By Ann Villamarin '20
On May 24, 2019, Fridays for Future held their second student climate strike of the year. Fontbonne Hall Academy honored this event and its many supporters with a commemorative prayer, a news segment filmed by our talented Journalism class, and environmental initiatives, such as our new bee pollinator garden. We asked our student-journalist Annie Villamarin to share with us her experience at the first Fridays for Future climate strike.
I was lucky enough to participate in the Fridays for Future climate strike on March 15th. I met up with my sister and our friends to fight for political action regarding the destruction of our climate. Students from all over the city met by Columbus Circle on the Upper West side. We brought colorful posters and called out for protection over our planet.
There were many news vans, photographers, and police officers present. All the students were peaceful and powerful. We started to march uptown through Central Park and back on the streets. We decided to sit in silence and solidarity on the steps on the American Museum of Natural History. At one point, someone with a microphone and a guitar started singing “Imagine” by John Lennon, which really fueled everyone up again after being at the strike for three hours already.
There were student speakers who were courageous enough to share their stories and ideas in front of hundreds of people, including the media. One of my friends, from LaGuardia High School, has spoken at many climate strike events, including the one I attended. She spoke to me about her experience as an environmental activist. Olivia Davis told me, “It’s in our [the youth’s] hands now. Everything we’re fighting for today will change our future and the future of generations to come. We need politicians to hear our voices and realize that we aren’t backing down anytime soon.”
It’s important for the youth to express their complaints and frustrations to the world. I hope everyone will come together to save our home. It’s in all of our hands now.
By Stephanie Patella '20
On May 13th, 2019, our fellow CSJ school, Bishop Kearny High School, announced its closing at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. The news quickly spread that the reason for our sister school closing is due to declining enrollments over the past few years. It was a very difficult decision for the Sisters of Saint Joseph, but after careful analyzation of the big picture, they felt it was best to close its doors after 58 successful years.
Principal Mary Ann Spicijaric, among other CSJ principals, was asked to attend the meeting where the announcement was made to act as an outlet of support and a shoulder to cry on. Faculty, students, and parents were extremely distraught over the heartbreaking news. Ms. S claims that it was “upsetting to see the girls and their parents in continuous sadness.” This also led Ms. S to worry about the fate of Catholic high schools in general. In an interview with Ms. S, she exclaims that “losing the school is like losing the development of other Catholic schools.” As soon as the news was spread throughout the school and the community, Ms. S realized that she wanted to make the transfer process as quick and painless as possible for the Kearny students.
Unfortunately, during this process, the age-old rivalry had taken over the better of a few FHA students. A small number of Juniors had taken to social media to post rude comments about the closing of Kearny. Luckily, the situation was handled smoothly as Ms. S organized junior classmates, accompanied by Ms. McNiff, to state a formal apology to the Kearny students. This act of kindness made a positive impact and eventually brought over 70 current Kearny freshwomen, sophomores, and juniors to attend Fontbonne’s open house day.
On May 17th, the rising seniors came for a private open house in our cafeteria where Ms. S gave a run down of what it would be like if they choose to become a Bonnie next Fall. Many of the St. John Villa transfers, along with other students who transferred into FHA this year, shared their experience and how they grew to love Fontbonne. The Kearny students asked questions while the transfers took turns answering and explaining what life is like as a Fontbonne transfer student. “Sitting in that room and talking to the girls truly felt forming new bonds of sisterhood,” Villa transfer sophomore Gabriella Salerno exclaims about the meet and greet. Afterwards, faculty chairpersons came down to the cafeteria to discuss classes and share their advice and experience to the Kearny students. It was an informative yet heartfelt exchange that the girls were extremely thankful for. After hearing from the department heads, FHA students split the Kearny girls into groups and sent them on tours around the school. On May 23rd, current freshwomen and sophmores visited Fontbonne to experience the same process.
These two days of meet and greets were extremely beneficial and hopefully made an impact on the Kearny girls’ decision making. Even after the unfortunate incident involving a certain number of juniors, Fontbonne, as a community, was able to rise above the negative behavior and lend out a gentle hand to our sister school. Ms. S hopes that through “our similar missions of unity and love, our differences can be overcome and we can become a stronger sisterhood of compassion and strength.”
By Stephanie Patella '20
Meals on Wheels is a non-profit organization that began in 1972. First developed on the grounds of Seaview Hospital in Staten Island New York, community activists prepared meals for about 23 senior patients in the rehabilitation center. From there, meals were expanded to four hospitals on Staten Island, including Bailey Seaton and Staten Island University Hospital. Many people would report to these hospitals to pick up food to deliver to the sick elderly patients waiting in their rooms.
In 2002, the Meals on Wheels headquarters opened in Port Richmond, Staten Island, as a way of gaining control over the quality, number, and cost of the meals. Once the idea of delivering meals expanded beyond hospital bedsides, volunteers were extremely enthusiastic to start donating to elders who were stuck at home and unable to prepare or buy food for themselves. In the beginning, Meals on Wheels served about 325 people. Over time this number increased to 1,300 people who are served two meals each day. Due to this tremendous growth, Vice President of Meals on Wheels in Staten Island, Rosann Holt, hopes to “break ground with a 10,000 square foot kitchen” by Spring 2019 to help make more room for the cooks to prepare food and for volunteers to roll out the countless deliveries.
Meals on Wheels partners with the Community Agency for Senior Citizens. They act as the case managers, or “social workers,” to determine who qualifies to be a recipient of the meals. The basic criteria to be eligible requires the person to be at least 60 years of age and, most importantly, unable to leave their home to shop or cook for themselves.
Before allowing meals to be sent to them right away, the agency will complete an “intake,” where a nurse will go into their homes, evaluate the situation, go over their medical history, dietary needs, and complete an overall wellness check on that person. Once completed, the nurse will send the referral to case management to double check if all criteria have indeed been met. After this 2-3 day process, they will send the referral to Meals on Wheels, informing them whether the person is or is not eligible. From there, meals can be regularly sent out to each person, or they are able to assign when they would like to receive their meals.
Each person is entitled to a hot and cold meal. The cold meals include items like sandwiches, apples, and a carton of milk, while a hot meal consists of chicken and a vegetable, taking into account dietary restrictions for each person, of course. If someone requires immediate assistance, an emergency box can be sent to them right away with a mix of both hot and cold meals which should hold them over for a few days. The volunteers are in charge of making sure that when they deliver meals, they cannot leave the food outside the door without permission from the resident of the home. They should always make sure the person is home and aware of the delivery. The volunteers truly act as the eyes and ears of the entire process.
Meals on Wheels has been blessed with an overwhelming amount of volunteers who contribute not only monetary donations, but also by making deliveries. Simply put, volunteers are assigned to certain routes for deliveries. They follow the directions provided to them and transport the designated cold and hot meals to the elders listed. There are always at least a dozen Meals on Wheels trucks on standby to deliver meals in areas that volunteers would not usually be sent. However, 80% of meals are delivered by volunteers, meaning there are 48 volunteers across Staten Island making deliveries every day.
Before her job as Vice President, Rosann worked for the Seaton Foundation for Learning, focusing on children with developmental disabilities. The foundation eventually partnered with Meals and Wheels allowing the children to get involved in helping to pack or deliver meals. Since then, over 21 agencies, including Community Resources and On Your Mark, have made up a large portion of volunteers delivering and contributing to the success of Meals on Wheels and the overall happiness of elders who receive their food.
If volunteers are assigned to the same route, they may start to form a connection with a recipient and assist them outside of delivery days. Seeing the smiles on each person’s face while delivering a meal is just one small and simple reason for the numerous volunteers each year. I myself have been extremely lucky to volunteer and deliver food to elders around my neighborhood for Meals on Wheels. The overall feeling of completing that wonderful deed is an amazing experience that I encourage everyone to take part in.
By Alessandra Antonacci ‘20
Every year during the Lenten season, along with fasting, we are asked to give up certain luxuries in our everyday lives in observation of Jesus's journey into the desert for 40 days. This season, we asked our fellow Bonnies what they chose to give up this year in preparation for the joy of Easter. As the Lenten poll closed, there were 71 responses from students over the course of two weeks.
The first question in the poll asked students if they usually choose to keep tradition by abstaining from the same items each year. Shockingly, 73% of students stated that they in fact give up different items each year instead of keeping one item that they periodically give up.
Though the responses for question two, which asked students which items they were giving up, were scattered, it is no surprise that the majority of those who participated in the poll stated that they were choosing to abstain from junk food this season (38%). At a close second, but still in the same ballpark as junk food, 14% of participants stated that they were choosing to give up soda and other sugary drinks. Many of the responses for this question showed that most of the luxuries Bonnies chose to give up this Lenten season pertained to junk foods and desserts, including pretzels, chocolate, french fries, ice cream, fried food, and Starbucks. However, some people also took this year’s Lenten season as an opportunity to rid themselves as bad habits, such as procrastinating (6%) and fighting with family members (3%).
Whatever way you choose to prepare yourself for the Easter season, I hope that you all have a fulfilling forty days packed with family time and faith!
On February 22, 2019, Fontbonne Hall Academy lost a beloved member of our family - Anthony DiCarlo. Anthony was coach of our Junior Varsity soccer team and assistant coach of our lacrosse team. His wife Maria is an alumna of Fontbonne, and a member of our Board of Trustees. His daughter Maria is also an alumna, class of 2017, and his daughter Daniella is currently a senior here. In addition to being an integral member of our community, he was also a proud member of New York’s Finest.
He touched so many of our lives, and I wanted to give the students he coached the chance to express their thoughts and feelings, and say their goodbyes to the man who helped them grow into talented young women:
Anthony did everything he could to help everyone! We all love him so much and will miss him every day. Prayers and thoughts are with him and his family. And from her October 27, 2017 article on a JV soccer playoff win: “We also couldn’t have done this without Coach Anthony constantly pushing us … his game plan helped us win the game!”
- Mairead Buckley, member of JV Soccer & Lacrosse, Class of 2021
Anthony was our soccer coach. He helped us on and off the field to become better people. He will be missed greatly and always remembered.
- Caroline Gifford, member of JV Soccer and Lacrosse, Class of 2021
Anthony was my and many girls’ soccer coach for two or more years. He was loved by all and supported all of the girls he coached. He always made the girls play to the best of their abilities and helped them improve. Anthony was loved and will be missed by all.
- Kathleen Schmitt, member of JV Soccer and Lacrosse, Class of 2021
Anthony made all of us feel like we had a place on the lacrosse team, and everyone felt like they belonged during practices or games. He cared about everyone, regardless of how athletic or talented we were. We all love and miss you, and your family is in our prayers.
- Juliann Bianco, member of Lacrosse, Class of 2021
I will truly miss you so much, and I know I am not going to be the only person. You were the best coach that I and my other teammates could have ever asked for. You cared for everyone that you met and especially the girls who played soccer and lacrosse for you. You put your heart and soul into every practice and game. You will be missed by countless people who will take your advice and skills wherever they go. The passion and love you had for soccer and sports were unlike any other. And I will remember that forever. Thank you for all of the memories and good times, I will forever remember them.
- Grace Woods, member of JV Soccer and Lacrosse, Class of 2021
Anthony was one of my favorite coaches. He helped me build up my confidence when playing soccer. Anthony and I would make fun of each other and say mean things all in good spirit! I will not have that kind of relationship with any other coach. I will never forget Anthony and always remember him as my favorite coach.
- Alia Mansour, member of JV Soccer, Class of 2021
My thoughts are with the Dicarlo family. He will be missed.
- Marissa Amendolia, member of Lacrosse, Class of 2020
He was a funny and great person and he will be missed.
- Juliana Oliva, member of JV Soccer, Class of 2022
Anthony was one of the more caring and passionate coaches I have ever had. During practices, he would always encourage each and every player to try as hard as they can no matter what and to never give up. We will miss you so much during the next soccer season but we know that you will be watching over every game.
- Emma Keane, member of JV Soccer and Lacrosse, Class of 2021
Anthony was our soccer coach. He always made soccer enjoyable and fun. He helped us improve and supported us, so we could play to the best of our abilities and be the best versions of ourselves. We all loved him and he will be missed.
- Kaitlyn Potter, member of JV Soccer and Lacrosse, Class of 2021
Anthony was a great person. He had a great personality, and was so funny and kind. He will be missed as a coach.
- Paige O’Neill, member of JV Soccer, Class of 2022
Anthony was the reason I continued to play soccer when I wanted to quit. He encouraged me to keep playing.
- Cheyenne Seobarrat, member of JV Soccer, Class of 2021
Thank you for all of your help, kind words and enthusiasm. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself and not overthink. Thank you for everything you've done for me and many others. Keeping your family in my thoughts and prayers.
- Keelin Hammill, member of Lacrosse, Class of 2019
Mr. DiCarlo was a very dedicated man who inspired everyone to work hard and be the best version of themselves they could be as athletes and as individuals. He will be missed by so many.
- Kaylie Walsh, member of Lacrosse, Class of 2021
Anthony was the best coach we could’ve asked for. His heart and soul was the game, he didn’t care how good or bad you were, he wanted to get everyone interested in the game. He was truly a great man and will live forever in the hearts of his players and every person he came into contact with. I know he will be on the field and at the games for many years to come with us girls. Anthony was not only my coach, but a neighbor and a friend. I will truly miss him so much. Thank you so much for always believing in us, for all the laughs and memories, rest in sweetest peace coach.
- Diana Willoughby, member of JV Soccer, Class of 2021
Anthony wasn’t just a coach, he was a friend. He always knew the right way to cheer us up, or push us to become better players. He took so much action in the Fontbonne community, which we are so thankful for. Soccer won’t be the same without him, and we will miss him so much.
- Maeve Murnan, member of JV Soccer and Lacrosse, Class of 2021
Coach Anthony was extremely encouraging and he definitely pushed us to a limit that we never knew we were able to reach. He helped us realize we’re much more capable than we believe.
- Liani Kane, member of Lacrosse, Class of 2019
Anthony believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I will forever be grateful for the love I gained for soccer, all because of him. He will be missed by myself and so many.
- Sofia Casale, member of JV Soccer, Class of 2022
Anthony was one of the best coaches I have ever had because he believed in everyone and always pushed everyone to work their best and try their hardest. He will be missed greatly.
- Kaylee Hermance, member of Lacrosse, Class of 2021
Anthony was a great coach, and an amazing human. He will truly be missed by everyone who knew him.
- Colleen Bambury, member of JV Soccer, Class of 2021
Anthony was the best coach. He was so supportive of everyone and made our soccer team feel like a family. he was encouraging of everyone and made sure everyone felt welcome. I am so grateful that I had the honor of calling him my coach.
- Madelyn Billows, member of JV Soccer and Lacrosse, Class of 2021
By Joanne Centeno ‘21
Most of us have all, hopefully, had some education on the meaning of Lent. Other than
knowing it begins on Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday, how many of us
really understand Lent? I researched it a bit and found that the word Lent means “a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later, before Easter Sunday.” In this period, we are asked to observe days of fasting and abstinence.
The definition is pretty much what we all probably already knew. So, I decided to go into more detail with what Lent actually means and what is expected of us as practicing Catholics. While we know that Lent lasts 40 days, did you know that it is actually 46 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday? Most people I spoke to thought that the duration from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday is 40 days because truthfully, how many of us would take the time to count calendar days? The breakdown of the 40 days of Lent is that 46 days total, minus the 6 Sundays in Lent is equal to 40 days. On Sundays, we are not asked to fast or abstain. So it is not counted in our Lenten observance.
Another aspect of Lent that may not be clear to some is the period of time between Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday where we begin what is known as the Triduum. Triduum is a Latin word meaning “three days.” We are in a period of sadness after Jesus is crucified on Good Friday. We are preparing for Easter Sunday when Jesus rises from the dead. In this time, we are asked to (but not required) to come to the Mass and participate in our parish services.
On Holy Thursday, the Mass includes the washing of the feet of usually 12 parishioners. This is to remember how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples the last time he ate with them. On Good Friday, we come to a service where the Gospel is the Passion. The Passion is the story of Jesus being crucified. It is the most solemn day of our Catholic Church. On Holy Saturday, there is no Mass until the Easter Vigil at night.
Throughout Lent, many of us give up things we like or try to be kinder to people. On Fridays during Lent, we don’t eat meat. It is called abstinence. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, we are asked to fast. This means we only eat one basic meal. We are not to eat food throughout the day other than that one meal.
Another common mistake is that some believe that we are required to come to Mass on Ash Wednesday. It is not a holy day of obligation. We are not required to receive ashes on our foreheads either. It is optional, but encouraged.
By Gabriela Cafaro ‘22
Swim Coach Joe Verponi, a beloved member of the Fontbonne family, died on January 10, 2019, after struggling with health issues for some time. He was 91 years old.
Joe started to help out the swim team 50 years ago when his daughters attended the school. He was known to pile a team of 12 girls in his car and drive down to the YMCA on 9th Street for pool practice.
He continued to coach and eventually became head coach for many years. He enjoyed teaching and improving the swimmers’ strokes - the hardest one to master, the butterfly, was his favorite.
He taught hundreds - maybe thousands of swimmers - to improve their strokes while being part of FHA’s swim team. Even as he aged and began to use a cane, Joe looked forward to coming back to the pool and getting team results on his iPad that his grandchildren set up for him.
Kathi Kocur, the current swim coach says, “When I became head coach, Joe would always listen as I talked about our lineups and give suggestions to get the best out of the team.” She often spoke to him and sent him rosters with the swimmers’ times, and they talked about how the Freshwomen would succeed.
He was a universally admired swim coach at Fontbonne and has been recognized over the years. He was Coach of the Year twice - given the honor by his fellow swim coaches - and has been inducted into the Brooklyn-Queens Catholic Girls High School athletic association's Hall of Fame.
He was a father to four daughters who attended Fontbonne Hall Academy and leaves behind many great and great-grandchildren. He was a coach, a mentor, and a friend to many people. He will be sorely missed.
We, as members of the Fontbonne family, are saddened to hear about this great loss to our school. His spirit will live on in every stroke of our Bonnie swimmers.
On Jan. 10, 2019, our Fontbonne family lost a beloved member - coach Joe Verponi of our swim team. Our next issue will include an obituary, but we wanted to reach out to members of our swim team to share some of their thoughts and memories of coach Joe in this month’s issue. Here is what they had to say:
After a meet, win or lose, Joe would tell us that we did well, but we will work harder at our next practice to be better for the following week. Although in his last two years he couldn't come to every event, we knew he was there, and he always will be. The swim team honors Joe by asking him (and his cane) to pray for us before we swim, and we know that even though he isn't with us, he is wishing us luck and cheering us on. I will miss Joe similar to how someone would miss a grandparent they lose, because that's the way he seemed to all of us, and I thank him for all the years he put into Fontbonne and the swim team. - Daniella DiCarlo
Being coached by Joe has made me not only a better swimmer but a better person. Coach Joe’s positivity and love for swimming made me excited for practices and meets. We love and miss you, Joe! - Elizabeth Carmody
Joe Verponi was the swim coach for Fontbonne Hall Academy for 50 years. He put his heart and soul into the swim team. When the team first started, there were very few girls, but that didn't stop Joe. Joe will always be remembered throughout the generations of Fontbonne's swim team. We love you, Joe! - Adriana Borrometi
Coach Joe was one of the most encouraging coaches I’ve ever had. He always believed in me and pushed me to be better. The season hasn’t been the same without him. I know he’ll be cheering for us at champs. There will never be another like him. Rest in peace, Coach Joe - Gabrielle Monti
By Julia Lepore '20
At Fontbonne Hall Academy, one of its most important and biggest events is Sports Night, which occurs every year. Not only is it important to FHA’s history but it involves the entire community including parents, faculty, and students. As each year comes together to create a production, the competition is on! Everyone is in it to win it, although teamwork and working together is the main focus that stays on students’ minds while they try to make their year stick out the most.
Sports Night isn’t only about making a production to preform, it’s everything that goes along with it. First the year has to start off by picking the theme for their year. Students come up with all kinds of great ideas, so it’s hard to choose one. Because of this, the student body chooses the theme by voting until they reach one they could all agree on. After a theme is chosen, the year has to pick the best fit students that would lead by being the captains, who run in one of several categories. Every job is important and being captain is a big responsibility. The three main categories are dance, skit, and tumbling. But no category is more important than the other. Each captain has to be on task while working to set up the event, making sure the details and choreography match the theme. There are also costume, mural (a picture that represents the year and is drawn by some of its art students), and you can run for captain of the different sports there are to play when each year competes. The sports add to your overall score so wherever you range depending on your wins and losses will be accounted for when you are getting your final score.
Getting everyone together for practices is one of the challenges the girls face during Sports Night season. During each practice, the girls and captains work together to perfect the overall performance for the audience and judges to enjoy. Although there is conflict along the way, the year always pulls through with a great performance.
The day of Sports Night is full of excitement, nerves, and laughs. Everyone puts together last minute touches to finalize their performance and makes sure everyone is set in costume and that everyone knows what they are doing in the role they have to play in the show. Once all the hard stuff is over, it’s a day of fun where the FHA community comes together to represent the students and the school itself. Sports Night is just one of Fontbonne many great events that take place during the year!
By Alessandra Antonacci '20
As we approach the end of the first month of 2019, we have all probably heard the phrase “new year, new me” a million times. Many people choose to set goals at the beginning of the year, dubbed “New Year’s Resolutions,” in order to try to better themselves and aim for a fresh start in the new year. On January 8th of 2019, a Folio Poll was sent out asking all Fontbonne Students about their New Year’s Resolutions. This poll was used to determine what the student body aims to improve on the most in 2019, as well as to figure out once and for all if new year’s resolutions really do live up to our expectations.
There were approximately 101 responses from students for this poll within one week. The first question in the poll was whether or not students have ever completed a New Year’s Resolution. An overwhelming 63.4% of participants stated that they had never fully completed the goal they set at the beginning of the new year. However, when students were asked in the next question if they chose to make resolutions for the year of 2019, 86.1% of students stated that they had set new goals for the year.
The last question in the poll asked the participants to expand on the previous question and state their resolutions for the year of 2019. This question consisted of a list of pre-written responses, as well as a fill-in box for those who had more unique goals that they wanted to share. Not surprisingly, the most popular resolution of the year is to form healthier habits, which was chosen by 80.2% of participants. The second most popular response (which will come as a pleasant gift to all teachers) is to study harder, which was chosen by 54.7% of participants. The two runners up for the most popular resolution were to step out of comfort zones, coming in at 39.5%, and to become a kinder person, which came in at 31.4%. Around 15% of students also chose to set the goal of becoming a more charitable person in the new year and strengthening their faith.
The fill-in resolution section was filled with both genuine and humorous responses for all of those with goals for 2019 that were not mentioned in the pre-written resolution section. Some of the more heartfelt responses included hopes for a healthy family, for a great college, a great future, and for having more faith in oneself. Others wanted to form healthier changes in their day to day lives, such as going to bed earlier and reading more. The most humorous responses, though, were those who chose less serious resolutions for the new year, such as to learn to juggle and, submitted in all caps, to get abs.
However you choose to better yourself this year, I hope that you all reach your goals and start off 2019 on the right foot!