I am writing this testimony with a heavy heart as my youngest child is about to graduate, closing a 16-year association with Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy as a parent.
When I moved back to Howard Beach with my husband and daughter there was no doubt that she would attend Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy, the school my brother and I graduated from. We wanted her to be in a school where the pledge of allegiance and prayers were said each morning. Where parents looked out for each other’s children, where the older children look out for the little ones whether it’s their buddy, their cousin, or their friend’s younger sibling. We wanted for her, and 8 years later, her younger sister, the environment my brother and I had there. One that felt like home and that is what Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy was for them and my nephews and nieces as well.
Academically they have both received an education that would prepare them for high school and beyond. My older daughter excelled at The Mary Louis Academy because of the foundation she received at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy. She was in honors and AP classes, she was in sophomore Italian as a freshman, and achieved a perfect score on the English Regents, which she says was just as much a result of Ms. Amuso’s classes as that of her high school teachers. It is that same foundation which has enabled her to be obtain Dean’s List and President’s List distinctions at the University of Alabama. I have no doubt that my younger daughter Charlotte will be as prepared and focused when she attends The Mary Louis Academy in September; as a result of her education at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy.
Spiritually my girls will be influenced by what they have been taught in religion class, by what Fr Marc has instilled in them by his teaching, and by attending mass weekly as a school. This will be the spiritual foundation by which they will hopefully make good moral decisions for the rest of their lives.
For me, I made lifelong friends when I was at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy as a student and as a parent. I would encourage all parents to get involved in as many activities as possible to show your support. I know it is hard as a working parent to dedicate time but do lunch duty when you can, volunteer at the festival, create the Catholic Schools Week Door. By doing so you will meet others that have the same ideals as you as a parent and your children will appreciate seeing you at school more than you will ever know. It is something that you will do for them that they will truly remember.
It will be very sad to say goodbye to Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy in June, but I do so knowing that my children are well prepared for whatever they pursue in their future because of their education at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy. Thank you Ms McManas, Teachers, and Staff.
Mrs. JoAnn Liberto Burridge
Transferring my son in the middle of third grade to a new school was not a decision that I made lightly, but it was a decision that I will never regret. I knew I wanted a better quality of education and a more personal and family oriented experience for my son and we found that at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy. Since making the switch to OLGCA, my son has blossomed academically, socially, and emotionally. The students were welcoming and friendly, which made his transition to a new school much easier than expected. Another unexpected, but pleasant surprise was how collaborative and supportive the parents have been- I am grateful every day that if my son forgot something at school or I have a question all I have to do is text the class mom group and I will have the information that I need. In addition, the guidance and support from teachers and Miss McManus, the principal, have been an integral part of shaping Anthony into an increasingly independent young man who now LOVES going to school every day!
If you ask Anthony, the best part of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy is that there is always something to look forward to, whether it is a fun educational project to collaborate on with a classmate- or Student Council selling Slushies during lunchtime! Our Lady of Grace provides countless opportunities for civic engagement as well, from First Responders Day to Student Council elections and voting. One of the best systems that OLGCA has in place is their buddy system, where older students are paired with younger students and meet with them for a variety of school wide activities and celebrations throughout each year. Anthony always loved that he had an older student looking out for him and had someone to look up to, now that he is in 5th grade and the roles are reversed- Anthony is thrilled that he can be that person and provide that support for his 2nd grade buddy!
One of my favorite quotes is “Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story” by Josh Shipp and my son and I are so incredibly lucky to be able to say that Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy is filled with those caring adults!
Catherine Stanzoni-Acevedo (Mother of Anthony, Grade 5)
When I think about sending my children to school, I want it to feel like a strong learning environment, but also feel like a place of comfort and safety. My husband and I want to experience this same feeling, along with our children.
We became part of the OLGCA family in September 2016 when Victoria was assigned a seat in the UPK program. Our expectation was that if we had a good feel during this year of UPK, we would stay with OLGCA, but if not, we would enroll our daughter at the Catholic school for our home parish. We never left. Each year I personally grow more and more attached to our second home.
When Victoria was in Kindergarten, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. When you have a child with an illness who is away from home for 6+ hours per day, you want to feel as comfortable as possible with those who will be responsible for her education, but more importantly, her physical health. Everyone at OLGCA, from the nurse to her teacher to the principal, there was constant communication for Victoria’s medical care, which eased our concerns. The love that the teachers and staff have for the children at OLGCA is so amazing.
The lifelong friendships we have made, along with the outstanding education that Victoria is receiving, reiterates to us that we made the right decision when we decided to remain part of the OLGCA family. Thank you, Ms. McManus and all, for creating a loving, nurturing environment for both students and parents!
Danielle and Ryan Allen
Parents of Victoria-Grade 2 and Natalia-2 year old program
I was excited that my daughter was going to follow in my foot steps and attend catholic school. Our appointment was set for St. Helens Catholic Academy a 5 minute drive from our home.
New to the neighborhood I enter the school name into my navigation and began driving, however my navigation mistakenly took us to our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy. We were already in the building and figure it was too late to turn around, my wife said, “we are already here, let’s see what they has to offer”.
It was the best mistake my navigation ever made.
We met with the principal Ms. McManus whose smile made us feel comfortable and relaxed; she discussed the school’s curriculum the extracurricular activities and parents participation and interaction with the students. During the walk through of the school, we were introduced to teachers, aids, there were also parents that day at the school helping out, I Later found out they will call Lunch moms and dads which I’m proud to say I’m now a part of.
I was continually impressed by how well Ms. McManus and other teachers knew the students. Even the faculty in grades above my daughters’ knew the students and well beyond just recalling the names this created a very supportive and trusting climate.
Ms. McManus and her staff are always available for any parent who has questions, concerns or suggestions.
Being a lunch dad has given me a firsthand knowledge of how my child interacts with her classmates, her teachers and other students in her school and it gives me great pleasure to know that my daughter is doing great and she is comfortable, safe and enthusiastic in her school surroundings. She is learning at a great level than her previous school and her age.
The academics and nurturing environment helps my daughter with her personal growth.
We have been amazed by Our Lady Of Grace Catholic Academy every step of the way; the assessment of my daughter, the way of communicating, the educational approach to academics and Our Lady Of Grace values, the support of the teachers and the kindness and embrace of the community are all exceeding my expectations. My daughter loves going to school and gives her best every day because she holds her school and teaches in high regard, Her academic and social skills have developed well beyond her years with the guidance she has received from our Lady of Grace Catholic.
The principal and teachers encourages and promotes a strong character and build a healthy work ethic based on their foundation of challenging academics and provide a nurturing environment for my daughter and other students to learn and grow.
It has been an absolute pleasure to assist and be a part of the OLGCA family.
When considering a school for my daughter we wanted a school where our daughter felt supported, happy and challenged as well as nurturing every day and where as a parent we felt part of a community.
We could not be happier with our decision to choose OLGCA for our daughter’s educational, spiritual and nurturing development.
I feel proud as always telling parents considering a school for their child or children to consider Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy it’s the best choice you’ll ever make for your child’s education, structure and guidance.
Ron Bibby- Father of Amiyah Bibby-Grade 1
It’s hard to believe that this is the end of our Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy school days as my youngest child finishes 8th grade and prepares for High School! We have been a part of the OLGCA family since 2005, when my son started nursery school. I don’t use the word “family” loosely, as it really has become a second home to us. My children have been taught and guided with love and kindness from day one. They were surrounded by faith filled teachers and faculty, who have encouraged them to be their best in every way. God always comes first in our home, and it was important to us that they were in an environment that would nurture this. We couldn’t have asked for better or more!
When my son started Cathedral Preparatory School and Seminary 2 years ago, it was then that we truly recognized and appreciated his preparedness for high school. He graduated with the skills to be successful and ready to continue learning. I am confident that my daughter will be just as prepared when she begins The Mary Louis Academy in the fall. A heartfelt thank you to our teachers and Ms McManus for everything.
Friendships to last a lifetime were formed, for both my children and me. You don’t realize what a true gift and blessing it is to find other parents who will look out for your kids as they would for their own. We will move on in June, going on to the next chapter, but I know that this is not the end for us. Choosing OLGCA so many years ago has been the best decision we’ve made for our family. My children are my greatest testimony to that.
I hope that you, too, will entrust your children to OLG, it is a wonderful school with so much to offer. Good luck and May God bless you.
Mrs. Allison Mestrandrea
Daughter- Jenna Mestrandrea- Class of 2018
Son- Robert Mestrandrea – Class of 2017
January 24th, 2019
“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcom X
Choosing an elementary school for our daughter was not a decision my husband and I took lightly. Like every parent we wanted to be sure, we were making the best choice. Challenging academics, diverse curriculum and a strong faith based foundation were of the utmost importance. Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy not only met but also exceeded our expectations. Our daughter is developing educational skills that will benefit her for many years to come. The equal amount of attention given to ensuring the students grow academically and spiritually has taught her that helping others is just as important as having the right answer. We are confident that she is receiving a high quality education that is second-to-none at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy because of the commitment of the teachers, staff and parents who care so deeply for the students.
While we knew from the start that we had made the right academic choice, what we did not realize was that our choice would also lead us to become a part of something so much bigger, the OLGCA family. Family is what truly sets this school apart. Small class sizes, buddy programs and frequent intergrade collaboration combine to create an atmosphere where the children and parents alike feel safe and at “home”. Knowing that our daughter enters a school each day where the principal and entire faculty know her by name provides an immense sense of peace. It is wonderful to feel that when she walks through those doors, she is not just another student, but feels at home with her second family.
Joining the OLGCA family has been one of the best things to happen to us. We have been given the opportunity to form life-long friendships with families who are part of this nurturing community of faith, providing support for each other, and enlightening one another as parents in faith and other aspects of life. OLGCA is molding our newest generation and building our leaders of tomorrow in a spiritual way thanks to the dedication of the faculty and parents who make up the OLGCA family. They truly are heroes doing God’s work and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.
Lori and Steven Iannuzzi
Parents of First Grade Student, Christine Iannuzzi
January 24th, 2019
All parents want their children to begin their academic careers on the right foot, and my husband and I were no different. As parents of two young boys, now in Kindergarten and UPK, we searched for an academically rigorous program within a loving and nurturing environment. And, Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy has certainly delivered!
From the first day we dropped Michael off at the OLGCA three-year old pre-school program, I knew we made the right choice. His teachers were kind and patient as well as sensitive to the worries of a first-time mom. No question was ever too small to be answered!
It is within this environment that we have watched Michael and our younger son, Joseph, grow academically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. I marvel at what my boys have learned! Whether it be the mathematical word problems Michael solves in his Kindergarten homework or Joseph’s ability to recognize his preschool sight words, I bear witness to the high caliber education my children receive at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy. (Imagine my surprise when my, then, three year old came home, described the life cycle of a butterfly, and included the word “chrysalis” in the process!)
Unique special events enhance the learning process at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy. In-school field trips exposed my boys to the science behind bubbles and lasers. Visits from firefighters and police officers taught them about fire safety and the role of police officers in our community. Without a doubt, nothing compares to the enthusiastic reactions of my boys on these very special school days!
Michael and Joseph have forged friendships with their classmates, and we, as parents, have done the same with our parental peers. Parents work side by side at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy to ensure the success of school sponsored events and fundraisers. Why? Because we believe in the Academy and value the education our children receive.
Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy truly is a community – a faith-filled community. Words cannot adequately convey my emotions when my son attends mass with his class, recites his prayers, and expresses to me that all things come from God. I am comforted and uplifted to know that the teachers and administrators of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy are guiding my children in their spiritual journey and helping them grow in God’s love.
Teachers and administrators at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy are giving my sons the building blocks to become eager, life-long learners and, most importantly, good people! They teach them kindness, compassion, and respect. Our family is blessed to be a part of the Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy community. I know my children have a bright future, and that is due in large part to OLGCA!
-Mary and John Griffith
Parents of Joseph (Pre-K for All) and Michael (Kindergarten)
September 20, 2018
Dear Parents of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy,
We are in the process of preparing for our Accreditation Visit with Advanced Ed in April 2019. In order for Advanced Ed to get a better understanding about our school from parents, please take a minute and complete the Climate & Culture Parent Survey. You can type out the link below or visit our school website at www.olgcahb.org and go to the parent/guardian archive and copy and paste the link.
Please complete all surveys by Monday, October 15th, 2018. The survey may be completed by both parents.
Best Wishes, Miss McManus
Climate & Culture Parent Survey
1) 2019 – 2020 school uniform (Please click below)
Flynn O’Hara 2019 uniform list
2) New 2019 – 2020 school supplies (Please click below)
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide information about our school that will assist you as parents in working with the faculty to provide the best education possible for your children. This handbook provides all the essential information you need to know as parents and students at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy, including information on grades and homework, policies, procedures, discipline, uniform dress code and more.
Please submit your child’s lunch order with exact payment to their homeroom teacher by the deadline date on the monthly lunch calendar. No exceptions can be made, as the orders need to be given to the vendors in a timely fashion.
Click below to view/print the 2019-2020 parent newsletter