Developing the Next Generation of Leaders
Values and leadership play integral roles in Western New York Catholic schools; in both the education process and in cultivating a healthy community. We are as proud of being known for developing and supporting the next generation of leaders as we are of our reputation for incorporating the knowledge and practice of our Catholic faith into all aspects of our curriculum. This is accomplished by integrating Catholic social teaching and service into the students' daily lives through age-appropriate service projects.
Our students participate in a wide variety of service projects throughout the communities of Western New York. Younger students can be found gathering food, clothing and toiletries for those less fortunate, participating in community clean-up efforts, visiting patrons at nursing homes, home-bound parishioners, helping in soup kitchens and food pantries. Older students have opportunities to engage in programs focused on serving the poor and elderly; helping to furnish housing for new immigrants; mentoring younger students and providing support for parish programs such as food pantries.
WNY Catholic schools have played a role in developing many leaders who have gone on to live successful and enriching lives while continuing to serve important leadership roles within their respective professions and communities.
Focus on Alumni Leaders
Kathy Hochul: Lieutenant Governor of New York State.
Lt. Governor Hochul's career sprouted from modest beginnings in Western New York -- her grandparents worked at Bethlehem Steel and her father followed in their footsteps as a steelworker and union organizer. After attending WNY Catholic schools, Hochul completed her undergraduate degree at Syracuse University before earning her law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Hochul has since served in numerous and prominent leadership positions including as a Hamburg Town Council member, the highest-ranking female elected official in Erie County (County Clerk) and representing New York's 26th Congressional District in the House of Representatives before becoming NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Lieutenant Governor.
Robbie Takac: Musician and Community Activist.
After Robbie Takac's early beginnings in the WNY Catholic School System, he established himself as a founding member of the Goo Goo Dolls. Formed in Buffalo over 3-decades ago (1985), the band became one of the most popular and celebrated adult alternative rock bands of the 1990s, selling millions of records and achieving mainstream radio success. Takac has taken his success and funneled it back into influencing Western New York. His vision yielded one of the area's most celebrated organizations -- Music is Art. The not-for-profit launched in 2004 with a vision of enriching the region with access to music, encouraging the community to find music and understand how it touches lives. The movement continues to enrich the area by collecting and refurbishing old instruments for kids in area schools, holding an annual Battle of the High School Bands and running the annual Music is Art Festival, tying all the ideas together with a day-long festival celebrating the Arts in Buffalo.
Maryalice Demler: WGRZ Journalist/Anchor
Maryalice Demler anchors WGRZ Channel 2 News' On Your Side weekly newscasts each weeknight. Demler has covered world events including the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, World Youth Day with Pope John Paul II in Toronto and the Papal Conclave that lead to the election of Pope Francis. Demler's extensive list of accolades include being a two-time New York Emmy Award winner, receiving an American Cancer Society Award and the Federal Executive Board Chairman's Award for health reporting. Additionally, Demler has been honored by the Cheektowaga Police Department for Dedication to Youth, by Erie Community College as for being an Outstanding Communicator & Educational Advocate, Niagara University's St. Vincent DePaul Award and Founder's Award for service to the community and the university. Demler continues to serve the region, bringing important issues to light via WGRZ while serving on the board of Peaceprints of WNY, Kids Escaping Drugs and Committee Chair of Canal Fest of the Tonawandas. She frequently spotlights as a guest speaker and emcee at local schools, universities and events through the Buffalo-Niagara region.
Other notable Catholic alumni leaders include:
Tony Masiello, John Hurley, William J. Hochul Jr., Tom Fontana, Kevin O'Connell, Jack Quinn, Mike Billoni, Pete Cammarata, Jim Casion, and Tom Dee.
Catholic schools have a reputation of being the best schools in Western New York. We're proud of our innovative curriculum taught by caring teachers which produces confident student-leaders. Catholic schools prepare students to be the leaders of tomorrow.