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January 9, 2019

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Happy New Year! 

I hope that you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas recess and your New Year is filled with good health and the richness of God’s blessings!

Over the next few weeks, our eighth graders will learn about their high school acceptances.  It is an exciting time for our oldest students and their parents.  We are proud of our eighth graders and know that they will be presented with wonderful opportunities and some difficult decisions in the weeks ahead.  Please join me in wishing them well as they begin the next phase in planning their educational futures. 

After numerous meetings and more than a little uncertainty, the basketball season has begun.  We have seven teams, including varsity boys, varsity girls, JV boys and JV girls, one freshman girl’s team and two freshman boys’ teams.  Students in grades 3-8 play on the various teams. All of our teams as well as all Archdiocesan Catholic School teams must play in Newark Archdiocesan CYO leagues. 

The new structure has taken two years to evolve and will continue to be refined moving forward.  The CYO has sponsored leagues with clear rules and guidelines for many years.  Schools, however, were not required to belong to one of their leagues in the past.  Circumstances and legal challenges have caused the Archdiocese to mandate the requirement that all school and parish sponsored teams must play in a CYO league.

Last year when the transition began, though the Archdiocese did not require participation in CYO leagues, they did not allow co-ed teams beyond the second grade or participation in any leagues that allowed co-ed teams.  As a result, with the exception of our older teams, we had to scramble to find a place for our teams to play.  To say it was a challenge would be an understatement. 

Once it was determined that all teams must be in CYO Leagues, the Archdiocese authorized the hiring of additional CYO staff to coordinate the leagues.  There are now CYO sponsored leagues in all four counties, Hudson, Essex, Union and Bergen.

Unfortunately for us, there were only enough Hudson County school teams to support varsity boy, varsity girl and JV boy leagues with just Hudson County schools.  As a result, our freshman boys and freshman and JV girls’ teams play in the Essex County League.  The majority of their games will be played at the Archdiocesan Youth Retreat Center gymnasium in Kearny, which is an excellent facility with a large parking lot.  Thank you to all of the players, coaches and parents for your patience as the new format has begun to take shape. 

The schedules for the Essex County league games were not finalized until the last weekend in December.  As a result, we held off on having the parent meeting until now.  Mr. Montefusco and I will hold a basketball parent meeting on Tuesday, January 15th at 6:30 in the gym.  We will go over the CYO rules, parent and player responsibilities and provide parents with the CYO code of conduct that must be reviewed and signed by each player’s parent.

Unlike last year, all of our teams now participate in competitive leagues.  Hopefully, our sister Hudson County schools will be able to field teams at each level in the years to come, so all of our students can play in a Hudson County CYO league.  Again, thank you for your patience as we move into this new era of HCA basketball.

January also brings our school and Catholic Schools across the country the opportunity to celebrate Catholic Education.  Catholic Schools Week (January 27 through February 1st) will begin with some of our parents and older students speaking at many of our local parish Masses on Saturday, January 26th and Sunday, January 27th    As we have done in the past, speakers will be provided with a script, but are welcome to add their own comments about our school and the importance of Catholic education to their families.

Our annual Career Day will take place on Monday the 28th for students in grades one to eight. If you would like to speak at one of your parish Masses on Saturday or Sunday, the 26th and 27th, and/or speak at Career Day, please email me at so I can provide you with the details and put together the respective schedules.  Career day speakers will do fifteen-minute presentations about their occupation for three to four classes, between 9:00 and 11:00 that day.  Thanks in advance to any of our parents who will share what they do with our students.  Career Day is truly one of the highlights of the school year, so please consider taking part if you are able. 

The rest of the week’s activities are included on the schedule that will be posted on the website tomorrow.  Please note that because there will be a Super Bowl/Sports Jersey theme for the dress down day on Friday, February 1st, the January $2 Dress Down Day scheduled for Friday, January 25th will be an “Anything Blue,” Dress Down Day.  Students who have them, are encouraged to wear their Blue Ribbon tee shirts that day. 

As middle school parents are aware, Mr. Taormina’s students have been working in teams to address issues like World Hunger, Poverty, Water Shortages and other areas of concern included in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.   This year, the fifth grade STEM focus will be in the area of mathematics and Ms. Rambaran will have her students work in teams and emphasize mathematics in their UN Goal projects.  At our STEM Fair on January 31st at 6:30PM, student teams will make their presentations to those in attendance and projects will be reviewed and judged by science, math and technology professionals and professors from St. Peters University, William Paterson University, Stevens Institute of Technology and St. Peters Prep.  The top three projects will advance to the Archdiocesan STEM EXPO in early April.

We will begin Catholic Schools Week with a Prayer Service on Monday morning in the gym following student arrival at 8:15 and end the week with 10:00 mass at St. Ann Church on Friday.  Parents are cordially invited to both.  In addition, parents are welcome to attend the Spelling and Religion Bees on Tuesday afternoon and Friday morning respectively and the STEM Fair on Thursday evening.

An email blast went out over the weekend about the installation of telephone poles by PSEG on Madison Street.   I am pleased to tell you that the holes have been dug and the poles will be installed on a Saturday, so our student arrival and departure on Madison Street will not be impacted.

Finally, you may note that the evening K-8 parent/teacher conferences were originally scheduled for Thursday, February 14th.  I apologize for the oversight (Please do not tell Mrs. McGrath).  Needless to say, we have changed the schedule to have the evening conferences on Wednesday, February 13th, from 6:00-8:30 and the afternoon conferences on the 14th.  There will be a half-day that day and conferences will be from 1:00 to 3:00PM.  Aftercare will be available.  

As always, thank you for all that you do to make our school special.  Lets have a great 2019 and remember, pitchers and catchers report to spring training in less than five weeks!

God bless you all.

Matthew McGrath