Diocesan Catholic schools say farewell until August

When the 2019-2020 academic year began for the Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Venice in August 2019, the joy and anticipation could be seen on the faces of incoming students as well as the teachers and faculty welcoming students back to school.

This is video capture of a last-day-of-school parade May 28, 2020 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers.

Fast forward to the end of May 2020 and faces from everyone were the same, if only hidden by facemasks or viewed from afar as everyone ensured proper social distancing.

Diocese Catholic Schools are rooted in Faith and it was that Faith which helped turn a school year that was disrupted in ways like never before into one of unity and celebration.

St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School leadership greets parents and students on the last day of school on May 28, 2020 in Naples.

Distance learning kept students and teachers physically apart but the learning process continued and thrived. Whether it was mathematics, language arts, science or art the thirst for knowledge from the young minds overcame the many distractions, obstacles and frustrations faced while being forced to learn through an electronic device.

Thank you signs adorn this vehicle during a farewell parade on May 27, 2020, marking the end of the school year at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral.

This happened thanks in no small part to the passion that each teacher offered, imparting knowledge under difficult circumstances. The final layer of support which made the 2019-2020 school years success possible was primarily behind-the-scenes from dedicated faculty.

As is at the end of any school year, Diocesan Catholic schools held celebrations to mark the occasion. While big assemblies were out of the question, leave it to educators to figure a way to make sure the last day was special.

Faculty and Staff from St. Ann Catholic School in Naples May 28, 2020 maintain social distancing as they wait for students and parents for a farewell parade on the last day of school.

At St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers, an eighth-grade graduation parade a week earlier inspired the school to have a drive-thru farewell. The parade had the teachers and faculty in the parking lot while the vehicles with the students and their parents slowly worker their way through the parking lot. Many of the vehicles were decorated for the occasion offering well-wishes and prayers for a heathy and safe summer and a return to school in August.

“We are excited to thank all of our families for everything they have done for us all year,” said John Gulley, St. Francis Xavier Principal. “We are looking forward to seeing you all next year.”

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota created a faculty farewell video. Two teachers at St. Martha Catholic School, who were known for sharing their favorite recipes while distance learning, offered tips for quick, healthy and refreshing summer snacks.

Maggie, a St. Joseph Catholic School Kindergartner is ready for her summer reading project and first grade after finishing her SuperKids program in Bradenton. The school wrapped up distance learning on May 27, 2020.

The end of the school year for pre-K3 and pre-K4 students at St. Ann Catholic School included a visit to the Naples school. The students were each given gift bags of goodies including a bucket and shovel to use at the beach. The teachers, wearing masks, held up a colorful sign which proclaimed: “We love our pre-K students! Have a great summer!”

These are just a few of the examples of last day fun at the Diocesan Catholic schools.

To learn more about Diocese of Venice Catholic Schools, please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org.