Benedictine Academy Marked Catholic Schools Week With Celebration Of “Faith, Academics, Service”

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ELIZABETH–Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth joined thousands of other Catholic schools around the nation in celebrating Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 29-Feb. 4. Amid parent tours, faculty appreciation ceremonies and student community service days, the heart of what was celebrated by the all-female Catholic college prep high school is reflected in this year’s theme- “Faith, Academics, Service”.

“Benedictine Academy is the embodiment of this year’s theme,” Principal Kenneth Jennings said. “Faith, academics and service are the cornerstones of our school- our students, faculty and staff live each of these aspects out every day,” he added.

“Faith- in the Catholic and Christian tradition, is taught in the classroom and expressed in our school Liturgies, prayer services and various other ways,” Jennings said. “Faith is transformed into service when our students go into the community and help those in need because they are taught to think of and care for their brothers and sisters. Faith becomes enlivened through the actions of our Campus Ministry and all students who serve in many ways in our communities,” Jennings explained.

“Our academics are very strong,” Jennings noted, pointing out that students at the Academy receive an exceptional preparation for college. This is borne out by the fact that the Academy has a high college acceptance rate- 98% for BA graduates of the past 16 years – to institutions such as Princeton, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Boston College, NYU, Fordham, Temple, Rutgers University, Drew University, Seton Hall University, Montclair State, NJIT, Stevens Institute of Technology and more.” The Academy’s commitment to high academic standards, supported by the teaching of strong moral values, Jennings believes, demonstrates that Benedictine Academy, along with other Catholic schools, is “providing students with the tools to make a definite contribution to American society”.

Benedictine Academy planned numerous events to celebrate Catholic Schools Week. During the week, parents of current students visited for breakfast and toured the Academy, observing classes. Teacher Appreciation Day was held on Jan. 31, marked by a ceremony honoring all faculty. On Friday, Feb. 3, “Drop and Everything and Serve Day” was held. Students traveled to the Community Food Bank in Hillside to work for several hours to help sort and pack the generous food donations of the local community. They also made a financial contribution to the Food Bank to help provide for those who have less.

In addition, the senior class took a short journey to BUILD-A-BEAR workshop in Woodbridge to each make a bear for an elderly person in a nursing home or for a child at a nearby homeless shelter. “BA’s Campus Ministry Program continually strives to form young women as leaders who learn to serve the school, the community and the world,” Jennings commented.

Catholic Schools Week is a joint project of the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Faculty members at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth were honored during National Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 30-Feb. 4). Students presented gifts of appreciation, thanking each faculty member during an early morning assembly on Jan. 31 for “inspiring” the lives of the students at the all-female Catholic college prep high school. Faculty members are shown standing for the opening prayer led by Student Council President Andrea Mendoza (at podium), while the entire school participates. Benedictine Academy joined students around the country celebrating and acknowledging the impact that Catholic schools have on thousands of students and their families. (All photos courtesy of Benedictine Academy)

Benedictine Academy Principal Kenneth Jennings (at podium) led his school in a tribute to faculty members during Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 30-Feb. 4). Jennings told the educators that “the tribute was an opportunity to give thanks to the men and women who have given so much to us”. “We give thanks to God for the gift of Catholic education which is so important to the formation of our lives,” Jennings stated. The theme of Catholic Schools Week 2012 was “Faith, Academics, Service”.

Students at Benedictine Academy (background) listen as senior Brittany Henderson of Newark (at podium with microphone) thanks faculty member Adina Medina (far left) during “Teacher Appreciation Day” ceremonies. Held during Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 30-Feb. 4), students at the all-female Catholic college prep high school in Elizabeth took the opportunity to speak words of gratitude to their mentors. Teachers were showered with accolades thanking them individually for, “doing so much for us inside and outside the classroom”; for being an “amazing teacher”; and serving as a “true inspiration”.

Sister Germaine Fritz, OSB (seated next to podium), President of Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth, was honored during Catholic Schools Week “Teacher Appreciation Day” on January 31, the day she celebrated her birthday. Senior Cynthia Pizarro (at podium) of Elizabeth did the honors. Sister Germaine is a 1954 graduate of the Academy and has served in many capacities there including faculty member and president. “I am so blessed to be part of this community”, Sister Germaine commented to students (standing) and faculty (seated).

Students at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth lived out the theme of Catholic Schools Week 2012, “Faith, Academics, Service”, by helping at the Community Food Bank of Hillside during the annual celebration. (Photo 5)- Freshmen students (l-r) Karina Costa of Hillside, and Nathalie Barillas and Laura Gomes, both of Newark, joined their peers, working for several hours to help sort and pack the generous food donations of the local community. They also made a financial contribution to the Food Bank to help provide for those who have less.

In addition, the Senior Class took a short journey to BUILD-A-BEAR workshop in Woodbridge to each make a bear for an elderly person in a nursing home or for a child at a nearby homeless shelter. “BA’s Campus Ministry Program continually strives to form young women as leaders who learn to serve the school, the community and the world,” Academy Principal Kenneth Jennings commented. Catholic Schools Week is a joint project of the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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