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Faith and a field day

Catholic School Week was a big celebration at local schools like St. Anthony, whose rich history stretches back 124 years.

Published February 7, 2007


SAN ANTONIO - Amanda Dixon is well-known on campus for her Hula Hoop skills. The 13-year-old had no problem Thursday keeping two hoops spinning and winning a spontaneous contest in the parish hall at St. Anthony Interparochial Catholic School.

Still, an acrobat named Liang bested her, keeping an amazing 25 hoops spinning while blindfolded.

The interactive show, featuring Liang and her husband and master of ceremonies, Bill Patti, was just one part of St. Anthony's celebration of Catholic School Week.

Other activities included a special opening prayer service prepared by eighth-grade students and an open house for the community. Some students visited Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School for a Mass with students from other local Catholic schools and Bishop Robert Lynch, followed by a field day.

Eric Kaplan and his daughters, Elizabeth, 6, and Gracie, 4, were among the families who enjoyed a "Lunch With Dad" event and the acrobat show.

"We do this every year. We have a lot of fun," said Kaplan, who sported a paper tie with "I love you, daddy," written by Elizabeth in blue crayon.

The weeklong celebration is a fun time for the students, said the principal, Sister Roberta Bailey. But the Mass and field day at the high school weren't just for fun: They gave students a chance to honor five fallen soldiers of the Iraq war. The students were also able to meet with kids who might someday be their classmates if they go on to a Catholic high school or college, such as Saint Leo University.

The celebration also gave students, faculty and the community a chance to reflect on the history of the school, which opened in 1883 with 14 students in the kitchen of Cecilia Morse.

According to the school's Web site, the Benedictine Sisters took over St. Anthony School and nearby St. Joseph School in 1889.

Now, the three-story brick school serves some 212 students, said Bailey, the principal. "There's a lot of deep history here," she said. "We have second- and third-generation children here."

[Last modified February 7, 2007, 07:22:05]

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