St. Peter’s School hopes to foster memories in its last years

by St. Peter’s School
Sun contributing writer

The school year opened on a high note as the students, parents, staff and alumni celebrated the fiftieth year of St. Peter’s School. Former teachers and administrators came to a special liturgy celebrated on September 21st. Sisters from the Order of St. Francis participated in the celebration and Sister Lorraine James joined in singing the alma mater that she rewrote back in the 1990s.  Mayor David Roefaro of Utica declared the day St. Peter’s School Day.

In October the school welcomed Bucky Dent and Mike Torrez as part of an autograph signing event. These major league baseball players faced off in October of 1978 in a one game playoff between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. In that infamous face off, Bucky Dent hit a home run off of Torrez and the curse of the Bambino continued. The students, staff and general public had the opportunity to meet the two legends and get something autographed. They shared their story to a crowd of fans in St. Peter’s gymnasium.

After the first of the year, the school received news that St. Peter’s School, St. Mary’s in Clinton and Our Lady of Lourdes School would merge in September to be Notre Dame Elementary School. The news saddened all attached to the school: students, teachers, parents, staff and alumni. But those who had worked hard to maintain the school were satisfied that they had worked hard to provide a quality education amidst difficult economic times.

In early February, the annual St. Peter’s benefit dinner was held with guest speaker Rocky Bleier. A former Steeler who was wounded in Vietnam, Bleier came to central New York to speak on behalf of St. Peter’s School following the victory of the Steelers in the Super Bowl. The dinner was especially difficult to get through for those who knew it would be the last. But the evening ended with a champagne toast to all those who made St. Peter’s School what it is and to a new future.

The task was now to create memories for the students. Catholic Schools Week was the following week and all of the celebratory activities continued although they were bittersweet. The children spent a morning bowling; they invited a Special Person to Mass; and they participated in a regional spelling bee. Although the school was merging school life needed to continue.

With memories a constant thought, a t-shirt design was created that chronicled the years of the school with the back of the shirt including all the names of students, staff and teachers. Each event, each field trip, each guest speaker will be something special to our students. We all know that this one is the last. Although we will enjoy the moment, it is with a heaviness in our hearts.

A toast to St. Peter’s School: May God bless all those who have walked through her doors and may her traditions continue in the new Notre Dame Elementary School.

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