I have such cherished memories of my childhood. Vacationing at the beach with my parents every summer and shopping every year for my uniform when school started. Looking back at my elementary education, I am so proud to say I went to St. Francis of Assisi. I remember every teacher I had from Mrs. Iannuchi for kindergarten to Mr. Buonocore and Mrs. Evenson in seventh and eighth grade, who taught me music and calligraphy for art class. I used that to address my own wedding envelopes.
I remember having Brownie meetings in the all-purpose room and buying little gifts for my family at Christmas during the Christmas fair in the library. I was co-captain of the girls basketball and softball teams where I learned what it was to be a part of a team and make friends that helped shape who I am today.
I remember my healthy sense of competition being groomed, not only in sports, but in trying to be the best speller in my eighth grade class and beat Craig Rosler every time we had a spelling bee. He still earned more Boy Scout patches than I had Girl Scout ones, but I outsold him in candy bars, with a little help from mom and dad.
I clearly remember the boys who served as altar boys at lunch, leaving to go serve mass and asking Father Hanley why girls couldn’t be altar servers. He just smiled and patted me on the head. Guess I was a head of my time.
I loved having religion class as part of my normal curriculum, making my communion at St. Francis of Assisi Church, walking next door on Holy days for mass and putting on our Christmas play of the birth of Jesus on the altar.
I remember the “friendly” rivalry we always had with St. Hedwig, and the kids I knew who went there were just as proud of their school and I was of mine. Wouldn’t it be best to honor tradition, heritage and community by using both school names when the two are merged?
I feel my time at St. Francis, from kindergarten through eighth grade, shaped me for life and gave me a wonderful education. One that I am so proud of I have chosen to send my 3-year-old to Catholic preschool where we live now. I want him to have the amazing opportunities and education that I had at St. Francis.
Removing the name is like removing a piece of childhood. Removing the name is like knocking down the building and leaving a gaping hole. The building that built so many people. Changing the name would be like taking that cornerstone out, the stone that is the basis for stability, the stone that keeps the building from collapsing, leaving no building in the community where it’s been for over a century.
Preserve tradition, preserve heritage and preserve the name of the best school Naugatuck has.
St. Francis of Assisi Class of 1983