Service to others is an integral part of the Rosarian Academy community. By offering service opportunities throughout the year, the Catholic school in West Palm Beach aims to graduate students who make a positive difference in the world.
An even greater focus on giving and service is emphasized during the holiday season. Over the past month, Rosarian students participated in Food for Families and a toy drive, and organized Christmas parties at the Lord’s Place and Opportunity Inc.
Coordinated by the eighth grade, the Rosarian Academy continued its annual community food drive in conjunction with News Channel 5’s Bill Brooks Food for Families program from Oct. 28 through Nov. 20, where 2,600 pounds of nonperishable food was collected to provide needy families with a plentiful Thanksgiving. Once again, the school worked with St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church and donated the canned food collection to their van ministry and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
“The generosity of many wonderful people went a long way toward helping us provide food to many needy people who walk into our parish office,” noted Rev. Arthur Venezia, pastor of St. Paul of the Cross, in a thank you letter to Rosarian families.
For more than 12 years, the seventh grade class has led the schoolwide effort to collect unwrapped toys for needy children who may not otherwise receive anything for Christmas. After spending more than two weeks collecting toys, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, Rosarian students loaded a Palm Beach County Health Department truck with more than 500 unwrapped toys. In addition to the school community donating toys, the student council also sold candy canes that contributed $470 to purchasing toys for the drive. The health department distributes the toys to children in Palm Beach County who are currently benefiting from their services.
“I am overwhelmed with joy at the generous hearts of our Rosarian students and families. As a community, we far surpassed our original goal of collecting 300 toys,” Head of School Steve Rubenacker said. “One week prior to the pick-up of the toys, we raised the goal to 400. Over 500 toys were collected and made hundreds of children in Palm Beach County happy this Christmas — what a beautiful testament to the true Christmas spirit!”
In addition to the students’ philanthropic giving of food and toys, many middle school students spent time organizing holiday events for two local nonprofit organizations: The Lord’s Place on Tuesday, Dec. 15, and Opportunity Inc. on Thursday, Dec. 17. With the National Junior Honor Society at the helm of the planning, students decorated Christmas ornaments and cookies and made crafts with the children who reside at the Lord’s Place Family Campus and those who attend Opportunity Early Childhood Education & Family Center.
“It makes me happy and excited to work with the kids and make them feel better about themselves. I love giving back to those who are less fortunate,” said eighth grader Emma Guerrieri, president of the school’s NJHS chapter.
The Rosarian Academy, founded in 1925, educates students from early childhood through eighth grade and offers a strong academic program enriched by athletics, visual and performing arts, and community service opportunities.
The independent, Catholic school is located on Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach and is sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Complimentary bus service is available to and from the western communities. For more info., visit www.rosarian.org or call (561) 832-5131.
ABOVE: Eighth grade students Sebastian Merchan, Morgan Kennedy and Mason Adams join Norma Williams, volunteer services coordinator for Palm Beach County Health Department, in a truck full of toys for less fortunate children.