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Blessed Trinity Academy celebrates Catholic Schools Week

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Kindergarten students Holden Keller, left, Max Ceponis, Elisa Tolomeo (eighth grade), Regan Straub and Nora Ferketic enjoyed activities during Catholic Schools Week.
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During Catholic Schools week, Blessed Trinity Academy fourth-graders took part in Crazy Hat and Sock Day, including Lauren Kenaan, left, Madalyn Hill, Maggie Tatar, Ava Melocchi and Erica Mitchell (Minnie ears in the back).

Blessed Trinity Academy students made the most of National Catholic Schools Week, despite frigid temperatures, prompting school officials to cancel school three days the week of Jan. 28.

The Glenshaw students focused on service projects such as preparing 150 bagged lunches to feed those in need through the St. Mary of Mercy’s Red Door Program, Downtown.

“We started at 12:45 and delivered them at 3 o’clock. So that’s how quickly we worked. We made 300 sandwiches, which was amazing — that the kids were so focused. We set it up like an assembly line. We had amazing assistance from the teachers,” said Laura Hauser, Blessed Trinity Academy parent and the school’s Red Door Program coordinator.

The younger students decorated the bags and placed prayers inside. Seventh- and eighth-graders made the sandwiches; third- through sixth-graders added fruit, fruit cups, chips and dessert cakes to
the bags.

Hauser had previous knowledge of the Red Door Program from her daughter’s participation in the project at Hampton’s St. Ursula School, which closed in June 2017 as part of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s regionalization plan.

This time around, Hauser worked with St. Mary of Mercy Red Door co-coordinator Heidi Potter.

“She (Potter) said, generally, the people who they serve get their check at the end of the month and when it gets to the end of the month, they don’t have anything left; they don’t have any money left. So, they actually serve more people at the end of the month than they do at the beginning,” Hauser said.

Hauser was “pleasantly surprised” by the amount of food, monetary and gift card donations Blessed Trinity Academy families donated toward the cause. The North Versailles Giant Eagle donated enough produce and bread for the Red Door Program to receive leftovers, and Gibsonia-based Wagner’s Market provided the school with discounts on meat, cheese and bread, said Meredith Kandravy, school admissions director.

“It’s always very fulfilling to have that kind of response. It just makes you feel really great about the community that you’re a part of,” Hauser said.

St. Mary’s started the Red Door Program during the Great Depression. The program provides meals from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Monday through Saturday, at the corner of Stanwix Street and the Boulevard of the Allies. For more information, contact 412-261-0110, ext. 314 or [email protected]

The students also showed their support for a school family whose father, Tim Shapiro, is stationed in Afghanistan with his Forward Surgical Team mobile medical unit. Families donated supplies for care packages for Shapiro’s unit, and students made cards and letters for them.

“We got a ton of stuff. Everything from soap to candy to toothbrushes and toothpaste to magazines,” Kandravy said.

Likewise, the school’s Bulldog Buddies group, which pairs eighth-graders as mentors for kindergartners, made thank-you cards for local fire, police and medical workers.

“I just think that the students really love to give back, whether they’re in kindergarten, just from making a little card to show somebody some little support, to an older kid putting some sandwiches together to feed somebody who is hungry. I just feel like our kids get a lot of fulfillment from helping other people. I think that our families do, too,” Kandravy said.

The school concluded its festivities with a North Park Ice Rink party.

Erica Cebzanov is a
Tribune-Review contributor.