Letter from Maria Petraglia 

Dear OLGCA Students, Parents, Grandparents, Guardians, Teachers, Staff,

Many of you may know me as an alumni parent and a Board Member at OLGCA for the last five years.  I have been heartbroken and saddened with this devastating decision as I know that you feel the same way.  

Over the last two weeks we had several meetings with the Diocese to discuss OLGCA.  We were hopeful for a positive outcome.  Our terrific OLGCA families and parishioners came up with a great plan and worked tirelessly to enroll 25 families, they worked on great ideas for blended learning and on a proposed budget for 2020-2021 over just one weekend.   

We thought for sure we would be given another chance especially since the horrific recent events with protests, destruction that have been taking place in our city and society, the need for more God in our lives.  We really believed that the investment would be in the children, to increase their values, their faith in God and have a foundation based on God’s word as that would be profitable enough for the Diocese.  

Despite our best efforts to convince the Diocese to give us a chance to work out the kinks, come up with other plans to increase enrollment, work on creative ways to increase the school finances.  The reason they gave was that we needed 220 students to be a viable school and have a surplus in funds.  Therefore, unfortunately, we fell short on their requirements and it came down to dollars and cents and the lack of enrollment.  Since the Board all voted “No” to close the school, we were relinquished of our Board Position and their decision overrode us.  We were defeated.

OLGCA has been a school in this community for over 100 years and has taught many generations.  A beautiful building as the first thing that you see when you enter is the statue of Mother Mary.  The school halls and classrooms were filled with beautiful artwork, class projects and a feeling of belonging. 

We had the best fund-raising Chair, Doreen DeCandia along with her team who knew how to raise thousands of dollars for OLGCA, between Parish Bazaars and the best, theme oriented sold-out Ladies Night Out year after year.  Joe DeCandia who supplied catering for countless school events and hired OLGCA graduates and neighborhood kids to work at his establishments.  A true example of giving back to their community and the true meaning of being an OLGCA family.

We had a great homeschool association led by Mary Griffith who implemented enriching activities for student learning.  Supportive parents, guardians and grandparents who dedicated their time during lunch, recess, and any reason to be of assistance.  OLGCA had the best Christmas Concerts with a special thank you to Mr. Modiferi who volunteered endless hours and rehearsed with the students.  My heart would sing with joy just to hear the children sing songs about the real meaning of Christmas and Jesus, I was happy that the students were able to sing freely about God, Jesus and the Holy Family without any restriction and expressed their faith. The endless list of awesome events, breakfast with Santa, Breakfast with the Easter Bunny.  Moving up ceremonies were adorable, fun, and creative.

Father Marc who celebrated mass for our students at 8:30am mass twice a week and taught religion class, a true instrument of instilling the word of God into the students’ lives.  The Teachers who worked at OLGCA for over 20 years and others who would drive 2 hours each way to teach the students and dedicate their mornings and lunch hours to give extra help and those who dressed as the Easter bunny and visited her students at their homes during the pandemic.  The teachers and staff gave their 100% and more.  Dana, the school secretary who was a superstar, thorough and responsive.  Amaury, the custodian who went above and beyond his call of duty always with a smile. 

Mr. Castro who took care of OLGCA’s social media and posted all the wonderful special moments that took place at OLGCA and worked so hard on the virtual 8th grade graduation.  Ms. McManus, our Principal who was a terrific leader and had been such an asset and worked tirelessly year after year.  The students excelled in their state exams and all were accepted into their high schools of choice.  

The OLGCA Board – Chris Johnson, Allison Mestrandrea, Stella Pepi, Paul Grassi, and myself.  We spent countless hours on calls, meetings and worked behind the scenes and did our best to make a difference. We volunteered for this role because we were alumni parents, we cared about OLGCA and the HB community.  We thank you for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this great institution.  We hope and pray that Catholic Education will continue to instill Christian values in the hearts and minds of our children.  

 

Thank you to:

Ms. Marybeth McManus, Principal

Mrs. Dana Soehngen, Administrative Assistant 

Amaury Duran, Head Custodian  

Alex Sanchez, Custodian

Mr. Castro, Social Media

Phyllis Inserillo, Nursery 2yr old and Pre-K 3 yr old

            Jessica Genna

            Jessica Grimaldi-Parente

            Jillian Provvisiero

            Carol Renna

Ms. Kathleen Banach, UPK – 1B

            Rosemarie Russo

            Anna Patruno

Ms.Vanessa Brancato, UPK – 1C

            AnnMarie Famighetti

            Mary Thomas

Ms. Samantha Suarez, Kindergarten

            Nancy Termini

Ms. Caroline Murray, 1st Grade

Ms. Nicole Genovese, 2nd Grade

Mrs. Cristina Leto / Ms. Julie Frey, 3rd Grade

Mrs. Sara Cuccio, 4th Grade

Mr. Robert Neun, 5th Grade

Mrs. Jennifer Giacalone, 6th Grade

Ms. Victoria Amuso, 7th Grade

Mr. Vincent DiPiazza, 8th Grade

Elisabetta Franchi, Italian

Ms. Loredana Sindone, Art

Mrs. Jennifer Limitone, Computers

Mr. John McGuire, Gym

Frank Palmenteri, Bookkeeper

Janice Borrello, Receptionist

Aqeela Zainul, School Nurse

A special THANK YOU to the amazing, smart, respectful students who called OLGCA their home.  May God Bless You, Guide You and Protect You ALWAYS.

Best wishes,

Maria Petraglia