S.I. Schools, Recalling Sandy, Assist Others in Need

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The Staten Island Catholic School Region is continuing to make a difference in its community and beyond.

Catholic schools in the borough raised $61,000 for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston following Hurricane Harvey and will continue making a difference during Catholic Schools Week.

In all, archdiocesan schools raised more than $200,000 for hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Staten Island residents understand what hurricane victims were experiencing after many of them lost their homes and 24 people lost their lives when Superstorm Sandy struck in October 2012.

“We know what it feels like, and we were blessed to be helped, so it was nice to reciprocate and help someone else in need,” said Jeannine Roland, the principal of Our Lady of Star of the Sea School.

The idea to assist the hurricane victims came at a Staten Island principals’ meeting, and the Staten Island Regional Office, led by Superintendent Zoilita Herrera, took charge of the effort by having a fund-raising dress-down day at all Staten Island Catholic schools on Sept. 11.

Students were permitted to dress in the red, white and blue colors of the U.S. flag.

Our Lady Star of the Sea, located in the Huguenot section of Staten Island, raised $6,000 during its dress-down day.

“It was phenomenal. Our students are very good at helping others,” said Ms. Roland, who is in her fourth at the school.

This is one of the many things Our Lady Star of the Sea’s 620 students have done for others in need. The school collected 1,000 jackets for a coat drive, and held a toys drive for Christmas. Also, each student adopted a senior citizen for Christmas and bought a gift for that person. For Catholic Schools Week, the students are collecting goods to mail overseas to U.S. Army Reserve Platoon 9366.

“I’m extremely proud of the students and parents. It’s overwhelming, the generosity of the families,” Ms. Roland said.

Blessed Sacrament, located in the West Brighton section of Staten Island, raised almost $4,000 during the dress-down day.

“Here we are united and we are one from the administration, to the faculty, to the custodians, to the students,” said principal Joseph Cocozello, who is in his fourth year at Blessed Sacrament.

“We all knew it was a good cause. We have generous families.”

For Catholic Schools Week, the 495-student school is collecting coloring books, crayons and stickers for the children in the pediatric unit at Staten Island Hospital.

“We are very blessed here. The kids want to be here and are excited to be here,” Cocozello said.

“I don’t use the word work when I get up to come here. I enjoy being with these kids every day.”

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