In 1988 the Perth Amboy Catholic School (PACS) in New Jersey was one of forty Catholic schools throughout the nation selected by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Parent Department Awards Committee to receive the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award. The award, established in 1981, was created for communities which opened or reopened schools, expanded a school’s educational services to serve new populations, or consolidated educational services to serve a community more effectively.
At the time, Sister Nancy Grassia was administrator of the 889-studentschool and she accepted the award given in the category of Mergers and Consolidations. The award ceremony took place at the annual NCEA convention in New York City on April 6, 1988.
In her remarks, Sister Nancy expressed her belief that Perth Amboy Catholic School could actually be recognized in all three categories as it had been able to “do something for the total community of Perth Amboy.” The school provided an opportunity for the city’s children to receive the benefit of a quality Catholic school education. “The St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award is a tribute to the courage of the bishop, the staff of the diocesan Schools Office, and all the priests, religious, and laity in the Diocese of Metuchen who embarked on such a major undertaking as Perth Amboy Catholic School,” Sister Nancy said. She noted that specific advantages were now available in the merged facilities which were located on four separate campuses. These included the presence of more religious and priests, a chemistry and biology lab for grades five through eight, special teachers for art, music, physical education, and computer science, as well as full-time librarians on each campus. A hot lunch program was also available on each campus. Because of financial limitations, these special services were not able to be offered at the original six separate schools which joined in 1987 to form the new PACS.
Today, PACS continues to serve 252 K-8 students in two age-appropriate buildings. The Seton Award has also changed over the years and since 1991 has honored individuals whose personal or professional philanthropy or volunteer service has impacted Catholic education in particular and/or U.S. education and our country’s youth in general.