By Tim Harfmann
Nearly 90 boys from around the Diocese of Brooklyn attended the 49th Father Troike Leadership Program at Cathedral Preparatory School and Seminary, Elmhurst.
Named in honor of Cathedral Prep alumnus and former faculty member, the late Father Edward Troike, the four-week program strives to form elementary school boys into the leaders of tomorrow, while developing their relationship with Christ.
“We have Mass offered every day, and we give them a virtue to strive for,” said Father Joseph Fonti, the rector-president of Cathedral Prep. “We give them an encouragement to be men who want to put on Christ in their day-to-day life.”
“I feel like I got closer to God,” said Kyle Opao, who will enter Cathedral Prep as a freshman this fall. “I feel, in a way, that I changed spiritually and emotionally just by going to this program.”
Through courses such as math, history and English, rising seventh- and eighth-grade students prepared for their upcoming school year and the Test for Admission into Catholic High Schools, or TACHS exam.
Some of the high school’s incoming freshmen participated in the program to sharpen their academic skills and get a glimpse of what they will experience this fall.
“Everyone was pretty shy at first, but approaching the end of the Troike program, I got to make a lot of nice friends and see who I will be in class with,” said Opao.
In the afternoon, the students participated in organized basketball and softball games.
“We challenge them academically and athletically, both individually and as a team,” said Matthew Dybus, an alumnus of the school and first-year director of the summer program. “It forms these young leaders to be passionate and communicate with each other.”
Rising seventh grader, Luke Carpenter, feels his first experience at the Father Troike program has been beneficial to his future. “It has taught me a lot; how to be a leader, what leadership is and that God is always by your side, and He will guide you,” he said.
Nicholas Abernethy, a rising seventh grader and parishioner of St. Francis de Sales, Belle Harbor, has also learned about leadership.
“I think a leader means teambuilding, passion, commitment and communication because you can’t be a leader without helping others. Being a leader means helping to make other people great, not just telling them what to do.,” he explained.
Approximately 20 current Cathedral Prep students serve as counselors, hoping they have the opportunity to inspire the elementary school children.
“It gives us kids an initiative to become a leader, participate in class, work with our teammates, become better people and help them become better people as well,” said Jin Woo, a rising sophomore at the school and alumnus of the program.
With a better understanding of their faith and the tools they need to succeed, these young men feel prepared to go out and be leaders in their communities.