St. Philip Neri Club Recap

During the 2018-19 school year, the Saint Philip Neri Club (SPNC) once again achieved its goal to make a real difference in the world. Through its numerous initiatives, the club made a positive impact in not only the local community or the United States, but worldwide, and plans for next year are already in the works. The main initiatives which the SPNC took part in this year were feeding the hungry, helping the poor, and being a voice for those who cannot be heard by taking a stand against human trafficking. Led by 10th-grade religion teacher Ms. Linda Michalski, Cole Noss (President) and Luke Bernstein (Vice President), and members of the Governing Board, the club was able to follow the spirit of Saint Philip Neri. To do this, the students involved in the club were role models to younger students, showing their commitment to the club by wearing a backpack insignia, by not only working hard to donate funds to multiple organizations, but also donating goods like food, sports equipment, books, jackets, and more to charities and people in need.

One organization the Saint Philip Neri Club has been extremely involved with this year and in past years is Catholic Relief Services, or CRS. CRS has awarded OP, for the second year in a row, the Global Gold Level High School award. This award is given to schools who meet CRSs core initiatives as well as performing their own service projects and school-wide events to get the whole community involved. To be recognized as a Global Gold Level High School, schools are required to meet the following criteria: participate in CRS Rice Bowl (equivalent to Oratory’s Empty Bowls program), host two school-wide events, and participate in one additional core program. This year, Oratory’s Empty Bowls fundraiser raised over $1,800 with $900 going to CRS and $900 going to OP’s local partner, BRIDGES Outreach, making it an overwhelming success.  

The core program the SPNC participated in this year was CRSs “Feed the Hungry Initiative” where the club donated over 1,100 lbs. of food along with a $1,000 check to support the local pantry. Additionally, to support this mission, Oratory cooked and served Sunday dinner for the homeless 4 times during the year, made 80-100 sandwiches to serve the homeless on the streets of New York City (BRIDGES) 5 times, and packed food at the Community Foodbank 7 times on Saturday mornings. In addition to all of this, over 169 lbs. of Halloween Candy were donated to our Veterans and Thanksgiving dinners were provided for the poor at Interfaith Food Pantry.

Throughout the year, the SPNC also participated in many school-wide events, exceeding the requirements for the Global HS award. The first of these activities was the SPNC’s fight against human trafficking, led by the ‘OP Ram Defenders,’ one of the committee’s within the club itself. The club’s goal was to raise awareness and educate students on child slave labor in the chocolate industry. Students sold slave-free chocolate each day raising $1,000 donated to CRS during Catholic Schools Week. A school-wide assembly was held to “light a candle” in the darkness of this injustice to humanity and hand-deliver the check to the CRS regional representative. Later on, Oratory remembered World Human Trafficking Day with a school-wide prayer to Sr. Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of Human Trafficking victims.

Throughout the year, the club not only achieved but exceeded its goals in terms of making a positive impact in the world. Not only did the club do what was mentioned previously, but it also supported students Joseph Marchese, Liam Henderson, Logan Drone, and Aidan Philbrick in their 2019 Students of the Year campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society where the club raised over $2,000 in less than 7 short weeks. This amazing accomplishment showed everyone the potential the Saint Philip Neri Club has and is certainly a precursor for all the Saint Philip Neri club is going to become.