PHOTO: Principal Dr. Mark DeMareo (center) and PTA Treasurer and Assemblies Coordinator Kelley McCarthy-Kane (right) introduce New Jersey State Troopers John Street (left) and Andrew Stephanic.

RUMSON – On Thursday, May 10th, Holy Cross School celebrated Ascension Thursday with a special Mass honoring local community heroes. Police, Firefighters, EMTs and lifeguards from surrounding towns were invited to join the student body in prayer. They were given a special blessing by Pastor Fr. Michael Manning and a rousing round of applause by the congregation. Members of the Rumson Police Department were in attendance and stayed to assist in the big surprise to follow.

PHOTO: New Jersey State Trooper Andrew Stephanic answers questions about his helmet from Grade 4 students (back to front) Patrick Bindler, Alexander Bindler and Steele Summers, all of Fair Haven. Benjamin Careri of Long Branch, Grade 3, looks on.

In keeping with the community heroes theme, the PTA had been planning a secret mission for weeks. After Mass, and after the fog cleared, the children gathered in the parking lot. A noise came from above, and they looked up to see a helicopter fly over. Minutes later, the helicopter turned and landed on the field outside the church, to shouts and cheers from the students.

PHOTO: Seventh grader Michael Campanella sits with his father Michael, retired Detective in the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and current Investigator with the Attorney General’s Office, who was honored as a community hero at Mass.

New Jersey State Troopers Andrew Stephanic and John Street stepped out, greeted the group, and gave an engaging talk about their career paths and the work that they do as helicopter pilots. Afterward, Grades 3, 4 and 5 were invited to walk around the helicopter, look inside and ask questions. After an hour’s visit, the pilots prepared the helicopter and flew away while students and teachers waved goodbye. It was a fun and exciting day for all.

PHOTO: Rumson Police Chief Scott Paterson (right rear), Lieutenant Christopher York (left rear) and Senior Patrolman Daniel Campanella (front) enter Holy Cross Church.

Holy Cross School, a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in Rumson, NJ, is dedicated to educating the whole child in faith, knowledge and character in a God-centered, family atmosphere. For more information, please visit www.holycrossschoolrumson.org or call 732-842-0348, ext 1128, to schedule a visit.