Mrs. Kathleen Brescia - 40 years (and counting) at St. Patrick’s!
Before she began teaching at St. Pat’s, Mrs. Brescia was an involved parent at the school and highly devoted to Catholic education. Mrs. Brescia was instrumental in starting the Parent Resource Group (PRG) in 1971, just in time for the 50th Anniversary of the school. She and a few other devotees of Catholic education also helped other schools start Parent Associations, formed the Nassau-Suffolk Federation of Catholic School Parents, and then went on to be charter members of the New York State Federation of Catholic School Parents. These groups encouraged people to support Catholic schools and worked with legislators to pass laws to ensure their continuation.
The principal at St. Patrick’s during this time, Sister Eileen Cleater, asked Mrs. Brescia to develop a gym program for the lower grades, which became operational in 1975. As they say, the rest is history! At times, Mrs. Brescia taught 5th to 8th grade gym and substituted in all the grades. Several years ago, she made the transition to library teacher.
Where did you grow up and what is your educational background?
I grew up in Brooklyn, attended St. Mary Mother of Jesus Grammar School and Fontbonne Hall Academy (for girls) High School. I then went on to St. John’s University, where I majored in Education and minored in English and History. After college, I taught 4th and 6th grades for four and a half years, then stayed home for several years to raise my children. We moved to Huntington in 1964.
Can you tell us about your family?
My husband and I have five children, all of whom attended St. Patrick’s School. They then either attended Our Lady or Mercy Academy or St. Anthony’s High School. All five then attended Fordham University. For graduate studies, they attended Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, University of Pennsylvania, and NYU Medical School. They subsequently became lawyers, a landscape architect and a doctor. We are also proud to have 7 grandchildren!
How has St. Pat's changed over the years?
The school has expanded so much over the years! We have up-to-date facilities including a computer lab, a science lab and a new distance-learning program. We have numerous after-school activities and enrichment courses as well as several sports teams. Our teachers, many in number now, are the heart of the school. They are continually improving their skills, studying, and conferring with each other to provide the wonderful education that has been the hallmark of St. Patrick’s. Our Principal, Sister Maureen McDade, and our Assistant Principal, Ms. Jean Grasso, work tirelessly to provide the environment for great things to happen.
What have you found to be the most rewarding thing about teaching?
I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching here at St. Patrick’s, and it is so rewarding when alumni visit and say they loved being here. I am not surprised when I learn of their accomplishments. Our alumni know they have received a wonderful education here, and it is so nice when they want to come back and express their gratitude to the teachers. I had a lot of fun teaching gym, and I find teaching in the Library to be very interesting. Most important of all, being with the children is always fascinating. I am encouraged to continue teaching everyday as I watch them grow in wisdom, age and grace.
What do you like to do in your free time and do you have any plans for retirement?
In my free time I enjoy reading, playing the piano and doing needle crafts. I also like to go swimming down at West Neck Beach, where I frequently run into students and their parents! As you can probably deduce from my enthusiasm, I do not plan on retiring anytime soon!