June 8-14, 2006
Tomorrow’s leaders today
By Ann Marie Smith & Rose McNierney/ SUN contributing writers
SUN photo(s) submitted
St. Joseph’s is a unique parish school
St. Joseph School in Endicott is a parish school offering a traditional Catholic education in a family-like atmosphere. St. Joseph School is recognized for its strong academic curriculum, but more importantly, for its commitment to teaching every child about God’s love.
The philosophy of St. Joseph School is to teach, guide and encourage each student to develop his or her full potential in the spirit, mind and body. The administration believes the school is an extension of the home, a place where faculty and staff can continue the education and reinforce the values that parents have begun teaching in the home. St. Joseph School utilizes basic Christian principles to educate students and provide them with the skills necessary to become productive members of society.
“Frank O’Connor, the Irish writer, tells in one of his books how as a boy, he and his friends would make their way across the countryside and when they came to an orchard wall that seemed too high and too doubtful to try and too difficult to permit their voyage to continue, they took off their hats and tossed them over the wall — and then they had no choice but to follow them.”
At St. Joseph School students are encouraged to challenge themselves academically, socially and morally. They are taught to be aware of life’s responsibilities: to God, to one another, to themselves. The children are the future, and by tossing their hats over the wall, they will lead the way for others. Being a parish school has many advantages. The parish priest, Father Jim Serowik, is in the school on a regular basis and is available to tend to the needs of not only the students but also parents and staff. The parish community supports the academic and spiritual education of the students. Students are active participants in the workings of St. Joseph Church. Opportunities range from special Sunday Masses, to weekly altar servers, to involvement with the annual bazaar and other church activities. This gives children the opportunity to give back to their community.
When a family enrolls their child(ren) in St. Joseph School; they become a member of a very special family. Since St. Joseph’s is a kindergarten through eighth grade school, families have nine years to develop a close and lasting relationship with teachers, parents and other students. The school can also boast one of the most experienced school administrators in the area. Sister Denise Marie Fallat, our principal, has been guiding the school since 1980. Sister takes a personal interest in each and every student, and she and the dedicated staff have regular communications with parents on the progress of their child.
Another part of the school’s special family are the students themselves. Every day our students are encouraged to be concerned and responsible for others. Our sixth, seventh and eighth graders are mentors to our younger students. The sixth graders are our kindergarten helpers. The seventh graders act as “Guardian Angels” to the second graders, helping them prepare for reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. The eighth graders are on call to lend a hand whenever and for whatever is needed. The students are also encouraged to develop leadership skills by participating in student council. Representatives are chosen from each grade to voice the student body’s ideas and concerns.
St. Joseph’s is also especially blessed to have parents who play such an active role in the education of their children. Parents and others offer their time and talents as supporters and volunteers to benefit the school and the students. Their involvement is very important to the future success of St. Joseph School and their efforts are much appreciated.
St. Joseph’s strives to meet the needs of all families by offering a full day kindergarten, an 8 a.m. start time, an after school educational daycare (A.S.K.) and a nutritious hot lunch, among other things.
The school children were recently asked to express why they like attending St. Joseph’s. Their words are inspiring and they bring to light why the students feel that St. Joseph School is such a wonderful place to spend their childhood.
“Here at St. Joe’s I have made really good friends. Since the school is smaller than the public schools, everyone knows everybody. It’s like one big family. The teachers are nice and really care about what happens to their students. Everyone pushes each other to do their best. St. Joseph is a great school because it helps students, especially 8th graders, get ready for high school and their future,” said Katie Shaheen, an eighth grader at St. Joseph School.
“I like St. Joseph School because I have good friends here. I get a good education and I learn more about my faith. Here I don’t feel peer pressure from other students. This school is also very important to me because I get to go to Mass every Friday,.” said seventh grader Nate Hickey. The leaders of tomorrow are getting a great start right here, right now, at St. Joseph School.