29 February, 2012

Vocation Awareness

It was a delightful day as Sister Mariette Therese,  Sister Joan, Sister Monica and Sister Collette joined us to share their stories about their calling to religious life.  After a brief interesting introduction, students were able to ask questions and listen to the joy in each of their hearts as they responded to their inquiries.

We thank God for these dedicated women who have given their lives to the Lord.  They are beacons of light spreading the good news of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  May the Lord bless them as they have blessed us with their grace. Amen.

28 February, 2012

Direct Descendent of Frederick Douglass

How often do you get to touch the hand of someone who was one hand touch away from the Father of Civil Rights, Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington?  This past Friday, Ken Morris Jr., the great great great grandson of Frederick Douglass and the great great grandson of Booker T. Washington shared stories of his ancestry and current mission to abolish human trafficking, a form of modern day slavery with our school community.

Words cannot express how amazing it was to listen to Ken Morris, Jr. share the spirit of Frederick Douglass.  It was as if Frederick Douglass, himself, was standing there in our midst. "Frederick Douglass was one of the best orators this nation has ever produced, was one of the most influential voices and thinkers of the nineteenth century.  His words and ideals have inspired hope, change and advocacy.  His rallying mantra for human rights was, `Right is of no sex- Truth is of no color - God is the Father of us all and we are all brethren.'" (Ka'mal McClarin)  At Benedictine Academy, we too believe that God is the Father of us all and we are all sisters.

(For the complete 30 minute viewing of Ken Morris, please see the four-parts video below)

After their visit,  we received the following note from Mr. Benz and Mr. Morris after their visit:

Dear Benedictine Academy,

I can honestly say it's our best school experience and a day we'll remember always. What a tremendous group of young women. We can't wait to see what great things these bright and poised students do in their lives.  We're so happy to call you and the Benedictine Academy our partners!
The Frederick Douglass Family Foundation

26 February, 2012

We are "ALL IN" at BA!

Guess who came to Benedictine Academy?  Gian-Paul Gonzalez and his 4-One Team!  Gian-Paul prayed with the New York Giants during their playoff run on route to their Super Bowl.  NY Giant Captain Justin Tuck used Gian's mantra about commitment - "ALL IN" as the mantra for the team - and the rest is Super Bowl History.

 Next month, Benedictine Academy is getting ready to go into the Jefferson Award Students In Action playoff.  The competition is fierce and we need to continue to be "ALL IN" to have a chance to win the Regional Gold Medal again this year. 

We reached out to Gian-Paul and his team to share with us the same motivational speech he gave to the NY  Giants and to pray with us.  After a scrimmage with our girls, Gian invited us to join him in being ALL IN for Jesus!  Why?  Jesus is ALL IN for each one of us.

We concluded by awarding over 89 students with a Students In Action BA ALL IN towel.  Each of the students completed  their annual service goal of 12 hours in only five months!  Our hope is by the end of the year, everyone will be ALL IN and have helped their neighbor in need.

At BA, we echo Gian-Paul's motto:  
"Because ONE gave ALL we give ALL for ONE!" And his holy name is Jesus!

17 February, 2012

CNN INTERNATIONAL: BA is Making a Difference!

We just received the Good News!

 Hi from CNN iReport,

I’m writing to let you know that your iReport was featured 
in a Freedom Project special on CNN International 
about modern-day slavery, 
and how individuals are making a difference.

The program airs Thursday February 23 at 3:30 a.m. ET 
and Friday, February 24 at 12:30 a.m. ET.
Thanks for your contributions,

Producer-TV Integration
CNN iReport

You can get review of our full IREPORT :  http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-621223

16 February, 2012

Interfaith Basketball Scrimmage

We had a most amazing time as Rising Star Academy, Union City, joined Benedictine Academy for a friendly game of basketball this afternoon.  Both schools are members of Jefferson Award Students In Action Team engaging their classmates as Service Leaders to the local and global communities.

The final score was a symbolic 30 - 30.   Our students exchanged friendship rings as a sign of their new work together in making our world a better place.  The Truth is of no color or race. God is the Father of us all and we are all sisters.  How beautiful is this!

 A BIG THANKS TO COACH MIKE JONES for taking the time out of his busy day to referee this wonderful event. 



                                                           FOR RELEASE:     February 16, 2012                                           IMMEDIATE CONTACT:     Dave Jenkins, 201-230-8545

Bill S852/A832 has now passed both Houses of the New Jersey Legislature
TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano to increase access, availability, and the use of automated external defibrillators by Good Samaritans in emergency situations, has now passed both the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly, and awaits approval by Governor Chris Christie.  The State Senate passed the measure by a vote of 37-1 on Monday, and today the General Assembly followed suit with a unanimous vote of 75-0. 
The bill (S-852/A832) will provide immunity from civil liability to certain individuals who acquire or use an automated external defibrillator in emergency situations.
The legislation was inspired by the John Taylor Babbitt Foundation and JTB Heart Club at the Benedictine Academy in ElizabethNJ.  John Taylor Babbitt was 16 when he passed away suddenly of cardiac arrest from an undiagnosed heart condition while playing basketball in his Youth Ministry League.  He was a junior at the Pingry School in LawrencevilleNJ, and an active, healthy teenager.  At the time of the incident, an automated external defibrillator was within 50 feet from where John collapsed, but was hidden from view.

As a result of student interest and first-hand knowledge of similar tragedies, the JTB Heart Club at the Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth was founded in order to help prevent sudden cardiac death.  They have worked closely with the John Taylor Babbitt Heart Foundation, and conducted research regarding the American Heart Association’s efforts to improve the safety of our young and aging population. 
Throughout the legislative process, Lesniak, Cryan, and Quijano were led by the powerful testimony of David and JoAnne Babbitt, as well as students Andrea Mendoza and Ariana Taveras, President and Vice President of the JTB Heart Club at the Benedictine Academy.

Lesniak, Cryan, and Quijano took a moment to acknowledge the significance of the moment;
“Today is a victory for all of us. This legislation will bring New Jersey’s Good Samaritan law in line with the modern age in which we live.  Automated External Defibrillators are extremely easy to operate, and should be readily available for Good Samaritans to use in life-threatening situations, without hesitation.  This measure will also increase the availability and public awareness of the effectiveness of these devices.  We owe organizations such as the John Taylor Babbitt Foundation and JTB Heart Club a debt of gratitude for their leadership on this issue. Their hard work may be saving the life of someone you love.”

Benedictine Academy gives thanks to God, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, Mary, and the John Taylor Babbitt Foundation for allowing us to be part of such a momentous event. 

14 February, 2012


"Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, that you do unto Me!"   

Did you know that 1 out of every 3 homeless people are under the age of 18 and there are approximately
 1.6 million young people under 18 who experience homelessness each year?  

DO SOMETHING, a great organization that empowers young people to make a difference, invited young people across the country to give their used jeans.  At Benedictine Academy, the Globe Changers and African American Club said "YES" and asked their classmates to clean-out their drawers.  Each day, we listen with the ear of our hearts and take Compassionate Action to alleviate the cries of the poor.  It is our privilege and our social responsibility to help others in need.  


Hot off the press from Green America:

"We have some exciting news to report this week from our Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign:Hershey has melted.... a little bit, anywaysThanks to years of your sustained support and speaking out to Hershey, the company has made its first small step towards eliminating abusive child labor from the sourcing of its cocoa.
On Monday January 30th, Hershey announced that it will begin purchasing cocoa certified by Rainforest Alliance for its "Bliss" line of chocolates, by the end of 2012. While the Bliss line is only a tiny percentage of what Hershey sells, this is a significant milestone in our work for social justice because it represents the very first acknowledgement by Hershey management that they have a responsibility to directly address the human-rights problem in their cocoa supply chain and prevent child labor."

We are continuing our letter writing campaign asking Hershey to take even greater steps in stopping the abusive child labor in their company.  Civil advocacy does work!  Please join us in our efforts to have Hershey stop hurting our children. Together we can and will make a difference.

Go RED Day!

Recognizing that many women are at risk of unsuspected heart disease, the Senior Class and their wonderful Moderators, Ms. Branco & Ms. Powell, celebrated GO RED today (on Valentine's Day) with the entire school community to help raise money for the American Heart Association.    Several hundred dollars were co llected for this most worthwhile cause.

There is also more Good News!  The Good Samaritan Bill Amendment was passed on Monday before the entire Senate House 38-1.  The Honorable Assemblyman Joseph Cryan will be presenting the same bill on the Assembly House Side this Thursday.  Join us in praying that this important change in the law regarding the use of AED's be passed.  The Power of One and the Power of We are making our world a better place.

13 February, 2012

World Happy Day

Yesterday, people aross the 7 continents celebrated World Happy Day.  What makes people happy?  It is an interesting question to pose among family and friends.  Although the answers can vary far and wide as far as this goes, there is one true secret to real happiness.  Happiness is sure to come our way if we do good for someone else.

Today, Students In Action recognized five students who have given 100% to every service project sponsored during this school year.  In the gospel of Luke, we hear "to whom much is given much is expected."   Clifford the Red Dog awarded each of the five students with a $25. Kiva microloan that they will personally manage and direct to the business of their choice.  Well done good and faithful Servants of the Lord!

As a special "thank you" for every one's service contributions during the school year, the teachers awarded each student with a One Day Late Homework Pass and a piece of red valentine licorice.

Gratitude of Heart is a cornerstone of a life paved with Happiness. Have a Happy Day!

12 February, 2012

Frederick Douglass: My Little Valentine

The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington D.C. celebrated the life and accomplishments of Frederick Douglass, the Father of Civil Rights, this past weekend.   Douglass, an advisor to President Abraham Lincoln, was instrumental in the emancipation of all races.   A freed slave himself, he spoke:  "To those who have suffered in slavery I can say, I, too, have suffered... to those who have battled for liberty, brotherhood, and citizenship I can say, I, too, have battled."

He was a "powerful orator and influential political figure, using his personal experience to give a human face to the sufferings of slavery." (New Bedford Historical Society)  Fred Morsell, an actor/educator on Frederick Douglass gives us an inkling as to the greatness of this American hero.

The three essential messages that Frederick Douglass has passed on from generation to generation to his great great great grandson, Ken Morris, Jr. and now to us are:
Believe in, have faith in, and trust in yourself. 
Take advantage of every opportunity that is provided to you. 
Use the power of the written and spoken word to effect permanent positive changes for yourself and the society in which you live.

 Mr. Timothy Mulvey, the U.S.Department of State Communications Advisor for the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, opened the ceremony sharing our nation's concern and efforts to eradicate Human Trafficking.  We hope to meet with Mr. Mulvey during his visit to the tri-state area at the end of March.

We are also pleased to announce that Benedictine Academy is in partnership with the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation to change history once again and stop human trafficking, a 21st century modern day slavery.  Ken Morris, Jr. will be visiting our school on Friday at 1:00 p.m..  If you are interested in meeting Mr. Ken Morris, please call Mrs. Michalski, Campus Ministry, at (908) 352-0670, ext. 125.  All family and friends are welcome to join us for this special presentation.

Happy Valentine's Day, Frederick Douglass!

03 February, 2012


Listening with the ear of our hearts, the entire student body and staff DROPPED EVERYTHING AND SERVED the hungry, the homeless and the lonely on this last day of Catholic Schools Week. After Mass, the underclassmen went to the Community Food Bank to help sort and pack the generous food donations of the local community. We also made a dollar contribution to the foodbank to help provide for those who have less than us.

A Special Thanks to the African American Club and Students In Action.

The Senior Class took a short journey to BUILD-A-BEAR workshop to each make a bear for the litltle children at the Elizabeth Coalition for the Homeless.    St. Paul reminds us that there is no greater gift than the gift of love.  How blessed are we to be able to share the Sacred Heart of Jesus with the world!

Service Leadership at Benedictine Academy is not just a requirement, it is our passion.  We believe we have a shared responsibility to deliver happiness by helping those in need.  Turn the world upside down and inside out and you will see that every time we help the least of our brothers and sisters, we are really caring for Jesus in the disguise of the poor.

 It is such an honor and a privilege to be able to be able to touch the hands of Jesus in the elderly, the lonely, and the forgotten. 
Thank you Benedictine Academy.

Feast of St. Blaise

This First Friday, we clebrated the Feast of St. Blaise as one sacred community at the St. Walburga Monastery.Our celebrant this month was Father Jack Martin of Elizabeth and he was absolutely awesome.   The chapel was filled with the Spirit as he gave a most inspiring homily on the meaning of what it means to be a Christian and the joy of serving.  "We cannot change the world, but we can make a difference.  We can all do something!"  

Wonderful Music was in abundance with Sister Karin on the piano, two singing groups, and Father Jack playing his guitar as he sang, "Let me be a little kinder..." .

   Mass concluded with the honoring of this month's Students In Action Unsung Heroes.  Based on a school-wide poll, there were three outstanding young students - Rose, Kayla, and Gabby - whose dedication and love for the daily  sacrifice and care of their elderly grandparents with significant illnesses.  

Sister Donna Jo, who cared for her own mother for over seven years after her mom suffered from a severe head injury, gave a beautiful reflection on the meaning of Compassionate Action. 

02 February, 2012

100th Basketball Win!

Today we celebrated Basketball Coach Mike Jones for his 100th basketball win at our school Pep Rally.

It is no coincidence that Coach Jones first name is Michael after Michael the Archangel. He is our Guardian Angel who blesses Benedictine Academy on and off the court. A handsome tall defender of truth, goodness and the faith, he stands over six feet tall with an engaging smile that welcomes every person he meets.  For every one of the 100 winning basketball games he has coached, he has touched the lives of 1000 more! 

May God Bless our Coach Mike Jones as he has blessed all of us. Amen.

A special thank you to Mrs. Anderson who quietly works behind the scenes taking amazing photographs, creating delicious banquets of food for our guests, arranging important meetings with the Assemblyman, dreaming of awesome basketball trophies to honor our Coaches, and developing sponsorship opportunities for our BA community.


Forest Gump once said, "You can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear... where they've been and where they are going...".

Our student community has been going strong over the past five months answering the needs of our local and global communities. In thanksgiving for their generous hearts and service outreach, we celebrated with a free wear your favorite shoes day! All students could dress out of uniform and have a free jean tag day. A BIG THANK YOU from the Students In Action Leadership team!

National Freedom Day

Today is National Freedom Day. National Freedom Day commemorates the date almost 150 years ago when Abraham Lincoln, signed a joint resolution for the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution. The proposed amendment was made to outlaw slavery.

Frederick Douglas, the Father of Civil Rights, insisted that “education…means emancipation". During this week of the celebration of Catholic Schools Week, we thank God for the gift of Benedictine Academy and of what we learn about our differences and the truth that we are truly one human family. Whatever hurts my sister does really hurt me, and whatever helps my sister, does help me.

Ms. Powell established a scholarship at St. Joseph's school in Mendham in memory of Corporal Kevin Reinhard, a brave soldier who recently lost his life defending the freedom of our country.

Let us pray:

Lord, our Creator,
Today, we are so grateful for this land of America, the land of the free.  We pray for Corporal Ryan and all the men and women in the armed services.  Let us all live in the freedom you have given to us. That we may all live in peace and liberty as one nation under you, our God.  Amen.


Benedictine Academy opened its doors almost one hundred years ago.  Today, the future is bright as we continue to grow by leaps and bounds.  The Spirit is our guiding force in our strategic planning and curriculum development.  The academics are rigorous and the service leadership opportunities earn state and national recognition.  Our strong college-preparatory credentials yield college acceptances ranging from Princeton University, Notre Dame, Fordham University, New York School of the Arts, Spelman University, to Berklee College of Music.  Our track team and basketball team are news-worthy, not only for their division wins but for their outstanding sportsmanship on and off the court. 

But it is the Strong Faith of the community, the Catholicity of our teachings, and the belief that everyone is part of the Benedictine family that is our true distinguishing factor.   We are one sacred community and Jesus is the apex of our study, sports, and fellowship.  Every person has human dignity and every one is to be respected as we listen with the ear of our hearts to the needs of the local and global communities. 
There are four Benedictine Sisters and two Religious Sisters of other communities on Staff and Teaching.  Instruction in faith development is part of the curriculum; there is daily prayer with the entire school community;  First Friday school-wide Mass (an early morning daily Mass with the Benedictine Sisters, too, if students choose to participate), annual retreats, Christian service requirements and confessions several times annually.  Many schools boast the adage - mind, body, spirit.  We are truly concerned with formation of the intellect in concert with the HEART - physically and spiritually.  
Tuition and other basic fees for the school is approximately $6,700 annually, which makes it economically feasible for most families to receive an education superior to the other schools in the surrounding areas.  Students receive a laptop and technologically equipped classrooms with smartboards and wireless internet.  Our graduating Seniors are also blessed to experience an exciting three day tour of our Nation's capitol, along with an amazing Retreat on the beautiful Jersey shores oceanfront.