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February 2, 2018

Friday, February 2, 2018

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Thank you to everyone who made Catholic Schools Week so special.  Thanks to everyone who spoke at masses last weekend and at our Career Day on Monday.   Thanks to eighth graders, Amelia Gallagher and RJ Fiore for speaking on Sunday at Ss Peter and Paul and OLG respectively, as well as Mrs. Maglia (SSPP), Mr. Vergara (St. Ann), Mr. Bartoli (St. Francis), Mr. Kappock (St. Lawrence) and Ms. Wycherley (St. Francis).   Thanks for setting the tone for what would be a really great week!

Our Career Day speakers included HCA parents, Mr. Bloor, Mr. Vergara, Mrs. Bartoli, Mrs. Maglia, Mrs. Rath, Mr. Dirkin, Mr. Fernicola, Mr. Simkins and Mrs. Lascialfare and Hoboken Fire Inspector Frey and Police Sergeant Butler.  All of their presentations were very well received and students from first to eighth grade learned a lot about a wide variety of careers, ranging from various types of law, law enforcement, fire fighting, green architecture, advertising, finance, wall street and broadcasting.

Thanks as well to our Pre-K and Kindergarten moms for the hot chocolate social and so many delicious cookies!  The special pajama day event was filled with the joy and enthusiasm our youngest students.  The older students and our staff members and I enjoyed the extra cookies.  We are all looking forward to the next hot chocolate social!

Congratulations to the Christopher Widjaja Spelling Bee winner, sixth grader Akshay Sharma.  Akshay will compete on Saturday in the Jersey Journal Hudson County Spelling Bee at Secaucus High School.  Please join me in wishing Akshay well as he represents our school in this big event.  The winner of the Hudson County Bee will move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington DC!  Good luck Akshay!

Our Blue Ribbon Assembly featured a beautiful blessing by OLG Pastor, Fr. Alex Santora, congratulatory words from Hoboken Mayor, Ravi Bhalla, and a special proclamation from the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders by HCA friend and supporter, Freeholder Anthony Romano.  Former HCA Principal, and current Newark Archdiocesan Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Barbara Dolan delivered the keynote address.  Her kind and sincere words of praise and acknowledgement to the students, teachers, staff, and parents were uplifting and greatly appreciated.  All of the speakers were greeted by a sea of beautiful blue tee shirts thanks to the generous donations by the Peel, the Araneo, the Kauffmann and the Segalla families.   Students and staff proudly wore the blue shirts bearing our school name and the Blue Ribbon School logo.  Adam Misyak, Juliette Vergara, Ben Bevington and Nanki Nagpaul read the essays they wrote, explaining why each felt HCA was a Blue Ribbon School.  They were outstanding!  The program featured our award winning choir and we unveiled our new HCA video, which is now linked HERE.  

Thanks to all of the amazing judges for our STEM Expo.  We were joined by graduate engineering students from Stevens Institute, science and math professors from St. Peters University, including Dr. Eileen Poiani, a member of our school’s advisory board.  One of our Pre-K parents, Dr. Rainer Martini, Department Director and Associate Professor of Physics and Engineering Physics at Stevens Institute of Technology joined us as well.  Graduate cyber security students from St. Peters University, a retired actuary, Tom Murphy, and Prep Connection chaperone and chemistry teacher, Dr. Michael Holt, from St. Peters Prep – along with three senior Ignatian Scholars also served as judges.  What is even more amazing than the quality and level of sophistication of the judges Mr. Taormina secured for the expo were the comments that they made regarding the quality of our student projects and their enthusiastic and well articulated presentations.  Our student teams did an outstanding job in developing possible solutions to real world issues of hunger, poverty and poor education in this country and around the world.  The three teams that will advance to the Archdiocesan STEM Expo in March are “Poverty Fighters,” Meghan Dirkin, Joshua Dayo and Luca Bartoli, “Project 10,” Ryan La Fave, Sophia Sprengle, Sebastian Bonomo, and Aleks Manda, and “Chatterboxes,” Alice Altomare, Louie De Falco, Brian Van Altstyne and Andrea Sigler.  Congratulations to our representatives and to all of our student participants and thanks to Mr. Taormina for coordinating such an outstanding program.

Congratulations to second grader, Jack Cricco, for winning the annual HCA Religion Bee! Jack and the other participants did a nice job in demonstrating a solid understanding of the details of our faith.  Some of the questions were difficult when asked out of context and our students did a great job nonetheless.

Next week, on Tuesday, we will have our Pre-K conferences and on Friday evening we will come together for one of our greatest events, International Night!  We will have a number of countries represented and I’m sure this year’s event will be even more spectacular than our previous celebrations.  If you have not done so already, please make plans to join us that evening.

Parent/teacher conferences for grades K-8 will take place on Monday, the 12th at 6:00PM and on Tuesday, February 13, from 1:00-3:00 PM.  Tuesday, February 13th will be a half-day.  There will be no after school activities, but there will be aftercare.  

Lets have a great February, and remember, pitchers and catchers report to spring training in just two weeks.  Enjoy the Super Bowl!

God Bless you and thanks for all that you do for our school.

Matthew McGrath