Mooney swimmer repeats as State Champ

A Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School junior repeated as Class 1A State Champion Nov. 6, 2021 at Sailfish Splash Park and Aquatics Center in Stuart.

Michaela Mattes took the State Championships in the 500 Freestyle for the third year in a row and came in second in the 200 Individual Medley, proudly representing her Sarasota school.

Michaela took the 500 Freestyle with a dominating time of 4:45.51, more than 8 seconds faster than her nearest competitor. Her winning time earned her automatic All-American status with the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA). She was State Champ in the event as a freshman and sophomore.

In 200 Individual Medley, Michaela took silver with a time of 2:00.71, again earning All-American status. This was the third year Michaela medaled in the event, taking gold in 2020 and silver in 2019. In the 2021 finals, she trailed only one competitor who was a two-time defending State Champ in Class 2A.

Fellow Mooney student Daniel Krajewski also qualified for the state competition and participated in the boys 200 Individual Medley.

At the same event, Bishop Verot Catholic High School swimmer Marcos Egri-Martin broke two school swimming records while placing 6th in the 100 Breaststroke and 9th in the 50 Freestyle.

Marcos was also part of the 200 Freestyle Relay team which finished 16th overall.  The other Fort Myers swimmers on the relay team were Diego Corredor, Stephen Prendville, Alexander Price and Ethan Halter. Eleanor Bonds who finished 18th in the girls 1 meter diving competition after finishing 4th in the regional competition. An additional Verot competitor was Nicolas Scripcario, who swam in the 500 Freestyle.

Additional athletes from Cardinal Mooney, Bishop Verot and St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples and the Donahue Academy of Ave Maria Catholic School in Ave Maria will be competing in state cross country and golf events through Nov. 17.

Check out the next Florida Catholic for results or follow the Diocese at to see updates throughout the weekend.

News Briefs for the Week of November 8, 2021

Bradenton students do well in Knights soccer challenge

Three St. Joseph Catholic School students in Bradenton won awards at the Knights of Columbus State Soccer Challenge on Nov. 6, 2021 in Melbourne, Florida. Connor and Karol placed 2nd in the state in their age division, and Cooper placed 3rd in the state! Congratulations!

Student wins top junior horsemanship title

Alexa Dahl, a junior at St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples, won the 2021 World Championship for American Saddlebred in the 17 and under Three Gated Country Pleasure Division which she won with her mount CH Undulata’s Satchmo on Aug. 27, 2021 at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville, Kentucky. The Fair is host to the World Championships and the team made two top notch performances in to claim the title of Junior Exhibitor Country Pleasure 14-17 World’s Champion and World’s Champion of Champions! This team captured numerous other wins earlier in the year and is sure to continue their show ring success.

Students mourn classmate

Bishop Verot Catholic High School students, faculty, and family gathered Nov. 3, 2021, in the Senior Courtyard for a candlelight prayer vigil to remember senior Juan Roa, who died unexpectedly. The vigil included students sharing stories of Juan and the impact he had on so many lives. On All Soul’s Day, Nov. 2, the entire student body, along with members of the Roa family, took part in a Mass in his memory.

Three-year-olds dig for dinosaurs

The pre-kindergarten-3 students at St. Martha Catholic School in Sarasota played Jr. Paleontologists on Nov. 3, 2021 during a dino dig. A packed sand pit was created for the children to dig through in their own grip section as they happily searched out the “dino bones” and then tried to figure out how to put them together to assemble a “full-sized” dinosaur. Afterwards the whole group took a well deserved nap.

Volunteers at local soup kitchen

Junior girls at the Donahue Academy of Ave Maria Catholic School took part in a Nov. 5, 2021, service day volunteering at the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen at Guadalupe Social Services of Catholic Charities in Immokalee. The students set up the dining room tables, served the food and washed the dishes, learning valuable lessons about giving back and seeing first-hand the need of the poor in the community, some 10 miles for their home.

School hosts Fall Festival

St. Ann Catholic School in Naples hosted a Fall Festival on Nov. 6, 2021, put on by the school PTA. Beautiful weather brightened everyone’s day there were lots of fun activities and good food too.

Department of Education holds marketing and development workshop

The Diocese of Venice Department of Education hosted a Catholic Schools Marketing & development Collaboration Event and Workshop Nov. 8, 2021, at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School in Venice. Some 30 school representatives took part in the day which included sharing best practices, learning new strategies and brainstorming on how to continue to work together. The workshop was presented by John Carkeet, Department of Education Marketing Coordinator. Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Education was also present and encouraged that continuing to build the Catholic culture at their respective schools must be a large part of any marketing and development plan.

Verot tackles Mooney in rivalry football game

The Homecoming Football Game for the Bishop Verot Catholic High School Vikings on Oct. 22, 2021 in Fort Myers was a rousing success when they beat their long-time nemesis Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota.

The Mooney Cougars took an early 10-0 lead, but the tenacious Vikings came charging back to claim victory with the final score of 28-17. For the season, the Vikings are now 5-3 and the Cougars are 6-3.

The Homecoming Game opened with a special dedication to Coach Mike Gill, a 1968 graduate of Verot and teacher. The rivalry game marked the 50th Homecoming for Gill as a teacher. He teaches woodshop and is a favorite among multiple generations of Verot students who have viewed him as a mentor (he has coached several sports) and someone whom they admire and respect.

Just before kickoff, Gill was greeted by the referees and then was given the honor of making the coin-flip to decide who would get possession of the ball first. A special coin was struck for the occasion, which had the school logo on one side and “Coach Gill’s 50th Homecoming” on the reverse.

“This is all so humbling,” he said while trying to control his emotions as his entire family, including grandchildren, and all of the Verot faithful cheered him on.

Before the game, it was announced that the school designated that one of its courtyard’s would be named in his honor.

Among those congratulating Gill was Father John Belmonte, SJ, Diocese of Venice Superintendent of Catholic Education. Father Belmonte celebrated Mass for the Verot football team prior to the game and gave the Invocation. To be impartial, Father Belmonte spent the first half on the Verot sideline and the second half on the Mooney sideline.

Before the game was an Alumni tailgate and at halftime the Homecoming Court was presented. Homecoming Week included Mass, “Dressed to Impress Day,” a field day, “Alien and Astronaut Day,” game show competitions, a senior breakfast, Powderpuff football, and a traditional Homecoming Bonfire the night before the game.


News Briefs for Week of Sept. 3, 2021

Bishop Dewane continues to celebrate Mass for students

Bishop Frank J. Dewane continues celebrate Mass for the students in each of the 15 Diocese of Venice Catholic schools. The latest series of Masses took place Aug. 26, 2021 at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota; Aug. 27 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School in Port Charlotte; and Aug. 31 at both St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School and St. Ann Catholic School in Naples.

Diocesan principals meet

The Diocese of Venice Office of Catholic Education hosted a Principal’s Meeting Aug. 26, 2021 at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall. Father John Belmonte, SJ, Superintendent of Catholic Education, led the meeting and updated everyone on how the start of the new Academic Year has been going in the Diocese and how successful the COVID-19 safety precautions have been working. Father Jeff Puttoff, SJ, who assisted in recruiting and promoting the Step Up for Students Scholarship initiative in the Diocese, provided an update on that work which resulted in a more than 12% increase in enrollment. The principals also received updates on the implementation of a comprehensive curriculum update. Jennifer Falestiny, Diocese Director of Curriculum, spoke about training teachers in a variety of areas. Falestiny also focused on the work to expand the STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs. This also included a progress report on the implementation of the robotics STREAM initiative which will include competitions starting in the fall. Bishop Frank J. Dewane joined the group for lunch.

Miss Florida 2021 grew up at Bradenton Parish

If the recently crowned Miss Florida 2021, Leah Roddenberry, looks familiar to you, it might be that she is a parishioner and a former altar server at Ss. Peter and Paul the Apostles Parish in Bradenton. Father Mark Heuberger, Pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul, congratulated Roddenberry during a Mass in early August and wished her luck for December, when she will compete in the 100th Miss America competition. She graduated in 2017 from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School in Sarasota and previously attended St. Joseph Catholic School in Bradenton. Congratulations, Leah! We’ll be cheering you on.

Students start garden

School gardens can make lasting differences in the lives of children. The lessons taught through these outdoor learning laboratories transcend gardening to impact children, their families and entire communities for years to come. St. Mary Catholic Academy Teacher A.J. Schiep engaged his students in this wonderful and meaningful activity on Aug. 26, 2021, in Sarasota. The new garden is just outside their classroom windows and the students used various gardening tools, getting their hands dirty, while preparing the soil for planting. The students will work on the garden throughout the year, following the progress and eventually eating the fresh food that grows.

Eighth graders display leadership

St. Francis Xavier Catholic School eighth-grade each year take part in Falcon Academy students where they are excited to display the skills they have developed throughout their years here while serving the school community. This leadership program includes journaling, discussion, and feedback exercises help students self-reflect on their experiences. During the year, they will explore patience, empathy, active listening, reliability, dependability, creativity, positivity, effective feedback, timely communication, team building, flexibility, risk-taking, and mentoring. Host teachers provide mentorship as the eighth graders embark on an exciting year St. Francis Xavier before heading off to high school! For their first session on Aug. 27, 2021, the older students introduced themselves to their younger counterparts with activities, presentations, and read aloud time. Some of the students played a Fun Friday game while working on color recognition and taking turns with the PreK Falcons. Although our eighth graders had a lot of nervous excitement at first, they eventually settled right into the role and had a blast!

Verot students have many Club opportunities

There are so many great ways to be involved at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers. Students discovered their many options at an Aug. 26, 2021 Club Fair. Clubs come in various forms and focus, such as Catholics in Action; National Honor Society; Model UN; Academic Team; Black and Gold Delegation; or American Sign Language. While others are more generalized, such as environmental, art, chess, math, creative writing, robotics, theater, debate, and more.

Football team takes part in pre-game Mass

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School football team took part in the traditional pre-game Mass before their opener on Aug. 26, 2021 in Sarasota celebrated by Chaplain Father Eric Scanlan. The home game was against Booker High School of Sarasota. The Mooney Cougars won 36-0.

Summer camps bring smiles to young faces

For one week each summer many parishes throughout the Diocese of Venice make an amazing transformation to accommodate Vacation Bible School for the youngest of the faithful.

While this option was not available in the summer of 2020 due to the global Pandemic, the summer of 2021 brought the children back in droves.

A Vacation Bible School is intended to teach children to love God and thank the Lord for all the wonderful gifts in the world. Throughout a typical day of Vacation Bible School, the children learn about Bible stories, and then sing and dance in praise of God.

Team leaders – often middle school and high school student volunteers – lead the children through a variety of activities which included arts and crafts, games, reenacting Bible adventures and just having fun. Each day in the week has a different theme and different activities to keep the children engaged and learning.

One of the highlights for the volunteers is during the quieter moments when they hear the children explain their “God Experiences.” These are explained encounters with God’s creation or with good people, such a seeing butterflies or rainbows or having a good friend help with a project. The week concludes with a joyous celebration.

Some VBS programs are coordinated with neighboring Parishes to pool resources as was the case the week of July 19-23 with St. Cecilia and St. Francis Xavier Parishes in Fort Myers. A bonus for the St. Cecilia group was the opportunity to commemorate “World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly” on July 25, by singing at the conclusion of Mass.

Meanwhile, multiple Diocesan Catholic schools hosted STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) camps. Some of these camps covered several weeks and introduced the eager students to new projects such as arts and crafts, engineering various objects and other activities that incorporated the different aspects of STREAM.

St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Naples held its annual Summer Music Camps in mid-July with the budding musicians (ages 4-12) showing off their newly learned skills during Mass.

For the athlete in many, the area Catholic high schools hosted a variety of sports camps for children such as soccer, football, basketball, cheerleading and many others. These camps offer a chance for younger children to learn the skills needed to excel in different sports while at the same time having a bit of fun.

Catholic Charities in Bonita Springs holds a summer-long camp for children which includes a variety of fun games and projects giving the children the opportunity to show off their athletic, artistic and other skills. The campers also take a variety of fun field trips.

These are just some of the examples of the exciting activities that took place for the thousands of young people in the Diocese during the “slow” season.

News Briefs for the week of April 23 2021

“A Seminarian Story” ninth installment available

The Diocese of Venice in Florida Office of Vocations launched a video series titled, “A Seminarian Story,” to celebrate the 16 Seminarians currently in formation for the Diocese. The first eight videos have been released and more will follow approximately every few weeks. The most recent video features Seminarian Jacob Gwynn who is in formation at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. Developed with the assistance of the Diocese Communications Department, the goal of the series is to inspire others to follow in the path to the priesthood or religious life, as well as encourage the faithful to continue to support the seminarians as they continue their formation process at different seminaries. “A Seminarian Story” featuring Jacob Gwynn can be found at

Online fundraiser to support Our Mother’s House

Honor your mother, daughter, sister, friend, or someone who has been like a mother to you with a gift that will help homeless mothers and their children. Our Mother’s House of Catholic Charities provides a safe environment for residents to achieve self-sufficiency through education, vocational training, and personal growth. This year they are holding their annual Mother’s Day fundraiser so everyone can help a needy mother succeed. To support Our Mother’s House please visit

Cardinal Mooney Girls Track win Districts for first time in 26 years

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Girls Track and Field team are District Champs for the first time in 26 years. The Sarasota team won on April 15, taking the top spot in multiple disciplines including shot put, discus, javelin, triple jump, pole vault and 4×400 relay. Just one day earlier, the Mooney Girls Beach Volley team became Regional Champs. The Lady Cougars beat Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers and then Bradenton Christian on April 14 for the regional title. With the title comes an automatic berth to the State Championship tournament field of 12 teams on May 1. Congratulations to all!

Science students learn how to help in emergencies

Students in the Principles of Biomedical Science class at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers recently worked together in small groups to learn how to stop an uncontrolled bleed during their Emergencies Unit. They had three minutes to control different types of bleeding by either applying compression or by packing the wound and then compression. They ended the lesson by learning to control a bleed using a tourniquet as well as to clamp and legate an artery.



Pre-K-4 students attend “drive-in” movie

Students at St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral recently attended a drive-in movie. Their fancy cars were creative and amazing as each student created their own cars with designs ranging from sports cars to superhero vehicles.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Workshop

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, Directors of Religious Education, Youth Ministers, Principals and Teachers how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. The course will be held on April 29, 2021 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at St. Agnes Parish, 7775 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, and on May 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish, 833 Magellan Drive, Sarasota. Advanced registration is required, and the cost is $25. Visit for registration. The cost includes the book, lunch and certificate of completion.

Porn: Seven Myths Exposed event May 4

The porn industry has taken our culture hostage! The Diocese of Venice Family Life Office is hosting an event at 6:30 p.m., May 4, 2021 at the Epiphany Cathedral Parish Hall, 399 Sarasota St., Venice, to address and educate teens, parents and all others on the tyranny of pornography in our society. Matt Fradd is the speaker who has authored and coauthored several books, and creates and hosts the podcast, “Pints with Aquinas”. There is no cost to attend. For further information, please contact Carrie Harkey at or 941-484-9543.

Stepping into Marriage with Children

Did you know 60 percent of second marriages fail and the failure rate increases to 70 percent when there are children from a previous marriage in the home. The difficulties of parenting and stepparenting seemingly insurmountable are often the root cause of such failures. A free half day workshop, organized by the Diocese Office of Family Life, entitled “Stepping into Marriage with Children” is designed for those couples beginning or currently in a stepfamily situation, and will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, May 15, 2021 at Our Lady of Light Parish, 19680 Cypress View Drive, Fort Myers. This workshop takes a realistic look at blended families and offers strategies and tools to meet unique challenges. There is no cost to attend but registration is required at For further information please contact Carrie Harkey at or 941-484-9543.

Year of the Family

On March 19, 2021, the fifth anniversary of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, on the joy and beauty of familial love, Pope Francis inaugurated the year “Amoris Laetitia Family” which will conclude on June 26, 2022 on the occasion of the next World Meeting of Families in Rome. When announced, the Dicastery said in a statement, “The Pandemic experience has highlighted the central role of the family as the domestic Church and has shown the importance of community ties between families”. To learn more about the effort and the initiatives occurring in the Diocese of Venice during this commemorative year visit

Mooney Girls in State Final March 5

Mooney Girls in State Final March 5


The Cardinal Mooney Lady Cougars fell to Miami Country Day 59-34 in the March 5, 2021 State Class 3A Final at RP Funding Center in Lakeland. The final was delayed one week against a team ranked No. 20 in the U.S. It was the first time the Lady Cougars ever reached the Title Game. (Check Back next week for a look back on the remarkable season.)

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Girls Basketball Team has waited a long time to reach their first-ever State Championship game. So, an unexpected one-week delay in the game is of little consequence.

The Sarasota team won the Class 3A Semifinal over The Master’s Academy of Oviedo (47-32) on Feb. 24, 2021 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. Their next game was postponed from Feb. 26 to 10 a.m., March 5.

The Lady Cougars will be competing in the State Final against Miami Country Day, one of the top ranked girls’ basketball programs in the nation which took six straight state titles between 2014-2019 and reached the semifinal game in 2020.

On the other hand, this was the Cougars second trip to the State Final Four, and first since 1997. They are 20-8 this season and are now preparing for their first trip to the State Championship Game. During the semifinal, the Lady Cougars were led by sophomore forward Jordyn Byrd, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds, while sophomore Olivia Davis had 14 points and junior Madison Smithers had 10 points.

Ahead of the Semifinal Game, the entire student body of Cardinal Mooney cheered on the team with an outdoor Pep Rally on Feb. 24, a scene which will be repeated before their return to Lakeland ahead of the game on March 5.

Please visit the Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Facebook page for the latest updates on the team’s quest for its first State Championship.

Two Diocesan swimmers repeat as State Champs

Two swimmers from Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Venice repeated as Class 1A State Champions Nov. 15, 2020 at Sailfish Splash Park and Aquatics Center in Stuart.

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School sophomore Michaela Mattes repeated as State Champ in the 500 Freestyle and took the title the 200 Individual Medley. Meanwhile, Conor Cranfield, a senior at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers, repeated as State Champ in the 500 Freestyle.

Mooney’s Michaela took the 200 Individual Medley in 2:01.10, a time which earned her automatic All-American status with the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA). This victory comes in the same event in which she took silver in 2019. She repeated her 2019 performance in the 500 Freestyle with a dominating time of 4:47.19. She won the event by 7 seconds, again in All-American time.

“I’m extremely grateful for this season and I honestly did not think it was going to happen,” Michaela said. “I’m so incredibly proud of my teammates for their hard work to get to States and it was all thanks to Coach Smithers. I’m so happy that I got the two wins this year and I have no words for how excited I am for next year. Hopefully there will be more medals to come in the future.”

Verot’s Conor won the same 500 Freestyle event as he did in 2019. He finished in 4:26.27, also earning All-American status. Teammate Ryan Staunch earned a 5th place medal in the same race. The Verot boys 200 Medley Relay team (with Conor, Ryan, Robert Flannery and Marcos Egri-Martin) finished third with a time of 1:36.83, a new school record.

“We went out and did exactly what we wanted to do, both in the relays and in our individual events,” Cranfield told the Fort Myers News-Press. “The top three (in the relay), that’s something we’ve been gunning for since the beginning of the season. Everyone had great swims throughout the day, and we couldn’t be happier as a team.”

The Verot boys team finished 5th overall in Class 1A out of 33 teams. To earn that ranking, the team and individuals also did well in other events. The team took fifth in the 400 Freestyle Relay and 12th in the 200 Freestyle Relay. Conor took a sixth in the 200 Freestyle, while Ryan was 13th in the same event. Marcos finished seventh in 100 Breaststroke and 11th in the 50 Freestyle, while Robert took 11th in the 100 Breaststroke and 200 Individual Medley.

The Cardinal Mooney boys team also did well. Henry Linehan finished 14th in the 50 freestyle. Linehan teamed up with fellow teammates Max Middleton, Collin McCracken and Zander Mitten in the 200 Medley Relay and 200 Freestyle Relay. Both relays finished in 12th place. The team finished 22nd overall.

Local golfers excel at regionals

Golfers from the three Diocese of Venice Catholic high schools excelled during the regional tournament on Oct. 19, 2020 at The Eagles Golf Club in Odessa.

The Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School boys’ team from Sarasota took the top spot in the 1A Region 3 tournament, while the Bishop Verot Catholic High School girls’ team from Fort Myers took the girls title. Both teams qualified for the State Championships to be played Nov. 3-4 at Mission Inn Resorts and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills.

Individually, Verot girl’s golfer Talia Rodino took the 1A-3 Region Title, while her freshman teammate Morgan Franklin placed fourth. Both qualified for the State Championship. Verot boy’s golfer Michael Bevins finished third while St. John Neumann Catholic High School golfer Tyler Stamerro finished fourth, both also qualifying for the State Championships.

In the boy’s tournament, Bishop Verot finished fifth and St. John Neumann in Naples finished eighth. The Verot girls’ team was the only Diocesan Catholic high school to qualify for the regional tournament.

Athletes return to high school fields

Other summer programs open with precautions in place

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School football players participate in a conditioning program in Sarasota on June 11, 2020, the first on campus program since March.

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School welcomed back about 40 student-athletes for summer conditioning June 10, 2020, while following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidelines and procedures set forth by the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Cardinal Mooney conditioning program included both football and basketball players and will gradually expand to include more athletes and other sports. Similar summer conditioning programs also began at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers and St. John Neumann Catholic High School in Naples.

This drone shot is of Bishop Verot Catholic High School athletes participating in a conditioning program in Fort Myers on June 10, 2020, the first on campus program since March.

Ben Hopper, Diocese of Venice Interim Superintendent of Education, said the move to allow athletes and some summer programming at schools comes after extensive planning and coordination with the various schools, consultation with the Diocesan School Board.

“The health and safety of our students is, and will always be, of paramount concern,” Hopper said. “Following guidance from health experts, and in some cases even going beyond those recommendations, the Diocese is confident that the protocols set forth provide the necessary balance to ensure everyone is safe.”

A Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School football player participates in a conditioning program in Sarasota on June 11, 2020, the first on campus program since March.

To participate in the summer conditioning program, student-athletes were sent a packet of information about Phase One and the new procedures put in place to protect the student-athletes as well as the numerous guidelines they must follow, some of which include:

  • Temperature screening taken daily upon arrival;
  • Athletic clearance with a physical by a doctor;
  • Have a personal water bottle;
  • A COVID-19 liability form signed by parents;
  • Self-screening form signed and dated daily by a parent;
  • Social distance by remaining six-feet apart at all times;
  • Arrive and leave with a face mask.

New head coaches Jared Clark, football, and Clayton Slentz, basketball, were on hand to facilitate the workouts on the Cardinal Mooney Athletic Field. Summer conditioning started at 8 a.m. and lasted about an hour. Workouts are done without masks as health officials note that doing so could cause serious health issues unrelated to COVID-19.

“It feels good to have our student-athletes back on campus and I believe they were happy to be here too, even with the new procedures,” said Assistant Athletic Director Julie Santiago. “We are constantly assessing the situation to make sure we are following all the new guidelines.”

“It felt good to be with the team again and with the new coaches,” said Beau Christensen, a rising Cardinal Mooney Junior. “The energy out on the field was great and since we were outside, no one came in contact with each other, so I felt safe with the changes in place.”

The st. John Neumann Catholic High School Lady Celtic Volleyball Team returned to the Naples campus June 16, 2020, starting summer workouts and some conditioning.

Each sport will have its own guidelines to follow. Basics include no sharing of equipment, no contact with each other and extra sanitizing between usage of any equipment. As noted in the paperwork provided to parents, the guidelines are subject to change and will be reevaluated and adjusted accordingly so as to remain compliant with CDC, federal, state and local regulations. Daily temperature screenings will be done. In the event a student-athlete or coach tests positive for COVID-19 that individual will be required to remain off campus and quarantined for 14 days.

Bishop Verot Catholic High School incoming freshman participate in a summer reading program in Fort Myers on June 9, 2020, the first on campus learning program since March.

In addition to athletes, Bishop Verot welcomed incoming freshman for a summer reading program. The students were placed in the cafeteria and seated at least six-feet apart.

This young girl participates in a Summer Art Program at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Fort Myers on June 10, 2020, the first on campus activity since March.

At St. Francis Xavier Catholic School, a summer art program started on June 8, 2020. Each blooming artist had their own table to work from and individual sets of supplies so as to draw, paint and build.

Having athletes back and a few summer camps going on are just the first step in the process of working toward opening for in-class instruction in August.

“Each step in this process will require extensive planning and flexibility from our faculty and staff as well as from our students and parents,” Hopper said. “This is all new for everyone, so prayers and patience are needed as everyone works together toward that common goal in just a few months.”