Home Leadership 2021 The 2020-21 school year was like no other – Iona Preparatory

The 2020-21 school year was like no other – Iona Preparatory

Dear Westchester friends and families,

Without question, the 2020-21 school year was like no other.  As was the case for “virtually” every school in the state and nation, the COVID-19 Pandemic confronted Iona Preparatory with unforeseen and highly challenging circumstances. I am pleased and gratified to be able to report that despite often daily adjustments, we stayed true to our motto of “Estote Firmi,” or “Be Strong.”

Back in March 2020, when the containment zone was announced for New Rochelle and the sweeping scope of the Pandemic became known, we asked ourselves where we were going to be when the 2020-2021 school year started?  We made the decision that we could not and would not stand still.  Not only did we invest in infrastructure and technology—more than $150,000 to install cameras in every classroom and upgrade our testing software— but over the summer our teachers came in for specialized training to be well-versed in Google Classroom and other remote learning platforms.

Our goal was to remain open as much as possible without jeopardizing faculty and students.  Maximum instruction; minimum risk.  We kept students in the classroom to the extent possible and created a hybrid model allowing students to learn remotely when needed.  We went two straight months before needing to quarantine anyone, and our students overcame obstacles and remained resilient.  Our boys embraced technology and thrived.  They also reached out to serve their communities, donating food, water, masks and gloves to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers and Neighbor to Neighbor in Connecticut; and creating apps linking volunteers with senior citizens to assist with groceries during stay-at-home orders.    

Our teachers became champions of education.  Our sports teams, limited to virtual practices for so long, finally returned to competition and played like champions.  We are the defending LoHud Sports Tom Whelan Private School of the Year, after all.  Our school and students continued to flourish.  

With the close of this unprecedented school year upon us and COVID restrictions being lifted, it is a great time to reflect on the positive news surrounding our graduates. The members of the Class of 2021 were pillars not only for the Iona Preparatory community, but for the communities in which they live.  They will continue their education at some of the best schools in our nation: Brown, Colgate, Columbia, Duke, New York University, the University of Virginia, and the list goes on.  Moreover, during a time in which so many families are struggling economically, our boys earned a collective $34 million in academic, merit-based scholarships.  With an average award of $60,000, an Iona Preparatory education pays for itself, and certainly helps take the sting out of rising college tuitions.

I know I speak for our entire Iona Prep community in wishing them success and good fortune as they go forth and become the leaders of tomorrow. Class of 2021:  job well done!  To God be the glory, and may Jesus live in our hearts. Forever!

Thomas R. Leto

Bro. Thomas R. Leto, Ed.D.
President

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