Northeast Times

A perfect record

Ex­cel­lent grades: Former St. Wil­li­am stu­dent Naya En­riquez gradu­ated from eighth grade at St. Cecil­ia School. She will at­tend Bish­op McDe­vitt High School. GREG BEZ­ANIS / FOR THE TIMES

Naya En­riquez’s ac­com­plish­ment is among the high­lights of what seemed to be a suc­cess­ful year for former St. Wil­li­am Ele­ment­ary School pu­pils who made the trans­ition to their new school.

Naya at­ten­ded St. Wil­li­am from kinder­garten through sev­enth grade, and was nev­er late or ab­sent.

The Lawndale school, though, closed in June 2012 due to dwind­ling en­roll­ment.

Naya was among 159 pu­pils from St. Wil­li­am who en­rolled at St. Cecil­ia, loc­ated on Rhawn Street in Fox Chase.

“Most of my friends were com­ing here,” Naya said of her de­cision.

Most of the oth­er former St. Wil­li­am pu­pils trans­ferred to Present­a­tion BVM, loc­ated in Chel­ten­ham.

As for Naya, she con­tin­ued to show up at her new school every day and on time. She fin­ished as the only 2013 St. Cecil­ia gradu­ate with nine years of per­fect at­tend­ance.

“I like learn­ing,” she said of why she main­tained per­fect at­tend­ance. “I want to be a doc­tor, so I pay at­ten­tion at school.”

A po­ten­tial fu­ture dent­ist or pe­di­at­ri­cian, Naya skipped a cous­in’s high school gradu­ation one year to keep her re­cord in­tact, but oth­er­wise was healthy enough to make it to school every day.

“I just had the com­mon cold, noth­ing too ser­i­ous,” she said.

Not only did Naya show up for school, she also earned ex­cel­lent grades of 90 or bet­ter.

Sis­ter Jane Mary Carr, IHM, St. Cecil­ia’s prin­cip­al, praised Naya’s ded­ic­a­tion to school.

“Good at­tend­ance sup­ports aca­dem­ic achieve­ment, and Naya placed aca­dem­ics as a pri­or­ity,” she said. “She’s a good role mod­el for the school com­munity. She works hard aca­dem­ic­ally and is a very fine per­son.”

When the an­nounce­ment came in the winter of 2012 that St. Wil­li­am would be clos­ing, the Rev. Charles E. Bon­ner, pas­tor at St. Cecil­ia, ren­ted a bus to bring Naya and the rest of the St. Wil­li­am sev­enth-graders to St. Cecil­ia. The pu­pils toured the school and met the teach­ers.

“We had a won­der­ful day to­geth­er,” Sis­ter Jane said.

The St. Wil­li­am pu­pils wrote thank you let­ters to the St. Cecil­ia com­munity.

“It set a beau­ti­ful tone for com­ing to­geth­er,” Sis­ter Jane said. “They’ve been a bless­ing to us.”

St. Cecil­ia also wel­comed some teach­ers from St. Wil­li­am, but oth­ers were left without jobs due to the con­sol­id­a­tion.

Naya, a Pal­metto Street res­id­ent, was able to walk to St. Wil­li­am. This school year, she and some oth­er new St. Cecil­ia stu­dents gathered out­side St. Wil­li­am, at the in­ter­sec­tion of Argyle and Rob­bins streets, and were picked up by a bus at 7:38 a.m. to get to St. Cecil­ia for the 8 a.m. start of classes.

“We were al­ways on time,” she said.

Naya en­joyed her time at St. Cecil­ia, where she played on the vol­ley­ball team. The year in­cluded an eighth-grade class trip to New York. 

“Every­body was more wel­com­ing than I thought they were go­ing to be,” she said. “We were only here one year, so I didn’t think they would get to know us well, but they showed kind­ness and gen­er­os­ity get­ting to know me.”

To­ward the end of the school year, Naya and her former St. Wil­li­am class­mates got to­geth­er at their old stomp­ing grounds.

The Rev. Joseph Wat­son, pas­tor at St. Wil­li­am, held a re­union for the school’s fi­nal sev­enth-grade class, fac­ulty and ad­min­is­tra­tion on June 9.

On the even­ing of June 12, 104 kids gradu­ated from St. Cecil­ia dur­ing a Mass and awards ce­re­mony.

Naya’s fam­ily — par­ents, Ed­ward and Wanda, and older broth­ers Ed­die and Mar­cus — is proud of her.

In Septem­ber, Naya will en­roll at Bish­op McDe­vitt in Wyn­cote, Mont­gomery County, and she is look­ing for­ward to her high school years.

And yes, she plans to fin­ish with per­fect at­tend­ance for 13 years. ••

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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