By Ann Marie Hoher
Holy Trinity High School students returned to school with an urgent need to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Almost 20 percent of Holy Trinity's student live in the hardest hit areas, including Long Beach, Freeport and Oceanside, and more than 30 of them suffered significant loss of their homes.
It is no wonder that their fellow classmates made it abundantly clear that they needed to do something. As a result, the Rev. Joe Fitzgerald, the school’s chaplain, contacted the Rev. Brian Barr at St. Mary of the Isle Church in Long Beach to see how they could help.
On Saturday, Nov. 10, 15 students were joined by Father Joe and other staff members of Holy Trinity, delivering much needed essentials collected by the school to the community and to assist in any way possible.
The group was shocked by the reality of what they saw as they drove through the town, which made them even more determined to help make a difference. Upon their arrival at St. Mary of the Isle, the group gathered for a few words from Father Joe, prayed together and then they began to work.
They first tackled cleaning the church which, the students learned, was going to host a wedding later that day. The couple getting married did not care about the condition of the church; it was only important for them to get married where they grew up.
Holy Trinity Junior Bryan O’Neill of New Hyde Park was touched by their story and felt personally responsible for making sure the church was suitable for their wedding.
After unloading their bus with all the school’s donations, the students assisted in the church’s collection center, sorting food and clothing. Bryan O’Neill expressed his feelings like this, “It was sad to see all the people who lost a lot and it made me realize why we were there – we needed to be there.”
Another junior, Ryan Rossi of Franklin Square said, “When all is lost, hearts are found.” He explained the quote by saying that when something like this happens and everything seems hopeless, great people with great hearts come together to rebuild.
Holy Trinity has been helping the relief efforts in other ways. The school is working with Catholic Charities of America by providing space to them to warehouse items that the organization has been collecting and relief workers have been staying at the school’s convent.
The Holy Trinity High School students and staff will continue to collect much needed items such as cleaning supplies, buckets, mops, Clorox, ammonia, detergent for clothing, toiletries and baby clothes. Members of the school community will then return to those areas in need every Saturday for the foreseeable future.
Holy Trinity High School is a private, co-educational Catholic high school founded in 1966 drawing students from Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties. It has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education Exemplary Schools Program and is nationally known for its outstanding Academics, Athletics and Performing Arts programs. For more information, visit www.holytrinityhs.org.