Union Catholic Junior and Saint James Alumnus Gives Back

Saint James the Apostles School Principal, Mrs. Caroline Ponterio pictured with Boy Scout and Saint James graduate from the Class of 2015, James McElroy, after presenting emergency-preparedness kits to Saint James the Apostle School during an afternoon assembly.

James McElroy is a graduate of Saint James the Apostle School’s Class of 2015. He is currently a junior at Union Catholic Regional High School in Scotch Plains. Shortly after James graduated Saint James, he contacted the school Principal, Mrs. Caroline Ponterio, about ideas for his Eagle Scout Service project. The Eagle Scout Service Project is the opportunity for a Boy Scout in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of his community. Saint James is his alma mater, and it is also his parish community.

James mapped out a project, with Saint James as its beneficiary, to assemble emergency-preparedness kits for each of the eleven PK3-8th Grade classrooms, plus the Music room, Art room, Main Office, Media Center and Gymnasium. These kits are stored in 5-gallon airtight and waterproof containers, each with a first aid kit, rope, crank-operated flashlight, clipboard with paper, crayons, a deck of playing cards and a heat/space blanket.

The project consisted of gathering the resources and the assembly of the kits. James reached out to the school community for donations as well as to family, friends, and neighbors for support. James used the school gym to assemble the kits and presented them to the school community in an afternoon assembly on Friday, March 16th to the students and teachers.

Boy Scout and Saint James graduate from the Class of 2015, James McElroy, presenting emergency-preparedness kits to Saint James the Apostle School during an afternoon assembly.

Saint James the Apostle School receives non-public school funding for safety and security, with guidelines on how the money can be spent. Emergency preparedness kits were just added to the guidelines. “We are so grateful to James for remembering his alma mater and giving his time and talent to prepare our teachers, students better, and classrooms in the event of an emergency and to put Saint James the Apostle School ahead of the curve with the completion of his Eagle Scout Service project,” said Mrs. Ponterio.

Not only will the school students benefit from the emergency preparedness kits, but the students of Saint James parish religious education program too.

For 65 years, Saint James the Apostle School has been serving the parishioners of Saint James the Apostle Church in Springfield and surrounding communities. Saint James the Apostle School offers students from PreK-3 through grade eight a Roman Catholic faith-based education which acknowledges each child’s individual ability to achieve their fullest potential academically, socially, and spiritually.