Classes Begin for Thousands of Catholic School Kids

September 8, 2014 – Excerpted from The Brooklyn Eagle

The Rev. Msgr. Michael Hardiman, pastor of Saint Patrick Church in Bay Ridge, was at the auditorium door at Saint Patrick Catholic Academy Wednesday morning, ready to greet students coming to school for the first day of classes after their summer vacation.

Andrea D’Emic, the academy’s principal, also eagerly greeted the children as they showed up for the start of the new school year.

“All students at St. Patrick Catholic Academy are given the opportunity to develop their talents in a caring environment. The focus on listening, writing, organizational and study skills promotes students’ ability to comprehend, analyze and synthesize knowledge that will enable them to successfully navigate the complex intellectual landscape of the future,” a statement on the school’s website reads.”

St. Patrick Catholic Academy, located at 401 97th St., was one of dozens of elementary schools in the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn that opened its doors for the 2014-2015 school year on Sept. 3. The diocese encompasses Brooklyn and Queens.

Over at nearby St. Anselm Catholic Academy, at 365 83rd St., the doors opened at 7:30 a.m., 30 minutes before the students had to be in the auditorium. Principal James McKeon and his staff also held an orientation for kindergarten students and their parents.

The schools didn’t wait for opening day to get ready for the kids.

On the St. Athanasius School website, which depicted a cheerful drawing as a welcoming gesture to children, Principal Diane Competello wrote a special message.

“With great pleasure and excitement I welcome all of you to a new year at St. Athanasius School! I welcome back our returning students and their families, and extend a special welcome to our students and families who will be new to St. Athanasius this year,” Competello wrote. The school is located at 6120 Bay Parkway.

There are 34 elementary-middle schools in the Brooklyn half of the diocese, including the Catherine Laboure program for special education students. Nine Catholic high schools are located in Brooklyn.

St. Patrick Catholic Academy offers several programs related to the arts.

“The arts hold a prominent position in the academic life of St. Patrick Catholic Academy,” a statement on the website reads. “Vocal music instruction is offered from Nursery to Grade 8 along with third, fourth and fifth Grade recorder classes. The music program is enhanced by boys’ and girls’ choirs and student orchestra, all programmed into the school day. The Art Program incorporates art history and project art. Drama Club is available to students in grades four-eight.”