Let us remember…


Over the past two months, if you haven’t looked at, posted, recieved a text featuring, or laughed over a coronavirs themed meme, then I’m going to assume you either have no internet access or you are a more focused person than I am. They’ve been making the rounds pretty much since the stay at home orders began and there’s no sign of them stopping anytime soon.

Have you seen the one that jokes about the summer and shows Godzilla walking across the ocean?

How about the one, that came out early on, saying we’re three weeks away from knowing everyone’s real hair color? ( I personally have passed that point..I am in need of some dye, ASAP).

How about the ones showing Tom Hanks from Cast Away and giving us a countdown to when a volleyball will become our new best friend?

Or the ones with the home layouts, renaming every room so it seems as if you’re going somewhere other than your house?

Then there’s the memes that joke about cruise prices going down, about people going to Zoom meetings from their beds, about dogs loving their humans being home and cats hating it.

For Disney fans, there’s the one that changes the lyrics to the Gaston song, and just try to read it without singing it in your head! Or Elsa has the school nurse, freezing kids coming near her because they might be carrying the virus. Or the Monsters Inc spoof…instead of a 2319, we have a COVID- 19. 

The fake diary entries detailing how people are eating their stockpiled snacks, the ones that tease about the panic over toilet paper and hand sanitizer… the ones where women list the things that are driving them crazy about their husbands….chewing, snoring, basically existing. 

And then of course there are the myriad of “Home Schooling” ones. You know, the things such as “ don’t worry if my kids are in the same pjs every day, my home school has a uniform.”  ” Don’t worry if you see me talking to myself, I’m having a parent teacher conference.”  ” If you see my kids locked outside, don’t panic, we’re having a fire drill.”  “Alexa…homeschool my children.”  ” How do I get my child transferred out of my class?”  The list is endless…there’s a new one every single day. 

My personal favorite was one that I sent to the SDA faculty and staff a week or so ago. I’ll share it…

personal assitant meme

I’ll admit it; I’ve texted the memes, I’ve laughed at the memes, I’ve posted the memes, I’ve shared the memes. Why? Because we all need to laugh a little bit and because some of them truly do capture the reality of this almost unreal situation. We need to smile, we need to find a reason to laugh, we need to not focus on the internal frustration, stress and anxiety that each one of us must be feeling on a daily basis.

However, there’s perhaps one more thing we need to do. There’s a time, every day when, at least in my house, I get very serious. It’s every day, when our Governor announces the death toll for NJ.  8, 952 people in New Jersey have died from COVID-19 since March. That’s a high number, a serious number, and a number that will hit 10,000 before this week ends. 

And so, perhaps in the midst of our frustration, in the midst of our smiles, there should also be the following:

Moments of prayer– for our essential workers, for those suffering with the virus, and for the families of those who have lost someone.

Moments of silence– for the over 8,000 people in our state alone who have lost their lives and for the lives lost all across America and the world.

Moments of mourning– for all the things, big and small that have been taken from our daily lives- lunches with friends, hugs from grandparents, First Communions, Graduations, Weddings, and even the ability to go lay flowers on a family member’s grave as they are laid to rest.

The Bible tells us:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace…

At any given moment over the past two months, it has been each of those times for each of us at some point or another.

Let us all, remember, each and every day to pray…prayers of thanksgiving that we are still healthy and safe, prayers of sorrow for all those we have lost, and prayers of petition, that the days and months ahead get brighter for us all. 

Every day, let us remember to find time for God.

Sisterhood

This past Friday our seniors were surprised with a beautiful “gift” from their alumnae sisters. The work that went into this, the words of encouragement, praise and positivity, and the thoughtfulness behind the 15 minute video truly exemplify the SISTERHOOD that is Saint Dominic Academy. Is this time of year ideal for our class of 2020? Of course not, but they have over 140 years of sisterhood holding them up, bracing them against this current crisis, and embracing them virtually, with love, with good wishes, and with prayers from heaven. 

My thanks to Gigi Correa Diaz for putting together this gift for the seniors…I hope all of you enjoy it as much as the young ladies did.

Work From Home Adventures Pt. 3

Here we are in the last week of April and I don’t know about you, but I’m not quite sure how we got here. Oh, I know how I’ve been spending the days: Zoom calls, constant emails, “teaching” third grade, overseeing at home ballet class, cooking so much I feel like I could be the next Rachel Ray, checking temperatures “just in case” and basically trying my best to stay positive, for my students and staff, for my daughter who is handling this like a rockstar, and perhaps most importantly, for myself. I know once I lose the ability to get up each morning and find something new to make me smile, something new to learn how to do, or even some elaborate recipe to prepare, then I will have given up and that would let the sadness that has our country in its grip triumph over me. I’m not about to let that happen.

So, what did I learn this week? Oh, a few things…how to make brownies from scratch, ( not bad), how to make pulled pork in a slow cooker, ( excellent!) how to teach an 8 year old how to read and draw bar graphs for math class, ( challenging) and how to make cave art drawings ( I won’t share a picture!). I also learned a very important lesson- children are so resilient and able to see the fun in situations that drive us as adults out of our minds most of the time. Now, I have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Disney Plus, Broadway HD, Boomerang…at the touch of my fingertips there are literally thousands of things I can watch to unwind at the end of the day. Yet, in the weeks since March 12, I have watched exactly ONE new show- The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. ( Perhaps a mistake…I had nightmares for at least 3 nights!). I just can’t relax and unwind enough to really enjoy anything- no new shows have caught my interest and I even get frustrated at my old go-to shows. 

I know, I know, I started to say something about kids…and I brought up all of those channels to help illustrate my point. ( I do have one, I promise!) I got an email from Netflix this week, explaining how to set up a Watch Party. Basically, I pick a movie, send a link to friends and then we all can watch movie together. A little chat bar opens on the side of the movie so we can text back and forth in a big group discussion. Now, I have no interest in doing this- I don’t even like it when people talk during previews at the movies, but Miss Abby was so interested in the idea, I thought I’d let her try it out.

Abby picked The Grinch, had me invite some of her friends, and asked that they wear Christmas clothes and have snacks. I figured the fun of this “watch party” would wear off quickly. After all, they can’t see each other, and they have to type to communicate. Was I ever wrong! What a huge hit this was, not only with Abby but with her friends too. In fact, they begged to do it again the very next day. Now, all of her friends don’t know each other, but that did not stop them from chatting away and discussing, amongst other kid topics, the movie itself. As a Film teacher, I can’t tell you how proud that made me. Kids as young as 7 years old, talking about movies together and just finding yet another unique way to be in each other’s company.

Kids are resilient, and what I’m seeing from these young kids is amazing. It’s fun to go to virtual theater, taking dance classes via Outschool is something to look forward to every day, a remote book discussion club on an American Girl book is actually encouraging Abby to read more, and a Netflix party for 2 hours is a cause for day long excitement among her and her friends. Do they miss each other? Very much, I know. However they are adapting, and most days, adapting much better than I am.

I feel inspired when I see them “interacting”, my daughter and her friends. I feel excited even if just for a few moments at the fact that she can still have fun during all this. Most of all, I feel a sense of pride, as the mother of a strong little girl, one who will not let anything halt her day to day life. She may have to change the way she does things a bit, but she’s still going to play and laugh and hang out with her friends and find ways to cajole me into giving her more snacks ( what’s a movie party without snacks??). In short, she’s still going to be “her”…the girl I have loved for almost 9 years now. Many of you readers also have girls, older than mine, but also just as strong in your homes right now. Look to them daily when all of this seems to be just too much to bear. Look at their faces, as they log into TikTok, as they FaceTime, even as they talk to teachers via Zoom. 

Is this ideal? Not at all. Is this the life we want for our girls? Not by a long shot. But we can and should learn from them, to stay strong, stay smiling and stay positive in the face of this pandemic. We should, as they are, look for the silver linings that are offered to us (not just from Netflix) and to take advantage of them. In short, we should all embrace the “virtual party” until we can celebrate family and friends together in person once again. 

Post Break Thoughts

Easter is over, and today we at Saint Dominic Academy are back at our remote learning platform. We know now that this will continue until May 15th at least, and that the days after that are “uncertain” to say the least. The COVID- 19 virus is life changing for us all, in ways we never could have expected. The struggle to stay motivated, to stay positive and forward thinking, some days I am sure the struggle to just get up and face another day amid this pandemic, takes all of our energy and our goodwill. I’m not above admitting that there are days when being motivated is extremely hard and I have to “fake it till I make it” for the sake of Abigail. I know many of you must be doing the same thing for your children as well.

What made it harder this past week for me personally was the loss of a friend to COVID-19. I realized truly that wakes and funerals are for us, the living to come to terms with loss and to say a final farewell to a beloved family member or friend. Absent that opportunity, all we are left with is our hurting hearts, our memories, and the words we would have shared with others at that event- words that seem to choke me when I think them, as if they are lodged in my throat. Me, many of you, people across the globe are experiencing this awful sensation- the inability to truly mourn the loss of a life as well as the ability, if not to formally in front of a gathering eulogize that person, than to at least share some memories of the dearly departed in a gathering of those who loved him or her.

Everyone deserves those words, those exchanged memories, those fond glimpses into the life of one we loved. Every single life lost to this awful virus deserves an eulogy that the world should hear and yet, the eulogies play only in our heads…unwritten and unheard. My friend, a friend of my family since I was a tiny child, deserved one. And today, I hope you can bear with me for a few minutes as I just briefly capture her essence in words as best I can, and try to say goodbye.

She was a hummingbird, less than five feet and endlessly fluttering…shiny bobbed hair swinging, dangling earrings swaying, hands waving as her lilting voice went a mile a minute. From subject to subject she flitted, much like a bird going from flower to flower…a swirl of neutral linens topped with jewel toned scarves that flowed and heavy eclectic jewelry that gleamed as she sparkled with life and energy. Barely able to stay in her seat, she bounced joyfully through every event I shared with her, and her voice, as sweet as music, was peppered with “lovey” and “sweetie” and “baby” and each of those words came out as warm as a hug and as comforting as a warm cup of tea. She was beautiful, this friend who filled the lives of my parents, my brothers, and I for over forty years. She was our breath of fresh air, our whirling dervish and had we known she would whirl out of our lives so soon, our hearts may have been more heavy than they are now. Her spirit will live on, in the colors of jewels, in the blue of the sky, in the tinted glow of the sunset…and she will always be missed and loved. 

Thank you, readers, for indulging me in that tribute…to my friend and in some ways, to all who have lost a voice in their lives, a voice we each hoped we’d hear one more time. The mourning process has changed drastically right now, but we must all still remember to mourn, in our own ways and to pay tribute to those who loved us well and whose life was taken away from us long before we were ready to say goodbye.

I will keep you all in prayer- this week and in the coming weeks. May you find solace in your memories, the strength to continue moving forward amid this life shaking pandemic and the hope that God gifts us all to see the brighter days ahead. 

Holy Week Prayer Service

As we entered into Holy Week yesterday, with Palm Sunday masses on our televisions instead of in churches, many of us may feel as if Easter and the joy it brings will not fully touch our lives this year. Amidst all this fear and sadness and frustration- we must remember all that Jesus suffered during this week. Betrayal from a close friend, denied by another close friend, teasing and mocking, beatings and whippings, the passion of his death on Good Friday and the despair his mother and friends felt when His life was over. We think all too often these days of our own sadness and suffering, however we know deep in our hearts that nothing we face can ever be as hard as the fate Jesus knowingly faced and carried out, in order to save us all. 

Normally, the school would gather together this week and pray before recessing for Easter break. We’d plan a mass of celebration for the week we returned from break. Although we cannot gather together physically, the students, faculty and staff will gather together to pray this Wednesday, April 8th from 11 to 11:30am. Each member of the school community will have a copy of the prayer service, and our remote classes will cease for 1/2 hour, so that we can all pray together. Additionally, the prayer service, led by four senior young ladies, and their mothers, who are all SDA alumnae, will be posted on our social media via a You Tube link. While the school prays together, they will use this link to see the prayer service led by thier SDA sisters, past and current. 

Today, I invite each of you to mark the day and time on your calender, look for the link Wednesday am on our social media and join the young women of Saint Dominic Academy and their teachers as we pray together during Holy Week. I call to mind today what I was taught during my elementary years at Our Lady of Mercy. CHURCH is not a building, but a community coming together. So please, come together with us, pray with our school community, and together we can look toward brighter days ahead, gifted with God’s love.(Prayer service is below!)

Prayer Service Program

Work From Home Adventures Pt. 2

Here I am, another Friday afternoon and its the end of our second full week of remote learning. Our second full week of me teaching 3rd grade (I’m getting better at the math!!), of no dancing school, no playground, no play dates with friends, no date nights, no mom hangouts…I know the list is endless and each of you could add to it. It’s been so hard, and in spite of the warm sunshine today, I have a feeling it will just get harder before it starts to get easier.

Each of us must be missing so very much the things we used to take for granted. I miss the hour of downtime with my friends while our daughters went to dance class on Wednesday nights. Just that one hour a week where we could talk without cutting up chicken tenders, or monitoring how many toys were pulled out of a closet now seems to have been an hour of pure bliss. I miss going to a restaurant and having someone there do the cooking and the cleaning. I miss looking at a wine list and picking a new and interesting wine to pair with dinner; even though prior to this, I almost always ordered the same type of meal and same glass of wine when I went out to dinner. I miss the ability to go to the store: T J Maxx to browse around, Costco for bulk supplies, Michael’s for seasonal decorations, and I even miss hearing Abby beg and beg for a toy every single time we walked into any of those stores. All things I took for granted before; I miss now.

And then there’s those intangible things as well. I have not gone this long without hugging my mother or my father in my entire life. It’s making my heart literally hurt. I can’t go put flowers on my grandfather’s grave. I can’t go to church and exchange a smile and a sign of peace with total strangers. I can’t buy Abby an ice cream cone from an ice cream truck and then scold her when it drips on the floor. It seems, right now, all of our lives are just too full of “ We Can’t” situations and although each of us is trying so hard to stay strong and positive, it can truly be a struggle.

I am writing this not to whine and to bring people further down, but just to give you some examples so that my upcoming statement sounds “impressive.” Until yesterday, March 29, at 4:15pm, I had not cried about all of these “I Can’t” issues. I’ve worked hard to get up, be positive, teach Abigail, and try to help her and in so doing, help myself, adjust to this new normal until it goes away. I’ve smiled, I’ve sung songs, I’ve learned new dances via the Apple TV, I’ve played Barbie and with our new Star Wars DROID, and together she and I have used up an entire box of Crayolas. I’ve been a “strict” 3rd grade teacher and made her complete each and every task each day- even when she’s tired and losing interest. I’ve held my own classes at SDA to that same standard as well. All this, I’ve done and each of you have lists like this as well. The one thing I had not done was cry. What was the point? Yes, I’m sad, yes I’m frustrated, yes I miss my friends and family so much it hurts, but what good comes of crying over it?

My readers know that Abigail has been doing Theater since she was five years old. She does SDA theater and has been very active in a Theater Group in Bayonne. Earlier in the week, parents got email from that theater teacher, saying there would be “Virtual” Theater Group on Thursday afternoon. Now, after a day of virtual learning with Mom and being made to eat her vegtables and clean her room, and so on, I was not sure how Abby would feel about having to go to this remote activity. But, I told her I wanted her to go and that it was important, I thought, to try and continue the activity she loves so much, even if it was in a new way. I logged her in on the IPAD, downloaded the script on my phone and prepared to clean my floors while she went to Theater.

Then, I heard voices, the voices of kids as small as six and as old as thirteen, singing together in this Zoom meeting. And the tears just spilled down my cheeks and I cried and cried. I’m crying now as I write this. It was the most beautiful moment of this whole mess thus far. These kids coming together, because they WANTED to, and trying to learn something new and keep up their routine of performing, even with all this chaos in the world around them. I cannot fully express in words how beautiful it was, and how it gave me so much hope that I didn’t even know I needed.

The show WILL go on…for all of us. This show we call life WILL go on…of that I have no doubt. We’ll emerge from this changed in ways that we may never be able to fully articulate and more appreciative of things we took for granted before. In the meantime, the amazing director of Abby’s Theater Group and those little voices have given me the hope I need to continue on in these scary days. They reminded me that no matter what “show” we each participate in: work, sports, dance, school…THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

Work From Home Adventures Pt. 1

I wondered all week, was there even a reason to write this blog? In the grand scheme of things right now, who is going to be looking to me for any words of insight, wisdom or even just matter of fact information? All week I had a debate with myself in my head and here it is Friday at 3:00pm and I’m sitting down to type. Why? Because, for the past week all of us have had to adjust to the “new normal” and if we are going to go to school remotely, have meetings remotely, and even see our loved ones remotely via social media apps, then there’s no reason for me to not continue to do what I have done since I became Head of School, and reach out remotely on a weekly basis to share some thoughts.

What has this “new normal” looked like for all of you? I can only imagine, but I can share what it’s been like for me and how quickly my child has adjusted in the past seven days. Her new “teacher” is Miss Mommy and she understands that sometimes the teacher needs an extra few minutes to “review” the math lesson before it is taught to the student. She understands what a virtual tour of a museum is, she understands how to submit work online via a laptop and email and she even knows how to log onto her school website and see what tasks she has for the day. All things my 8 year old did not know how to do a week ago. She’s having “library” each day with a book selected by yours truly and music class this week involves learning the score to “Wicked.”. Even with all this change in routine, she is restricted to one hour on her tablet daily for fun on the internet. 

This week, I’ve seen Barbies having a pool party, Fisher Price toys stowed away long ago come back out for a full afternoon of Disney themed fun, and American Girls go camping under a bed. I’ve seen snowmen built out of Play- Dough and countless pictures colored in intricate detail. I’ve played Clue and Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit and Mad About Movies. I’ve taught a different “princess” each day- no uniforms means costume time at “school” and it’s been fun to teach Princess Leia, Princess Belle, and Princess Mulan so far. ( We had a visit from Hermoinie one day- Harry Potter styles and she rocked green on Saint Patrick’s Day of course!) I’ve seen hard work from an 8 year old- 4 plus hours daily on all her subjects.

What I haven’t seen perhaps is what surprises me more than all that I have seen this week. I have not seen whining about the work. I have not seen foot stomping, door slamming, or frustration at the fact that her new teacher is not always as quick to understand some of the lessons and the requirements of the 3rd grade classroom. I have not seen arguments about bedtime or refusal to brush teeth or a desire to sleep until 10am. She’s adjusted- quicker than I have as an adult and she seems to know that this is the way it will be, until it isn’t anymore. Complaining will do no good. Crying will do no good. We have to try our best to adjust to the new normal until we can go back to our old ways of life.

It’s been a hard week, of this there is no doubt. And we have harder weeks ahead, you and I- as parents, as employers and employees and as the home school “principals” of our daughters’ educations. We have opportunities as well- to draw closer to our loved ones, to really see what our children are learning each and every day, and through that process, learn some new things ourselves. I’ve learned in just 7 days, to be more patient, to be more creative, and to set up a daily routine that makes my daughter feel secure in this new, scary world we are inhabiting right now. I’m sure you have all learned that as well…and I’m interested…

What has your first week been like? Email me: sdegnan@stdominicacad.com and share your wisdom, your insights, and your experiences. This blog will benefit from shared stories right now and I’d love to have your voices heard when I sit down to write next week.

Be well, be safe, be healthy. And try, every single day, to BE HAPPY. Hug your children, kiss your spouse, and just thank God for the days together. You are all in my prayers. 

Blog Post #169

This week, I’m taking a short break from blogging.

I am in the “most magical place on earth!”

Our Disney Youth In Education series students are here!

Our Dance Team is competing in Nationals here!

Our Seniors are on their senior trip here!

And I  had the chance to join them. 

Warm Wishes from Walt Disney World!

Sincerely,

Sarah Degnan

Head of School 

Lenten Reflections…

This past Wednesday, we began our Lenten Season. For us Catholics, it is the start of forty days of repentance, where we dedicate ourselves to prayer and reflection. This observance’s purpose is to work to prepare our hearts and souls for the celebration of Easter. Here at Saint Dominic Academy, we feel it is essential that we dedicate a daily portion of this 40 day period to self examination, contemplation and reflection on God’s grace and His infinite mercy. Our religion classes will reflect on the Passion of Jesus and within their times of self reflection, will strive to make a closer connection to God. 

It is fitting that the majority of our Lenten season this year will be during the month of March. The month of March truly reflects the changes that should take place within our hearts during the Lenten season; for as we reflect on God’s grace, our spirits should become less cold, less burdened, less weighted down and begin to fill with light, joy and hope as Easter draws closer. As our hearts undergo this transformation, so too do we see our environment change, the light grows softer, the breezes grow warmer, and suddenly on an April day, we see the winter world transformed…into the beauty that is spring. 

I encourage you to allow for periods of self reflection during this Lenten season. Open your heart to God, and with this openness, witness firsthand the change in your soul- it will lighten and grow brighter as the season turns from winter to spring. Prepare your heart to shed its winter weight this Lenten season and be open and ready to accept the miracle of Easter that God will send to us all on a beautiful April Sunday.

Remarks from the All Saints Catholic Academy GALA…

On Saturday, February 22nd, I was proud to be honored by All Saints Catholic Academy of Bayonne, NJ for my Commitment to Catholic Education. As many of my readers know, this is where my daughter has gone to school since she was 3 years old, and many of the young ladies from ASCA move on to Saint Dominic Academy when they begin high school. It’s a wonderful school community; one that I am proud to say I have served, as a Class Parent from Pre K 3 onward. Today, I share with you my thoughts upon receiving the award on Saturday night. 

When Jen Mulcahy first called me in the fall to ask me if I would be the honoree for Commitment To Catholic Education, I was floored. I’m sure she well remembers that call- I think I said something like “What?! ME?! Really?!” Then, I pulled it together enough to say yes. Once the call ended, I realized something…If I was going to be honored for Commitment to Catholic Education that meant one important thing—I was OLD! Because, to be recognized for a commitment to something meant that must have been doing it for quite some time! And I thought, well wow- how about that? 20 years in education, and 16 of those years in Catholic education- I guess it’s true that time does fly when you’re having fun!

Although, if I truly think about it, my commitment to Catholic education began way before 2000, when I returned to the Academy of Saint Aloysius to work in their Development Office. I guess, it began in 1982, when my mother dressed me in a navy blue dress and tied red ribbons on my ponytails and walked me over to Our Lady of Mercy for my first day of kindergarten. I loved school; and I especially loved Our Lady of Mercy- the sisters and teachers there left an impression on me that still resonates today. First Friday mass, making communion with my classmates, singing in the children’s choir on Christmas Eve, arriving at school early to serve the 7:15am mass; in almost all ways, my entire childhood did center around Catholic education. That leaves an impact; and that impact became even deeper when I moved on to high school at The Academy of Saint Aloysius. There, once again, it was not just a place to learn and prepare for college, but a community that shared a common belief and that celebrated not only the Catholic faith, but the gift of Catholic education. It seemed only natural that after college, I would return to my alma mater and begin my career. 

Perhaps really, for me the commitment to Catholic education began even before I was born. It’s a legacy, handed down. My father was an alter server at Saint Michael’s church and he sang in the choir. Many Sundays, he went to mass twice. My mom dedicated her life to Catholic education, as a teacher and administrator. My maternal grandparents, whose example everyone in our family strives so hard to follow, helped to found the parish of Our Lady of Mercy and gave their time tirelessly to the church and the school for their entire lives. It’s what I saw, my entire life- my family supporting Catholic schools, my family working in Catholic schools, my family believing in Catholic schools.

But, we’re not alone in this belief. In fact, I may be the honoree tonight, but in reality- there are many people in this room who have made the same commitment I have, in one way or another. My friends Mary and Brian Murphy put 5 children through Catholic school and work and coach in Catholic schools. Members of the Board of Trustees at All Saints and Saint Dominic Academy find time in their already busy days to sit on those boards, because they believe in the importance of Catholic School. The Hester family is here tonight; 8 children in Catholic school! Jane Mattiello is here tonight- works at ASCA and is Vice President of the SDA Parent Association- Catholic school is her life! . My Athletic Director, John Nagel- over 40 years of service to Catholic schools in Hudson County. Sister Rita, the Sisters of Saint Dominic in Caldwell- they give all they have, every day to the children in the schools they found and run. The list could go on and on, but I promised not to… all of us here because in one way or another, we are committed to Catholic education. 

We are all here to show our belief in Catholic education and to work to ensure that schools like All Saints and Saint Dominic Academy continue to exist far into the future. And why should we do this? If you are asking that question- I have the answer. You need to look no further than at Katie and Grace Mulcahy sitting with their mother Jen. You need to look no further than this little girl, my Abigail, standing next to me. They are the reason for Catholic education. They are the reason all of us give so much to Catholic Schools. It’s because Catholic schools give so much to our children and one day, we know, they will change the world for the better.

I thank All Saints Catholic Academy for honoring me tonight. It means a great deal to me; more than you know. I thank the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Caldwell for the honor of serving as Head of School at Saint Dominic Academy; each day I walk through those doors is a gift to me. I thank my family and friends for being here tonight. I thank my fiancé, Frederick, for his unending support of me and his understanding of why I choose to work in Catholic education- he and his son have been gifts to both my life and to Abigail’s. And finally tonight, I thank you on behalf of my family, who started me on this path, and on behalf of my daughter, who will follow this path, I hope, for her life. I teach Film Studies this year, and so, am going to end with a bit of a “tweaked” line from a classic movie. “My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my daughter thanks you, and I assure, I thank you.” Enjoy the evening!