Parish Schools Receive Recognition

Jocelyn Thomas In the Headlines

As the school year winds down, students and teachers are concluding their exams and classes and participating in special events. Several weeks ago, people at two elementary schools affiliated with the Province were honored for their accomplishments.

On May 17, a 74-year-old teacher at St. Francis International School outside Washington, D.C., was recognized by the Archdiocese of Washington with a Golden Apple Award. Nora Facchiano of Hyattsville, Md., has spent much of her career “in the second-grade classroom during school hours, and from 1977 to today, Nora has spent much of her after-school hours leading an extended-school program.” This program, according to the school, “is designed to give children an environment that gives them the opportunity to continue learning and growing while also having time to do homework, play outside and gild friendships in a setting that allows working parents to know that their children are safe and loved.”

“Our school wouldn’t be here without the extended-school program,” said assistant principal Gerald Hopeck, OFM, in a May 16 story, “Veteran of Nearly 50 Years of Teaching is Golden Apple Winner” at St. Francis International School in the Catholic Standard.

Teacher’s Example
“As Nora enters her 50th year as an educator this coming fall, she has no intention of slowing down,” said a news release put out by the school. “Nora Facciano represents the best of what each of us can do with our lives to make the world a better place every day, one moment at a time.”

“Nora is a wonderful example of a partner-in-ministry,” said Tobias Harkleroad, principal of SFIS. He and Gerald shared their thoughts about Facchiano in a video that appears on the website of the school, which was founded two years ago by the merger of St. Camillus and St. Mark schools.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, presented Facchiano and her peers with their awards, along with checks for $5,000 from the Donahue Family Foundation.

Students’ Positive Effects
On May 25, the Student Leaders Von Nieda Park Task Force of St. Anthony of Padua School learned that it had won a national award — a $500 prize — for their environmental work at Von Nieda Park in Camden, N.J.

“The best projects from the New Jersey competition were forwarded to the national competition and our St. Anthony’s students’ project was chosen as one of the 18 best in the country,” said Jud Weiksnar, OFM, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish. “Having a cooperative principal, an active community organizing group like CCOP, approachable city and county officials — and a genuinely nice bunch of kids — are all ingredients in what’s made this work. It can be a challenge convincing some of the families of the value of what their children are doing, but hopefully they are seeing not just the awards, but the positive effect this is having on their students.”

“The most fulfilling thing for me is seeing their growth since January,” said Jud.

A Von Nieda Park Cleanup Day is planned for June 23 from 9 a.m. to noon. The community also gathered on June 2 to clean up the park.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province. The next issue of this newsletter will report on news of St. Anthony of Padua School in Greenville, S.C.