Tatiana Antczak charged across the yard from the parish house, carting her camera and wearing a big grin, her light hair shimmering in the last summer sun.
She was running from the picnic tables filled with laughing girls to a room where the overflow of students near the rear part of Holy Family Academy.
“We couldn’t fit everybody in back,” she said matter-of-factly, smiling a little as she and the other girls who had come a few days before the official opening took part in one of those special traditions that many hold sacred at the all-girls school: Big Sister-Little Sister Lunch.
Organized by a group of seniors called “The Big Five,” among whom Antczak is a member, this luncheon helped bond incoming freshman with seniors, and for the rest of the upcoming school year allows experienced seniors to help get freshman accustomed to the new surroundings and other school traditions.
“We get a list of incoming girls,” Antczak said. “Seniors choose someone or pick a name and then try to get to know them.”
For this year’s luncheon, seniors out number freshman more than two to one, meaning that the freshman girls at the picnic get two new friends at the school.
With school doors opening officially to all students on Sept. 6, Holy Family comes into the new year with a number of minor changes, but one significant change that could help keep the doors open of the school.
For the first time, the school will be hosting students from China as part of an international program that provides host families in Bayonne for students who will be attending the fall semester.
“We’re starting out with three students,” said Principal Mary Tremitiedi. “If it successful, we could see 15 or more in January.”
Tremitiedi said the Chinese families contacted her earlier this year, and she met with some of them a bit later. After the idea was presented to the board and approved, three were accepted for fall.
“They will be living with local families and be part of their families while they go to Holy Family,” she said.
Marist High School opens; big and small changes
Marist High School will see students arriving for a half-day morning session on Friday, Sept. 7, and full day classes staring on Monday, Sept. 10.
Alice Miesnik, principal, said the school has a number of existing things on the agenda including the beginning of the fourth year of Medquest. Many of the seniors who took the program will be applying to college this year, and acceptances into various medical programs could provide an indicator of how successful Marist’s medical focus has been.
A push to get an electric sign for the front of the school will come to fruition shortly, she said.
“We also received a major donation for the renovation of our chapel,” she said. Work will start after the school holds its open house on Sept. 30, which will run from 1 to 4 p.m.
Marist also hosts last season’s state championship baseball team among Catholic schools, but it is the school’s football team that will kick off its season on Sept. 7 at Bayonne’s Veteran’s Stadium against Immaculate Conception School of Montclair. Marist also has new admissions director Tiffany McQueary, an alum from the Class of 2003, and new athletic director Ron Hayward, an alum from the Class of 1999.
“We’re starting out with three students.” – Principal Mary Tremitiedi
Public schools open on Sept. 7 with new programs designed for student success.
The Summer Math BOOST Program for incoming freshmen at Bayonne High School provided 80 students with a one-week course at Midtown Community School during the summer to help students with math reinforcement, allowing teacher to target areas of weakness and provide students with strategies and tools for increasing their math skills. A before and after assessment showed an average increase in math growth of about 30 percent, school officials said.
Going into the new year, the public schools will be participating in two new programs at Stevens Institute of Technology: Curriculum Topic Study to Enhance Achievement in Mathematics and Science (C-TEAMS) and Partnership to Improve Student Achievement in Physical Science Approaches (PISA2).
The school district is also adopting Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teachers as an evaluation tool covering all aspects of a teacher’s responsibility as an evaluation that ties student achievement to highly effective teacher practices.