Bay Ridge

Special guests, events highlight Catholic Schools Week at St. Patrick

Hon. Vera Scanlon receives award; Kids pay tribute to cops

February 4, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Saint Patrick Catholic Academy Principal Andrea D’Emic (left) and eighth-grader Helen El-Achkar (right) present the Distinguished Graduate Award to Hon. Vera Scanlon, magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York, as the Rev. Msgr. Michael Hardiman applauds.
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A federal magistrate judge returned to her old elementary school in Bay Ridge, where she helped students kick off Catholic Schools Week festivities and picked up an award as a notable graduate.

Hon. Vera Scanlon, magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, was the guest of honor at a mass at Saint Patrick Church on Jan. 25 that marked the opening of Catholic Schools Week festivities at St. Patrick Catholic Academy.

At the mass, Principal Andrea D’Emic presented the school’s first ever Distinguished Graduate Award to Judge Scanlon. In her acceptance speech, the honoree reflected on her time as a student at St. Patrick and the values that were instilled in her as a child. She said that her mother still volunteers at the academy, located at 401 97th St.

The Rev. Msgr. Michael Hardiman, pastor of St. Patrick Church, celebrated the mass.

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“Judge Scanlon told the students that receiving a Catholic education has helped her whole life,” D’Emic told Bay Ridge Life. “I also think it was nice for our girls to hear from a role model — a woman of accomplishment.”

Following the mass, families and visitors toured the academy as part of an Open House event.

Catholic Schools Week is a nationwide event designed to present the positive aspects of a Catholic education. The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn takes part in Catholic Schools Week every year. The events usually take place during the last week in January.

On Jan. 26, Catholic Schools Week events continued at St. Patrick Catholic Academy, which transformed its auditorium into a gallery for the annual Art Fair. Original works of art created by students of every grade level were put on display for the fair.

The snowstorm that hit New York City forced academy officials to cancel plans for Tuesday and Wednesday, but the events continued on Jan. 29 with “True Blue Day,” a prayer service and tribute to local cops. At the service, officers from the 68th Precinct received cards and letters from students, while members of the school chorus sang songs in their honor.

The academy sold “True Blue” T-shirts throughout the week and announced that proceeds from the sales would be donated to the PBA Widows’ and Children’s Fund.

In another memorable event, students and teachers enjoyed a “Decades Dress-Down Day” on Jan. 30. Embracing the styles of the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, the students wore colorful costumes, from leather jackets and slicked-back hair to Afro wigs and bellbottoms. Many students said they had a ball dressing up.

“It was a lot of fun,” D’Emic said. “A lot of the kids used the 1980s and 1990s as their inspiration and came to school dressed in clothing their parents wore when they were young.”

The Catholic Schools Week celebration actually continued into the following week as Bishop Paul Sanchez, the auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, visited the academy on Feb. 4. The entire school community gathered at St. Patrick Church for a special mass led by Bishop Sanchez, who then toured the academy and stopped into classrooms to greet the children.

The academy’s annual Science Fair, which was snowed out on Jan. 27, was rescheduled for Feb. 5.

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