By Jennifer L. Warren

“You are a select group of young ladies traveling a road not taken by all.”

Karen DeCrosta, President of the Board of Trustees of the Nora Cronin Presentation Academy, used this phrase to describe the Class of 2012, as she offered the nights’ Address.

That contingent of ladies totaled 13. Their career dreams included becoming a doctor, singer, teacher, author, and President of the United States. They carried another distinction: the first class to graduate from the rebuilt location on South Lander and Bayview Terrace.

Thirteen City of Newburgh girls graduated from the NoraCronin Presentation Academy on Friday, June 8, 2012 at Saint Francis Church.

Receiving its charter in 2006, The Nora Cronin Presentation Academy, received some help from former Mayor Nicholas Valentine, securing the South Lander/Bayview locale for just $700. During the million dollar renovation phase, the school held classes at several other locations. The 56 all girl school, which includes grades 5-8, finally opened its doors at its rebuilt locale this past September. Featuring four regular classrooms and computer and study skills rooms, the Academy now has a capacity for 60 students. Perhaps most importantly, those girls are required to be below the National Median Income level as well as be certified as being eligible for free lunch. With the help of volunteers and fundraisers, the Nora Cronin Foundation is able to pay a bulk of each child’s $9,000 annual tuition.

“The real idea is to take children at disadvantage with the goal being to break the cycle of poverty,” explained Ellen Gonyea, former trustee of the Academy as now Head of Public Relations. “The long-term goal is to help them all go to college or postsecondary occupational training.”

“I always wanted to attend private school; it has been the best three years of my life, getting a very personal education, while meeting great people along the way,” said Jaca, who offered advice to those at the school. “Enjoy your four years here; it’s a one-of-a-kind education, so embrace every moment.”

That diligence extends to the students, as their day at the Nora Cronin Academy exceeds the public schools’ by two hours; yet no one complains; the rewards make it all worthwhile.

“We have become like sisters hers, sharing so many secrets and other things over the years,” said another graduate Selena Cruz, a winner of the schools’ top science honors.

“The friendships I have made here will last forever.”

Alluding to the famous Robert Frost poem, “The Road Less Traveled,” DeCrosta continued to use it as a metaphor for Class of 2012 as they embark on their next journey.

“Now that you have been here, you have found this solitary road a good choice, but your journey is not over today,” said DeCrosta. “My hope for you is you will continue to travel on that road less traveled, and when you doubt that road, you will remember your time here.”

She then reminded them of the poems’ final words, directed at the results of those sacrifices and individualism.

“And that has made all the difference.”

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