When the students of St. Patrick Catholic Academy, Bay Ridge, began their school year, it was the start of a new academic and spiritual journey. Unlike the previous 150 opening days in St. Patrick’s history, it marked its debut as an independent Catholic academy run by a board of directors. Principal Andrea D’Emic and staff celebrated the transition by greeting incoming students and parents on the steps of the auditorium. Colorful green-and-gold balloons met the students outside the academy at dismissal. The following day, Father Andre Bain, parochial vicar, offered a special blessing for the academy. Following a short prayer service, he visited and blessed each classroom.