Up Front and Personal

New Gym Scores Big With Queens Parish

by Keri Harrison

“Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you’re going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus.” — Oprah Winfrey

If there is any community that knows the meaning of setting and accomplishing goals, including the amount of time and energy that is involved, it is North Floral Park’s parish, Our Lady of the Snows. The parish is nearing the end of its second school year with a brand new addition to the school and church – the new gym, which is housed in the former Our Lady of the Snows Church.

Fifty-eight years ago, the structure was built with the intention of being used as a multi-purpose room. However, the parish needed a church, so the building was converted into one, and the multi-purpose room was pushed to the back burner. For years, Our Lady of the Snows students, including myself, did not have a cafeteria to use, so they ate lunch in the classrooms. The students involved in the CYO program called a local public school’s gym home for many of the sporting events. Building a gym for the students and youth of the parish has been an ongoing goal, but it wasn’t until the start of the 2009-10 school year that the results of countless years of effort were finally unveiled.

Hundreds of families pledged time and money toward the building of the new church at Our Lady of the Snows, which subsequently lead to the original conversion of the old church. Michael McGovern, the head of the parish CYO program for years, and Ellyn Hausdorf, the school’s physical education teacher, have both been very instrumental in achieving the parish’s long-term goal, along with the pastor, Msgr. Raymond Chappetto.
The addition of the gym has provided the parish children of the parish with a place to implement and foster their skills outside of the classroom. As a former member of the CYO program, I know how important playing on a team and being involved in extracurricular activities can be for a young person. Having the support of the parish and a place to call their own is a top way to embrace all that the CYO program has to offer.

The gym has brought a new level of enthusiasm and energy to the children and families of the parish. This energy has been the foundation of the parish for years, and is the sole reason why the new church and gym have been built. The families who make up the parish have shared a passion and energy to improve and better the parish and school for its children, and that spirit has proved fruitful for the community. A new meeting place has been created and in this new gym, the young spirits of the parish will grow and blossom.

Keri Harrison is a parishioner of Our Lady of the Snows Church in North Floral Park, and a graduate of its school.