Messages From the President

News from the Hill - January 6, 2022

Dear East Catholic Family,

Due to the impending snow tomorrow, we are going to err on the side of caution and move our first review day to remote for everyone. We hope to have another opportunity to have a traditional snow day this winter, but in order to stay on track with mid-term exams next week, we will have all review classes (blocks H, G, F, E) from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, January 7, 2022 (see schedule below). Our first two exams (blocks H and G) will take place on Monday, January 10. A few reminders:

  • Please arrive by 7:45 a.m. and report to your H-block exam
  • Prayer and announcements will begin at 7:55 a.m.
  • H-block exam will begin at 8:00 and end at 9:30 a.m.
  • There will be a break from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
  • G-block exam will begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at 12:00 p.m.
  • Students only need to be at school for scheduled exams
  • Please be in school uniform
  • A reminder that the Cafeteria is not serving food, so plan accordingly
  • Students may not leave and come back between exams
  • Friday, January 7 (11:30 a.m. dismissal)
  • Remote Review for classes H, G, F, E
    • 7:32 – 8:24 a.m. Day 2, Period 1 (H)
    • 8:34 – 9:26 a.m. Day 1, Period 7 (G)
    • 9:36 – 10:28 a.m. Day 1, Period 6 (F)
    • 10:38 – 11:30 a.m. Day 1, Period 5 (E)

Good luck on your exams! Study hard!

Sean P. Brennan '85
President

News from the Hill - December 21, 2021

Dear East Catholic Family,

As many of you know, we are experiencing a spike in positive COVID cases after a long stretch of keeping the cases extremely low. This spike has us concerned and in order to minimize exposures, we have made the decision to go remote for the remaining two days before break (schedules below). Faculty members will be in the school building running their remote lessons from their classrooms. Students should log on from home at the designated times on the schedules. Attendance will be taken.

Due to a high percentage of student-athletes being vaccinated, we have not encountered a single positive case among our varsity athletes; therefore, from December 22 through January 2 all varsity practices and games for all sports will continue over break. Junior varsity and freshman teams will not practice or play until after break. All sports scheduled for today will remain as planned.

As a reminder we need to tighten up on our protocols:

  • Please keep your student home if:
    • He/she does not feel well/is symptomatic;
    • He/she has a positive COVID test;
    • He/she has had a known exposure (and get him/her tested).
  • Please notify Diane DeCarlo (and provide a copy of the vaccine card) when your student has been vaccinated
  • Please consider getting your student vaccinated if you have not done so already.
  • Please properly wear masks as often as you possibly can. It appears that the vast majority of spread is happening outside of school.
  • If your student tests positive over break, please notify Jan Reilly via email and Diane DeCarlo, RN via email.

I hope you all understand that we do not make moves like this unless we see it as necessary. I also remind you all that school offices will be closed from 11:30 a.m. on December 23 through January 2. God willing, we will see you all back at school on Monday, January 3.

Wishing you all a blessed Merry Christmas and a happy and safe new year!

Peace,

Sean P. Brennan ‘85
President

December 22, 2021, Bell Schedule
Dismissal 2:00 p.m.
Day 8

  • Period 1 (B): 9:00–9:32 a.m.
  • Period 2 (C): 9:37–10:09 a.m.
  • Period 3 (D): 10:14–10:46 a.m.
  • Period 4 (E): 10:51–11:22 a.m.
  • Break: 11:25–11:35 a.m.
  • Period 5 (F): 11:38 a.m.–12:10 p.m.
  • Period 6 (G): 12:15–12:46 p.m.
  • Period 7 (H): 12:51–1:23 p.m.
  • Period 8 (A): 1:28–2:00 p.m.

December 23, 2021, Bell Schedule
Dismissal 11:30 a.m.
Day 1

  • Day 2 Period 1 (H): 7:32–8:00 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 1 (A): 8:05–8:30 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 2 (B): 8:35–9:00 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 3 (C): 9:05–9:30 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 4 (D): 9:35–10:00 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 5 (E): 10:05–10:30 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 6 (F): 10:35–11:00 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 7 (G): 11:05–11:30 a.m.

    News from the Hill - December 17, 2021

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    This is the final News From the Hill newsletter for 2021. With one short week left before Christmas break, the end of the second quarter is quickly coming to a close. Let’s all encourage our students to finish strong. When we return from break, we will only have one week of classes before mid-term exams. Please see the exam schedule below. In the interest of alleviating some of the stress and anxiety around exams, we will have two review days – Friday, January 7 and Wednesday, January 12. We have also extended the break between exams to one hour to avoid rushing from one exam to another.

    The school was busy on Thursday evening. We welcomed a number of our donors to a reception thanking them for their generous support of our school. Thank you to our advancement office for organizing and to our cafeteria staff for a delicious meal. All three boys’ basketball teams faced off against Glastonbury. Our fans did a great job cheering appropriately, and the varsity team got a win in their home opener. Upstairs, we were treated to an art show and a Christmas concert. Thanks to the entire Art Department for an entertaining and festive evening! It was great to see and hear our talented students.

    On December 9, we welcomed a number of community organizations to our campus for a meeting to try and build bridges between our school and the greater community in which we live. Members of Veterans for Black Lives Matter, the African American and Black Affairs Council, PowerUp, and the Universalist Unitarian Society, joined students, parents, faculty, and staff from East Catholic for an honest discussion about what we are doing here at our school to create a welcoming environment for all. Thank you to all who participated in this productive and forward looking meeting.

    Please make note that all school offices will close from 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 23 until Sunday, January 2. School reopens on Monday, January 3.

    Let me take this opportunity to wish all of you a blessed Christmas and happy new year. We are very fortunate to be part of the East Catholic family. Enjoy the break, and we will see you in 2022!

    As always, please reach out to me with any good news, questions, or concerns.

    Peace and Blessings,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill - December 3, 2021

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving. As the first week of Advent comes to a close, we have focused our prayers this week on hope. One of East Catholic’s greatest traditions is our daily third-period prayer. Mr. Urbanski and selected students take a few minutes each day to remind our community that we are in the presence of a kind and loving God. They also read any intentions that anyone submits, and the student reads a prayer. Thank you to everyone who helps to keep this great tradition going.

    Congratulations to the football team for a hard-fought 21 to 13 win on Thanksgiving Day! The Archbishop’s Cup has returned to East for the next year! Winter sports are off and running. Best of luck to all of our teams!

    As always, life on the Hill is pretty busy. We will have an all-school Mass on Wednesday, December 8, celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. There is an 11:30 a.m. dismissal on December 9, so the faculty and staff can have some time for some professional development. Also, on the ninth, members of our Students of Color Union, DEI Committee, Eagles Take Action, and Families for Equity groups will be meeting with community organizations to further our work on making East Catholic the most welcoming school it can be. I will report back to you all on how the meeting goes. December 16 will be a busy evening on campus with the art show, the Christmas concert, a donor reception, and the home opener for the boys basketball team. Hope to see many of you there. See below the COVID protocols for winter sports.

    We have 14 school days left before Christmas vacation. Please remind students that this is a time to stay on top of their work and not get behind. When we return from break, we will only have one week of classes before mid-term exams.

    As always, please reach out to me with any good news, questions, or concerns.

    Peace and Blessings,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    East Catholic – Winter Sports Spectator Guidelines

    We are so thrilled to be able to host spectators this year and not have any restrictions at this time. Each school will have different rules, so please look for communication from the sport-specific coaches for this information. These are our current guidelines, and we will update the teams and community if things should change.

    The first expectation we have for our Eagle supporters is to cheer in a sportsmanlike manner and only for our teams, please.

    Boys and Girls Basketball and Cheerleading in Saunders Gymnasium

    • Home and away fans are welcome to come watch the Eagles on campus.
    • All must be masked at all times.
    • We will charge for admission.
    • We will not have concessions for sale at this time.

    Boys and Girls Hockey

    • Home and away fans are welcome.
    • Masks must be worn by attendees per rink rules.
    • We will charge for admission.

    Indoor Track and Field

    • Spectator limits will be determined by the home site.
    • Masks to be worn by all spectators.

    Boys Swimming and Diving

    • Spectator limits will be determined by the home site (we cannot host any meets.)
    • Masks to be worn by all spectators.

    News from the Hill Letter - November 19, 2021 

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week! Time seems to be flying by, but we are certainly staying busy on campus. With the first quarter behind us and the second quarter under way, students seem to be hitting a good stride.

    Congratulations to all of our fall sports teams! While most teams have completed their seasons, we still have a handful of our girls swim team who will be competing in the state open swim championships this weekend. Good luck to them! Our football team will also wrap up their season on Thanksgiving Day with a game at Northwest Catholic at 10:30 a.m. Best of luck against the Lions!

    On a much more mundane note, here are some reminders about COVID-19 protocols and related information. To our best knowledge we have about 65% of our students vaccinated. Please be sure to send a copy of the student’s vaccination card to the school nurse, Diane DeCarlo, once completely vaccinated. We have only had four known positive cases thus far this year. If a student has an exposure to a positive case, unvaccinated or vaccinated students do not have to quarantine if they were properly masked. If a student has an exposure for more than 15 minutes, within six feet, without a mask, we will ask unvaccinated students to quarantine (vaccinated students do not have to quarantine).

    Usually, these exposures are at lunch or with sports teams. Also, if a member of your household tests positive for COVID-19, only unvaccinated family members need to quarantine. It is cold and flu season so please be aware of the following:

    • If your student is sick, please keep him/her home
    • Contact your provider and follow his/her instructions
    • Keep the nurse informed of any tests and the results

    Lastly, on the COVID-19 front, the CIAC has decided that winter sports participants do not have to wear masks when they are competing if they are vaccinated. Unvaccinated participants will need to mask. Players on the bench and fans in the stands must wear masks.

    At our parents’ association meeting on November 17, the topic of traffic came up. As we are all well aware, dropping off at school and picking up remains a challenge. Please consider the following:

    • The school day starts at 7:32 a.m., with a prayer and announcements for the day. Students should be in the school building by 7:20 a.m. at the latest in order to get where they have to go prior to 7:32 a.m.
    • If you are dropping off in the front circle, please pull as far around the circle as you can, please prepare to get out of the car in a timely fashion, and then drivers can leave safely
    • We are glad to have students who are learning to drive, but please do not swap drivers when dropping off in the front circle
    • Other drop-off spots include the gym entrance in back (especially if dropping off with athletic equipment) or the music wing entrance

    On behalf of the entire East Catholic Family, let me wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving filled with good memories of family and friends! Remember, with your stellar work with walk-a-thon, we have a bonus day off on November 29. See you all back at school on November 30!

    Peace and blessings,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - November 5, 2021

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    Let me begin by thanking the entire East Catholic family for your active and generous participation in the 2021 walk-a-thon. We set a goal of $40,000 and actually raised $54,505! Because we crushed our goal, the students earned a day off from school on Monday, November 29! Additionally, it was great to see all of the school spirit throughout the final week. Thanks to Heidi Carlson, Sarah Lomazzo, and a cadre of parents volunteers. We could not have done it without you.

    On November 1, we had an all-school mass for All Saints’ Day. We are truly blessed to have Fr. Jaime as our chaplain. I always like to see our entire student body assembled to celebrate mass. It was also great to see our auditorium filled with prospective students and families for our fall open house. It was a wonderful night with over 160 students and over 450 people in attendance. Thanks to the admissions office, faculty, staff, Student Ambassadors, and parent volunteers for making it such a memorable and positive evening for our guests.

    Following the town hall we had last month, I wanted to update you on two new groups that have been created. We have formed a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee made up of faculty and staff. And we have also formed a Families for Equity Group for parents, guardians, and family members from the East Catholic community. I have met with both groups, and I want to thank all who have volunteered to work in these two groups. It is readily apparent that everyone involved is invested with making positive change for our school.

    Good luck to our volleyball team! After a much improved season, they have qualified for the state tournament. They will play their first round match versus Old Lyme on Monday at 6:00 p.m. Good luck also to our boys soccer team who qualified for the state tournament and will play Litchfield on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. Go Eagles!

    As we head into next week, please note that there is no school and the offices will be closed on Thursday, November 11 in recognition of Veterans Day.

    As always, I welcome any input, questions, or concerns you may have.

    State of the School Letter - Spring 2021

    The following is the state of the school letter published in the most recent issue of the Eagle Magazine.

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    It has been my distinct honor to be back on the Hill leading our wonderful school. While I had been back on campus a few times since graduating in 1985, I will admit that I had not stayed as strongly connected over the years. For those of you who have lost touch, I hope this update may get you reconnected. For those of you who have stayed close, I hope you get some reassurance that we are making substantial progress, continuing the work begun in 1961.

    As we begin to see some light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, I would like to provide our students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and friends with a state of the school update.

    COVID-19
    We are very proud of our school community and the way they have handled themselves during the pandemic. One way hallways and staircases, socially distant seating arrangements, hand washing, sanitizing, and most importantly mask wearing, have been the norm all year. On September 8 we opened school with a planned hybrid training period of 14 days. On September 25 we began full in-person learning, and with the exception of three short periods of fully remote learning, we have managed to remain mostly in person. We have allowed students who need to be fully remote to make that choice.

    90% of our faculty and staff are fully vaccinated, and now that the state of Connecticut has opened vaccines to those 16 years old and older, we are beginning to get some of our students vaccinated as well.

    Financial Situation
    Last year East Catholic put out a letter to some of our community about financial difficulties the school was having. The letter inferred that East Catholic was four million dollars in debt and appealed to alumni, parents, and friends to give to East Catholic to help bridge that deficit. Many thanks to all who came forward and continue to do so. Please allow me to provide an update on where we now stand.

    We are incredibly grateful to the Archdiocese of Hartford and to the five area parishes who were able to put together four million dollars and formed the St. Thomas Aquinas Trust to assist East Catholic. Currently, we have used $1,200,000 to pay off the bank loan that remained from the science and math addition completed in 2015. We have budgeted for the debt service needed, including balloon payments. We are fortunate to have emergency funds set aside if needed, but we are working hard to avoid using them.

    As of April 1, 2021, we have been fiscally responsible without compromising the overall student experience. We are well under budget for the 2020–2021 school year and expect to finish the year with a balanced budget, if not a small surplus. I am thankful to the budget holders in our academic, athletic, facilities, technology, admissions, and advancement departments for their responsible approach to spending. As we head into 2021–2022, we are on much more solid footing financially.

    Inclusion
    Each year I select a theme for the year, and for the 2020–2021 school year, East Catholic has focused on the theme of inclusion. At the beginning of the year I had the chance to speak with each class on the topic citing the importance of kindness and respect towards all with whom we come into contact. I reminded them of the ECHS mission statement which closes with, “Guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ, East Catholic is a welcoming environment for all students.” To help with this important messaging, I asked two seniors, Jencih Manhertz and Mackenzie Talavera, to speak with each class on this topic, and they did a great job speaking out against racism, implicit bias, micro aggressions, and cultural appreciation. Throughout the year their leadership has proven to be a blessing with the formation of a Students of Color Union and a robust celebration of Black History Month. We are fortunate to have such thoughtful and passionate students at our school.

    Admissions
    Enrollment remains a challenge for many Catholic schools, and we are working hard to attract as many mission-appropriate students as we can for the 2021–2022 school year. We have had a number of information nights and virtual open house opportunities. The Admissions office has worked tirelessly to ensure that we will have another strong class of freshmen, as well as transfer students who will join the rising sophomore and junior classes. Many families have noted that East Catholic’s ability to primarily remain in person, five days per week significantly influenced their decision.

    We are still accepting applications for next year; so if you know of anyone who might be a good fit, please have them contact our Admissions office.

    Advancement
    One of the terrific benefits of being an alumnus in the position of president is that I have been able to reconnect with many alumni from my era, as well as get to know alums from before and after my time at East. The pandemic has provided many challenges for events and gatherings, but we were able to have a successful walk-a-thon in the fall, and we are looking forward to our spring event coming up on May 1. Our Taste of East event will be virtual but fun! Please see information on the back cover of this publication. Coming up on June 11 we will be having our 30th anniversary golf tournament. Hope to see many of you there!

    While we have strengthened our financial footing, we certainly still need a great deal of philanthropic support from our East Catholic family. Please consider a gift to our annual fund, Future in Focus, or other fundraising opportunities here on the Hill!

    As we head into spring, please know that we continue to do great work here at East Catholic. I have never been more proud of our students and entire ECHS family. My “door” is always open, so please reach out by phone, email, or in person with any thoughts, questions, or concerns you have. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Stay safe, and be well!

    Peace,

    Sean P. Brennan ’85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - April 9, 2021

    To the East Catholic Family,

    I hope everyone had a blessed and enjoyable Easter. It finally feels like spring has arrived! Trees are blooming on campus, and the fields are greening up. We would like to thank the Parents Association for providing funds for some plantings on campus. I hope everyone gets to enjoy the flowers throughout the spring. Thanks also to Rick and Osman for their tireless efforts to keep our campus looking great!

    While there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, the past two weeks saw an uptick in positive COVID cases and the need to quarantine a number of students. At the advisement of our medical experts, we did go remote for Holy Thursday and the four days between Easter break and spring break.

    I would like to thank all students, parents, faculty, and staff for their cooperation and patience as we continue to put the safety of our family first. Things seem to be calming down, and we are planning to be back in person on Monday, April 19. Spring sports and extracurricular activities are back in person on Friday, April 9 unless a student is still quarantining.

    Please make note of the following travel protocols as we head into spring break:

    • If you are traveling out of state, after returning to Connecticut get tested three to five days after travel and self-quarantine for a full seven days.
    • Continue to stay at home and self-quarantine for the full seven days, even if your test is negative.
    • If your test is positive, isolate for 10 days.
    • If you do not get tested, stay home and self quarantine for 10 days.
    • If you are fully vaccinated or have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days, you are exempt from testing and quarantining.
    • Please visit the Travel Advisory for Connecticut During the COVID-19 Pandemic page for full guidance.

    Lastly, but very exciting, we are looking ahead to the end of the year and the culminating events for the class of 2021. Much still depends on what the state mandates in regards to the pandemic, but we have dates secured and are praying that we get to have as many events as possible!

    Senior End of Year Events

    • May 19: Senior Awards
    • May 20: Senior Luncheon
    • May 21: Senior Farewell
      • Graduation Rehearsal from 9:30–11:30 a.m.
      • Last Day of School for Seniors
    • May 24–27: Senior Exams
    • May 28: Prom
    • June 1: Senior Picnic
    • June 2: Baccalaureate Mass - St Mary’s at 7:00 p.m.
    • June 3: Commencement - St. Joseph’s Cathedral
      • Rehearsal at 9:30 a.m.
      • Commencement at 6:00 p.m.

    As always, there is a lot happening on "The Hill", but please do not hesitate to reach out via email with any comments, questions, or concerns.

    Wishing everyone a safe, healthy, and enjoyable spring break!

    Peace,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - March 26, 2021

    To the East Catholic Family,

    The third academic quarter closed today. For such an unusual and challenging year, it is certainly flying by! 

    In the past two weeks, we have had two new positive cases (bringing the total to 40 for the entire year). Unfortunately, contact tracing led to a significant number of students who needed to quarantine. We continue to follow our protocols as advised by our medical advisors. The biggest impact came to our boys’ hockey team, as a whole, who had to cut short their season as the playoffs were about to begin. They were ranked number one in Division II. Congratulations on a great season! Other sports were unfortunately impacted as well.

    Best of luck to all of our winter sports teams who are finishing up the post season this week! Good luck to all starting spring sports this weekend.

    Following meetings with the Archdiocese, health professionals, and our administrators, we plan to open school in the fall without a remote learning option. As a way of preparing for the fall, we are encouraging all students to return to in-person learning during the fourth quarter. If there are extenuating circumstances that require a student to be fully remote, please be in touch with the office directly. We especially would like to avoid students choosing to be remote on one day and not the next. We remain confident that there has been extremely little to no transmission issues at school.

    Thank you to all returning students for their due diligence in completing course request forms for next year. We have all of the information we need, and we are currently reviewing those forms. However, in order to be officially scheduled, we need to have a signed enrollment contract and the $250.00 registration fee to be officially scheduled for next year.

    We have a few changes to the calendar coming up over the next month that I wanted to highlight for you. Next week, we will dismiss at 11:30 a.m. on Holy Thursday, April 1. There is no school and offices will be closed on Good Friday, April 2. We will not have school on Easter Monday, April 5. Please understand that we are balancing the need to fulfill our obligated number of school days while also keeping in mind that breaks are needed, especially around holidays.

    Scot Haney, from Better Connecticut on WFSB, was on campus with a film crew last week, and they will be airing a segment on Monday, March 29 between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. Please check it out, and let us know what you think!

    Lastly, but very exciting, we are looking ahead to the end of the year and the culminating events for the class of 2021. Much still depends on what the state mandates in regards to the pandemic, but we have dates secured and are praying that we get to have as many events as possible!

    Senior End of Year Events

    • April 7: 50 Days Until Graduation Lunch
    • May 19: Senior Awards
    • May 21: Senior Farewell
      • Graduation Rehearsal from 9:30–11:30 a.m.
      • Last Day of School for Seniors
    • May 24–27: Senior Exams
    • May 28: Prom
    • June 1: Senior Picnic
    • June 2: Baccalaureate Mass - St Mary’s at 7:00 p.m.
    • June 3: Commencement - St. Joseph’s Cathedral
      • Rehearsal at 9:30 a.m.
      • Commencement at 6:00 p.m.

    As always, there is a lot happening on "The Hill", but please do not hesitate to reach out via email with any comments, questions, or concerns. Stay safe, and be well!

    Peace,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - March 12, 2021

    To the East Catholic Family,

    As we approach the middle of March, we are wrapping up the winter sports season in a couple of weeks and gearing up for spring! We wish all of our winter sports teams a strong finish. If you have an interest in a spring sport, please be in touch with the athletic office or the coaches directly.

    The COVID update is very brief for this newsletter. As of March 5, we had 39 total cases dating back to September. Keep up the great work! Wear masks, stay socially distant, and wash your hands . . . both in and out of school.

    We have a few changes to the calendar coming up over the next month that I wanted to highlight for you. We will dismiss at 11:30 a.m. on Holy Thursday, April 1, and we will not have school on Easter Monday, April 5. Please understand that we are balancing the need to fulfill our obligated number of school days while also keeping in mind that we need breaks, especially around holidays.

    Lastly, but very exciting, we are looking ahead to the end of the year and the culminating events for the Class of 2021. Much still depends on what the state mandates in regards to the pandemic, but we have dates secured and are praying that we get to have as many events as possible!

    Senior End of Year Events

    • April 7: 50 Days Until Graduation Lunch
    • April 22: Academic Awards
    • May 19: Senior Awards
    • May 21: Senior Farewell
      • Graduation Rehearsal 9:30–11:30 a.m.
      • Last Day of School for Seniors
    • May 24–27: Senior Exams
    • May 28: Prom
    • June 1: Senior Picnic
    • June 2: Baccalaureate Mass - St Mary’s at 7:00 p.m.
    • June 3: Commencement - St. Joseph’s Cathedral
      • Rehearsal at 9:30 a.m.
      • Commencement at 6:00 p.m.

    As always, there is a lot happening on "The Hill", but please do not hesitate to reach out to me by email with any comments, questions, or concerns. Stay safe and be well!

    Peace,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    Message from the President - February 26, 2021 

    Dear Class of 2021 and Families,

    It is hard to believe that you are a little over three months from graduation! The Class of 2021 has done a great job during this unprecedented time, and we truly want to celebrate their accomplishments. The Seniors have been incredibly resilient as they adjust to changes in schedules. We only ask that they continue to show grace as they navigate these final months.

    The administration has been working hard to facilitate as many of the end-of-year events as possible. As you will see below, we have dates reserved for the events listed, but much will be dependent on current state of Connecticut mandates and protocols. As we get closer to May, we will make firmer decisions.

    Senior End of Year Events

    • April 7 - 50 Days Until Graduation Lunch
    • May 19 - Senior Awards
    • May 21 - Senior Farewell
      • Graduation Rehearsal - 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
      • Last Day of School for Seniors
    • May 24 to 27 - Senior Exams
    • May 28 - Prom
    • June 1 - Senior Picnic
    • June 2 - Baccalaureate Mass - St Mary’s at 7:00 p.m.
    • June 3 - Commencement - St. Joseph’s Cathedral
      • 9:30 AM Rehearsal
      • 6:00 PM Commencement

    We have already begun working with the Senior Executive Board and will also be working with the Parents’ Association to be sure these event are appropriate and safe for all involved.

    Please let us know if you have any questions.

    Peace,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    Message from the President - February 26, 2021

    To the East Catholic Family,

    It is hard to believe that we have reached the end of February. With all of the year’s challenges, time continues to move along quite quickly. It has been great to see our winter sports teams in action. I wish we could have more fans at games, but based on health and safety protocols, we have to limit the numbers. Please respect those rules and understand that much is beyond our control.

    The COVID update is very brief for this newsletter. As of February 13, we had 38 total cases dating back to September. Since then we have not had a positive case reported! Keep up the great work. Wear masks, stay socially distant, and wash your hands, both in and out of school.

    We have a few changes to the calendar coming up over the next month that I wanted to highlight for you. We will have an 11:30 a.m. dismissal on Friday, March 5 (originally a Professional Development day for teachers) in order to get another day in so we can complete the year as early as possible in June. We will also dismiss at 11:30 a.m. on Holy Thursday, April 1. Finally, we will not have school on Easter Monday, April 5. Please understand that we are balancing the need to fulfill our obligated number of school days while also keeping in mind that breaks are needed, especially around holidays.

    As Black History Month comes to a close, I would like to thank all of the teachers and staff who posted on their classroom and office doors influential members from the black community. It was great to see such a wide array of accomplished and inspirational figures. I would also like to thank the Students of Color Union for their work on the big bulletin board outside the cafeteria. They will also be debuting a video next Tuesday that they have been working on all month. We will be streaming to all classrooms on Tuesday, March 2nd at 9:20 a.m. Many thanks to Jencih Manhertz ‘21 and Mackenzie Talavera ‘21 for taking the lead on that project.

    Lastly, but very exciting, we are looking ahead to the end of the year and the culminating events for the Class of 2021. Much still depends on what the state mandates in regards to the pandemic, but we have dates secured and are praying that we get to have as many events as possible!

    Senior End of Year Events

    • April 7: 50 Days Until Graduation Lunch
    • May 19: Senior Awards
    • May 21: Senior Farewell
      • Graduation rehearsal 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
      • Last day of school for Seniors
    • May 24 to 27: Senior Exams
    • May 28: Senior Prom
    • June 1: Senior Picnic
    • June 2: Baccalaureate Mass - St Mary’s at 7:00 p.m.
    • June 3: Commencement - St. Joseph’s Cathedral
      • 9:30 a.m. rehearsal
      • 6:00 p.m. Commencement

    As always, there is a lot happening on The Hill, but please do not hesitate to reach out with any comments, questions, or concerns. Stay safe and be well!

    Peace,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President 

    Message from the President - February 19, 2021

    Good Afternoon to our East Catholic Family,

    I hope you all have had a restful, safe, and healthy break. As we prepare to return to school on Monday, I am sending out the Connecticut state travel requirements below. Please follow their guidelines to help keep our students, faculty, and staff safe.

    Travel: If a student or faculty/staff member travels to a “red” state:

    • If you have traveled to any state other than NY, NJ, or RI, you must provide a negative PCR - COVID test (non rapid) to Mrs. DeCarlo prior to returning to school.
    • You can bring test results to school, if you wish.
    • The test can be done in another state within 72 hours of your return to CT or after you return to CT.
    • If you do not get tested, you must quarantine for 10 days.

    We are relying on families to be honest about their travel and to adhere to these guidelines. Remote learning is available to anyone who is quarantining or awaiting test results.

    Have a great and safe weekend!

    Peace,

    Sean P. Brennan '85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - February 12, 2021

    To the East Catholic Family,

    It has been a busy month of February, and we are only half way through! On February 5 we were blessed to have our second school-wide Mass of the year followed by the class of 2022 receiving their school rings. The ceremony was to be held last spring but was not able to happen as the school was fully remote. The long-standing tradition is a special rite of passage here at East Catholic, and we were glad to finally get them their rings. The class of 2023 is on track to receive their rings in the spring.

    We are two weeks into Black History Month, an important celebration each year to recognize those from the black community who have made significant impact on our communities and society as a whole. The Students of Color Union (SOC) has taken the lead and is working on a video which we will share in News from the Hill at the end of the month. Additionally, faculty and staff have decorated their classroom and office doors throughout the school recognizing individuals from the black community who have had a positive influence on them in their lives. The recognized inspirational figures run the gamut of backgrounds, as you will see in some of the pictures below. Lastly, the Campus Ministry Department has done a wonderful job keeping Black History Month front and center in 3rd period prayer, one of the highlights of each day here at East Catholic.

    The pandemic has provided its fair share of obstacles, and one of the areas most impacted has been performing arts. Our choirs, bands, and theater groups have had to adapt significantly and in some cases, had larger productions completely shut down. When we recognized that the spring musical could not assume its regular form, Mrs. Quackenbush and her Stage East crew pivoted brilliantly to a cabaret night. Arranging socially distanced songs for individuals and small groups worked incredibly well, and everyone involved should be applauded for their efforts to pull off an entertaining evening. Special recognition goes out to the seniors who performed in the last show of their East Catholic careers: Leah Ansaldi, Gina Brooks, Morgan Chambers, Michael Chomick, Katrina Erwin, Morgan Frye, Maeve Horan-Portelance, Sabrina Jones, Abigail Kiser, Ava Kriak, and John Paul Oei.

    The CIAC gave the go ahead for winter sports at the end of January with games starting on February 8. It has been great seeing our teams in action! Unfortunately, there are strict rules about fans, so please see the news and rules from the Athletics Department below.

    During the winter break, please note the hours that school offices will be open. All offices are closed for Presidents Day on Monday, February 15. School offices will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 16 through Friday, February 19. Please be aware of travel regulations should you plan to leave the state during the break.

    Wishing you all a safe, healthy, and well-deserved break! We truly have been blessed with minor COVID issues, and we are hoping to keep that trend going. We greatly appreciate your help in remaining safe.

    Peace,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - January 29, 2021

    To the East Catholic Family,

    Greetings to you all on this very chilly Friday. This week has had a little bit of everything: snow, an early dismissal, a remote learning snow day, and now bone-chilling cold. Thank you to all for your flexibility as we navigate these interesting times.

    COVID UPDATE:

    I have had some parents reach out asking for more regular COVID updates. I will include a COVID update in each of the News from the Hill letters (every other Friday), and I will send emails on the Fridays between.

    We continue to encourage all of the health and safety protocols that seem to be working well: mask wearing, social distancing, one-way hallways and staircases, and hand sanitizing/hand washing. We have adjusted contact tracing and protocols as we get input from our friends in the medical field. A few key points:

    • When we detect a positive case, we contact trace based on the student’s/adult’s last time on campus within the 48 hours prior to the positive test.
    • We ask anyone within six feet for 15 minutes or more, even with masks, to quarantine for ten days and to receive a PCR test.
    • We are asking families to keep students home if they show any symptoms, and to get the individual tested. Students and adults who have been tested should stay home until they get those results.

    As we reach the end of January, here are the numbers of positive cases by month:

    • September 2020 – 3 positive cases
    • October 2020 – 0 positive cases
    • November 2020 - 13 positive cases
    • December 2020 – 11 positive cases
    • January 2021 – 7 positive cases
    • Totals – 35 positive cases (28 students and 7 adults)

    We are all in this together. Please continue to keep everyone in our East Catholic family in your prayers. We are very fortunate to have so many students in school and for the tireless work by our teachers to meet the needs of both in-person and remote learners.

    #WeAreEC

    Peace,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President 

    News from the Hill Letter - January 15, 2021

    To the East Catholic Family,

    Happy new year, once again, and praying that all are safe and well as we continue to battle the ongoing pandemic and the volatile political climate of our nation’s presidential transition. Today would have been the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 92nd birthday. He remains one of the shining lights in my life. I spent the early years of my career as an English teacher, and on dozens of occasions looked to Dr. King’s words to help illustrate to my students the power of language. His writings were prolific and covered myriad topics, so in this time of unrest, I look to one of his hundreds of well-known quotes for inspiration and hope: “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” May we all turn to love and prayer in these difficult times.

    End of Semester One and Beginning of Semester Two:

    Today is the last day for semester one, and grades closed at the end of the school day. We ask your patience as we do our due diligence in grading, selecting comments, allowing for administrative review, and making sure our bookkeeping is accurate. We plan to post grades officially on Friday, January 29. Semester two will begin on Tuesday, January 19 following our long weekend.

    COVID-19 Update:

    Thank you all for your cooperation and understanding as we went remote in our first week of 2021. We anticipated positive test results following the holidays, and we did have four cases that surfaced over the course of that week. Thankfully, because we were remote, we minimized exposure and the need to quarantine. It has been great to be back this week! We also are excited that Connecticut has moved to phase 1b of the vaccine rollout, and a number of our faculty and staff have already received the first dose of the vaccine. We are very blessed! 

    Enrollment Contracts for Returning Students:

    We have sent home enrollment contracts for returning students. It is important that families return the signed contract with the $250 registration fee. New this year, students will not be able to register for next year’s classes without a signed contract and paid registration fee. This policy is consistent with best practices.

    Enjoy the long weekend! Please remember to wear masks when at school and when out of school, please social distance, and wash your hands. I am very proud of our East Catholic family and wish you all the best in 2021!

    Stay safe, be well, and God bless!

    Peace,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    Message from the President - January 8, 2021 

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    I am reaching out to connect with all of you as the nation rises above the divisiveness that led to unthinkable violence at the U.S. Capitol this week, and that still marks too much of our interactions with one other. As our country processes the shock of what transpired in Washington, D.C., our community stands together in the condemnation of violence and the call for prayer as we move forward. We pray for those hurt or killed, those who remain angry or dispirited, and those who seek healing and reconciliation as we move forward as a country.

    This year’s community theme of inclusion seems an appropriate lens through which we can view recent events. We encourage members of our community, students and their families, faculty, staff, and alumni to speak with their peers about what they are feeling, and to do so with respect and openness to the views of others. As we work to process and heal during these difficult times, I would like to remind our students that they can reach out to teachers, coaches, counselors, or parents if they need help processing what they are witnessing.

    I remain optimistic about the future of the United States of America. While we have significant work to do, I hope we can come together as a nation and reclaim the vision laid out by our forefathers: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” May we live up to this aspirational goal.

    Peace,
    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - December 18, 2020

    As we close out a wonderful stretch of green, in-person, learning, I wanted to take a minute to wish everyone in our East Catholic family a blessed and merry Christmas! I will give a couple updates below to be sure we are transparent and open about all that is happening here at East Catholic.

    COVID-19 update

    I thought it would be helpful to have a summary update of how the past four months measure up in regards to COVID-19. Thank you all for all you are doing to keep us safe, healthy, and in school!

    Orange, yellow, and green; Since September 8, we have had:

    • six days of orange
    • 14 days of yellow (planned training period)
    • 49 days of green

    Positive Cases:

    We had our first positive case of COVID identified on September 25, 2020. Since then, we have had a total of 21 positive COVID-19 tests (16 students and five faculty/staff) or 3.8% of our total population. We have quarantined over 250 people through our contact tracing protocol, and we have yet to have a positive COVID-19 test due to transmission within the school building.

    End of Semester and Change to Exam Plan:

    As we look to the end of the semester, which will be here before you know it, we had some good dialog on the best way to assess student growth. With roughly 15% of our students learning from home, we could not find an even playing field to give exams to in-person and remote learners. Additionally, the levels of stress and anxiety were worrisome, and we did not want to add to those levels. Therefore, in lieu of traditional mid-year exams, we will be following our regular academic schedule through the last week of second quarter, January 11 through 15, 2021. There will be no school for students on January 13, (which is on the annual calendar, for a faculty/staff retreat day). Mid-year or semester grades will be the average of the first and second quarter grades. 

    Admission Update:

    Our first round of acceptances for the Class of 2025 went out this week. We are excited about the talented group of future Eagles that have been accepted already. Please be sure to get your applications in as soon as possible so we can include you in next year’s freshman class or if you have students who are looking to transfer into an upper grade.

    Reminders About Next Week:

    As previously announced, we will be fully remote next week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We will be using our COVID-19 orange schedule. Monday and Tuesday will be full days, and Wednesday will be a half day.

    Let me close by wishing everyone some good down time over the Christmas break. Please remember to wear masks when out and about, please social distance, and wash your hands. I am very proud of our East Catholic Family, and I wish you all a merry Christmas!

    Stay safe, be well, and God bless!

    Peace,
    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - December 4, 2020

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    It was good to see our students back in the hallways and classrooms following Thanksgiving break! We are closely monitoring those who traveled and those who may have exposure to positive cases. Quarantining, getting tested, and erring on the side of caution continues to serve us well. Please always remember, if you have symptoms, especially a fever, please stay home and seek medical advice. Also, if a student is awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test, please keep her/him home until the result comes back. If feeling up to it, students can certainly go to remote learning when home. Remote learning is always an option, especially for health and safety reasons.

    Please understand we will notify you directly by an administrator if your son or daughter has been in close contact and must follow protocols. We will also update the entire East Catholic family on a regular basis with a positive case counts, etc. Our threshold for shutting the school down depends primarily on teacher coverage. If we have a critical mass of teachers quarantining, we may not be able to responsibly monitor all classes. Obviously, should the Governor shut down the state, we would also comply.

    Please see the adjusted schedule below for the upcoming weeks:

    • December 7–11 - In Person - Green
    • December 14–18 - In Person - Green
    • December 21–23 - Fully Remote - Orange (half day on December 23, 2020) - Offices Open 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 
    • December 24–January 3 - Winter Break
    • December 24–27 - School Offices Closed
    • December 28–30 - School Offices Open 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    • December 31–January 3 - School Offices Closed
    • January 4 - Classes Resume - Green

    We have experienced blessings through an opportunity to talk with medical professionals from our East Catholic family last week, to get their input on our health and safety protocols. Additionally, we were fortunate to have a Zoom meeting with Dr. Walter, Chip Trymbulak ‘85, P’14, P’17, P’21, with our faculty and staff on December 2. 

    With their guidance, we share with you our updated protocols on a number of fronts:

    Positive Cases

    If a student tests positive for COVID:

    • Quarantine for at least ten days from date of positive test
    • Students who have COVID-19 symptoms must be fever free for 72 hours to return to school
    • Students with positive tests and/or COVID-19 symptoms should see their physician
    • Please provide test results to Diane DeCarlo, our school nurse.

    For those in contact with a positive case:

    Through contact tracing, any student or faculty/staff member within six feet for 15 minutes or more, with or without a mask, will:

    • Quarantine for ten days from last point of contact with a negative PCR - COVID-19 test (non-rapid). Please take the test five days after point of contact.
    • Share written results of the test with Diane DeCarlo, our school nurse.
    • If a student lives in a household with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:
    • Quarantine for at least 14 days from a positive test
    • Highly recommended to get a PCR - COVID-19 test (non-rapid). Please take the test five days after point of contact.
    • Share written results of the test with Diane DeCarlo, our school nurse.

    Travel:

    If a student or faculty/staff member travels to a red state (designated by the State of CT):

    If you have traveled to any state other than NY, NJ, RI, or HI (these may change so please check the link), you must provide a negative PCR - COVID test (non rapid) to Mrs. DeCarlo prior to returning to school. 

    • You can bring test results to school, if you wish. 
    • The can test in another state within 72 hours of your return to CT or after you return to CT.
    • If a student travels to a country the CDC has designated level three or four:
    • Map and travel notices

    Map and Travel Notices

    • You must provide a negative PCR - COVID-19 test (non rapid) to Mrs. DeCarlo prior to returning to school. 
    • You can bring test results to school, if you wish. 
    • You can do the test after you return to CT.

    Masks:

    All students, faculty, staff, parents, etc. are to wear a mask when on campus

    • Please remember that the main purpose of masks is to protect others from us
    • Medical professionals recommend a surgical mask (usually light blue)
    • You may wear a cloth mask over the surgical mask
    • N-95 masks not necessary
    • Bandanas, gaiters are not allowed

    We are incredibly thankful to Dr. Chip Trymbulak and his wife, Dr. Helen Trymbulak, for their guidance during the heightening of this pandemic. As always, we focus first and foremost on the health and safety of our East Catholic family. Please be in touch with any questions or concerns.

    Stay safe, be well, and God bless.

    Peace,
    Sean P. Brennan ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - November 14, 2020 

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    I hope you are all are safe and well. These are trying times in our country. An unsettled election outcome, a surging pandemic, and our own school closing down for a short period of time makes for a number of real challenges. Please be sure to take deep breaths and be sure to be taking care of you mental and emotional health as well.

    With our most recent positive COVID-19 cases, we have continued to follow CDC, CT State Department of Education, and DPH guidelines for contact tracing. Teachers keep reliable seating charts for each class, and we work from those charts to find those who have been within 6 feet of the positive case for more than 15 minutes in a 24 hour period. Often that will include teachers as well. We also look for participation on teams and activities at East Catholic. Once we get a list of those students and adults, we contact each family by phone and let them know the protocol for quarantine. 

    Those affected:

    • Must quarantine for 14 days from the last point of contact with the positive case.
    • We highly recommend that the individual get tested (not the rapid test) after five days from last point of contact.
    • We request that you share the test results with Diane DeCarlo, our school nurse.

    To date, we are quite confident that we have had no spread from contact at school. We have concern however, that individuals are not remaining as diligent outside of school. The Halloween weekend seems to have contributed to our rise in cases. We know everyone is getting tired of all that we have to do to remain safe, but we must remain focused on doing our best.

    School will remain closed for the rest of the week. Remote learning is in place through Wednesday November 18, but offices will be open November 16 to 18. We plan to return to in-person (green) on November 19, God willing.

    Lastly, I would like to congratulate all of our fall sports teams for their hard work in what was a longer season than many anticipated. It was great to see our Eagles representing our school!

    More to come on how we will approach the upcoming holidays.

    Stay safe, be well, and God bless.

    Sean P. Brennan '85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - October 30, 2020 

    To the East Catholic Family,

    It is hard to believe that October is coming to an end! Snow is in the forecast, the first quarter is ending, and it is November on Sunday. Once again, I want to thank all the members of our East Catholic family for their diligence in following our health and safety protocols.

    Winter is Coming: 

    On days when we cannot attend school in person due to snow, we will teach and learn remotely. We will share a schedule for those days next week. There will be additional time between classes and no need for four lunch waves. School will begin at 7:32 a.m. and end at 2:00 p.m. If there is a widespread power outage on those days, we will have to cancel school altogether.

    Upcoming Events: 

    Remember to vote if you are 18 or older! Election Day is Tuesday, November 3. We will have spirit week next week, culminating in the walkathon on November 6. Please be sure to make a contribution to one of our biggest fundraisers of the year. There is a Jesuit College Fair on November 9; please see the school counselors for information. We will celebrate Veterans Day on November 11. There will be no school on the November 11. On November 12 we will have a virtual all-school assembly at 12:45 p.m. in your last period classroom. We will have the good fortune of hearing from Eric Kapitulik, founder of The Program. We will send the link out to students, parents, and faculty/staff.

    Pray for Our Country: 

    As we approach Election Day in four days, I pray that everyone may find kindness and love as they vote.

    Stay safe, Be Well, God Bless,
    Sean P. Brennan, ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - October 16, 2020 

    To the East Catholic Family,

    The past two weeks have been very busy! In addition to our continued success of having most students back on campus, five days a week, we were able to have some celebrations and a virtual back to school night.

    On October 8 and 9, we had the yearly Book Awards and Academic Awards by department. Typically, this event is one night in the spring, but we adjusted and had two morning celebrations which were live steamed for families and put up on our YouTube channel. Many thanks to Mrs. Perillo, Mrs. Reilly, and the school counselors for their help in organizing those two celebrations.

    We also inducted the newest class of members in East Catholic’s chapter of the National Honor Society on October 15. Some family members were able to attend that event. Many thanks to Mrs. Jenna Taylor-Persico and the NHS officers for their help in planning and preparing that event.

    Typically, back to school night happens much earlier in the year, but given all that we were doing early on to reopen, we postponed it. We realized that we could not bring all of the parents onto campus with all of the restrictions on social distancing, so we decided to go virtual. On October 14, we had teachers in their classrooms, and parents were able to log into Google Meet classes from home. I know we had a few technological glitches, but when you think about the fact that we have 195 sections, I think it went pretty well! Many thanks to the parents who emailed me about how appreciative they were with how well it went and how much they enjoyed virtually meeting the teachers.

    Lastly, please join me in congratulating Ms. Gina Burby for her award, The Light of Christ Teacher Recognition Award from the Office of Education, Evangelization, and Catechesis of the Archdiocese of Hartford. Mrs. Burby does so much at East Catholic and has devotion to all that our school represents. Through her work she truly shines the Light of Christ!

    Thank you to everyone for continuing to keep the health and safety of everyone in our family front and center in your hearts, minds, and souls. As always, please be in touch with any questions or concerns.

    Stay safe, be well, and God bless,

    Sean P. Brennan, ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - October 2, 2020 

    To the East Catholic Family,

    Our community should feel very good about how well we are handling going green! Having the majority of students back on campus has put everyone in better spirits. We remain diligent in following health and safety protocols, and respectfully ask that students and parents reinforce mask wearing, washing hands, and social distancing when not at school.

    One of my favorite parts of being in a school community is getting to see students perform. Whether it be on the stage or on a field, artists and athletes in action gives my heart a boost! On Thursday, I was able to see the boys soccer team, both boys and girls cross-country, and volleyball in action. Our student-athletes were giving it their all in competition against another school for the first time since March! It was great to see. Please remember that fans need to wear masks as well.

    On Saturday, September 26, we had a celebration and dedication on campus. Alumni who played football for Coach Jude Kelly from 1979 to 1987 gathered together to honor the man who had such an impact on their lives. I was fortunate to be one of them.

    Here is what I read at the dedication of Jude Kelly Way, a conditioning hill on the upper field:

    From 1979 to 1987 the East Catholic High School football teams were blessed to have Jude Kelly as their head football coach. During his tenure, the East Catholic High School football team won numerous conference titles and took home CIAC State Championships in 1983, 1986, and 1987. While success is often measured by wins and losses or by championships won or lost, anyone who played for Coach Kelly found true success in the care and compassion that he gave to each and every player. An impactful mentor to all who played for him, Coach Kelly instilled the importance of teamwork above all else. No individual was greater than the team, a life lesson that remains with many of his players to this day. Today we dedicate “the hill” and officially rename it Jude Kelly Way, for his way is unlike any other, and we are forever indebted to his love for us all.

    As we head into October, please remember that shorts are no longer permitted. I hope everyone has a good, and safe, weekend!

    Sean P. Brennan, ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - September 18, 2020

    As week two of our training period comes to a close, I want to thank all of our students, faculty, and staff for their commitment to all of our health and safety protocols. We have one week to go, and God-willing, we will be able to open in our green phase on September 28. As I mentioned in morning announcements today when thanking the students for their good work, it is also incredibly important that students be responsible when away from school. I know of six or seven schools who have had to close and go fully remote because students had parties on the weekend with 50-150 students in attendance, clear violations of state mandates and moral responsibility. I encouraged them to avoid those selfish decisions for the good of their families and our East Catholic community.

    As students may be reporting, we have put stronger focus on our dress code and other policies this year. It has certainly been an adjustment for some, but please understand that we put our policies in place to make our community stronger. As more students embrace the rules and regulations we have in place the stronger we can be as an East Catholic community. On those occasions when students do not follow the rules, there will be fair and appropriate consequences. Please encourage your sons and daughters to comply, and there will be no problems.

    Lastly, I am bringing back a school spirit mantra from the 1980’s when I was a student at East Catholic. When we are at games in the future, I hope we will be able to revive it loudly and proudly. You will be seeing it on social media and marketing materials soon. Fans would begin by yelling “We Are,” and then after a short pause would yell “EC!” We would then repeat it louder and louder. For the parents who are alums from that era, I hope you remember those moments. So when you see the hashtag, #WeAreEC, understand that it is not something new, but rather a tie to our proud history that conveys pride in our school family!

    As always, please be in touch with any questions and concerns.

    Peace,
    Sean P. Brennan, ‘85
    President

    News from the Hill Letter - August 28, 2020

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    It has been so great to have students back on campus this week! Following three days of faculty/staff meetings, we had each class on campus for a half day, starting with the seniors on Tuesday and finishing with the freshmen on Friday. We reviewed many of the health and safety protocols outlined in our COVID-19 management plan; please take the time to review thoroughly with your son or daughter.

    During this time of training, I am reminded of a quote I like very much by Mother Teresa, “The greatest good we do is what we do for one another.” Her words ring true on many fronts, but I find them truly apropos as we return to school during this challenging time. It will be incredibly important for each and every one of us to follow our health and safety protocols. We wear masks to protect ourselves and one another.

    As I mentioned in the last News from the Hill, each year, I select a theme for the year, and for the 2020-2021 school year, East Catholic will be focusing on the theme of inclusion. I had the chance to speak with each class on the topic citing the importance of kindness and respect towards all with whom we come into contact. I reminded them of the ECHS mission statement which closes with, “Guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ, East Catholic is a welcoming environment for all students.” To help with this important messaging, I asked Jencih Manhertz and Mackenzie Talavera to speak with each class on this topic, and they did a great job speaking out against racism, implicit bias, microagressions, and cultural appreciation. We are fortunate to have such thoughtful and passionate students at our school.

    With the orientation days completed, we will continue our training program starting on Tuesday, September 8. The blue group (A-L) will attend school in person and go through all eight classes with an extended lunch period. The white group (M-Z) will attend school in person on Wednesday, September 9 and go through all eight classes with an extended lunch period. There will not be any schoolwork assigned for those days, and the group not in school does not need to attend remotely. Fully remote learners should virtually attend classes on Wednesday, September 9.

    Regular class rotation will begin on Thursday, September 10, with Day one. From the September 10 to 25 the blue group and white group will alternate days of in-person and remote learning. If all goes well, we will open at full capacity on Monday, September 28! We can do this! We will need everyone’s cooperation and buy in, but it is possible. We advise the need to reschedule our back to school night, originally scheduled for Thursday, September 10. Details will be forthcoming.

    As always, please be in touch with any questions you may have. Stay safe and be well!

    Peace,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85