NEW HAVEN – Educators, business leaders and donors committed to Catholic education turned out in force Oct. 9 to support the 13 Greater New Haven Catholic elementary schools at the annual Archbishop’s Columbus Day Breakfast at Anthony’s Ocean View.
Proceeds from the event, sponsored by the Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools (FACS), provide scholarships and fund special projects for elementary school students.
According to Cynthia Howard, FACS executive director, the breakfast netted a preliminary $34,000 that was matched by funds from Archbishop Leonard P. Blair for a total of more than $68,000 in proceeds.
“Thank you very much for your support of Catholic education,” which would not be possible without the generosity of people like you,” said Archbishop Blair.
He cited a battery of statistics from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that highlight the values and successes of Catholic education. Among them:
– 90 percent of Catholic high-school students graduate, and 86 percent of graduates go on to a four-year college;
– 16.4 percent of students in Catholic schools are not Catholic, and 19.8 percent represent racial minorities;
– 45 percent of Catholic students participate in federal nutrition programs.
He also noted that the mean cost of Catholic education is $5,847 per student, compared with $12,054 for a public school student.
“We do very much with little,” he said, noting that Catholic schools provide more than $24 billion in savings for the nation.
Archbishop Blair and Dale Hoyt, superintendent of Catholic schools, presented gifts to honored students from each of the Catholic schools in the New Haven area for their academic and service achievements.
“What you do in these schools is make intergenerational change that goes on generation after generation to make our communities stronger,” said Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is a graduate of St. Bridget School in Stamford and Boston College. “Every single day I draw on the values of these institutions.”
The keynote speaker was Richard D’Aquila, president of Yale-New Haven Hospital, who acknowledged the economic and environmental pressures shared by those in education and health care today.
But the benefits of staying the course outweigh the challenges, he noted, telling students, “You are part of something that is truly special.”
Turning to parents, he said, “Your sacrifice will pay off. There is no greater investment than in education. The rest of us,” he added, “will have to vote with our checkbooks.”
Archbishop Blair presented gifts to students chosen by their school administrators as being outstanding students in academics, athletics and/or community service. They are:
Walter Coombs, St. Mary, Branford; Rehab Senanu, St. Aedan and St. Brendan, New Haven; Michael Dion, St. Vincent de Paul, East Haven; Nicholas Miller, St. Bernadette, New Haven; Delilah Tuttle, St. Rita, Hamden; Chassidy Christian, St. Francis and St. Rose of Lima, New Haven; Claire Yu Xing Brigantic, St. Stephen, Hamden; Edwin Rosa, St. Martin de Porres Academy, New Haven; Grace Singer, Our Lady of Mercy, Madison; Kyle Magri, Our Lady of Victory, West Haven; Thomas Genova, St. Gabriel, Milford; Sherlynn Vendome, St. Lawrence, West Haven; and Erin Albright, St. Mary, Milford.
Students from the choir at St. Stephen School in Hamden sang the national anthem, and students from St. Rose of Lima School in New Haven led the Pledge of Allegiance. The emcee for the event was Todd Piro, anchor and reporter for NBC Connecticut.
Top sponsors were the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council and UIL Holdings Corp.