Saint Patrick’s Catholic Academy holds walk-a-thon in honor of late employee

October 6, 2014 Jaime DeJesus
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Students and faculty walked with heavy hearts in memory of a beloved Bay Ridgeite as, on Thursday, October 2, Saint Patrick’s Catholic Academy held a walk-a-thon to honor the late Thomas Strafaci, a graduate and former employee of the school who touched countless lives.

Students, faculty and parents were on hand for the walk, along with members of Strafaci’s family including wife Anne and daughter Beth Albano. Strafaci succumbed to cancer on July 21, 2014 at the age of 73 years.

The school sold and wore shirts that paid homage to Strafaci, raising $1,000 to create a permanent memorial for him. “There will be a statue in Tom’s memory thanks to the proceeds from the shirts,” said Andrea D’Emic, the school’s principal.
“It’s just a great tribute and honor of my father,” added Albano, who is currently director of development for the parish. “He loved working here with the children and staff and community. It just really makes us feel good that they are remembering him in this way.”

“He was a great inspiration to our entire school community and parish,” said D’Emic.
Strafaci graduated from St. John’s University and became a golf professional working as a teaching pro at Dyker Heights Golf Course and Forest Park Golf Course. After he retired, he became the senior maintenance coordinator at St. Patrick’s.

The students began their walk outside the school, 401 97th Street, and proceeded to the 69th Street Pier.

“I think that it’s so liberating for the kids. They really are dedicated to the cause. He meant a lot to them,” said teacher, Mrs. Eschenauer.

The students chose to celebrate Strafaci’s life during the walk. “It’s a walk that we will always remember,” said Michael Diaz. “We will always remember Tom. I never knew him but I believe he will always be around us.”

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