Lend a hand to a treasured institution


When it was called St. Mary’s School, Mary Jane Michalak, was a devoted cafeteria worker for many years. Her fondest memories were of the wonderful children, staff and teachers there. Among her boxes of memorabilia found after her death in January at the age of 96, were the school children’s individualized thank you cards to her and a “Queen for a Day” sash she wore at her retirement party from St. Mary’s.

In her memory, as her oldest daughter, I am giving a $1,440 gift — a dollar for each day spent in grade school — to Northern Chautauqua Catholic School for this year’s campaign.

I believe that the success of education in the United States relies on a healthy balance of options — private as well as public schools. Dunkirk and Chautauqua County need to continue that tradition. Here is her challenge to all of you.

What did you and I do for 1,440 days when we were quite young? We were in grade school! Maybe it was a public school or one of the several Catholic schools available way back then.

Today Northern Chautauqua Catholic School is the only remaining private alternative in Chautauqua county. According to Buffalo Business First, Northern Chautauqua Catholic School is ranked number three in the county! And it is the only remaining Catholic private alternative in Chautauqua county.

The students at NCCS need our help now to continue having the wonderful educational experience provided them in our beloved hometown, Dunkirk. For example,could you translate 1,440 days to $1,440.00 or $144.00 or $14.40 or $1.44? (You could subtract the days you were absent but we’d rather you didn’t).

Thank you for sending your contribution through PayPal at www.nccschool.us under donations or mailing your check to NCCS Annual Angels Giving Campaign, 336 Washington Ave., Dunkirk, NY 14048.

Beverly (Michalak) Slichta-Cusick is a Our Lady of the Lake graduate from 1958. That was the only year St. Mary’s was called Our Lady of the Lake.