Father John V. Doyle students raise $14K at annual walkathon

Funds will be used to support Catholic Schools Week activities, combat cancer


COVENTRY — With Coldplay’s hit song, “Sky Full of Stars” pumping through amplifiers set up outside the school, 283 Father John V. Doyle students strutted around their campus for the third annual “The Saints Go Marching In” Walkathon.

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Students raised $14,000 via the event, with the funds earmarked to support a faith rally in January, as well as bring in an undisclosed visitor, who Principal Dan Hodes plans to welcome to the school in December.

“As a result of them meeting their goal, we’re going to have a surprise concert by a mysterious guest,” said Hodes, also noting that 10 percent of the funds will be donated to Pink Heals Inc., a non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness to combat cancer.

During the walkathon, which took place November 4, students in Pre-k through grade eight dressed as their favorite saints to show school spirit. Others proudly wore their uniforms.

Seventh-grader Dane Carraccio, 12, portrayed Pope John Paul II, and his classmate Carina Kortick, 12, dressed as Saint Lucy, a young woman who perished during the Diocletianic Persecution.

“Her story inspired me,” Kortick said. “She died for her faith during the persecution of Christians.”

Carraccio shared similar sentiments. He thinks highly of the late pontiff.

“Pope John Paul II was one of the great mentors for many people,” he said. “He helped many people during bad times like poverty and hunger.”

Another seventh-grader, Andrew Hennemann, 12, dressed as his namesake, Saint Andrew, and carried a large wooden cross as he participated in the walkathon. He said he was having “a lot of fun,” as was his classmate Kelly McCarthy, who depicted Saint Catherine of Siena, the patron saint of nurses.

“A lot of people I know are nurses,” said McCarthy, proclaiming her appreciation for the hard work and dedication of individuals in the medical profession.

While McCarthy praised nurses and doctors, Hodes acknowledged his staff, as well as members of the school board. He said they encouraged him to hold the walkathon and helped make it a success.

As noted, the money raised will be used to fund a faith rally, which will take place in January to wrap up Catholic Schools Week. Both the rally and Catholic Schools Week will highlight activities that promote school unity and the value of a faith-based education.

“It’s a way to bring our parents and our students together, as well as our parish,” said Hodes, adding that the rally will also be centered on the Eucharist and the importance of family.

He went on to say that the rally will feature national speakers and musicians. But for now, he’s hoping students focus on one particular song, “Sky Full of Stars.”

“I want them to be reaching towards the stars and have a heavenly view versus an earthly view,” said Hodes, noting that it’s the school’s theme song for the year. “It’s a current song that we’re trying to make part of the faith rally, too.”