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Catholic schools’ 2017 roll call: Diocesan schools adding ‘recruitment and retention’ efforts to strong ‘faith and academics’ mission


Dialog reporter


The number of students enrolled in Catholic schools declined by 285 from last year, according to the diocesan schools office, and while that is a cause for concern, the superintendent and several principals said the figures are only part of Catholic education.

The numbers are recorded annually using the enrollment as of Sept. 30. This year, 9,799 children are enrolled in Catholic education — including parish early education programs — compared with 10,084 in 2016-17.

Most of the schools are within a few students of last year’s numbers, while some have seen significant drops. A number of schools have seen increases. Read more »

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Unusual activities fill school calendars for Catholic Schools Week


Dialog reporter


Schools around the diocese are preparing for Catholic Schools Week, which will take place Jan. 29-Feb. 4. Here are events submitted by the schools.

St. Anthony of Padua’s week includes Teacher Appreciation Day and Silly Sock/Crazy Hat Day on Monday. There is a Knowledge Bowl on Tuesday. Wednesday is Spirit Day, Thursday brings Student Appreciation Day, and the annual volleyball game between eighth-graders and their parents will be Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Fournier Hall.

After an open house on Sunday, Catholic Schools Week kicks off at Most Blessed Sacrament with a presentation of “Science Is Everywhere!” by John Hadfield. He will present how people use science in everyday settings. There will be “Pastries for Parents” on Tuesday, with movies and games. “Religion Jeopardy” is scheduled for Wednesday. Thursday begins with Mass, followed by a talent show and work on a service project. Families will participate in a luncheon on Friday.

The week kicks off at Immaculate Conception on Sunday with Raffles and Waffles, with prizes including being principal for a day, lunch with the principal and baskets created by each grade. The biggest prize is a drone. There will be a color war on Wednesday, along with a geography bee. The talent show is Thursday at 6 p.m. The week will conclude with a blue-and-white rally at 1 p.m. Friday.

Good Shepherd School in Perryville, Md., has a few noteworthy events on the schedule. The Earth Balloon from the Delaware Children’s Museum will be at the school on Feb. 1, and all students will have a chance to explore it. Also, on Feb. 3, there will be a sock hop to end the sock service project, during which the students collect socks all week to donate to the homeless community.

At St. Peter Cathedral School in Wilmington, the week begins Monday with a prayer service. Emergency responders are invited to the school on Tuesday for a coffee break. Parents will visit for lunch on Wednesday on School Spirit Day, and students are asked to wear crazy socks and bring in socks to donate to St. Patrick’s.

Students at St. Mark’s High School will be collecting items for Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages filled with toiletries, snacks, and other items, plus personal letters of appreciation, to new recruits, veterans, first responders, wounded warriors, caregivers and service members deployed overseas. They also will travel to Holy Angels School for their annual Partner School Program, visiting classes at the school. In addition, the St. Mark’s chorus will perform.

Immaculate Heart of Mary School students are encouraged to bring in soup for the Ministry of Caring throughout the week, and they will make valentines for soldiers all week. At the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, the winning entry from an essay contest about what Catholic education has meant to eighth-graders at IHM will be read. Seventh- and eighth-grade students will go bowling on Monday. On Tuesday, students will have a living rosary in the gymnasium, and the talent show is scheduled for that day. Students are encouraged to dress as their favorite literary character on Wednesday, which is also the day of school bingo. Third through sixth grades are bowling on Thursday, while pre-kindergarten through second present “Peter Pan.”

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Immaculate Conception students generous with Pennies for Patients


For The Dialog


ELKTON, Md. – Max Brady already knew where he would use any money he received at his birthday party last weekend.

For the second year in a row the sixth-grade student at Immaculate Conception School decided to donate all his birthday money to “Pennies for Patients,” a school-based program sponsored by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in Maryland. Read more »

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Student and school news


Knights of Columbus to hold free throw contest

The Knights of Columbus Christopher Council is holding a free throw contest for boys and girls between the ages of 10-14 on Jan. 11 at St. Helena’s Parish gymnasium. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., with the contest at 11.

All participants receive a free breakfast, and one parent or guardian will get a discounted meal. Proof of age is required. For more information, contact Bill Moschelle at (302) 798-2904 or pmanager@hrparish.com.

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Students welcome new pastor with a pie to the face


ELKTON, Md. – A few lucky middle school students celebrated “Pi Day” March 13 at Immaculate Conception School by pieing the administrator of their choice. The three youngsters were the ones who memorized the most digits of the irrational number pi. Pi Day is March 14, but Immaculate Conception students are off that day, so the school held the event the day before.

Oblate Father Jim Yeakel, who has been at the parish for less than a week, was welcomed to Elkton with a heaping helping of banana cream. The associate pastor, Father John Solomon, and the principal, Jeanne Dinkle, also got a face full of dessert. The students who did the honors were sixth-grader Ryan Mann and eighth-grader Jackie Ayers, who memorized pi to the 81st decimal place, and seventh-grader Camryn Kilby, who remembered 70.

The school community gathered to watch the carnage. The photos below are of the three administrators, Father Yeakel, and the pie-throwing students.

Father Jim Yeakel, Father John Solomon and principal Jeanne Dinkle before the students’ pieing. Photos courtesy of Immaculate Conception School.



















Father Solomon with a face full of pie.










These students did the honors and presumably will not be forced to stay after school for the rest of the year.

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Sister Anna May McFeeley dies, served in diocese for 34 years


Staff reporter

 ASTON, Pa. – Sister Anna May McFeeley, a professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 53 years who ministered in the Diocese of Wilmington for 34 of those, died Jan. 13 in Assisi House. She was 76.

Sister Anna May was the longtime principal of Immaculate Conception School in Elkton, Md., serving there from 1986-2004. She also taught at five schools in the diocese: Holy Angels, Newark (1969-70); St. Paul’s, Wilmington (1971-75); St. Thomas the Apostle, Wilmington (1975-79); Corpus Christi, Elsmere (1979-80); and St. Anthony of Padua, Wilmington (1983-86).

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