hc pta facultyPHOTO: Faculty members gather, left to right: Mrs. Pam Farley, Mrs. Melanie Jaenicke, Mr. William Belluzzi, Mrs. Robin Arnheiter, Mrs. Amy Evans, and Mrs. Kathryn Eagles

RED BANK- Holy Cross School PTA hosted its annual gala on Saturday, November 19th at Navesink Country Club with a special theme this year. The Catholic elementary school is celebrating its 75th year of providing exemplary Catholic education. 

The venue was beautifully decorated with white hydrangea centerpieces with silver accents. Holy Cross parent Jenna Morris, owner of Water Lily Designs, donated her time & talent, providing the beautiful flowers at cost. The many silent auction baskets carried the same white and silver theme. The evening, a black-tie optional event, began with cocktails, passed hors d'oeuvres and buffet dinner. PTA President, and Holy Cross Alumna, Beth Camillone welcomed the crowd, thanked them for supporting the school and reminded them, “It’s all about the kids!” The gala continued with dancing to great music by the band Project Orange.

hc gala pastorPHOTO: Pastor Fr. Michael Manning with Pastoral Assistant Lori LaPlante (left) and Sacristan Susan Symington

The silent auction included original art by students created with the help of art teacher Cassandra Karinja, food and drink baskets, game and toy baskets, sports equipment, an autographed Bruce Springsteen book, and a life-size lemonade stand, decorated by the preschool students, that would fit right in at any farmer’s market. Special “priceless” experiences were auctioned by the faculty, such as the coveted birthday party in the school gym hosted by physical education teacher Michael Feerst, a day at Monmouth Race Track with teachers Kathy McConville and Sue Ryerson and an outdoor odyssey with teacher Maryjane Gallo and a special mystery guest.

Principal William Belluzzi, who came to Holy Cross in 2012, states, “This year’s gala was a spectacular event. Each year, through the hard work of so many volunteers, the PTA provides many valuable extras in technology, assembly programs, afterschool activities and other needed supplies and equipment, all of which add to the special character of Holy Cross School. I am very grateful for all they do.”

hc gala ptaPHOTO: PTA Gala Chair Carolyn Raymond of Fair Haven (left) and PTA President (and Holy Cross Alumna) Beth Camillone of Fair Haven

Holy Cross School has a proud history on the banks of the Shrewsbury River in Rumson. Originally a one-room schoolhouse on the same Ward Avenue campus, the permanent school was opened in 1941, in the lower level of a private home purchased to house both a school and a convent for the Sisters of Mercy, who taught at the school until 1980. In 1953, the school outgrew its walls, and the new (and current) building was constructed to accommodate more children and additional grades. The building was enlarged in 1962 and underwent its most recent expansion in 2006, to include a media center, library, science lab, additional classrooms and a gymatorium.

Academically, Holy Cross continues to be a model of Catholic education. In 2015, it was named by the U.S. Department of Education a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Its students regularly place in the top 15% of all schools nationwide on the Terra Nova standardized tests. The school also boasts state of the art technology, including tablets for every student in Grades 4-8, Smart Boards in every classroom, a 3D printer for technology classes, Oculus Rift virtual reality in the middle school science lab, and 5G wireless internet throughout the building.

The Gala was the kick off of a year-long celebration of the school’s 75th anniversary.  Future events include a special Mass on January 29th at 10:30am in the beautifully renovated and expanded Holy Cross Church. It will mark the first day of Catholic Schools Week 2017 and will be followed by a reception for school families and an Open House for prospective families. To register for Open House, please call 732-842-0348 or visit www.holycrossrumson.org.