Diocesan News

You Can Be a Star at Father Troike Summer Leadership Program (with slideshow)

Three, two, one…Action!

For 47 years, there’s been plenty of action at the annual Father Edward Troike Summer Leadership Program at Cathedral Prep and Seminary, Elmhurst.

The theme of this year’s program, which lasted four weeks from July 7 through Aug. 1, was movies.

“The idea is that one goes to Hollywood to become a star, and you come to Cathedral to become a leader,” said Father James Kuroly, Cathedral’s assistant principal for academics and the director of the Troike Program. “We really tried to incorporate that theme into every aspect of the program.”

The “stars” of this year’s program were 88 sixth- through eighth-grade students, mostly from Catholic grammar schools in Queens, and the 25 volunteer counselors, all of whom are current students at Cathedral Prep.



The two co-head counselors, Cathedral rising seniors Tyler Flannery and Joseph Capri, thrived in the leadership role this summer by setting a positive example each day for the program’s students.

“It’s an honor to know that the administration, especially Father Kuroly, thinks that both myself and Joe are very valid candidates to be co-head counselors at the Father Troike program,” said Flannery, who was a counselor the past three summers and was a student himself before entering Cathedral Prep in 2011.

For the second-straight year, Father Kuroly sought to have his counselors take ownership of the program, and that’s exactly what they did.

“They’re (the counselors) the ones that really run it,” Father Kuroly said. “I’m kind of in the background to guide them, but they’re the ones that really take charge. They’re really the program directors; I just have the title.”

Capri proved vital in establishing this year’s theme, since he has aspirations to pursue a career in the movie field.

“Everybody relates to movies, so I think it’s very personable,” said Capri, who greeted the students each morning before the day began. “There’s always a leadership role in movies. It’s the Father Troike Leadership Program, so that’s what I thought of.”

During the four-week program, each day began with Mass in the chapel followed by academic coursework in classrooms named after movie studios, such as PIXAR, Marvel, Walt Disney and Warner Brothers.

After lunch, the teams – also movie-themed, including the Bad News Bears, Men in Black, Ghostbusters and Pirates of the Caribbean – played basketball, softball or board games to close out the day.


Summer Staple


The Troike program has been a summer staple at Cathedral. The beloved late Father Troike taught mathematics at the school and is remembered as an energetic, fun-loving priest. Despite his battle with cancer for most of his teaching years, his enthusiasm inspired everyone around him to live a joyful life.

Father Troike felt that there was a need to develop the students to have leadership skills – not so much the young men coming into the program but rather the Cathedral students themselves to teach them what it meant to be a leader.

When Father Joseph Fonti took over as the school’s rector last October, he encouraged the seminary students to be men “made for greatness.”

“Part of being a man for greatness is being a leader in our world and being a leader in our Church,” Father Kuroly said. “That’s what this school is all about. Whether you wear a Roman collar or you don’t, you are responsible for taking upon a leadership role within our community. And what better way than to actually give them (the counselors) that role early in life.”

The counselors, who took time out of their precious summer vacation from high school, acted as big brothers to the students, some of whom will be attending Cathedral Prep as incoming freshmen in the fall. Just like an actual movie, it was all the “behind the scenes” preparation by the counselors that allowed for the program’s smooth operation.

“It’s a family here at Cathedral,” said Patrice Legoute, a recent graduate of Incarnation School, Queens Village, who has aspirations to be a counselor in the Troike Program and to someday become a priest. “You walk in and everyone greets you. It’s the brotherly love that you feel, and that’s something that I’m going to love here in the beginning of the year.”

“I feel like this program has benefitted me,” said Joseph Foley, a recent graduate of Our Lady of Hope Elementary School, Middle Village. “It’s given me a chance to learn the school and gave me a way to make more friends with people that are coming to the school as well. It’s a good way to get a grasp of what’s going to happen in high school.”

While the theme of movies was certainly fun for the students, it also served a meaningful purpose in showing the kids what it means to be a true Christian leader.

“They’re understanding that life is more than just a movie,” Father Kuroly said. “But just like in the movies, we want a happy ending, so in life, we also want a happy ending. In life, that happiness comes when you have a deep, close relationship with Christ and when you have brothers, like the family that we are here, guiding you along and being with you.”

With another summer program now history, the Troike program once again accomplished its mission of molding young boys into the men who will become the future leaders of tomorrow.

The preparation they’ve received – both the students and the counselors – will allow them to give an Academy Award-winning performance as “Best Actors in a Leadership Role.”

Now that’s a wrap!