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St. Anastasia’s contributes to Sept. 11 relief efforts

By Kathianne Boniello

More than 20 boxes of water bottles, sweatshirts and large bags of dog food lined one wall of St. Anastasia’s Father Smith Hall Tuesday morning, the remnants of the school’s donation drive for the World Trade Center relief efforts.

The boxes were just some of the contributions making their way to a Red Cross drop-off point in Mineola, L.I., Principal Joann Dolan said. Collecting supplies was only one way the Douglaston school and parish answered the call for public help in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

From class projects to fund-raising to prayer services, St. Anastasia’s has risen to the occasion, giving the Little Neck-Douglaston community a place to go when looking to help.

Dolan said parents offered to help school staff care for the students hours after the assault, which demolished the Twin Towers, when schools throughout the city were trying to shield young children from the news.

“Parents were coming up to get their kids,” Dolan said. “And they kept asking ‘do you need help?’, ‘do you need anything?’”

“I am very grateful to them for just helping us maintain calm,” she said.

Days after the attacks Monsignor Michael Cantley organized several well-attended prayer services, Dolan said, and the parish established a 9-11 fund to collect money to contribute to the rescue effort.

Together with a school fund-raiser, Dolan said St. Anastasia’s school and parish gave nearly $10,000 to relief efforts so far.

“The people here are extremely generous, but they have been more so in this situation,” Dolan said.

St. Anastasia students have also been trying to understand the attack.

Three eighth-graders tackled the subject for a current events project, and after having amassed mounds of information, one student called the situation “sad.”

“It’s horrible,” said Robert Nobile, 13.

Marino Vucenik, also 13, said “it was a foolish attack.”

The information the trio presented in class included news footage of the attacks, a video of President Bush’s speech to the nation Friday, magazine articles and photographs said Adam Heavey, 13.

“Some people were crying in class,” Heavey said.

St. Anastasia’s hopes to bring some normalcy back to life in northeast Queens this week when it holds its annual fund-raiser, Dolan said.

The carnival, held twice a year in the schoolyard, includes rides, games, food and other activities to entice children and families to spend the night out. Dolan said the carnival is the school’s major fund-raiser for the year.

The St. Anastasia carnival was scheduled to be held Wednesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

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