Fr. Andrew White spotlights First Responders

Principal Mahoney at FAWS

Celebrating Catholic Schools Week: Spotlight on First Responders at Fr. Andrew White S.J. School in Leonardtown

Leonardtown, MD -  Every morning, students of Father Andrew White S.J. School (FAWS) located in Leonardtown gather together in the multi-purpose room for a motivational reading by Principal Linda Maloney, announcements and prayer. On Feb. 2, students were joined by parents who came to share about their careers at First Responders in celebration of National Catholic Schools Week.

Father Andrew White S.J. School opened in 1954, Principal Maloney told The school currently has a total of 262 students enrolled. “EveryoFather Andrew Whitene comes together in the gym every morning for prayer and we recognize birthdays or student accomplishments, it is a great way to start the day,” said Maloney.

Throughout the celebration of Catholic Schools Week, school officials organized service projects for students, as well as special events such as Math Night to celebrate the uniqueness of Catholic Schools. “Teachers put together math related activities that were grade-level appropriate for students to solve. On Wednesday night, each classroom was set up with activities for the students and parents to work through for prizes,” said Maloney.

It is through this week-long focus on faith, knowledge and service, the teachers, alumni, faculty, parents, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga Catholic Church, come together to help prepare children to use their God-given talents to the fullest later in life.

“Approximately 12 to 15 students who are currently attending St. Mary’s Ryken, came back earlier in the week to say morning prayers with the students. It was great for the students to receive this encouragement from our alumni,” said Maloney.

First Responders and members of the Armed Services visited FAWFirst Responders speak at FAWS on Thursday, Feb. 2 to help acknowledge the day’s theme of ‘Community Heroes.’ Parents gave presentations about being employed by organizations, such as the Maryland State Police, United States Navy, and volunteering with the Leonardtown Rescue Squad.

Thursday morning’s assembly also included the distribution of prizes from Math Night held earlier in the week. Students were very excited to hear their names called while the audience clapped for their great display of math skills. After the presentation of prizes, children headed off to their classrooms to hear details from parents about the duties involved in their jobs.

National Catholic Schools Week began Jan. 29, and this week offers an opportunity for students to explore the many life paths that enable them to use their talents well in the service of God and others. First Responder vocations were highlighted by the following parents: CDR Vavrus, 1st Sergeant VanHoy, Major Kris Stark, 1st Sgt. Krystle Rossignol, Lieutenant Andrew Rossignol, Sgt. Clay Safford, LDCR Greg Hinkle, CDR Farr, Jamie Weber (EMT-IVT), Lieutenant Jones, and Jim Detrick.

Ms. Kimberly Cohen's kindergarten students were fortunate to have three parents share about their careers: LDR Greg Hinkle, Sgt. Clay Safford and EMS IVT Jaimie Weber. Cohen has been a teacher at FAWS for 17 years and said, "We are like a family here."

During the presentation by Sgt. Clay Safford of the St. Mary's CoSaffordunty Sheriff's Department, he  asked, “Does anyone know what this badge stands for?” One student answered, “It means you are in the Navy.” Safford said, “No. I am with the police department. The badge represents trust and if you see someone dressed in a uniform with a badge you can go to them and ask for help.” Children were given a chance to ask questions after his presentation. A student asked, “When did you start working?” Safford said, “I started working for the police department in 1999.”

Jamie Weber, who is a volunteer EMT-IVT with the Leonardtown Rescue Squad shared some very interesting tips for kindergarten students to remember. “When you are riding with your parents in a car and hear an ambulance behind you, do you notice them pulling over to the right side of the road?” A student replied “Sometimes.” "It is important for cars to pull over all the time," she said. Weber toldEMT Jaimie Weber the students, that ambulance sirens mean there is an emergency and all vehicles should stop and pull over. “Sometimes parents may forget this but it is very important that they yield the right of way to emergency vehicles like ambulances and police cars,” said Weber.

“We are very appreciative of these First Responders taking the time to come, and speak with our students at the start of their day,” said Maloney.

FAWS is one of five Catholic Schools in St. Mary’s County. Maloney has been on staff at FAWS for 24 years, and before becoming the principal she taught 3rd and 8th graders, she said.

Contact Shertina J. Mack at

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