Letter to the Editor: Our Lady of the Lake Kindergarten Class Honors Local Marine

John Mandler from Our Lady of the Lake School pens Patch Letter to the Editor after a visit from local marine, Private Brett O’Donnell of Glen Ridge.


Monday, November 26, 2012 started off as a regular day in the Kindergarten classroom of Ms. Stephanie Cataneo, one of the two Kindergarten teachers at Our Lady of the Lake School in Verona, New Jersey.

Tyler O’Donnell of Verona, one of the students in Ms. Cataneo’s class, made a presentation to his class about his uncle, Private Brett O’Donnell, a Marine who recently completed his basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. Tyler showed the class his uncle's formal picture and talked about how much he looked up to his uncle.

Ms. Cataneo and the class then decided to create a special book filled with pictures thanking Private O’Donnell for his service to the country and wishing him a safe deployment.

The next day, Private O’Donnell, in full dress uniform, visited Ms. Cataneo’s classroom to thank the class for the book and to tell the class about his life as a Marine.

He told the class that he would bring the book with him wherever he goes to remind himself of the special honor the class paid him and all Marines in service. He explained his uniform and hat and told the class the meaning of each emblem and insignia. He even taught the class how to give a proper military salute!

Private O'Donnell will leave next week for combat training at Camp Geiger in North Carolina, after which he will go to Marine Base Twentynine Palms in California for occupational training. He was born and raised in Glen Ridge and was the star goalie on the varsity lacrosse team.

Our Lady of the Lake Parish has a long history of supporting America’s service personnel and veterans, especially the Marines.

Last year, the 5th Grade class raised over $15,000 to help cover the cost of renovating the house of a wounded veteran.

This year, at the school’s annual Breakfast with Santa, toys for the Marines’ Toys for Tots program will be collected. Father Mike Hanly, Pastor of Our Lady of the Lake, is active in caring for wounded heroes and other service members, and his activism inspires many members of the Parish, including the students at Our Lady of the Lake School.

Our Lady of the Lake School, located on Lakeside Avenue in Verona, NJ, just across from Verona Park, is a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School. The school provides a quality personalized Catholic education open to all families, and the school draws families from all over suburban Essex County. Our Lady of the Lake offers Pre-K3, Pre-K4, full-day Kindergarten and Grades 1 through 8. Interested parents and families can visit the school website at www.myoll.org or call 973-239-1160.

John Mandler
OLL School Marketing Committee 


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