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Curtain up on writer, actor, soccer player, swimmer, runner…

By

Dialog reporter

St. Elizabeth’s Rita Offutt adds playwright to crowded list of academic, extracurricular achievements

 

WILMINGTON – If Rita Offutt was writing the story of her high school years, the last few pages might be blank, but the beginning would be chock full of interesting content.

Offutt, a junior at St. Elizabeth High School, loves to put thoughts on paper. She is one of five high school students selected a winner of the 2016-17 Delaware Young Playwrights Festival, sponsored by the Delaware Theatre Company. Offutt’s play, “Dear Daddy,” is about the reflections of two daughters about their fathers. One of the men was shot by a police officer, the other is the police officer. Read more »

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St. Mary Magdalen School rallies for grad Worrilow as Super Bowl nears

By

Dialog reporter

 

WILMINGTON – More than 750 miles separate St. Mary Magdalen School and the Georgia Dome, the home of the Atlanta Falcons. That is approximately twice the distance from the school to Gillette Stadium, which the New England Patriots call home.

But this Sunday, when the teams meet in Houston in Super Bowl LI, the rooting interest at St. Mary Magdalen will be decidedly in the Falcons’ favor, thanks to the very personal connection the school has with one Atlanta player. Paul Worrilow, a Falcons linebacker, graduated from St. Mary Magdalen in 2004 and got his start playing football with the parish Catholic Youth Ministry program. Read more »

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St. Mary Magdalen School students celebrate Pope Francis at rally Sept. 25

By

Dialog reporter

WILMINGTON – The day before Pope Francis arrived in Philadelphia, more than 500 students at St. Mary Magdalen joined their teachers, Bishop Malooly, St. Mary Magdalen Pastor Father James Kirk., and superintendent of schools Louis De Angelo in welcoming the pontiff in an hour-long “pope rally.”

St. Mary Magdalen students parade through the school's gym Sept. 25 during a rally in honor of Pope Francis.

St. Mary Magdalen students parade through the school’s gym Sept. 25 during a rally in honor of Pope Francis. (www.DonBlakePhotography.com)

Parents filled the bleachers at St. Mary Magdalen on Sept. 25 to watch their children sing, cheer and chant in anticipation of the papal visit. A cardboard cutout of Pope Francis sat outside the gymnasium, and students entered carrying a “Flat Francis” or a poster, with some of the younger ones wearing miters.

Between students and teachers, there was every type of Pope Francis t-shirt imaginable: ones with “pope” in the design of Philadelphia’s “Love” monument; one bearing the words “Keep calm, the pope is coming”; several with his image; and one, worn by parish religious education coordinator Stephanie Casey, who led the rally, that said, “Pope Francis rocks Philly,” with an image of the pontiff with his arms raised a la Rocky Balboa.

“God is truly present with us right now,” St. Mary Magdalen principal Serena Brasco said.

Casey, who also has three children at the school and is a member of a parish moms’ prayer group, got the rally started, walking around with a microphone and saying, “I say ‘pope,’ you say ‘Francis,’” which the students did with gusto.

After a short biographical cartoon, students from each grade ascended the stage to read brief facts about Pope Francis. There were facts about his family; his love of sports, particularly soccer; his focus on education; his own schooling as a chemist before entering the Jesuits; and his love of sports.

“He recently learned to spin a basketball on his finger with the Harlem Globetrotters,” second-grader Franco Vranic told the assembly.

Elaine Zahnow, a seventh-grade student, told why the pope chose the name “Francis.” When he was elected, “a friend told him, ‘Don’t forget the poor,’” she said.

Bishop Malooly and Father James Kirk, pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Church, display the Pope Francis shirts they received at SMM School's Pope Francis rally, Sept. 25. (The Dialog/www.DonBlakePhotography.com)

Bishop Malooly and Father James Kirk, pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Church, display the Pope Francis shirts they received at SMM School’s Pope Francis rally, Sept. 25. (The Dialog/www.DonBlakePhotography.com)

Father Kirk called the pope an “amazing” human being.

“He wants us to be kind, compassionate and merciful,” he said.

The only person in the room who has actually met the pope then talked to the students. Bishop Malooly was in Washington, D.C., when the pope arrived on Sept. 23 and spent a few seconds with him at St. Matthew’s Cathedral with a group of American bishops.

“What were you doing on Wednesday afternoon at 1:25?” he asked the students. “I was shaking the Holy Father’s hand.”

Bishop Malooly said he told the pontiff, “Pope Francis, I’m Bishop Francis.” The pope had a confused look on his face, but when his translator relayed the message in Spanish, the pope had a good laugh.

The bishop presented Brasco with a photo of him with Pope Francis, then, noting all the papal t-shirts, wanted to know where all the Bishop Francis shirts were. None were to be had, but later in the afternoon, he, Father Kirk and De Angelo each received a Pope Francis shirt.

The bishop noted that it was not as noisy at St. Matthew’s as it was at St. Mary Magdalen, but it was a wonderful experience nonetheless. He said he spent some time with his neighbors telling them about his visit. Francis is the third pope the bishop has met.

Another fact about the pope that the students learned is that he has a devotion to Mary, Undoer of Knots. Each of the children wore a knot on their wrist signifying a challenge they face in their lives. They and members of the parish religious education program also wrote those challenges on paper knots and placed them in a basket that was placed on the stage. Bishop Malooly blessed the knots.

One of the challenges was “I want to stop bullying,” while another read, “I need to pray more.”

The afternoon also featured a performance by the school’s cheerleaders, in uniform and waving pom poms. They led the assembly in a series of chants. Soon, the gym was filled with the sounds of “Hey, hey! Are you ready, are you ready for Pope Francis?”

With the theme song from “Rocky” playing, two students with Pope Francis masks jogged around high-fiving students as two other students followed carrying the papal flag. One of the highlights of the program followed, as the gym erupted with the sound of “Pope Song,” a revised version of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” filled the room.

After a round of pope trivia, the assembly ended with another rendition of the “Pope Song.” The students then filed out with a full weekend of papal activity ahead of them.

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St. Mary Magdalen Robo Dogs could save lives

March 21st, 2014 Posted in Featured, Our Diocese, Youth Tags: ,

By

Staff reporter

 

WILMINGTON — A few years from now, if new cars sold in the United States can warn drivers and passengers that carbon monoxide levels are creeping dangerously high, consumers will have a group of fifth- and sixth-graders from St. Mary Magdalen School to thank.

The students designed a carbon monoxide detection system for automobiles after learning that more than 140 people in the U.S. die each year when they are poisoned by the gas, which is odorless and colorless. If the exhaust is blocked – by snow or dirt, or if a car is left running in an enclosed garage for an extended period of time, the carbon monoxide will back up into the cabin of the car, where it eventually becomes fatal.
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St. Mary Magdalen students help feed the hungry

By

Staff reporter

 

WILMINGTON – Community service became a school project Jan. 29 at St. Mary Magdalen, where, for the fifth year, the student body and faculty joined together to help out the less fortunate. The school spent part of the morning preparing food for the Emmanuel Dining Room, then gathered in the afternoon to hear about the work done at the three dining room locations.

It was an impressive undertaking, from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The students and their families made 70 pounds of baked ziti, 40 pounds of fruit salad, 300 cupcakes and 149 brown-bag lunches for the Emmanuel Dining Room on Jackson Street in Wilmington. There were also 100 fleece scarves made by teacher Clare Moore, along with 120 goodie bags with coloring books, crayons and stickers. Read more »

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Pandas swing for par on new varsity team

By

Staff reporter

WILMINGTON – The traditional spring sports offerings for high school girls include softball, track and field, soccer, lacrosse and tennis. At Padua Academy, the available options have gone beyond the ordinary, and the Wilmington school has added a few sports not common in a high school setting. One of those is golf, which is in its second year as a varsity sport. (The school also added tennis this year.)

The golf team was a club for two years before becoming a varsity sport last season, senior Taylor Ohlinger said. The Pandas went 3-3-1 in their inaugural year and started the 2012 season with a 3-2 win over Cumberland Regional High School of New Jersey.

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