Former students, current parents relive memories at Fatima School
HUNTINGTON — While the annual Family Day at Our Lady of Fatima Parish School is billed as an opportunity for students to guide their parents and grandparents on a tour of their daily school life, it seemed like more of a treat for the adults in the room — particularly those who had years earlier walked the same halls as their children.
“I guess the only difference is there aren’t as many nuns now as there used to be,” joked Matt White, of Huntington, who attended the small Catholic school from kindergarten through eighth grade in the late 1980s. He was visiting Tuesday as the father of four current Fatima students. “But everything else is still rigorous and really well-rounded, so that’s all the same.”
The school had always been a little ahead of the curve, White added, recalling when it became one of the first schools in the region to dial up to a nascent internet in the early 1990s and when lessons where taught on PowerPoint presentations years before most classrooms began using it.
It’s changed in regard to keeping up with the times, but the experience and intangibles have largely remained frozen in time, said Pryce Haynes III, of Huntington,
whose two children now attend Fatima as he did in the early ’90s.
“I think they’ve stuck to tradition and upheld the things that make parents want to send their kids back to the school, while keeping up with the demands of technology and the outside influences of the world, but keeping true to the core mission of the school,” Haynes said.
It’s a walk down memory lane that allows him to reflect on the experiences he and his children share through Fatima, Haynes added, to the extent that even a few of his former teachers remain.
One of those is Patty Eichberger, a veteran of 39 years of teaching, including at Fatima since 1980.
While it’s a neat experience to teach the children of those who were children themselves, it’s also a testament to the quality of the school that former students so often want to send their children there, she said.
“Obviously I’m prejudiced, but I believe we’re the best school in town, and I’ve always believed that,” Eichberger said. “We give them a good, solid education, and we don’t have to spend all day disciplining them.”
Our Lady of Fatima Parish School was founded in 1954 adjacent to Our Lady of Fatima Church, located off Norway Avenue in Huntington.