Villa Maria plans Breakfast of Champions

Villa Maria Academy physical education teacher Michael Bernard (left) presents an award to Michael Menna of Menna’s Quality Meats at 3639 E. Tremont Avenue for Menna’s donation of about 1500 eggs to the 21st annual Breakfast of Champions. Photo by Victor Chu.

An athletic awards ceremony growing bigger every year at a local K-8 school is now celebrating physical fitness with its 21st annual Breakfast of Champions, featuring a home-cooked meals by some of the area’s best caterers on Saturday, March 14.

Michael Bernard, the long-time physical education teacher at Villa Maria Academy at 3335 Country Club Road, holds the breakfast every year for the highest scorers on the New York State Physical Fitness Test – a statewide measure of physical aptitude that all Villa students undertake in their gym classes.

The test takes three months to administer, and at the end of the testing cycle, the students who have the highest scores are invited to the annual awards ceremony, which usually feeds 500 people.

“This year’s keynote speaker is Detective Anthony Senft, who retired from NYPD Bomb Squad after a paralyzing detonation,” Bernard said. “We also have honored guests NYPD Lt. Gary Abrahall, Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr., NYPD Chief Edward Delatorre, and five-time world-boxing champion Iran Barkley.”

According to Bernard, Senft will speak to the students about courage in the face of adversity, and also about perseverance.

The food donated for the event includes about 1500 eggs from Menna Quality Meats & Salumeria at 3639 E. Tremont Avenue.

“Giving back to the community is something that my father taught me about and that I continue,” said Michael Menna, owner of Menna’s Meats. “We are a family-owned business and we give back to the community. We were born and raised here and want to give back to the place we consider home.”

Thirty different sponsors, including Menna, a parent of a Villa student, help out by giving the kids and their families a meal, and trophies for the proud students.

Jimmy King, the owner of Ann Clair’s Salumeria at 1130 Morris Park Avenue, donated enough bacon to feed 500 people.

“I have been involved in the Breakfast of Champions for about five years, and while this is definitely a lot of bacon we are donating, it is very nice to celebrate the children’s accomplishments,” King, also a parent at Villa Maria Academy, said. “This is really a great thing Mr. Bernard is doing, and I look forward to seeing all of the kids with their trophies for excellence in physical education.”

For more information about Ann Clair’s Salumeria, call (718) 409 – 1171. For further information about Menna’s Quality Meats & Salumeria, call (718) 823-3088.

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