by David Friedlander
Sun contributing writer
OSWEGO — Trinity Catholic School is concluding its ninth year as Oswego County’s only Catholic elementary school, since the consolidation of three schools in 1999. Today Trinity Catholic serves 14 Catholic parishes throughout the Northern Region of the Syracuse Diocese and accepts students from all parts of Oswego County. Trinity Catholic provides academic and spiritual programs from preschool through sixth grade. Beginning with preschool. Trinity’s faculty realize that a warm and positive early childhood experience is the cornerstone to a child’s emotional growth and well being and are committed to providing a warm, caring, and nurturing environment for its three and four year old children. Trinity Catholic offers several different half day preschool classes ranging from two to five day experiences designed to meet both the child’s and the family’s needs. Within a challenging and enriching learning environment, the preschool children are introduced to prayer and other aspects of the Catholic faith.
One of Trinity Catholic’s strategic goals is to provide an environment in which words, actions and beliefs are modeled on the life of Jesus. All kindergarten through grade six students receive daily instruction in religious education. The curriculum includes monthly Mass participation along with a virtue recognition program and volunteering in community activities. Students have also formed an after school service club called “The Kids Can Do Club.” This student-led club provides community service opportunities where students can put their faith into action. Some of their activities included an Earth Day cleanup project and coordinating a Salvation Army soup kitchen lunch event. At the beginning of each school year, students, parents and faculty come together to share a meal while enjoying each other’s company at the annual Harvest Feast celebration. This year’s event was held in conjunction with the fall open house with approximately 400 people attending.
Beginning with morning prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance, students are enriched with a consistent spiritual foundation blended with an excellent academic curriculum focused on the NYS Learning Standards. In addition to following the NYSED curriculum, Trinity Catholic also administers the NYS assessments in the areas of math, english language arts, science and social studies.
Along with learning the core curriculum areas, Trinity students are culturally enriched with instruction in art, vocal music, instrumental music, physical education and foreign language. Students in third through sixth grades receive instruction in Spanish and French. The students learn about the languages and cultures of other countries, thus exposing them to the world around them.
Throughout the day, visitors to Trinity Catholic will not only feel the warmth and enthusiasm within the building, but also hear it as children’s voices and musical instruments resound in preparation for their winter and spring concerts. The classrooms and hallways are always decorated with colorful and varied art projects that portray each child’s creativity and individuality.
The physical health and well being of the students are also addressed through a physical education program that not only follows NYS guidelines but also offers an intramural sports program that promotes a team sport experience, sportsmanship and self esteem. In the spring the Trinity Campus is transformed into an indoor and outdoor sports arena where the schools’ Annual Sports Day is held. During this event, parents, faculty and staff volunteer their time to conduct a variety of Olympic-style athletic events followed by an awards ceremony. All students in kindergarten through sixth grade participate along with faculty and parent volunteers. This year the preschool students and their parents will also have an opportunity to share in this exciting event. Last year’s “Sports Day” also provided an extra special treat as WTVH 5 sportscaster Kevin Maher was a celebrity participant who challenged several sixth grade students to the obstacle course. The students are anxiously awaiting another opportunity to see Kevin at this year’s event!
Wellness and fitness are also promoted on a daily basis as the students are provided with ample opportunity for exercise on the school‘s renovated playground.
Technology is a very important component of the learning process as all students attend classes in the technology lab on a regular basis. Wireless computer technology continues to be used by students in grades four through six as well. Trinity Catholic teachers continue to integrate technology into their academic curriculum via usage of interactive websites that tie into classroom text publishers. In addition, each classroom teacher has been provided with the necessary skills to develop individual classroom websites in order to provide information and on-going communication with families, alumni and the community.
Another one of the success stories regarding literacy and reading programs was the second annual “Battle of the Books” Competition. This reading competition involved elementary and middle school students from schools throughout Oswego County. Third through sixth grade students from Trinity Catholic participated and the fifth and sixth grade team took second place.
Even after the students graduate from Trinity Catholic, they continue to make a difference and play an important role in their community. For example, not to be outdone by his sister, Haley, a 2005 Trinity Catholic School alumna, Jacob Annal, a 2006 Trinity Catholic alumnus, spelled his way to the Scripps Howard Regional Spelling Championship. Jacob will now represent the City of Oswego at the National Spelling Championships in Washington, D.C., in May. These are just two of the many alumni of Trinity Catholic School who have used their skills, knowledge and faith to succeed as young Catholic adults.
The third Annual Fund Drive continues throughout the school year to meet and exceed the goal of $25,000. The money raised from this drive is used to provide scholarships to families along with building improvements and other special projects to benefit the students. Trinity Catholic School is proud of its premier event, The Faith In Education Gala and Auction, which is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 2. This year, restored pews, desks and other special items from area churches and Catholic schools will be auctioned. In addition to being restored, these items are also being painted by area artists and sponsored by local businesses and individuals. Anyone interested in attending or needing additional information should contact Trinity Catholic School at (315) 343-6700.
Another creative fund-raising event took place in October and was one of the most successful events since it began nine years ago. This year the Corporate Adult Spelling Bee and Live Auction Event grew to 12 highly competitive teams. The teams consisted of area businesses and five parishes throughout Oswego County. This year, the team representing the Catholic parishes of Fulton “out spelled” their opponents to capture the championship. For the eighth consecutive year WIXT Channel 9 anchor Dan Cummings emceed this event, which proved to be not only a very enjoyable evening but also a very successful one in terms of community participation, auction donations, and fundraising.
All of these programs and activities have become an integral part of Trinity Catholic’s identity and community involvement as a result of the school’s overall long range Strategic Planning process now entering its sixth year. This was developed as a result of a dedicated committee comprised of faculty, parents, members of parishes and people of the community. Their mission is to ensure the success and livelihood of Catholic education as throughout the Northern Region of the Syracuse Diocese.