Learning Leads to Independence
Our students come to Saint Catherine Academy to learn, to belong, to be recognized. We meet each student where he or she is, helping them to develop their interpersonal and academic skills, and take advantage of vocational experiences—all of which builds life skills needed for greater independence.
With freshly painted halls, clean classrooms, and even a new picnic table in the playground, we welcomed students to a new school year at Saint Catherine Academy. View some photos of the first days of school.
“I like seeing my friends again. I like that we’ll be doing reading and writing and science—but not math!” said Anna Stowe from Sr. Cheryl’s class.
We welcomed two new students—Vincent from Rye, NY, and Antonio from Bridgeport, CT.
Patty Loh (pictured at right with her colleagues, Sr. Cheryl Driscoll and Joanne LaPorta) joined the teaching staff. Patty is a certified special education professional with 23 years of experience in special education. She has been associated with the Academy as a substitute teacher and volunteer at our vocational worksites. Patty also has advanced training in the Wilson Reading System, an intensive structured literacy program, and experience in TouchMath, both of which she intends to use in the classroom. “Setting concrete goals is important, so that each student can feel good about what they achieve. I want them to feel a positive atmosphere so that they can grow and thrive,” she said.
At the opening Convocation held for all Diocesan teachers and administrators before the first day of school, keynote speaker Dr. Tom Thibodeau inspired our teaching staff with his talk on “The Positive Power of Servant Leadership,” encouraging all to express gratitude and appreciation to their students and colleagues frequently, and to find and share the goodness of each day.
“It’s been a wonderful year, and we will be building on our positive experiences,” said Eric Spencer, Director of Education. “We’re looking to enhance our social studies and science curriculum and create more life skills opportunities for our students. We’ll also be creating a monthly newsletter in order to enhance communications with parents and the Saint Catherine Academy community.”
June 5th was a big day for Donte, Jack, and Jennifer, who graduated from Saint Catherine Academy during a special Mass celebrated by Msgr. Robert Weiss. “God gave each of us a different gift,” he said in his homily, “but the same God lives in us all.” He then acknowledged the special gifts each of the graduates had shared with their classmates, praising Jennifer as “the best spreader of peanut butter and a good friend to everyone”; Donte for “a smile that never stops and keeps us happy”; and Jack for “the best bow tie in the room—and when he hugs you, you know you’re loved.” Donte and Jennifer have both at the Academy for 11 years; Jack has been with us for the past year.
Msgr. Weiss also thanked the graduates’ parents for the “love with which you’ve accepted this special responsibility.”
“We all have a responsibility to bring happiness to this world, even when people are mean,” encouraged Msgr. Weiss. “We have to try to keep loving, knowing how much we are loved by God.”
Anna, Jaheim, and Ron gave the readings and intercessions, which were chosen by the graduates. Along with classmates and staff, members of the three families watched proudly as Dr. Steve Cheeseman, Superintendent of the Diocesan Schools, presented the Certificates of Completion. At the end of Mass, Jennifer led the group in singing her signature song, “This Little Light of Mine.”
A lunch and individual cakes for each graduate followed the Mass. Donte and Jack will continue in the Center’s Adult Day Program. View the photos