By Katie Beckmann, Communications Manager
This week’s “Embracing Faith” article will focus on Embracing Faith through Ministry.
On August 22nd, the sun was shining on Goshen, New York, as 15 smiling pre-schoolers and their families celebrated their graduation ceremony from House on the Hill.
“Every year, graduation at House on the Hill is bitter-sweet,” explained Sister Jean Graffweg, OP, Director of House on the Hill.
“We hate to see the students leave us and go onto Kindergarten, and yet we are so proud of them. It is an emotional day for all staff here.”
During the graduation ceremony, there wasn’t a person in the crowd without a smile on their face, as the graduating students sang songs in both English and Spanish, performed things they’ve learned during school, and received their diplomas, backpack, and other gifts from the staff.
“It’s an important day for our children and their parents, and so we make it a day of ‘pomp and circumstance.’ The children wear caps and gowns, the decorations are so festive, and we have two students dressed as little mariachis, and they lead the graduation line. The children are bi-lingual by the time they reach Pre-Kindergarten. We honor their culture in many ways.”
Another aspect of the day that stood out to Sister Jean was the support of the families and parents that her students received.
“Our parents are also so proud (of the students). Not only do (parents) attend (the ceremony), but also grandparents, aunts, uncles, family friends, friends from Goshen, the Salesian Cooperators, and the Bruderhof Community. For some children, this center has been their child’s second home, since they were two months.”
After the graduation ceremony concluded, students gathered with their families to take photos with the scenic Goshen landscape in the backgrounds, as well as enjoy refreshments, and reflect on their time with Sister Jean and her staff.
House on the Hill is a distinct ministry that has been a part of the Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, since 1972.
Throughout the years, House on the Hill has had a significant impact on migrant farmer communities in Orange County and beyond.
“Our ministry is very important to the community we serve. Farmers are grateful that parents can work in the fields and packing houses, while our parents are grateful that their children are being cared for and learning. Parents can be at ease while working, knowing that their children are at House on the Hill. It is an awesome privilege to serve our migrant and seasonal farmworker families.”