Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy to host farewell block party

June 24, 2019 Paula Katinas
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Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Academy has closed his doors forever. But the historic Bensonhurst school is giving former students one last chance to revel in their happy memories of days gone by.

The school officially closed last week more than 90 years after it first opened. The last day of classes was June 21.

An announcement was posted on the academy’s Facebook page last week inviting the community to attend a special mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on the morning of Saturday, June 29, followed by a block party on the street outside the school in the afternoon.

The school, located at 1514 72nd St., will be open for tours during the block party to give former students a chance to “reminisce your childhood,” the Facebook announcement reads.

The mass will take place at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church at 7201 15th Ave., at 11:30 a.m.

Former students shared their memories of life at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Academy.

“I went there from first grade through eighth grade. It was a chunk of time in my life. It’s very sad to see it close,” Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the New York Building Congress, told the Home Reporter on June 24, a few days after the school closed.

News of the school’s closure hit Brooklyn’s Catholic community like an earthquake when it was first announced in February. Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Academy had been open for nearly 100 years and had educated generations of Bensonhurst children over the decades.

Michael Masaracchio, chairperson of the school’s Board of Directors, wrote a letter to parents of students citing declining student enrollment and rising costs as the key factors in the decision to close.

“This difficult decision was reached, following extensive consultation, due to continuing economic challenges faced by the academy and a rapidly decreasing pool of students choosing Catholic school education in our area,” Masaracchio wrote in his letter.

School officials posted a group photo of the students on Facebook, along with a caption reading “We are the family of OLG…Forever!”

Among those posting comments on the page was Jennifer Gerardo. “This made me tear up!” she wrote about the class photo. “Good luck to all the teachers in their new members and good luck to all the kids in their new schools.”

Lauren Maria Grace, a 2007 graduate, wrote, “Sad to see OLG close.”

Scissura, who was born and raised in Bensonhurst, said he has happy memories of his time at Our Lady of Guadalupe. “We had nuns teaching us back then. The school and the church were the center of the community. You walked to school and then walked home for lunch. I was an altar boy at church. You felt like you were part of a community,” he said.

It was at Our Lady of Guadalupe where a young Carlo Scissura first got the inkling to become active in the civic affairs of the neighborhood. “They helped me realize that helping the community was important,” said Scissura, who went on to work as a top aide to then-Borough President Marty Markowitz and serve as president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce before his current position.

When Scissura, an up-and-coming civic leader, ran for a seat on Community School Board 20 in 1999, Sister Laura Brannon, the school’s principal at the time, invited him to talk to parents.

“That meant a lot to me. She was the principal when I was there and she was still there years later,” he said.

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