St. Mary’s High School seniors participated in a Day of Caring earlier this month. The class was broken up into four groups to spend the day at one of four local organizations, volunteering in whatever capacity was needed for the day. The seniors volunteered at Teacher’s Desk, The Mother Theresa Home, Harvest House, and the Food Pantry of WNY.
St. Mary’s began this class-wide Day of Caring as part of their new senior portfolio project, where seniors must complete capstone assignments for each subject they take in order to graduate. Dean of Academics Keith Junik instituted this service day as the religion requirement for the senior portfolio. In addition to its importance to the portfolio project itself, Junik knows this Day of Caring offers seniors the chance to broaden their horizons and experience something more than their day-to-day routines can offer: “As a school, we pride ourselves on our Franciscan values of service and putting ourselves third to God and others. So, we need to provide our students with opportunities to serve,” Junik said. “It is then really amazing to see them take those opportunities and become completely immersed in making a difference. It turns out to be quite the empowering experience for them.”
St. Mary’s senior Brianna Propis was part of the group that spent the day volunteering at Teacher’s Desk, an organization that provides free school supplies for teachers serving those areas of Buffalo most in need. Propis knows the importance of being able to give back to the community: “To be able to have these opportunities – to see and experience things we wouldn’t normally – is something I am truly thankful for. We need to look for every opportunity to put some good into the world, and that’s what we were able to do here today.” Senior Matt Vallone spent the day at Harvest House, cleaning and doing several other tasks, and saw the impact his one day at the site could have for the people who benefit from the organization: “I can’t wait to get even more involved in community service. The feeling you get from serving others is extremely powerful,” Vallone said.
Head of School Kevin Kelleher started a faculty and staff Day of Caring at St. Mary’s last year, where the adults of the building participated in a day of service. So, naturally, a student version of the day was a natural extension of St. Mary’s mission: “There are so many great organizations in Buffalo that serve some type of population in need or serve a deserving cause,” Kelleher said. “We have a platform to work with these organizations that are so vital to our community and show our kids they can make a difference. That’s the power of learning through experiences in and out of the classroom.”
The St. Mary’s Hockey Program has quite the year! St. Mary’s has three teams, and all three teams found themselves in their respective championship games.
The JV Team won their championship against St. Francis 3-2 in double overtime.
Unfortunately, St. Mary’s, couldn’t keep the momentum going the following day. The Federation Team lost to St. Joe’s 4-1 in their championship, and the Varsity Club Team lost their match up to East Aurora.
You best believe they’ll be back for more next season!
Spirit Week is always a favorite week among St. Mary’s students. The 2019 edition did not disappoint! Let’s get a first-hand account from St. Mary’s senior, Nicole Gorny:
Spirit Week of 2019 was interesting, to say the least. As custom, the war between each class rages on in this span of five days. With twists and turns on every end, no one could have guessed the outcome of this year’s Spirit Week.
Monday consisted of people dressing up as animals. With exciting costumes like dinosaurs from Jurassic Park to Pandas from Kung Fu Panda it certainly made for an unusual game of Bingo that morning.
As the week carried on, the anticipation for Lancers Got Talent at week’s end continued to grow, but Tuesday consisted of dressing up as athletes from movies and a Mathletes vs Athletes competition. Students had to name movies based on a screenshot, finish song lyrics, and complete the Bird Box Challenge. This challenge consisted of finding fake birds in three inflatable pools – one was filled with plastic balls, another noodles, and the last whipped cream. By the end of Tuesday, the Seniors were in the lead followed closely by Sophomores, Juniors, and then Freshmen.
Wednesday became the day of solving clues every period and interesting outfits, as people dressed as animated characters. Unfortunately for the Seniors, the Sophomores won the majority of the trivia, earning them first place overall, followed closely by the Seniors.
Thursday is most students’ favorite day. The dress code was Heroes vs Villains and the activity for the day was life-sized board games and relay races. The Sophomores continued to dominate most of the events. They won Hungry Hungry Hippos and Jenga. Although, the Freshmen triumphed in Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Friday was a Pride Day and Lancers Got Talent, which every class was anxiously awaiting and practicing all week for. Each class’s performance was a showstopper, as each payed homage to different scenes from different movies.
Since the show was essentially a winner-take-all scenario between the Seniors, Juniors, and Sophomores, the talent show’s results were the most nerve-wracking. Even though one judge voted for Freshmen, it didn’t stop the other two from voting for the Sophomores, meaning they won the talent show and Spirit Week in all (and a day off to boot!).
Make sure to follow the St. Mary’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for more photos and videos of Spirit Week!
The Lancer Gala combines delicious food, stellar auction items, and no shortage of fun, all while raising money to benefit St. Mary’s students.
Guests have the opportunity to place bids on the silent and special auction items and enjoy various raffles throughout the night. During the live auction, attendees can bid on fabulous prizes, including vacations, sporting event tickets, golf packages, college tuition waivers and much more.
This year’s live auction items featured the chance to watch a Bills game with Thurman Thomas in a suite, a Caribbean Cruise, a new backyard patio, trips to Ellicotville, and a week stay in a beach house in Myrtle Beach.
Thank you to the record number of guests we had attend this year’s Gala.
St. Mary’s very own, Senior Madelyn Ellison, was named one of the Diocese of Buffalo’s Altar Servers of the Year! Maddy has been serving for all four years of high school at St. Mary’s. She was honored at the 50th Annual Altar Servers Mass & Awards Ceremony at St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Congratulations, Maddy!
St. Mary’s Sophomore Katelyn Laistner was also named a Diocese Altar Server of the Year at her parish, Our Lady of Pompeii. Two Lancers doing God’s work is a beautiful thing! Way to go, ladies!
St. Mary’s invited The Enchords from the University at Buffalo to come do a workshop with our music students last semester. The Enchords are UB’s only co-ed acappella group, and were so excited to welcome them to St. Mary’s, as they traveled around the area doing workshops with several local grammar and high schools.
While working with our students, the Enchords gave them some pointers, listened to our groups sing selections from Pitch Perfect, and even sang a couple of tunes themselves.
There have been several opportunities to get into the Christmas spirit at St. Mary’s! The Performing Arts Department took their Christmas Show on tour to Tennyson Court and several local grammar schools to spread some Christmas joy. There have been a couple of dress down days this month to support St. Mary’s families and local organizations who could use some extra help around the holidays. National Honor Society made Christmas cookies and distributed them to local nursing homes. Religion classes hosted two separate families through St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy for the holidays. Classes were asked to buy different items off a Christmas list for these families to help make their holiday one to remember.
The list of things that people can partake in to make this time of year truly a special one is endless. We do our best at St. Mary’s to open up as many doors as possible to as many students as possible for service opportunities. Our Lancers can make a real difference in the lives of others during this Christmas season!
At St. Mary’s, our faculty and staff always stress the importance of giving more than you receive, and what better time of the year to put that into practice? Senior Matthew Rosinski collected over 650 ornaments from St. Mary’s families to donate to Elderwood at Cheektowaga for the second consecutive year. Matthew began the ornament drive in 2017 to honor his late grandmother, Ruth Pearce, who was once a resident at Elderwood and loved the Christmas season! Thank you to all those who participated! We are so blessed to have students like Matt as a part of our Lancer family. You can see him here with the Director of Elderwood Larry Piselli and the bins of ornaments that will make some very special residents’ Christmases a little merrier.
St. Mary’s recently hosted College 101 Night where recent graduates came back for a panel-like discussion for our current students and their families. These alumni shared their stories and experiences on what life is like beyond the hallways of St. Mary’s. A special thanks to: Alyssa Zirnheld’16 from Mercyhurst University, Caitlyn Meyer ’17 from James Madison University, Carrie Kidder ’16 from Rochester Institute of Technology, Christian Szablewski ’18 and Mitch DiPirro ‘16 from St. Bonaventure University, Dani Hockwater ’15 from University at Buffalo, David Owczarczak ’16 from SUNY Erie Community College, Emily Bookmiller ’18 and Kendra Ciezki ’16 from The University of Alabama, Eric Brown ’18 and Shae Antonicelli ’18 from SUNY Geneseo, Leah Meyer ’15 from Duke University, Nino Marino ‘18 from Elmira College, and Shannon Murty ’18 from University of Rochester for coming back home to help our current bunch of Lancers!