Holy Cross Academy celebrates 20 years of service, educating area youth


VERONA — Holy Cross Academy, a junior-senior-high school in Verona, will celebrate 20 years of operations this year. An appreciation banquet will be held in honor of several individuals who were instrumental in helping to form a secure foundation for the school in its infancy, as well as others who significantly assisted the academy through the early years.

The honorees will be presented with recognition awards at a dinner on Thursday, May 31, at Theodore’s Restaurant on Route 5 in Canastota, starting with cocktails at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and must be reserved by Monday, May 28 by calling the school at 315-363-1669. 

The honorees include: Rev. Joseph Kehoe; Sandy Finley; Drs. James and Irene Vanderhoof; Barbara Rudd; Mary Ellen Shaver; Richard (and Darlene) Schneible; Clark Mollenhauer; William Lorenz; Elizabeth Moses; James Devine; June Zeller; Stan Cehonski; Donna Nadeau; Elizabeth Droz; Sheryl Dostie; and Paula Tiller.

Individuals to be honored posthumously include: Henry and Johanna van Lieshout; Everett Vanderhoof; Monica Kazlauskas; Dr. Asa Smith; Dr. Robert and Joanne O’Brien; Rev. Thomas Riley; Rev. Edmund Morelle; Rev. Matthew Luczycki; Robert and Lorraine McDermott and Peter Hopkins/Edward H McDowell Foundation.

The school was founded in 1997 with the personal blessing of former Syracuse Bishop James Moynihan by a group of Catholic lay men and women dedicated to providing an excellent education enlightened by the Catholic faith, according to a school announcement.

The founders were pioneers in the renewal of Catholic education, becoming involved in the Catholic independent school movement which sprung from the call by the Second Vatican Council and Pope St. John Paul II that the laity use its own unique resources in taking Christ’s message to the world, the announcement added. 

HCA began its life in New London at the former Holy Cross Catechetical Center. It was a two-room schoolhouse with just a handful of students in grades seven and eight. It then moved briefly to St. Joseph’s in Oneida, before settling into its current home on Barrington Road in the town of Verona in 2001. A grade was added each year until it became a complete junior-senior high school, and the first class graduated in 2002, school officials said. 

The school is registered with the New York State Education Department, and successful students earn diplomas from both New York State and Holy Cross Academy. Their independence allows them to design their own curriculum, and they opted not to offer the Common Core, school officials added. Teachers have the freedom to tailor the classes to the needs of their particular students and focus on what is most important. 

HCA helps students strive for excellence according to their own individual abilities as teachers work to draw out those abilities to their fullest measure. In an atmosphere of genuine caring and friendship, the faculty and staff form a partnership with parents, who are considered the primary educators of their children, the school said, adding that it is committed to a curriculum that integrates faith and life, academics and virtue.

The entrepreneurial spirit of Holy Cross set a course for excellence, and continues along that course today. Co-Founder and Board President, Dan Miller says that this spirit, “continues to allow it to draw from the best models of education, from the timeless and traditional to the creative and innovative, in order to carry out the mission of educating the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. It is our mission to help students on their journey through life and eternity.”

Another milestone achieved this year was paying off the mortgage on the facility.

Being an independent school, Holy Cross does not rely on funding from the state or diocese, but on donations and fundraisers that help bridge the gap between tuition and the cost of operations. This helps keep tuition low, officials added.

“The generosity of the public has been so encouraging. We are careful with every dollar, knowing that most supporters give from their need to make this sacrifice for the school, the students, and for our community,” said Principal Teri Maciag, who is also a co-founder of the school.

Those interested may schedule a visit, subscribe to their free Newsletter, or find out more about HCA at www.holycrossacademy.com, on their Facebook page, or by calling 315-363-1669.


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