaculate High School dedicated its renovated Chapel to the late Monsignor John B. Hossan, the founding principal of Immaculate High School.

“For over 50 years, Mass has been celebrated in this Chapel. This renovation assures that our school community will be able to celebrate Mass here for many years to come. Our founding principal, Msgr. Hossan, was instrumental in constructing this foundational place for prayer and reflection. This dedication honors his legacy and dedication to the charism of our school,” said Mary Maloney, president of Immaculate High School.

The renovation included the installation of two new stained-glass windows depicting the Immaculate Heart of Mother Mary and of Saint Joseph. The Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, came to Immaculate High School earlier in the month to bless the windows in front of faculty, staff and friends. The windows were a gift from Immaculate alumna Jo-Anne (Tomanio) Price ’66 and will provide a beautiful and reverent backdrop for students’ daily Adoration, Masses, reflection and prayer.

During the dedication, the Hossan family donated Msgr. Hossan’s personal chalice, which he received the day of his ordination from his parents. This special chalice will be used at future Masses to remind everyone of Monsignor Hossan’s undying love for Immaculate and its 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 allows students to focus on academic excellence, spiritual development, personal commitments and service to others. Located in Danbury, Conn., Immaculate High School is part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s parochial school system. 

(For more information visit: https://www.immaculatehs.org/.)

Good News at Trinity Catholic Commencement

STAMFORD- Superintendent of Diocesan Schools Dr. Steven Cheeseman brought good news to Trinity High School Commencement Ceremony and to the entire high school community this evening when he announced that Trinity would remain open and move forward with plans for the future.

The auditorium erupted in joy and celebration when Dr. Cheeseman stepped to the microphone at the beginning of the ceremony and announced that he had spoken to Bishop Frank Caggiano on the way to Stamford and had good news.

“I’m happy to say that the Bishop asked me to announce that this will not be the last graduation ceremony at Trinity.,” Dr. Cheeseman said, as the hall filled with cheers.

Dr. Cheeseman and Bishop Frank J. Caggiano met with parents on May 23 and urged them to register their students as soon as possible to help the diocese plan for the new school year in the face of declining enrollment and a growing deficit for operations. The positive response of parents in the past week led to the Bishop’s decision to continue the rebuilding effort.

During the ceremony, Jessica Connolly and Olivia were recognized as the school’s 2019 Valedictorian and Salutatorian respectively.

In attaining the highest academic record among her class, Jessica Connolly delivered the Valedictorian’s address. She earned the highest average in Religion, Honors Biology, and Honors World Studies all four years of high school. She was a member of the National Honor Society her Junior and Senior years. Jessica was a member of the Trinity varsity tennis team for the past three years. She also played volleyball her Freshmen and Sophomore years.

Outside of school, Jessica has danced competitively for over 12 years at the Pender Keady Academy of Irish Dance where she qualified for the World Championships seven times between 2012-2118. She will be attending Villanova University in the fall as a Business Major.

Olivia Jania, Salutatorian at Trinity this year, was awarded Honors with Distinction every quarter of her high school career (Fall 2015-May 2019). She had the highest average and award in Economics and Service. Olivia played volleyball all four years of high school, was a member of the National Honor Society, an Ambassador and Student Council VP her senior year.

Olivia was nominated to be one of the “Top Teens to Watch” in Moffly Media’s 2019 annual student edition. She will be attending Villanova University this fall.

Patricia E. Brady, Head of School for Trinity Catholic and The Catholic Academy of Stamford said of the pair, “Jessica and Olivia worked diligently to achieve their best while at Trinity. They are leaders and accomplished students who know what they want in life and pursue it.”

“We are proud of Jessica and Olivia’s accomplishments here at Trinity,” states Principal Scott Smith. “They represent the very best of the Trinity Class of 2019 and we are proud of what they will accomplish in their future.”

Trinity Catholic High School is one of five diocesan high schools. The 40-acre campus will also include the Catholic Academy of Stamford upper school (grades 6-8), which is scheduled to move into a newly renovated space in the Trinity building this fall 2019-20 school year.

The Cardinal Kung Academy, launched last Fall,  is a division of Trinity Catholic High School. Its mission is to support parents in their role as primary educators of their children, by providing a Catholic classical honors-track college-preparatory high school education at a reasonable cost.

Last month Bishop Caggiano announced a new scholarship opportunity to make Catholic high school education at Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford more affordable and available to more families in lower Fairfield County.

The new Bishop’s Scholarship Initiative for 2019 will award a total of $12,000 ($3,000 for each of four years) to any Catholic student who is currently an 8th-grade student in good standing at one of the five Catholic elementary and middle schools in the area.

An additional scholarship of up to $8,000 ($2,000 for each of 4 years) is available to any student who qualifies for the incoming 9th-grade scholarship and has a sibling currently enrolled in any diocese of Bridgeport Catholic elementary or high school.

Trinity is the only diocesan-sponsored Catholic high school in the greater Stamford area. While most students are from Stamford, it also draws students from Norwalk, New Canaan and Westchester County.

UPDATED 5/31/2019 3:20pm:

Statement from Bishop Caggiano

My friends, you may have heard the good news last night about Trinity Catholic High School, but for those of you that haven’t, allow me to definitively say that I am pleased to announce that Trinity Catholic High School will remain open in the 2019-2020 school year.
I am grateful to the staff of Trinity Catholic, and of the Diocese of Bridgeport Superintendent’s Office for their tireless work and dedication to the mission of Catholic education in Stamford. I am also thankful to the Trinity Catholic High School community that rallied behind this new an innovative model of Catholic education.
Most of all though, I am grateful to Our Lady for her powerful and undeniable intercession. For it is through Trinity that we will bring the people of Stamford and beyond closer to her son, Jesus.
My friends, our work has only just begun. A host of exciting and transformational possibilities lies in front of us, and we will encounter them together. Let us recommit ourselves to a new, vibrant, and thriving Trinity Catholic High School that will help our students live and spread the Gospel.

 

 

(Trinity Catholic High School is located at 926 Newfield Ave, Stamford, Conn. 06905
Phone: 203.322.3401. Online: www.trinitycatholic.org.)

Nelson Mingachos New Athletic Director At Immaculate High School

DANBURY—Nelson Mingachos, an IHS alumnus from the Class of 1989, current boys basketball and girls soccer coach, and acting Athletic Director (AD) since December 2018, has been appointed to the position of Athletic Director effective July 1.
A head coach at Immaculate since 2003, Mingachos was named SWC Coach of the Year six times, including last year when he received the SWC Coach of the Year for Girls Soccer honor after leading the team to win the SWC Championship. He was also named Coach of the Year by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, the CT Sports Writer Alliance and by the Danbury News-Times (four times). Last year Mingachos coached the IHS boys basketball team to the ultimate victory by winning the CIAC Division II State Championship, and ended up only one game away from the State Division I title this year.
Mingachos has coached the IHS girls soccer teams to four SWC Championships and ten CIAC State Championships, and the boys basketball team to three CIAC State Championships and an SWC Championship since he began head coaching the teams in 2003.
His experience and insight as an Immaculate athlete, alumnus and coach will prove invaluable as he guides the Mustang Athletics Department. “Watching and helping the student-athletes grow, develop and succeed over their four years here is incredible, and I look forward to working with all the talented student-athletes and coaches,” said Mingachos.
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 allows students to focus on academic excellence, spiritual development, personal commitments and service to others.  Located in Danbury, CT, Immaculate High School is part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s parochial school system.

Breakfast of Champions Highlights Student Achievement

BRIDGEPORT—“You are here because you have excelled…you have distinguished yourselves and for that we are truly proud of you,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano, addressing the elementary and high school students gathered at this year’s annual Breakfast of Champions.

Hundreds of invited guests including pastors, administrators and parents attended the breakfast in Queen of Saints Hall at the Catholic Center in Bridgeport to honor the awardees who received either the St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Sebastian award.

Elementary and high school students chosen for the St. Thomas Aquinas award demonstrated academic excellence and lived faith through service to others. High school recipients selected for the St. Sebastian Award have shown leadership in sports as captain of an athletic team and have achieved success in that particular sport.

Dr. Steve Cheeseman, superintendent of schools, congratulated the boys and girls for their achievements, saying, “they did not get here alone.”

Bishop Caggiano expounded upon that by thanking all the parents, teachers, administration and pastors in attendance for their continued support of the students. “Your schools don’t run on their own,” he said. “They run because they have dedicated women and men who lead them…because they love you very much and want you to succeed in every way possible…that’s what makes Catholic education truly Catholic.”

“We live in challenging times,” the bishop addressed the parents, “I cannot imagine what these young people face…we are grateful that you entrust your young people to us.”

“We strive to create environments that are supportive of the whole child,” said the bishop, “so we can help mold them in mind, body and spirit in the image of Jesus Christ.”

The bishop defined a champion as a person who surpasses all his or her rivals. “But it has a much more important meaning,” the bishop continued.

“A champion is someone who will be given a great prize,” the bishop addressed the students. “You my friends are champions because you have had the opportunity to come into a Catholic school so that you could be set to earn, to be given, to be awarded, to be graced, the prize of everlasting life.”

“To be a Catholic school means we are Catholic first,” the bishop explained, “Jesus Christ at the center of all that we do. What we are leading you forward to do is to meet Jesus in the glory of heaven and that’s a prize worth studying for, fighting for and living your life for.”

(To learn more about Diocese of Bridgeport Catholic Schools visit www.dioceseofbridgeportcatholicschools.com)

Candid Photos by Amy Mortensen

Group Photos by Amy Mortensen


St. Thomas Aquinas Award – 8th Grade Recipients

First NameLast NameSchool
LuisBreaAll Saints Catholic School
EdenCheungThe Catholic Academy of Stamford
DominicChilaSt. Joseph School
AndrewCimminoSt. Thomas Aquinas School
IsabellaCoronaSt. Rose of Lima School
KatieDineenSt. Catherine of Siena School
AidenDoolabhSt. Gregory the Great School
JamesDoyleOur Lady of Fatima School
MichelleFerroneGreenwich Catholic School
AlexanderGodinoSt. Joseph Catholic Academy
SkylerJohansenSt. Mark School
LichelJohnstonAssumption Catholic School
MeghanKopchickHoly Trinity Catholic Academy
AnnaKopecSt. Mary School, Bethel
CarolineManciniSt. Aloysius School
MadisonMooreSt. Andrew Academy
AnthonyNgoSt. Augustine Academy
ClarissaSantaSt. Ann Academy
BriannaSeabornSt James School
SofiaTestaSaint Theresa School
CamilToscanoSt Peter School
MatthewUySaint Mary School, Ridgefield

St. Thomas Aquinas Award – 12th Grade Recipients

First NameLast NameSchool
ThomasAlvarezTrinity Catholic High School
JeremiahAndreKolbe Cathedral High School
AidanKileySt Joseph High School
TylerOuelletteNotre Dame High School
SaraReissImmaculate High School

St. Sebastian Award – 12th Grade Recipients

First NameLast NameSchoolSport(s)
KristenCironeImmaculate High SchoolField Hockey
MackenzyGardenImmaculate High SchoolField Hockey
MadisonHalasImmaculate High SchoolField Hockey
SarahJablonskiTrinity Catholic High SchoolBasketball, Softball and Volleyball
OliviaJohnsonSt Joseph High SchoolIndoor Track & Field
JesseLawsonSt Joseph High SchoolFootball
AceLuziettiSt Joseph High SchoolFootball
TaylorMascettaImmaculate High SchoolGirls Cross Country
ParkerMcKenzieImmaculate High SchoolBoys Cross Country
RobertMihalySt Joseph High SchoolFootball
PhilPasmegSt Joseph High SchoolFootball
LoganPlaistedImmaculate High SchoolBoys Cross Country
AngelaSaidmanImmaculate High SchoolGirls Cross Country
DavidSummersSt Joseph High SchoolFootball
DarrenWarrenSt Joseph High SchoolFootball