TRUMBULL — For Christina Buck, the school year ended with her saying goodbye to 25 amazing students at St. Catherine of Siena School, who were on their way to the big time … first grade.
“This year was extra special for me as it was my first year teaching kindergarten,” she said at the end-of-year celebration. “We started the year wearing masks every day, and thankfully we were able to take them off for the second half of the school year.”
In her comments, she thanked her full-time aide, Mrs. Platt “for keeping the kids on track during a lesson and for all of her fun arts and crafts projects.” She also thanked pastor Fr. Joseph Marcello “for all he does for our school and church,” Principal Rachel Ambrosio for her support and encouragement, and newly appointed Deacon Ferry Galbert for helping set up for the assembly.
At the event on June 9, parents and grandparents gathered in the McClinch Family Center at the Parish of St. Catherine of Siena.
Principal Ambrosio thanked the adults for attending the assembly and praised the work of Mrs. Buck and Mrs. Platt.
“Kindergarten is a crucial year in a child’s development,” she said. “It is a time of wonder and joy. Our kindergarteners are on their way to first grade, having learned many new academic skills in reading, writing and math, but perhaps the most important lessons they learned were about working together, being kind, and trusting God.”
She said that faith, academics and community set St. Catherine of Siena apart and that students come from Trumbull, Shelton, Stratford, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Monroe and other neighboring towns.
“The kindergarten program is special because our teacher and assistant teacher work to create an environment that blends academic rigor with Catholic faith and values, as well as the education of the whole child — mind, body, spirit,” Mrs. Ambrosio said. “They take a personalized learning approach so that each student’s individual needs are met.”
St. Catherine of Siena School, which opened in 1965, “exists to provide a strong moral, religious, and academic education in the tradition of the Catholic Church,” the mission statement says. “The school environment instills belief and trust in God, respect of self and others, academic excellence, and a lifelong appreciation of learning within a kind and loving community.”
“One step into the building, and you will feel a strong sense of community and a positive school culture,” Mrs. Ambrosio said. “We believe that educating a child to be a good citizen and to be strong in faith is as important as providing a strong academic foundation. We promote Catholic values and teachings and try to share the love of Christ with all we meet.”
The highlights of the “graduation” included students singing a special kindergarten rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” with lyrics that said, “Teachers in a spotless room, the smell of paint and Elmer’s Glue, trying to get through the day that goes on and on and on and on…”
It was followed by “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story and “Movin’ on to First Grade,” during which students put on sunglasses to affect a “cool first-grader look.”
Artwork by the students was displayed behind the stage, and the children painted portraits of themselves snorkeling over summer vacation.
Mrs. Buck summed up the purpose of kindergarten and said it was an opportunity for children “to learn while they were having fun. And we had a lot of fun learning this year!”
Principal Ambrosio recited lyrics from the song, “The Kindergarten Wall,” which she said “remind us of the most important lessons we can all learn in kindergarten and from kindergarteners:”
“Of all you learn here, remember this the best
Don’t hurt each other and clean up your mess.
Take a nap every day, wash before you eat
Hold hands, stick together,
Look before you cross the street.
Remember the seed in the little paper cup,
First the root goes down, then the plant grows up!”
By Joseph Pisani