The Northern Chautauqua Catholic School Board of Trustees has announced its Angel Campaign 2022, the school’s annual giving campaign which continues to grow each year, thanks to the generosity of the surrounding community.
Fall 2021 marked the start of another pandemic learning year; However, the NCCS has not only survived the many challenges of the pandemic, but is thriving and poised for continued growth.
While many local schools shifted to remote learning last year, the NCCS, which was and is 100% face-to-face, has seen a significant increase in enrollment. Principal Andy Ludwig is pleased to announce that the NCCS has exceeded its 2020-2021 enrollment and plans to enroll approximately 190 students in kindergarten through eighth grade for the 2022-2023 school year.
In addition to new families, the NCCS welcomed new faculty members to accommodate growing numbers, including a new kindergarten teacher, a new second-grade teacher, and a new third-grade teacher. The school’s music program has been revitalized with the hiring of new music teacher Reagan Pieniazek and new general music teacher Janie Villella-Sharon.
Earlier this school year, Pieniazek and Villella-Sharon hosted families at a Christmas music and choir concert and are looking forward to the concerts this spring. On March 18 at 6:30 p.m., the Music Department will host a pop concert featuring Disney selections performed by band and choir students in grades four through eight. In November, Villella-Sharon hosted the first musical since March 2019 – “The Lion King Jr.”– which ran for four sold-out performances and featured all students from kindergarten through eighth grade. She is now looking forward to presenting the springtime musical, “Shrek Jr.” which will feature students in grades four through eight on May 6 and 7.
The NCCS athletic department has been in full swing since the start of the school year, with students playing full seasons of cross country, volleyball and baseball. Although NCCS was unable to field a varsity men’s basketball team, the JV men’s basketball team had a very successful season. The future looks bright as these young men move on to college next year. The JV women’s basketball team is doing well this year, as is the varsity women’s basketball team which remains undefeated in its division. Many students have taken advantage of the Ski Club at Cockaigne over the past few weeks, and with spring approaching, students are looking forward to playing softball and athletics.
Due to the pandemic and increased NCCS enrollment, the outdoor play area has seen more use than ever over the past two years. Thanks to the generosity of last year’s Angel donors, the school was able to initiate a two-phase playground project to improve the equipment, safety and scope of the outdoor recreation area. Phase 1 was completed in October and included the removal of aging playground equipment and the fine gravel playground surface. New equipment, including a seesaw and new spring-loaded riders, was fitted, and the fine gravel was replaced with a cast rubber fall arrest surface. Even in snowy weather, students benefit from these new playground features!
Plans for Phase 2 of the project include creating an outdoor classroom and dining area and repairing the outdoor basketball court, which was installed over 25 years ago. Such improvements are a key part of the school’s goal of providing more options for learning, physical education and recreation. Contributions from angel donors will enable the NCCS to achieve this goal.
Other projects planned for the near future include the installation of a traffic safety flasher beacon system in the school zone on Fourth Street where students are dropped off and picked up each day. “Your generous donations will be used in part to keep our children safe and to keep our 150+ year old building in good repair,” Principal Ludwig said. “Donations will also be used to provide our children with so many quality learning opportunities that will help NCCS students grow mentally, physically and spiritually.”
The annual Angel Campaign is the largest stream of private funding for the NCCS through contributions from individual donors, corporations and family foundations within the community. The generosity of angel donors plays a vital role in helping NCCS continue to provide the only option for Catholic education now and for future generations in Chautauqua County.