By Jessica Easthope
Pre-schoolers at Bay Ridge Catholic Academy already know what they want to be when they grow up – proof that it’s never too early to start thinking about the future.
So why not think about college? That’s the goal of this new partnership between Bay Ridge Catholic and St. Francis College.
“You can’t start too early to getting them thinking about what their dreams are and focused on the importance of being of service to others,” said St. Francis College President Miguel Martinez-Saenz.
Educators from both schools say it’s a win-win. Student volunteers and student teachers from St. Francis College will come to Bay Ridge Catholic Academy to run an after-school program, a summer science program and teach foreign language classes to all grades. And students from Bay Ridge Catholic will get the chance to get on campus for field trips to science and communication labs at St. Francis.
“We are constantly seeking opportunities for our students to go out into the community to make a difference in the world, this partnership with Bay Ridge Catholic Academy does just that,” said St. Francis Assistant Vice President Robert Oliva.
“There was a whole thrust in college readiness and implementing it in the schools so this is a perfect opportunity,” principal Gary Williams said.
The unique collaboration is completely free, something new principal Gary Williams said was a dream come true.
“It was a gift from heaven, the children are going to benefit from the role models these students will serve to be and in addition it will permit them to have a clearer picture of what their future might be,” he said.
Every single eighth grader at Bay Ridge Catholic Academy got into the Catholic high school of their choice, but now this allows them to see the future of a faith-based education beyond that.
“Why wouldn’t we engage? It’s an educational institution with commitment to Catholic education, they share our values and our burden and my view is to uplift all those communities,” Martinez-Saenz said.
Students from St. Francis College will get their first chance to engage with the younger generation at Bay Ridge Catholic starting in March.