Dear Lord and Good Teacher,

We thank you for giving us the opportunity to celebrate this wonderful occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Assumption Catholic School. At this special time we give thanks for all of you who are here present and all those who have contributed to the life and success of this school throughout the 50 years history.

We thank you for our parish priests and parishioners for providing the material and spiritual support to our school for all these years.
We thank you for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for its distinguished spiritual guidance to our school since the founding of the school.
We thank you for the Diocese of Metuchen and their staffs for providing direction and guidance to our principals, faculty and school staff.
We thank you for the Sisters from the Congregation of the Missionary Sisters of the Mother of God, who continue to work here from the first day in 1963.
We thank you for the principals, faculty and whose leadership and dedication to Catholic schools makes our schools strong.
We thank you for parents who entrust their children to us.
We thank you for all benefactors whose generous support assists us in providing the very best for our young.
We thank you for all current students and the one who went through Assumption Catholic and now offering distinguished services to our people and our country.
We thank you for the life of those who worked and served at the school and now have departed, may they rest in peace.

Almighty Lord, as we mark and celebrate 50 years of service to this community, we also give thanks for those who have learned about you here, those who have grown in faith here and those who have made Assumption School a special place.
May the staff, parents and children always value their time and each other’s efforts at this school. May they look back in appreciation and forward in hope.

Today, as we celebrate this milestone not only in the life of the Assumption Catholic School in Perth Amboy but of our entire Ukrainian Catholic Church in the United States, we we ask your blessings on us and we pray that students of the present and future generations may learn in this school to know, to love, and to serve the only true God, and to worship Him according the sacred traditions of our ancestors in the Ukrainian Rite of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
We ask the Patroness of our school, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to keep us under her special protection, so that we may prove ourselves worthy of God’s continued blessings for many years to come.


Mr Szpyhulsky’s Remarks at the 50th Anniversary of the School

Your Grace Metropolitan Soroka, Your Excellency Bishop Bootkoski, Your Grace Archbishop Sulyk, Father Pastor, Father Roman, reverend clergy, venerable sisters, parishioners, parents, alumni, students and guests. Slava Isusu Chrystu!
Fifty years. . . Fifty years is long time. To create something from nothing and to keep it going for so many years requires much foresight and true dedication. You start with a dream, a few dollars in the building fund, and a lot of prayers. The challenge presented by Metropolitan Bohachevsky for Ukrainian Catholic parishes to build schools was taken up by then Father Pastor Yaroslaw Gabro and then Father Pastor Stephen Sulyk. The passion and commitment of these priests and the Missionary Sisters of the Mother of God must have been contagious to convince a relatively small parish to undertake the monumental task. To those parishioners that are sitting here with us today and to those that have passed, allow me to offer sincerest thanks for your hard work and dedication – hlybokyj poklen vam.

I mentioned Metropolitan Bohachevsky and Metropolitan Sulyk, but need to thank all of the leadership in the Philadelphia archeparchy over the years for their support for the school. Metropolitan Soroka, we are deeply grateful for your continued support and your taking time out of your busy schedule to grace us with your frequent visits to our school.

Since the Ukrainian Catholic archeparchy does not have an Office of Schools to provide the day to day guidance, we consider ourselves very fortunate to be in the region of the Metuchen Diocese. Bishop Bootkoski and his Schools team led by Mgsr. Corona and Dr. Ellen Ayoub have been very gracious and helpful. You exemplify true Christian values by making our school feel welcome within the framework of the diocesan schools. Please accept our thanks for all you do for our school.

It would be impossible for me to mention all the people whose dedication and cooperative efforts were so instrumental in founding this school 50 years ago and continuing its good works until this day. The administrators of the school – first Archbishop Sulyk, then Father Roman Dubitsky, who led the school for over 30 years, and now Father Ivan, had enormous pressures in the operation of the school. Crisis after crisis were dealt with for the good of the parish and school. The principals before me, have my deep admiration for the work they accomplished. The vision they had for our school was truly inspiring. The Missionary Sisters of the Mother of God put their hearts and souls into their work here at Assumption. The word “hero” can be defined by the way Sr. Yosaphata has dedicated her entire adult life to our school. When we speak of a school, we think of teachers. Every student has that favorite teacher – the teacher that made a life-long impression on them. When our alumni come back to visit, and that happens quite often, it is remarkable that they understand why they were scolded for not having their homework done and proudly proclaim that they are now doing well in high school or college. There can be no higher praise for a teacher. The teachers that toiled in this building over the years – meeting, planning, teaching and worrying about each and every student – should be applauded for their disciplined and caring approach to the education of the students. Each of our teachers, those here for a long term and those that are new to the school, have accepted the challenge to do the best possible for all our students for little compensation.

The support of the parish and school organizations is essential to the morale and financial well-being of the school. The PTA & FSA and its Executive Committees, the Bingo Committee and workers, Holy Name, St. Ann’s, and the Seniors all provide assistance when needed.

As you can see, there is much good that happens here at Assumption. I remember how Father Roman worried where he could find enough money to replace the old, drafty windows. Remember the movie “Miracle on 34th Street”? Answering our prayers, a parishioner stepped forward and provided the financial means. I remember a few years ago, Sister Yosaphata asked me if I knew why we received a check from Target for $340. It turned out that one of our teachers registered our school for a give-back program and convinced her neighbors to choose our school for this program. A few years ago, I was walking on Jacques Street and noticed an elderly man had fallen and a neighbor was trying to help him up. I offered to help. When the man passed away some months later, we found out he left $1000 in his will for our school. I firmly believe these good things happen to our school because we have not lost sight of who we are. Our focus on our Catholic identity has persevered throughout these 50 years. Our focus on a faith-based Catholic education for the students keeps the school true to its mission. Five years ago, a family registered their little girl in Kindergarten. Unfortunately, the father’s job was transferred to Canada, and they had to leave even before the end of the school year. This past summer, that family called and said they were in the area visiting friends and that their daughter insisted she wanted to visit the school, even though her teacher was not here. When they arrived she ran up to me and gave me a hug. After a tour to see the changes, she asked if it was possible to get a new ACS tshirt because hers was worn out and too tight. I found a shirt with ACS on it and her father insisted on paying for it. He wrote out a check for $100 and said it was a small token for all the kind things our school had done for their family and for how well their child was prepared for first grade. On their way out, they noticed the new mosaic above the main entrance and commented on how beautiful it was. It reads: “To know, to love and to serve God” Yes – that is what these 50 years has been all about!

Sr. Yosaphata’s 50th Anniversary Remarks

Two score and ten years ago our parish fathers brought forth in this city of Perth Amboy, a new school conceived in high expectations, dedicated to the promotion of Catholic ideals of education according to the teachings of Christ. The assignment for the Missionary Sisters of the Mother of God, “Go teach all nations”.

About three years before the school’s opening in 1963, President John F. Kennedy, challenged the nation “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.” The command of Christ “Go Teach” and the words of the Catholic president became the call to action for the staff of Assumption catholic School. With a slight modification, the Catholic president’s words became the unspoken motto of ACS, “WHATEVER YOU PUT INTO IT, IS WHAT YOU GET OUT OF IT.”

The personnel staffing this school never ask what they can get out of their labor, but focus rather on what they can do to make this school flourish and the students learn to be good Christians and supportive citizens of the country.

Although founded for the specific mission to be a parish school, ACS spread its wings to embrace all ethnicities, and soon became a haven for any student who sought entrance through its doors, regardless of ability, background or religious affiliation.

The mission of this school as recently redefined reads: Assumption Catholic School is a small, diverse, family oriented school which promotes Catholic values, academic distinction, higher order thinking, personal responsibility and knowledge of the Ukrainian Catholic Rite and heritage. This has been the hallmark of this educational institution from the very first day. For 50 years many loving children have spent their formative years within these walls, and all have been taught the same lessons, lessons of faith, the teachings of Christ and His church, lessons of personal responsibility, honesty and integrity, lessons of love, of service and mutual respect for all .

Since its humble beginnings in the early sixties, this school has been richly blessed with giving souls who spared nothing to make the teachings of Christ available to all. The wisdom of our leaders, the Bishops, the dedication of Pastors who carried out their directives, the untold sacrifice of the generous people of Ukrainian Assumption Parish , the continual caretakers of the property, the administration of the school, teaching faculty, and the school parent community formed the pillars, the glue so to speak, that allowed the creation, progress and success come to reality.

Our parent organization, formed in the early years of the school. devoted countless hours to fundraising activities. There have been bazaars, fashion shows, a 25 club, candy sales; you name it, they’ve done it!

On this day of celebrating its GOLDEN Anniversary, Assumption Catholic School can proudly boast of its labor of love. It has seen many of its graduates succeed as professionals in the fields of medicine, law, education, business and the arts. Many have “come home” to teach in the same place they were taught, to willingly provide assistance, or bring their children to the same classrooms, to sit in the same seats they once occupied. It is difficult to describe our joys as we welcome back our graduates and hear them proudly tell of their leadership roles in high school, their reception into National Honor Societies, or to display their certificates of achievement and boast of scholarships to advanced halls of learning.

Three of our now grown “little boys” are the pride and glory of our parish and school. They are Fr. Paul Makar, a successful engineer who answered the call to the priesthood and is now working in the Archeparchy of Philadelphia, Fr. Taras Naumenko, a priest in the Ukr. Orthodox Church and Anthony DeStefano , who recently began his theological journey in preparation for ordination in the Archdiocese of Newark Anthony is a successful lawyer who answered the call of Christ after many years of law practice.

The members of our faculty and staff, both past and present, who faced the task of testing the endurance of this teaching institution’s ideals, deserve much thanks, admiration, and appreciation. From the fruits of their efforts, we can proudly boast that we have planted a multitude of seeds that have blossomed into trees of success. The world will little know of the labor, sacrifice, prayer, and of dedication that have gone forth from these walls, but it will reap the fruit that has sprung forth in achievement and success.

ACS has had the good fortune of having a stable faculty ,some of whom have dedicated their lives’ vocation to teaching in this school. As aforementioned, we have also been blessed with graduates dedicated to the teaching profession, who chose to begin their careers at the school they knew and loved so well. Presently we can boast of four of our alumni either as full time or part time teachers . Our school lawyer is also a graduate of the school.

I extend a warm welcome to all, as we gather together to rejoice and celebrate 50 years of dedication, based upon a grand, sweet labor of love, prayers, sweat ,tears and YES, joy and success!

For some of you, this building appears the same; for others it has greatly changed.

Some of us recall two small classrooms on the first floor, the school office behind the stage, and Fr. Sulyk’s living quarters in the present school office. We can picture the playground as a field full of weeds, or the basement as an unfinished, impassable area where we occasionally had gym with Mr. Gumbs our first gym teacher, sent to teach at ACS by the city of Perth Amboy.

Many changes have taken place, thanks to the love and labor of our Pastors and numerous dedicated individuals who have made things happen throughout the years. Now, all classrooms are finished and filled with happy faces. They are also supplied with updated, technological, state of the art equipment, providing internet access to all classrooms. ACS was one of the very first schools in the country to install internet throughout the building. The basement is now a multifunctional education center consisting of a comfortable learning library, a computer lab and a spacious science laboratry.

The school office is no longer a tiny hidden back room, but a spacious two room complex complete with computers and computerized copiers, which have replaced the old purple rexograph machines and those known as “ the inky, stinky mimeograph “copiers. Report cards are no longer hand written , but instant on line print outs. The Honey Well Instant Alert System provides the blessing of not having to sit for hours and make individual phone calls for emergency reasons or for early dismissal announcements! Power School allows for spontaneous teacher – parent communication, and Acellus , an optimum online learning program, is accessible to all students. Indeed, ACS has proven to be a great mover into 21st century instruction!

In an age when various Catholic schools are concerned about the loss and focus of their identity, Assumption Catholic School has retained hers. It is at the forefront of all its activities and remains its main emphasis. The recitation of daily prayer, weekly Liturgy, monthly opportunity for the Sacrament of Penance, thorough preparation for First Penance and solemn Holy Communion, daily catechetical and religion instruction, monthly rosary and May devotions all contribute to moral growth and strength of character. The emphasis on service to others, respect and politeness deserves a special mention.

No institution can survive for any length of time without good leadership. ACS has been continually blessed with dedicated, strong leaders: Bishop Yaroslaw Gabro, the initiator and designer of the school, Archbishop Stephen Sulyk who labored tirelessly to see the building completed, staffed and built on a strong academic foundation, Fr. Roman Dubitsky’s 30 years of care and solicitude over the progress of the school, and Fr. Ivan’s strong involvement with the school, the students, the administrative leadership and the faculty, are to be highly commended. Sr. Josepha, the first principal, who was both a teacher and an administrator for over 30 years, laid a solid foundation from the very beginning. The principals that followed, including our current principal, Mr. Michael Szyhulsky, supported and built upon this foundation.

Assumption Catholic School offers its students not only curricular knowledge, but guidance in developing critical thinking skills , enthusiasm for learning and self esteem . It prepares students not only for success in academics but provides them with a good foundation for a well rouded Christian Catholic LIFE. Our teachers are role models in the classroom, and are dedicated to improving themselves, their students and their community. They are not just professional persons, but educators, persons whose vocation is to develop other persons. They deserve much credit for having proven themselves in this important Christian calling.

When this building was blessed in August 0f 1963, Archbishop Ambrose Senyshyn prayed :
May the blessing of Almighty God, The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit descend and remain forever upon this school and those who will support its work, teach and study in it.” For two score and ten years God’s blessing has been with us. In a sense WE cannot dedicate, or consecrate this institution. Those individuals, living or deceased, who lovingly spent their energy, talents and expertise have dedicated and consecrated it with the help of the grace of God.

May Almighty God and His divine assistance remain forever upon those who will come here to learn and those who will dedicate their lives and talents to continue to teach as Christ taught, ask not for personal gain, but for spiritual and intellectual growth.