Plans in the works for St. Ben’s 90th year celebration

A successful pillar of education is celebrating an important milestone.

St. Benedict’s School is celebrating its 90th year and looking to the future as it continues to invest in technology that provides a state-of-the-art 21st century experience for all the young people who walk through it doors.

In honor of reaching an anniversary few community resources seldom do, the school will honor its past as it invites alumni, parents, staff members and friends back to the school for a gala event later this year.

Tickets are currently on sale for $40 per person and will be available through October for a celebration of the school’s nine decades of Catholic education, which will take place at the school’s auditorium on Saturday, November 17 at 6 p.m.

Fundraising proceeds will be used for technology improvements, possibly another cart of Chromebook computers for the students, ensuring that every student at the school has a computing device to use, said Principal Ray Vitiello.

“Our hope is that alumni and former faculty and staff will come back and see their beloved school and share some memories of their Catholic elementary school,” said Vitiello.

Vitiello said that the anniversary celebration is not about making money, but rather realizing what the school community has done and the impact it has had on the lives of generations of students.

To increase alumni awareness of the event, the principal said that the school and alumna Donna Miller, who is assisting the effort, plan on utilizing e-mail, social media, the parish bulletin and back-to-school correspondence to get the word out.

The same faculty member who is the coordinator of the event, Ben Piacquadio, is also spearheading the school’s technology efforts.

According to Piacquadio, the ultimate goal, whether through this fundraiser or not, is for every child at the school to have a computer in order to learn in an increasingly digital era.

Piacquadio, in his seventh year of teaching at the school, is also an alumni.

“I am sure there are plenty of other people who had great experiences like I did,” said Piacquadio. “Although they may not be in the building as much as I have, the ability to come back and see how far the school has come since the last time they were here is hopefully something enjoyable.”

Piacquadio, who also helped run successful fundraisers to spruce up the school gym and sell commemorative bricks, said that he believes that alumni who come back will see that that St. Benedict’s has “that same nurturing feeling the second you walk in the door.”

Miller said that celebrating the anniversary of Catholic education is an affirmation that St. Benedict’s School on Edison Avenue has played a major role in Throggs Neck’s history.

“It’s wonderful to experience sitting in the classrooms to reminisce and it is nice to see how the school has been able to keep up with modern technology for instruction,” said Miller, adding “We hope to have a major turnout at the 90th anniversary celebration so that people of the past, current and future can celebrate the history of the school together.”

For more information, contact the school at stbenedict@stbenedictsschool.com or (718) 829-9557.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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