Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Record Fundraiser for Inner-City School

|   By Pat Hennessy
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GREENWICH—Polpo Restaurant Greenwich hosted donors of the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport at a sparkling dinner held the evening of September 25. Over 50 donors to the Academy joined together for the event. The school serves more than 900 students in the City of Bridgeport and encompasses four campuses: Sts. Andrew, Ann, Augustine and Raphael.

“I’m fired up about what we’re doing academically,” said Bradford Evans of Southport, Board Chair of the Academy. “I’ve been involved with the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport for seven years, and this is the most exciting year academically.” He mentioned in particular the new collaboration of the Academy with The Southport School, which provides evidence-based approaches for children who learn differently, and a grant from the Wilton-based Tauck Family Foundation to help develop social-emotional learning skills necessary for students to become “Leaders of Tomorrow.”

During the evening, guests were invited to examine first-hand accounts written by current students and peruse a list of colleges and universities, from Cornell to Yale, attended by graduates of the Academy. They also heard from Maivi Nguyen, a graduate of the St. Augustine campus now enrolled in the Distinguished Scholar’s Program at Notre Dame High School in Fairfield.

Sister Joan Magnetti, rscj, Executive Director of the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport, called forward Ron and Dominque Rosa, owners of Polpo, for special thanks for their generosity in hosting this funding dinner for the past five years. “They have philanthropy in their DNA,” said Sister Magnetti. “It’s a great mission and a great work you do for these children,” Ron Rosa said in reply. The Academy has been holding an Annual Fall Dinner since 2011, and to date the event has raised more than $1 million over the years for the Bridgeport students.

Toward the end of the evening, Jim Colica of Greenwich, who is the retired Senior Vice President of Global Risk Management for GE Capital, spoke passionately about the Leaders of Tomorrow program and sponsorship opportunities. He and his wife, Kathy, have been Leaders of Tomorrow sponsors since 2015. They started by sponsoring four students and that number grew to seven through the years. “By the end of the tonight we plan on making that number 10,” Mr. Colica emphatically said. “Children are our future,” he said. “All children deserve a chance to flourish, whatever life has given them.”

A robust “Hands Up for Scholarship” followed led by Academy Board Vice Chair Jim Bailey, a former resident of New Canaan who currently resides in Naples, Fla. After 16 sponsorships at $5,000 each were taken, Paul and Anne-Marie Queally of New Canaan challenged the guests to take 10 or more from that point on. If that could be achieved, they generously offered to match that money raised dollar for dollar. Thirteen additional scholarships were taken. This, combined with other monies raised prior to the event, brought the total raised to $350,000, a record fundraiser for the Academy. All money will go to support students in the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport, prompting Bailey to call it “The greatest event we’ve ever had.”