BY JOE MARVILLI
Every year, Catholic Schools Week is marked by days of events and activities to celebrate the Catholic school system and the individual schools. This year will be no different for the many institutes located in Queens.
There are more than 50 elementary schools and academies in Queens that are part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, which covers the Catholic parishes found within the two boroughs. Many if not all of them have plans for Catholic Schools Week. While it may be as simple as a Mass or a dress-down day for some, many schools go above and beyond to celebrate their community.
Both Most Precious Blood School in Astoria and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs are going to have events during each day of the week that incorporate a different segment of their parish. The celebrations will start on Sunday and run until Friday.
For MPB, the week will kick off with an open house on Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a carnival sponsored by eighth-grade students that afternoon. Those events are not just for members of the school, but for the surrounding community as well.
On Monday, Jan. 27, the students will have a pajama day, along with a special surprise. Tuesday will be a day for honoring language and literacy through a book sale. On Wednesday, parents will be invited spend time in their children’s classroom for Family Day.
“We really want to honor their choice in choosing a Catholic education,” assistant principal Donna Flynn said.
Thursday is dedicated to team-building. Each class will wear a different color and take part in activities. Flynn said that the colors are meant to show that while the students of MPB are all different, they are all on the same team. Friday will be a staff appreciation day for the non-teaching staff.
Flynn added that Catholic Schools Week overlaps with another celebration for the school, as MPB’s Early Childhood Center has been awarded accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
“That’s a huge honor. We’re celebrating that throughout the whole year,” Flynn said.
Our Lady Queen of Martyrs’ week of events will follow a routine, as it gives the students something to look forward to each year. The school will dedicate each day to different people, recognizing their role in the community. For student day, there will be a school-wide game and the children will dress in their pajamas. Parents will be given breakfast and will spend time in the classroom with their children another day during the week. There will also be a Culture Day, during which parents will make ethnic food and children will dress in clothing native to their culture. Teachers will be thanked and celebrated during a Mass.
“We recognize the teachers at that celebration and thank them for their service. Many of them have been here for more than 20 years,” principal Anne Zuschlag said.
In Woodside, the St. Sebastian parish will have a talk by guest speakers on religious vocation, a ceremony honoring Catholic war veterans, a breakfast for the school’s volunteers and a Nintendo Wii gaming event.
“It’s generally a time when we honor people in the community who support the school, our parents, our parents association the students, our alumni, the priests from the parish,” principal JoAnn Dolan said. “We name a distinguished graduate. It’s also a time for people to come into the school and see what we’re all about.”
Many other schools in Queens have their own traditions and celebrations for students to enjoy during Catholic Schools Week.
Ave Maria Catholic Academy will celebrate students with a Sundae on a Tuesday for Jan. 28. The school will follow that with a pep rally student-faculty volleyball game from 5 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 29.
Divine Mercy Catholic Academy is holding a talent show and pasta dinner at the end of the week on Jan. 31.
Holy Trinity School will have a mass and open house on Sunday and a student appreciation day on Thursday. Students may all wear their gym uniforms and there will be an optional McDonald’s lunch.
Immaculate Conception School will have an open house each day for most of the week. On Tuesday, it will hold its annual science fair from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. On Friday, it will hold a sports and game night from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
St. Stanislaus Kostka School in Maspeth will show its students appreciation by giving them the best gift of all, a half day.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, email@example.com, or @Joey788.