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.
“Who would have guessed that the King of Kings, Jesus the Christ, would be born upon the hay in a stable? God wanted this amazing news to get around.”
Saint Catherine Academy welcomed Christmas with music and a lot of love in our annual Christmas Pageant, “The Message of an Angel,” on December 21st. More than 200 family members and friends attended, including Bishop Caggiano, who remarked, “This pageant is the finest homily to show the meaning of Christmas.”
There was a role for everyone in the script written by Sr. Eileen Boffa, directed by Sr. Cheryl Driscoll, and assisted by all the Academy teachers and assistants. The Angel Gabriel (Anna) narrated the beloved story, joined by Philip, Jack, Luke, and Ron as shepherds; and Donte beaming as both shining star and one of the three kings along with Fabricio and Frank. The band of angels (Lizabeth, Nyah, and Lindsy) brought tidings of great joy to Mary (Jennifer), Joseph (Jaheim), and the newborn Jesus (beautifully “performed” by Ella).
Each student presented their own personal “gift” to Jesus—including “joy,” “helping,” “kindness,” “singing,” “smiling,” “affection,” “friendly,” “a loving heart”—and a rousing “Enthusiasm!” exclaimed by Ron.
The event was followed by a reception and visit from Santa, hosted by members of the Order of Malta, and the Knights of Columbus.
At the conclusion, Helen asked guests to consider what their gift to Jesus would be this Christmas. “Each of us is an innkeeper,” she said. “You have to decide whether you will make room for Jesus.”
It’s a consideration not just for the Christmas season, but for all year.
Saint Catherine Academy students and staff were excited to see each other again and get the new academic year rolling, settling into familiar routines and adjusting to new ones. Almost two weeks later we’ve already had our first fire drill—receiving a thumbs-up from the Fairfield Fire Department—and played our first kickball game, evoking big smiles and high-fives at every base.
Like new shoots in a garden, there are already signs of individual growth in every class—such as advancing to double-digit addition, starting a new reader, or to learning a new word in sign language. Some students have taken on new roles as leaders in their class, welcoming others and helping when they can. “They are becoming good friends to each other,” said Mrs. LaPorta.
Often the most enjoyable moments of the day are in the smallest activities, done together—singing attendance in Mrs. LaPorta’s class; picking out lockers in Sr. Cheryl’s; going to the grocery store for supplies with Mrs. Mitchell’s class; and enjoying a new reading corner with Mrs. McMahon. Mr. Matt is back with music class on Wednesdays, and students have been busy decorating project folders with our new Art teacher, Megan Collins.
“It’s been a smooth start,” noted Eric Spencer, our new principal, who has been getting to know everyone, greeting students in the morning, sitting in on classes, and meeting parents in the afternoons as they come to pick up their children. “In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve witnessed not only structured learning in the classroom, but daily acts of care and kindness. It’s obvious to me that students feel emotionally safe and nurtured by the staff. This is what makes Saint Catherine Academy such a special place.”