Catholic Free Press

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Posted By June 18, 2012 | 12:27 pm | Featured Article #4
Ryan Corbett


St. Anne School of Webster  and Sacred Heart Parish and St. Anne School congratulate Sister Constance Bayer on 50 years of teaching and service as a Sister of St. Anne.

Father Adam Reid, left, of Sacred Heart parish speaks to Ryan Corbett, a fourth grade student at St. Anne School, about one of his projects.  The picture was taken during Project Night which featured all St. Anne Students displaying and telling family and friends about the projects they completed throughout the school year.



Grad returns with stories of high seas adventures

PHOTO St. Mary graduate John R. O’Neill visited the school recently. Here he poses with his mother, Clara O’Neill, his grandmother, Herminda DeSabogal,  Delma Josephson, superintendent of Catholic schools, and St. Mary Principal Joan Barry.

SHREWSBURY – Just back from a seven month United States Navy deployment in the Persian Gulf, St. Mary School alumnus LT John R. O’Neill ‘99 visited his alma mater where he spoke to a full school assembly.  The Naval Aviator shared stories of his work piloting his E-2C Hawkeye.
“You could have heard a pin drop as John talked about launching and landing his 54,000 pound twin-turboprop jet aboard the USS John Stennis.  The children were completely captivated as he described in detail the impact the human body takes from such speed and power, as well as the challenges of landing an airplane onto a moving aircraft carrier, often in the pitch black of night,” said the school’s Alumni Relations Director Sira Naras
Beyond LT O’Neill’s stories of high-seas and air-borne adventure, the school’s alumnus spoke candidly and seriously about the importance of working hard and trying your absolute best in school.
“It may seem difficult now,” he told the students, “but embrace the hard work and learning you experience here at St. Mary’s.  It is all part of the process that will help you succeed, and one day allow you to do something you love to do.”
When asked about returning to St. Mary School, O’Neill said, “being back in the school was awesome.  It was extremely cool for me to be back in the classrooms where I once strived to get to the job that I have and love today.  I thought – wow, this is where it all started, and it couldn’t have worked out any better. To be in a forum where I could talk to the students about what I do, when it wasn’t that long ago I sat in those very seats, was a real privilege.”
LT O’Neill’s visit was part of the St. Mary School Alumni Re-connect campaign.




Photos submitted by John L. Worden IV

GARDNER – Brian Swift, a student at Johnny Appleseed Elementary School in Leominster and John Worden V, a student at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Gardner, plan their next move during the fifth annual Sacred Heart Chess Tournament, held recently at Sacred Heart.

Results from 5th Annual Sacred Heart School Chess Tournament  held March 22 are as follows:
Winners:  K-2 –   1st Timmy Yelle,  2nd Matthew Hughes,   3rd Patrick Worden   (all Sacred Heart students)
3-5 grades –  1st  Adam DeAmicis (Johnny Appleseed),   2nd  Trevor Bush   (Johnny Appleseed),   3rd Kolby Johnson  (Sacred Heart)
6-8 grades –   1st William Raymond,    2nd  Wesley Tenney,    3rd Paul Hartin   ( all  Sacred Heart students).










Winning team

Photo submitted by
Sacred Heart School, Gardner

The 7th-8th grade team Gardner Catholic beat St. Bernard’s Catholic 46-44 at the buzzer to win a championship game Feb 11, according to information provided by Sacred Heart School, Gardner. The winning team is show: back row (l-r),  Kyle Morris, Sam Gallant, Josh Muzyk, Matt Webb, Jack Fay and Curtis Vachon;
front row (l-r),  Paul Hartin, Colby Fisher and Nathaniel Aponte. The winning coach is Brian Burpee.













Seniors-Class of 2012

Honor Roll

Elizabeth Bara

Laura Bara

Emily Burgess

Olivia Caravella

Olivia Carney

Eric Dickinson

Gabrielle Doucet

Erin Fitzgerald

Trevor Fletcher

Jessica Funa

John Gailey

Savannah Gates

Krystopher Grasmuck

Michael Hilton

Lara Kazo

Ashukang Kima-Tabong

Sanjusha Kolli

Paige Lafortune

Joshua Landry

Zachary LeBlanc

Nathaniel Long

Amelia McGuire

Brittany Melanson

Samantha Montolio

Jennifer Murphy

Corinna Pare

Evan Patev

Connor Rhoads

Melissa Shaw

Amy Wheeler

Meghan Wilkie

Juniors-Class of 2013

Headmaster’s Honor Roll

Lindsey Andrews

Lianna Lashua

Honor Roll

Abigail Anderson

Michael Balducci

Samantha Battaini

Shawn Bergeron

Margaret Bresnahan

Kristin Buckley

Daniel Curran

Maria DeMalia

Mary DiConza

Kyle Fitzgerald

Audrey Foster

Bryan Franciosi

Victoria Gitto

Dillon Hammond

James Hilton

Jeffrey Hoyt

Kaitlyn Jahn

Lisa Kay

Jovitt Kiure

Allison Lucy

Haley Martin

Nicholas Martines

Meghan McInnis

Eric Newcomb

Kyle Peahl

Stefan Quatrucci

Haley Root

Mairead Schofield

Michelle Stephens

Nicole Tessier

Sarah Thibeault

Alexander Turcotte

Justin Valliere

Alex Vorfeld

Echo Yang

SophomoresClass of 2014

High Honor Roll

Michael Alario

Tara Hebert

Rachel Pelletier

Emma Trainor

Honor Roll

Matthew Baker

Michelle Bara

Brendan Bell

Alicia Bizzotto

Gabriella Brodeur

Maia Cody

Tarah Crowe

Brennan Cuddahy

Allyson Esielionis

Amy Fnine

Michael Fossa

Alexis Gibbons

Aleah Grady

Meaghan Grammel

Brendan Kelley

Devon Lapierre

Christian LaRoche

Noelle Ledoux

David Mansfield

Nathan Marcoulier

Michael McGuirl

Conor McKew

Nicholas Nelson

Liam O’Brien

Jillian Pinard

Mia Simopoulos

Olivia Zeena
FreshmenClass of 2015

High Honor Roll

Ryley Wilkie

Honor Roll

Zachary Barboza

Nicholas Benham

Matthew Bica

Elizabeth Cormier

Alec Cornish

Anthony DeCarolis

Dominique Dobransky

Hailey Droogan

Heather Drummond

Brandon Ecklund

Sydney Esielionis

Gwendolyn Gagne

Karimah Gonzalez

Daniel Grammel

Alison Hannigan

Daniel Jokela

Leanne Kay

Sophia Kelly

Renee Lafortune

Mary Lively

Regina Pelham

Molly Richard

Zita Sevigny

Ryan Spencer




















Education in Action

Venerini Academy is a school on the move for the 21st century.  A new  iPad Technology Pilot Program keeps students active, engaged and challenged. Under the direction of the school’s curriculum integration specialist, Paula Fiorillo, the pilot program examines the effectiveness of the Apple iPad 2 mobile tablets on student achievement and learning in a classroom environment.  Sixty iPads are being used in grades three and six as tools to enhance and highlight instruction, differentiate, foster student ability to think critically, solve problems creatively, and ultimately, allow for innovative classroom practice.
In these grade level pilots are working toward developing pedagogical techniques based on the 21st century learning outcomes aimed at providing students opportunities to effectively research, communicate, and collaborate at their own pace and individual learning style.     Pilot teachers also closely align lessons to the current Massachusetts Common Core Standards using subject area curriculum maps that have been prepared under the guidance and instruction of  David Fredette, principal.
In the near future, these maps will be electronically entered into the tool “Atlas Rubicon” which will allow staff to manage and share instructional and best practices across grade levels. Our pilot teachers have worked both collaboratively and individually to prepare high quality interdisciplinary lessons that will utilize this new mobile technology as a tool to enhance their grade level curriculum. Each plan focuses on the area of study, overarching idea(s), content, and essential questions which will guide them as they begin implementation of the iPad 2 beginning in January of 2012 and extending to May 2012. The curriculum is a “living” document.  As we work through these curriculum units, changes may be made to make the educational experience more meaningful. Exciting, new, and innovative learning opportunities are happening at Venerini! We are firmly committed to serving our students by offering an integrated curriculum that provides rigorous education needed to foster content-rich 21st century learning.

The Colombian Project at St. Mary School

Submitted by Sira Naras

SHREWSBURY – The Colombian Project is one of many service projects that the students of St. Mary School have embraced.  A dedicated group of 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students have made a six-year commitment to give the gift of education to the children of Arbelaez, Colombia.  In this small town, formal schooling ends for most children after fifth grade when tuition of approximately $100 is required.  High school in Arbelaez is grades six through 11.
Students and faculty of St. Mary School are sponsoring six children through their high school years.  To raise funds, St. Mary School students have been volunteering time after school to learn the crafts of quilting, card stamping, zentangle design, and needlepoint.  Many impressive hand-crafted items including table runners, placemats, and 175 packages of holiday and all occasion greeting cards were created.  The annual two-day St. Mary Parish Holly Fair in early December provided the perfect venue to display and market the crafts.  Shoppers who stopped at the “Colombian” table filled their shopping bags as they learned from student volunteers about St. Mary School’s efforts to assist less fortune children.
“The $1,150.00 made this a very successful fundraiser said faculty member Mrs. Corazzini.  The funds which will pay for meals uniforms, books, supplies, and tuition are always gratefully appreciate by the Arbelaez community.
The St. Mary School second-graders raised $732 for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette Santa Fund through the sales of handmade beaded pins and ornaments.

Photo By Sira Naras
Back left to right: Kevin Murphy, Claire Benstead, Shayne Brenner, Maggie Sackinsky, Bridget O’Leary, lea Murphy. Front left to right: Julia Naras, Alexandra Pisano, Stratton Kaitlyn Muzzy



Remembering Roy Kittredge

Photos by Patricia O’Connell

LEOMINSTER – Following a recent Mass of Thanksgiving, students from St. Leo Elementary School gathered for a dedication ceremony of the new Roy Kittredge Courtyard. Mr. Kittredge, head custodian at St. Leo, passed away four years ago. The school community had long wanted to honor his memory, according to Eileen O’Leary, the school’s Director of Advancement. Recently, St. Leo Elementary parents Joe and Cathy Firmani stepped forward to help landscape an area near the school, which has been dedicated to Mr. Kittredge. He worked as custodian at St. Leo for 36 years. A wooden bench in the courtyard has a plaque that bears his name. A statue of Our Blessed Mother, once located at the former Julie Country Day Elementary School, will soon be placed in the courtyard. St. Leo Elementary principal Carolyn Polselli said Mr. Kittredge had a friendly, outgoing personality. “I miss him terribly,” she said. “He was a very good worker and friend.” Msgr. John E. Doran, who blessed the new courtyard last week, described Kittredge as very dedicated. “We remember his memory this morning,” he told the students. “We remember him fondly.”

















Notre Dame Volunteer Day

On Saturday, November 19, ninety students and faculty at Notre Dame Academy took part in the school’s Volunteer Day. Teams went to eight non-profit organizations to help in a variety of needs. According to Mrs. Susan Butler of the Academy’s English Department, Volunteer Day is an extension of a program already in place at the Academy. “At Thanksgiving we have always had a Thanksgiving Food Drive for St. Paul’s Cathedral’s Outreach Program. This year we decided that, in addition to collecting non-perishable food the week before Thanksgiving, we would set aside a day to go out into the community and do what we can to help. The response from our students has been overwhelming!”


Fitchburg’s Madonna scholarship

Photo by Patricia O’Connell

FITCHBURG – Father Frank Liistro,  who was pastor of the former Madonna of the Holy Rosary Parish, hands a $1,000 scholarship to Hailey Droogan, an eighth-grader at St. Bernard Elementary School. Miss Droogan is the first recipient of a $50,000 scholarship fund, set up for students to continue their education at a Catholic high school. The scholarship fund was formed last year, when Madonna of the Holy Rosary Parish was suppressed.
Standing in front of Madonna of the Holy Rosary, now an evangelization center, are, from l-r, Dennis Cucchiara and Maureen Beauvais, former parishioners who serve on the scholarship committee. Also pictured are Hailey’s parents, Angela and Joe Droogan.
Father Liistro said scholarships from the Madonna fund will be available for the next 50 years.
After undergoing a successful kidney transplant, Father Liistro has recovered and he regularly offers Masses at St. Bernard in Fitchburg and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Worcester.




Southbridge schoolchildren visit new parish
SOUTHBRIDGE – Trinity Catholic Academy attended Mass at Notre Dame Church on Friday, Sept. 2, 2011 for the opening of school. A picnic lunch was served in the courtyard at Notre Dame for all students after Mass provided by the Knights of Columbus. This event completed the merging of parishes and the students are now aware of their new worship space for special occasions; Blessed John Paul II.




The Rev. Jose A. Rodriguez dedicates Xaverian Brothers Hall, the newly renovated business wing at Saint John’s High School, during the school’s Mass of the Holy Spirit on September 15. (Photo by Raúl Laborde ’76)

Saint John’s dedicates renovated wing; four seniors awarded for service, faith

SHREWSBURY—Four seniors were cited for faith and service, and Saint John’s High School dedicated both its new administration wing and a new scholastic year on  Sept. 15, at the Mass of the Holy Spirit.
Against the backdrop of the new Xaverian Brothers Hall, Father José A. Rodríguez celebrated the annual Catholic service to mark the start of the 114th year of Saint John’s High School. Founded in Worcester in 1898, the school is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Shrewsbury, a theme that Headmaster Michael Welch ’78 touched several times in his remarks before the dedication.
“Fifty-six years ago, Brother Vincent, then headmaster, dared to dream of a new Saint John’s, one on a more spacious campus so the Xaverians could educate more boys from Central Massachusetts,” said Mr. Welch. “We have grown from very humble and austere conditions on Temple Street to a state-of-the-art campus here today on Main Street.”
Xaverian Brothers Hall is a complete renovation of the former Brothers’ Residence wing, with expanded space for the school’s Admissions, Advancement, Business, Counseling and Technology offices. The project was funded by donors to Transforming Lives: The Campaign for Saint John’s and undertaken by John Lauring ’72 and Lauring Construction Co. over the past year.
The three-story structure is attached to the main academic building, Conal Hall, and served as the residence of the Xaverian Brothers for nearly 50 years. Parts of it had been converted into school offices in 1989. In March 2011, the Xaverian community at Saint John’s moved to the Manor House, the Brothers’ original home on campus.
Mr. Welch characterized Xaverian Brothers Hall as yet another gift by the Brothers to Saint John’s — the gift of their own home to advance the school’s mission.
“We forever owe them a debt of gratitude,” Mr. Welch remarked. “They are the giants on whose shoulders we stand. It is only fitting that we dedicate this newly renovated wing to the Xaverian Brothers who have done so much, for all of us.”


Mrs. Jan O’Malley stands with Saint John’s seniors, from left, John Thrun, Connor Casey, Jose Yarzebski and Michael Badjo, this year’s recipients of the Thomas Merton Award. (Photo by Raúl Laborde ’76)

O’Malley gives four Thomas Merton Awards
Saint John’s seniors Michael Badjo, Connor Casey, John Thrun and Jose Yarzebski were presented with Thomas Merton Awards in recognition of their “faith, service and commitment to improving the overall quality of student life at Saint John’s.”
The awards were given by Mrs. Jan O’Malley, who with her late husband, Peter O’Malley ’56, established the Thomas Merton Award last year. The award is named for Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk whose writings examine the relationship between contemplative spirituality and the active outside world.
In his homily, Father Rodríguez, pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Worcester, encouraged students to let their faith consume and transform them like a fire, but also spur them into action.
“Why do we need a good man that does not share his goodness?” he asked. “Why do I need a wise man who does not share his wisdom?”
Mr. Welch said what makes a Thomas Merton Award winner is “coming to an awareness that what one does must be a means of both self-fulfillment and service to others. And through this, Saint John’s is a better place and a better community. … This is one of the most prestigious awards offered to a present student at Saint John’s.”

‘Transforming Lives’ Campaign Raises Over $21M for Saint John’s High School

SHREWSBURY — Thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents and friends, Saint John’s High School raised more than $21.53 million over the past five years, supporting an expansion of financial aid for students and a major update to its 50-year-old main academic building, among other priorities.
Despite a challenging economy, members of the Saint John’s community helped “Transforming Lives: The Campaign for Saint John’s” exceed its $20 million goal, avoiding the need for large increases in tuition fees to accomplish capital goals.
Headmaster Michael Welch said the campaign’s success shows that the school’s alumni, parents and friends continue to believe in the worth and transformative nature of Catholic and Xaverian Brothers education.
“This support is a confirmation of people’s belief that the vision, direction and mission of Saint John’s are aligned and important, especially at this time in history,” Mr. Welch remarked. “The sacrifice that people made is humbling.”
In a campaign celebration on October 11, Mr. Welch credited the school’s trustees, faculty and staff, and alumni and parent volunteers, for their leadership of the campaign, especially campaign co-chairmen John Andreoli ’78, Paul Salem ’81 and R. Joseph Salois ’H.


Rachel’s Challenge comes to the Notre Dame Academy

Colleen Kirk, a motivational speaker for Rachel’s Challenge, was in middle school at the time of the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999.  She was so moved by the story of Rachel Joy Scott, the first student killed at Columbine, that she jumped at the chance to join the Rachel’s Challenge team traveling across the United States spreading Rachel’s inspirational message to thousands of students.  At an assembly held at Notre Dame Academy on Oct. 25, Ms. Kirk spoke to students and faculty about “starting a chain reaction of kindness,” a theme repeated countless times in the diaries and essays Rachel left behind.     According to Ms. Kirk, like one of Rachel’s heroes, Anne Frank, Rachel did not live a long life, but in the short time she had on earth and through her journals, she had an impact on people, young and old, all over the world.
“I will not be average” was a mantra of Rachel’s.  After her death, students at her school came forward recalling the simple acts of kindness Rachel demonstrated from standing up to bullies harassing a special needs student, to welcoming a new student who had been rebuffed by other students.
As part of her presentation, Ms. Kirk showed news footage of what happened at Columbine High on April 20, 1999. According to Kathleen Philipp, chair of the Academy’s History Department, “Our students were in Kindergarten and elementary school at the time of Columbine. You could hear a pin drop as watched the dramatic scenes from that awful day.”  Most powerful were the scenes of parents and children reuniting after the carnage and the look of despair on the faces of parents whose children did not survive the shooting spree.  Twelve students and one teacher died while 24 others were injured.
At the end of her presentation Ms. Kirk asked students to sign a banner pledging to keep Rachel’s chain of kindness going.  The banner will be on display at the Academy as a reminder of the challenges Rachel left behind.