Recently the seventh and eighth grade students of Assumption Catholic School, Perth Amboy, welcomed the seventh and eighth grade students of Saint Nicholas School, Passaic for a day of retreat presented by Father Paul Makar, the vocations director for the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia. This day was the result of conversations between Father Ivan Turyk , Assumption Catholic and Father Andriy Dudkevych, St. Nic…holas. Conversation led to plans, and plans led to reality. The retreat would not be possible without our wonderful 8th grade teacher Mrs. Mary Beth Pickering and 7th grade teacher Mrs. Donna Vattelana who worked tirelessly to make this a successful event.
Early in the morning, ACS principal Mr. Michael Szpyhulsky greeted Father Andriy, SNS principal Sister Eliane Ilnitski, S.S.M.I. teachers, and students. The day began with Divine Liturgy followed by the Stations of the Cross. Afterwards, students proceeded to ACS auditorium where they participated in a short activity to allow both schools to get to know each other. ACS students next took their new friends from SNS on a tour of their school, while SNS teachers were given a tour by ACS teachers. The next part of the morning was spent in discussion with Father Paul where he spoke to students about being the best they can be and having no fear to follow God’s calling.
Before lunch was served, Sister Yosaphata, MSMG, ACS vice principal, showed the new best friends how to create beautiful pictures using only picture frames, sharpies, and paint. During this creative hour teachers and administrators also had some time for their own conversations. Students could be overheard discussing their schedules, activities, and daily lives with each other. Following a lunch of pizza, salad, and of course cupcakes, everyone involved took a group picture to make a permanent memory of the day.
The day continued with one more talk by Father Paul to reinforce to the students not to be afraid to follow their dreams as long as they kept God in their hearts. Father Ivan thanked Father Paul for his time and then everyone returned to the school to continue working on their masterpieces.
As we know, all good things must come to an end. In what seemed like a blink of an eye, it was time for Saint Nicholas School family to get ready to leave for home. Final minutes were spent making promises to keep in touch. It was an awesome day with students from both schools expressing the hope of the beginning of a new tradition!