Faith, Friendship and “Fun”damentals
Submitted by Judy Hauck
SUN Contributing writer
UTICA —Where do faith and friendship meet? Inside the walls of St. Peter’s School.
Every Catholic school teaches the Catholic faith, but what makes St. Peter’s
School unique is how students learn it and at what age. Proudly the sixth grade students in Mrs. Testa’s class have carried on the tradition of recreating Christ’s passion, death and resurrection through the Living Stations of the Cross for several years. Once again this year, they reverently portrayed Jesus’ last days on earth. Michael Ventura gave the congregation chills as he fell the three times and then died on the cross.
But what was even more moving was the re-enactment of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary by Mrs. Elacqua’s Pre-K class. Parents and friends were invited to pray the mysteries with the children as a very young Jesus, Aidan Daley, who is four years old, died on the cross. But the Pre-K children did not end their story there; they sang a song of resurrection and salvation to share that joyous message with all those who attended.
These Pre-K children were not novices to this role playing of the Scriptures. Each week their class gets a preview of Sunday’s Gospel message through an activity magazine Seeds. They discuss the Gospel at length and by week’s end, they role play the major roles. They have covered stories such as the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan and the Good Shepherd. The children learn by doing and they bring the Gospel message home to their parents. They have become some of the youngest evangelists on earth.
Without a doubt, a quality education is a fundamental principle imbedded in the
Catholic school philosophy. Children at St. Peter’s learn that “fun” is a part of the
process. Two exciting events occur each year at St. Peter’s School that keep the fun alive: the annual regional spelling bee and the St. Peter’s School science fair.
On Feb. 2, students from Rome Catholic, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Patrick’s- Oneida, St. Mary’s – Clinton, and St. Peter’s competed on grade level competition for grades four through six. Tension is high during the competition. The children ask for words to be repeated or definitions to be read. At one point, even the pronouncer was overcome and had to sit down and take a drink of water.
Why a spelling bee in this day of spell check on our computers? Each competitor, win or lose, stood up before family, friends and a panel of judges and drew every ounce of courage. All of them would say that it was a great experience.
On Feb. 29, the students in grades four through six at St. Peter’s exhibited
their scientific knowledge in the school’s annual science fair. The children’s exhibits had to follow certain criteria including the scientific method. The exhibits included topics such as magnetism, bacteria, motion and light.
One exhibit seemed to draw more viewers. It was the experiment of Rylee Powers
who had taken swabs from a shopping cart, drinking fountain and toilet seat. She then grew the cultures. Surprisingly the most obvious sign of bacterial growth came from the shopping cart. No one who saw that exhibit will forget that the next time they push a cart in a grocery store.
Friendship can bloom anywhere. Parents hope that their children will develop strong friendships that will last over time. The Colp and Brown families have a friendship through the dads who were bowling buddies. They had children, girls, one year apart. The girls knew each other only through their dads.
Ally Colp is a year older than Mary Brown. Ally started kindergarten and her
family became involved in picnics and other school events. When it was Mary’s time to start kindergarten. Ally’s dad
recommended St. Peter’s School to his bowling buddy.
The girls were now in daily contact. They became inseparable, always together on the playground and in the cafeteria. If one was upset, the other attempted to make her feel better.
Now the families are even better friends because of the friendship of the
daughters. Day trips, slumber parties and dinners together are not uncommon between these two families. And St. Peter’s School helped cement a relationship that was already budding.