Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said he was especially excited to visit Saint Bernard School on Tuesday, May 11, because of how the Catholic high school in Montville has remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is a year you will never forget, and I hope all of you here at Saint Bernard will always make the best of any situation you can,” the governor told Saint Bernard students during a special assembly. “It was a tough year and I’m very proud of this school. You’ve been opened almost all the time. You did it cautiously, you did it safely, and this is going to be a year to remember.”
The governor also gave some details about Covid-19 relief funds that will be distributed to parochial and private schools, and he urged children 12 and older to get vaccinated, now that they are eligible to do so.
“I’m an optimist, I hope you are too,” he said. “Another couple of months and we’ll get more and more of our young people vaccinated … it not only makes you safe, it makes your parents and grandparents safer. It makes it easier for all of us to get back to a new normal.”
Saint Bernard School Headmaster Don Macrino greeted the governor, along with several Saint Bernard students.
“Governor Lamont has led our state through one of the most challenging times in our state’s history,” Macrino said. “Through his courage, determination, commitment to science and I’m sure many prayers, he has guided Connecticut to a low and improving rate of Covid-19 transmission.”
Connecticut is among the most highly vaccinated states in the country, the headmaster noted.
The governor then met with Bishop Michael R. Cote in the main lobby before taking a tour of the building.
The bishop said the governor made his life, and the life of the Diocese, easier during the past year because of his guidance.
“You were prudent, but you made it possible for all of my schools to remain open, with few incidences, and my churches to remain open,” the bishop said. “I’m extremely grateful for the leadership you demonstrated during this very unusual and stressful year.”
Governor Lamont took some special delight in meeting with the students and speaking with them. He wanted to know what the last 12 months were like for them – what did they miss, what was different?
One student told him she was happy to be able to attend school at Saint Bernard because schools in her native Italy were closed for an extended time.
“If you have any Italian friends who would like to come to Saint Bernard next year, you should tell them about it,” the governor quipped.
He also had fun in the school’s main office by getting on the public address system and greeting everyone in the building.
“This is a happy message,” Lamont said. “I just wanted to give my best to all the Saints. I’m here at your beautiful school today … I’m just so proud of this school. You’ve been open really since the beginning, and I know what a tough year it’s been. I’m here to say thanks to the students, faculty, teachers and parents for showing we can get through this Covid together, and it’s going to be an amazing summer.”
By Ryan Blessing