By Jessica Easthope
Last school year when Cathedral Prep was holding classes online, the students’ days started very differently than they do now. But there’s one thing that’s back to normal: every morning Principal Richie Diaz and President Father James Kuroly are outside to fist-bump and greet all 160 students. The personal touch is part of what makes the school so special.
“It’s very heartwarming in all honesty, it’s nice to see them every morning and hear, ‘How was your day?’ and ‘How was your weekend,” said Ronicio Cervantes, a freshman at Cathedral Prep.
With students, parents and teachers on board, Cathedral Prep began this school year together. It’s the only school in the Brooklyn Diocese that has an all in-person school day. They make it work with a big school, small classes and some chalk.
“Everything this place taught me — about not only academics but character development and formation — is what I hope to pass onto them as their principal, said Diaz, “and the fact that we can do in person instruction makes that possible.”
While taking every precaution possible to stay safe, the day starts like every other: with Mass. Cathedral Prep’s focus on an intense curriculum is clear, but the school is just as serious about faith.
“The brotherhood that exists and the spiritual program of challenging our young men to hero virtue, all of those things have to take place when they are in person inside this building,” said Father Kuroly.
For the students, faith is what’s getting them through these uncertain times.
“Showing how we’re all here together and making the best of this, it really shows that we are supposed to have faith,” said Joshua Lall, a junior at the school.
In-person learning at Cathedral Prep goes hand-in-hand with the sense of home the students feel when they walk through the halls. That feeling is what’s getting Ronicio Cervantes through his first weeks of high school.
“It just lets us feel human again, we get to be with people, talk with people,” said Ronicio.
So when it comes to this ambitious school model and living out Cathedral Prep’s mission of “Forming Men for Greatness,” it’s personal.