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.
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
“What I really enjoy about singing in the choir is singing together,” says Anna Stowe, a Saint Catherine Academy student who has been part of the Diocese of Bridgeport’s Youth Choir (otherwise known as “C4Y”) for the past year and a half. The choir, which boasts more than 120 members, was formed at Bishop Caggiano’s special request to bring youth together in community while cultivating their talents.
Anna, who is 15 (“almost 16”) and an alto, had always enjoyed singing at her school in Chicago. When the family moved to Connecticut a couple of years ago, Anna’s mother Jill contacted the C4Y director, Mary Higgins. Anna met Mrs. Higgins and auditioned with the National Anthem—not an easy song!
“I was a little nervous, but really excited,” said Anna. The next day Mrs. Higgins called to invite her to join.
The choir is a serious commitment, with rehearsals every Tuesday night for an hour and a half. Because members are spread across the Diocese, Mrs. Higgins travels to multiple locations over the week to rehearse in small groups.
At the Christmas concert, Anna was called forward to play the tambourine during a special song. “I watched her walk across the stage,” her mother said. “When Anna joined the choir, I wanted her to be part of the crowd—not treated special—but that she was made extra special at the concert was humbling.” Anna took it all in stride.