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Angel Campaign underway at NCCS

Wings and a prayer

Patti Schanzlin’s first and second grade AIS students are hard at work in their ELA workshop.

The Board of Trustees of Northern Chautauqua Catholic School announces its 2021 Angel Campaign, the school’s annual year-long drive for donations that continues to grow each year, thanks to the generosity of the surrounding community.

This spring marks an important milestone for NCCS, said Principal Andrew Ludwig. “With the help of our extremely generous benefactors and through the determined efforts of our teachers, faculty, staff, parents, students and trustees, Northern Chautauqua Catholic School has been in session for every day, face-to-face instruction, for a school filled with children since Sept. 8, 2020,” said Ludwig. “In spite of pandemic restrictions, we have had a wonderful school year.”

Located at 336 Washington Ave. in Dunkirk, NCCS experienced a significant growth in enrollment this school year, and enrollment for next year looks quite promising. Despite the limitations of the pandemic, NCCS students have continued to be challenged academically and grow spiritually. Elementary and prep school students have continuously participated in in-person Mass and Paraliturgies throughout the school year.

Along with their school work, prep school students in grades five through eight have enjoyed writing and publishing their student-run publication “The Monarch Chronicle” and reporting on the latest current events in Mr. Vona’s live in-class broadcasts. Earlier this school year, prep school students sewed masks and created PPE care packages for area veterans. Mission Club members organized their annual Thanksgiving food drive for the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton food pantry that resulted in an astounding donation of 600 pounds of non-perishable food.

Elementary students have been equally busy undertaking new projects and enjoying annual traditions. On Dr. Seuss’ Birthday/Read Across America Day, students enjoyed listening to stories read by guest readers from the community, including parents, grandparents, and members of the Dunkirk Fire and Police departments. Students in several classes took their reading skills to new levels through their challenge to read a book a week. Miss Narraway’s students experienced the science of buoyancy through their homemade boat race, while third and fourth grade music students have been learning how to play the recorder. This week, all students’ art work will be on display in the gymnasium for the annual art show, led by Ms. Tina Cooper.

Third graders prepare to show off their musical skills as they perform their first song, “Hot Cross Buns,” on the recorder.

Even athletics, an area that has been particularly challenged by COVID-19 protocols, has offered different opportunities for students. This winter, Saturday basketball clinics led by the Chautauqua Hurricane basketball team allowed students in grades two and up to hone their skills. This spring, the prep school girls softball team has begun practicing, and seventh and eighth grade boys are continuing to develop their skills through Hurricane Coach Sixto Rosario’s Saturday basketball drills.

In staying open all year, the school has undertaken several pandemic-related expenses that, in any other academic year, are not part of the budget. Those costs include purchasing personal protective equipment, touchless thermometers and additional cleaning supplies, as well as paying for additional janitorial services. These costs, in conjunction with the total discontinuation of financial support from the Diocese of Buffalo, which was announced last spring, have placed the school in a challenging situation. At one point, this subsidy from the Diocese of Buffalo provided upwards of $200,000 a year in annual support to the school, but last spring it was announced that this support would be discontinued indefinitely.

The Annual Angel Campaign is NCCS’ largest stream of private funding through the contributions of individual donors, businesses, and family foundations within the community. Angel donors’ generosity plays a vital role in helping NCCS continue to provide the only option for Catholic education now and for future generations in Chautauqua County.

Ludwig said, “NCCS’ pre-enrollment for the ’21-22 school year already has our school filled to near capacity. We are counting once again on the largesse from the outreach of our annual Angel Campaign to help make the ’21-22 school year our most successful year ever.”

Financial gifts in any amount are deeply appreciated and can be made in memory or in honor of loved ones. Past donors have received a donation letter by way of U.S. mail, but donations can also be made securely online through the school’s website www.nccschool.us . NCCS is a registered not-for-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.

“NCCS’ Angel donors recognize how special a quality Catholic education can be for a young person in today’s world,” said Ludwig. “Anyone interested in helping our cause can reach out to our school by way of NCCS’ official website or even through a good old-fashioned phone call to the school at 366-0630. We love to talk about our wonderful school. Thank you in advance for your generous support. Exciting things are happening at Northern Chautauqua Catholic School!”

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