Diocesan News

After 2021 Fundraising Win, St. Francis de Sales Aims For The Top Spot Again

Maeve Grace (left) and Fiona Fitzgerald said they will use The Tablet’s unique role in journalism as a selling point for new subscribers. Principal Christopher Scharbach asked parents to support the fundraiser because DeSales Media Group has helped the academy upgrade its technology. They are each holding Tablet Jr., the contest’s mascot. (Photo: Paula Katinas)

‘It’s an easy fundraiser to get behind,’ says Principal Christopher Scharbach

BELLE HARBOR  — The academy that took top honors in last year’s inaugural Tablet COVID Relief Fundraisers for Catholic Schools is determined to do even better — collectively and individually — this time around.

Students at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy in the Rockaways sold 262 subscriptions to The Tablet during the 2021 contest. Principal Christopher Scharbach said he not only wants to exceed that total, he’s hoping one of the 620 students who attend the academy takes individual honors.

“It’s an easy fundraiser to get behind,” Scharbach added.

The Second Annual Tablet COVID Relief Fundraiser for Catholic Schools, sponsored by DeSales Media Group, the ministry that produces The Tablet, will offer winnings that include $3,000 prizes each for the top-selling small academy, large academy and high school and a $3,000 prize to the student selling the most subscriptions.

“Last year, we did well because every student sold a few subscriptions. It was a schoolwide effort. It wasn’t so much the volume of one particular child,” Scharbach said. “We didn’t have any of our students in the top 10. But this year, I’d like to see one of our students make it,” he said.

St. Francis de Sales  put last year’s $3,000 prize money to good use. The academy purchased a vending machine filled with books to promote literacy. Scharbach had the machine placed near the academy’s front entrance so that it’s the first thing visitors see when they enter the building.

Student Maeve Grace, 13, participated in last year’s contest and will employ the same sales pitch — one that revolves around faith. 

“The Tablet is a Catholic paper and I told people it’s important that we read about our faith — that we know what’s going on in the world and what it has to do with Christ. I used that to persuade people to buy the paper,” said Grace, an eighth grader.

Another eighth grader, Fiona Fitzgerald, had a secret weapon last year. “I have a big family,” she said. This year, she plans to expand her reach. ”’I’ll tell other people as well — maybe kids whose parents my mom and dad know who don’t go to Catholic schools,” she said.

Like Grace, Fitzgerald, 13, will emphasize The Tablet’s role as a Catholic news source. “I agree that you can find people who are thinking of God,” she said. “It’s also fine to go much deeper in your faith. I think it will help people who aren’t as deep as they could be.”