We are the parents of two children on Staten Island who have attended Catholic school for 11 years. Each started with the PreK-3 program. Our son, Soren Andersen, age 14, graduated from Our Lady Star of the Sea School as valedictorian in June. Even with the unforeseen pandemic that impacted the last four months of his eighth grade academic year, the administration, faculty, staff and rectory ensured that the students and their families seamlessly continued to learn and complete the school year through remote learning. Soren is now a freshman at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School. Blessed with a full merit scholarship, Soren is moving along well with his high school academic career under Father Michael Reilly and his staff. Their plan to return to school was well thought out and executed with great precision. The protocols that St. Joseph by-the-Sea undertook for a safe return have put Soren in an excellent position for success. We are thrilled for him to start each day in prayer and continue to be part of an amazing Roman Catholic community.
Our daughter, Siene Andersen, age 12, now in seventh grade at Our Lady Star of the Sea School, also has been blessed with a wonderful Catholic school education. While the public schools continue to start and stop their back to school plan, she has already benefited from two weeks of a hybrid in-person/virtual attendance model. It has been working. Although many parents were reluctant to send their children back to in-person learning, the safety measures of Mrs. Roland, principal, Mrs. Gandleman, assistant principal, and Father Tom Devery, pastor, have made for a healthy learning environment. Starting each day in prayer and even attending Mass has reignited the spirit within our children and our family. This must not go unacknowledged and we as parents are grateful for all the hard work and efforts that everyone within the Archdiocese of New York through the principals, administration, teachers and staff have put forth. We are beholden to each of you and continue to stand with you going forward. A very humble thank you from our family and our Staten Island Catholic community.