Padua Celebrates Catholic Schools Week 2022


Olivia B. '23

A group of juniors gathers together in their Padua gear. Students were encouraged to wear Padua’s colors of yellow and black for their community day on Tuesday.

For Catholic schools across the United States, the beginning of February signals the start of Catholic Schools Week. Initiated by the National Catholic Educational Association, the week includes themed days for dioceses to recognize their parishes, schools, and the local community. Padua participated in the 48th annual celebration with special activities, dress-down or add-on opportunities, Mass with the bishop, and a spirit assembly.

New Bishop Celebrates First Catholic Schools Week in Wilmington

For the first time in two years, the entire school community gathered in the Cafetorium for Mass to commemorate Catholic Schools Week. On February 1, Padua welcomed Bishop William E. Koenig as he participated in his first Catholic Schools Week with the Diocese of Wilmington. Students, faculty, and staff worked throughout the day to make the important visit a success.

Bishop Koenig walks down the center aisle at the end of Mass on February 1. The visit marked his first time in the school building as well as his first Catholic Schools Week with the Diocese of Wilmington. (Mr. Leizear)

The Mass also marked Koenig’s first time visiting the school. He said he appreciated the “wonderful” opportunity to lead the community in worship.

“I’ve driven by it a number of times, but obviously the building is just bricks and stones,” he said. “It’s the people inside of it, so it’s wonderful just experiencing the students and the staff.”

Each day throughout Catholic Schools Week, Koenig visited the diocesan high schools to celebrate Mass, tour the buildings, and interact with the students. He emphasized the importance of getting to know students in the area, noting that “it’s nice” to speak with high schoolers as opposed to preschoolers, “who are a little bit harder to talk to.”

“As St. Paul says, each person… has so many different gifts from God and so each person is a reflection of our Lord,” Koenig said. “… It’s nice to meet God in the faces of the students and just in the personalities of the students and just seeing their gifts and talents.”

A former Catholic school student himself, Koenig said he believes there are two important aspects of Catholic education: getting to know Christ by learning about the faith and “really getting to know one’s fellow students.”

“I think that one’s sister students or one’s brother students, they’re the ones that can really strengthen us and really help us,” he said.

Koenig also recognized the sacrifices that many parents make in order to send their children to Catholic schools. He said he hoped students would make the most of this opportunity and build strong relationships in the academic environment as he did.

“I would just encourage all of our students to be grateful for the gift of Catholic education and for the ways that some sacrifices [are made],” Koenig said.

There are sacrifices that are that are made to enable your sons and daughters to go to Catholic school.

— Bishop Koenig

Weeks before Koenig stepped foot in the building, Campus Ministry began planning the special service and his visit. Dr. Wallen said it was important that the community was properly prepared to celebrate Mass and to introduce the bishop to the school.

“I thought it was great for him just to see the building in general, to see what we’ve done new, to see what the girls were doing during the day to interact with the students, just to kind of get to know the history of Padua,” she said.

On top of being Koenig’s first visit, the Mass was also the school’s first in the Cafetorium since 2020 and Wallen’s first in the space since stepping into her new Campus Ministry role. Wallen said the service was “just a little different” than her previous Masses, as they had been virtual or at St. Anthony’s Church.

“I think the transition has been good; it’s really just the organization,” she said. “There’s a lot of events in a short amount of time.”

Whether as gift bearers, lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, cantors, or altar servers, Wallen ensured that a number of students filled necessary roles at the service.

“I absolutely love the fact that while I can organize it… the students really take over those responsibilities and they do it so well,” Wallen said.

Wallen called on students such as senior Reina Doten to be an altar server for the event. Doten’s tasks included carrying the cross through the center aisle and setting up the altar during Communion.

“I love walking the cross up and down the aisle,” she said. “I just think it’s fun.”

Koenig visits with juniors on retreat during his tour of the building. “… It’s wonderful just experiencing the students and the staff,” he said. (Emily M. ’22)

Doten explained that while she has been an altar server since she was in fourth grade, working with the bishop was “very nerve-racking,” especially with additional photographers and other guests present.

“He’s very nice, but I was still very nervous,” she said.

During the Mass, Doten said she did not face any challenges and focused on ensuring Koenig received the assistance he needed. She coordinated with Campus Ministry to prepare just as with any ordinary Mass.


“It’s just a nice way to work with your community,” Doten said.

After the visit, Wallen said she thought Koenig was “very impressed” with the student body’s participation and organization throughout the Mass. To her, the event showed that women are “very eager to participate in the Church,” a space which is usually “male-oriented.”

“It really just blows my mind how many students participate,” Wallen said, “and I was really taken back by the amount of participation through the whole school in responses and songs.

“I really think it was one of the best Masses of the year.”

        Padua Serves Local Homeless Shelters Through the Annual Sock Drive

Every couple of years, thousands of people go through their former clothing in hopes of donating to local homeless shelters. However, when doing so, often people don’t wish to donate old socks. For this reason, socks have become the most requested item from homeless shelters, which has sparked the tradition of a sock drive during Catholic Schools Week. 

“We have done a sock drive in past years, and know that it’s incredibly helpful to the individuals that are helped with this project”, Alinda said.

Mrs. Alinda and Dr. Wallen, both leaders of Campus Ministry, organized a week-long sock drive hoping to help and keep as many men and women warm in the city of Wilmington. 

“A sock drive is a way to give a little piece of warmth to someone who might already be struggling”, Wallen said.

Campus Ministry held an annual sock drive throughout Catholic Schools Week. This helps to encompass one of the four main pillars, service, that help shape Padua.

Throughout Catholic Schools Week, Padua stresses its four pillars. One of those pillars is service and as a Catholic School, Padua has the responsibility to serve and love one another. 

“I think a sock drive is a very small way in which we can share the resources that we have been blessed with here at Padua Academy”, Wallen said. 

The sock drive has been advertised within the classroom and through social media such as Instagram and Facebook. 

“Some of the ways we have advertised the sock drive was in the family newsletter, the PandaGram, flyers throughout the building, within each Religion class in the building, and on social media”, Wallen said. 

With the business of Catholic Schools Week, Alinda realized that many students could have forgotten to bring in a pair of socks, so Campus Ministry decided to extend the drive by a week. 

“We have a full tub and know that extending it by a few days will give forgetful people, like me, a chance to bring in what they might have left at home,” Alinda said. 

Alinda commented that while they are hopeful to get more socks in the coming days, they will be happy with any amount that is donated. 

The donated pairs of socks are going to be dropped off to the Sunday Breakfast Mission or the Ministry of Caring, both non-profit organizations.

“I hope those who receive the socks know that they are cared for by the larger community,” Alinda said. 

The sock drive has allowed Padua to unite as a school community for one goal, to share the things we have been blessed with, with others. 

“I hope the opportunity to share our resources is a powerful reminder,” Alinda said. “That we are  called to find ways to give sacrificially from our resources.”

Elce Walsh is a freshman who donated towards the sock drive. Walsh said she discovered the sock drive through an email sent by Dr. Wallen regarding Catholic Schools Week. 

“After donating to the sock drive I felt grateful for my place in the world and all that I’m fortunate enough to be given throughout my life. I felt like I was making an impact on someone’s life, even if it was small,” Walsh said.

Walsh emphasized the importance of giving to others no matter how small. Giving to others can cause a ripple effect and reach so many people throughout the community. 

“I think the sock drive teaches students that you should want to choose to do service, instead of being forced to just to get hours in,” Walsh said. “It also teaches that no matter how small the service is, it is affecting someone in a positive way.” 

Lets Do Lunch

The Let’s Do Lunch club is a service group of students assembled by Mrs. Higley to make sandwiches for the Emmanuel Dining Room. Mrs. Higley’s family had been making sandwiches for the Emmanuel Dining Room during the earlier stages of the pandemic. 

Mrs.Higley just started the club last semester. 

“I wanted to start a club that students could join during Activity and it doesn’t take much but it is meaningful to those who receive it. I started the club this year. It has 20 members that include sophomores, juniors and seniors. “ says Higley. 

Each bag gets a small note card or letter with positive messages on them such as “Have a nice day!” or “Smile”. These go to the Emmanuel Dining Hall to serve those in need.  

“We make lunches for a dining hall as a part of the Ministry of Caring which serves the underserved in Wilmington. Emmanuel Dining Hall is a part of the organization but MInistry of Caring is the official corporation ” Higley says. 

Annie McTaggart, a business leader and senior, decided to join the club this year to participate in a service club. They typically meet once a month, sometimes twice, on Block B activity days.

“Let’s Do Lunch seemed like a fun club to join for Activity B. I also have Mrs. Higley for Business Leadership class, so I was excited that she was running this club.” McTaggart says. 

Each member of the club has a job whether it is putting jelly on the sandwiches or placing sandwiches into ziploc baggies. The remainder of people put different foods such as fruit, chips, and other snacks into the bags. 

“We have about fifteen members in our club, and each person has designated foods, (including bread, peanut butter, jelly, chips, fruit, granola bars, etc) and materials (including paper bags and ziploc bags) for each meeting.” says McTaggart. 

When the meetings are over and the sandwiches have been made, the fresh sandwiches are packaged and sent off. 

“After our meetings, Mrs. Higley drops off all of the sandwich bags to the Emmanuel Dining room for lunch.” McTaggart says.

Class of 2025 Sports Spirit Wear in Support of School 

The Catholic School dress down took place last Thursday in celebration of Vocations day during Catholic Schools week. Students were able to participate by wearing a shirt or sweatshirt with any Catholic school on it and a pair of jeans. Spirit wear of elementary schools, middle schools, and even colleges across the country could be seen throughout the halls.  

Madison Keener, Mia Laudien, Bri Heffernan, and Sydney Orndorff supporting Catholic Schools week by wearing a catholic shirt or sweatshirt.

Natalie McGrellis, a freshman, sported her Padua crewneck last Thursday to support the theme. To her, it showed her support for her new high school. It also held deeper meaning since a lot of McGrellis’ family have attended Padua and she “shares a lot of family memories”. 

Her family connection to Padua caused an interest in the school within her as a child. So when McGrellis started her high school search, she knew exactly where she wanted to attend. 

“It was the Catholic high school I have always wanted to go to,” McGrellis said.

Mia Laudien ‘25 wore a green Archmere sweatshirt. She wore the sweatshirt in support of her mother, who is an alum of the school. Laudien had originally wanted to go to Archmere, but still looked at other schools. When she decided on Pada she knew it was “right for her”.

“Even with Archmere as option I knew Padua was the place for me,” Laudien said.

Because of the teachers and her classes she knew that she wanted to be at Padua.

“Mr. Mahler provides a good balance of teaching but also messing around and having fun,” Laudien said.

Ella Bouchard, another freshman, who wore both a Sallies t-shirt and Padua sweatpants for the day. Bouchard chose to wear her Padua sweatpants instead of jeans to show her school pride but also “be comfortable”.  

“Sweatpants were the better option for me,” said Bouchard. “ I wanted to be comfortable and still participate in the dress down.”

Five Scholar-Athletes Sign to Play in College

“I am proud of them that they were able to get through all of that and still achieve the goals that they set for themselves at some point when they were a little girl,” Athletic Director Ms. Disabatino said after five scholar-athletes signed their national letter of intent for college next year.  The five athletes, listed below with their intended school, have represented Padua on the fields, courts, and water for the past four years. 

Division I

Hanah Fagioli (Rowing ) – Syracuse University

Madelyn Galbus (Soccer) – University of  North Carolina

Division III

Haley Dougherty (Soccer) – Alvernia University

Meghan Peters (Volleyball) – Misericordia University

Anna Poehlman (Soccer) – Neumann University