Crusaders for Life

The Hamann Family

My family is a three-generation family of Crusaders! Seven members of our family attended this wonderful school.


I went to the first grade in 1950, and at that time, all the teachers were Sisters of the Holy Cross. My husband, Norby Hamann, moved to Rochester from Lewiston in the 7th grade, and he attended too. We both graduated from elementary school in 1958, and the school was then named Holy Rosary School. We graduated from Holy Rosary High in 1962. (The High school was closed in 1967.)


After Norby and I were married, our oldest daughter Theresa entered the school, (which had changed its name by that time to “Rochester Catholic”) after merging with St Mary's School in 1975. Next, our daughter Denise (Dede) started in 1976; finally our son Dan started in 1984. Tuition was fifty dollars then, and slowly raised to a few hundred dollars a year.  Those were the good old days!


Now our grandchildren attend. Our first grandchild, Amanda, attended before she relocated to Oklahoma, our Aliciah just graduated in 2019, and our youngest granddaughter Makayla, is currently in 5th grade…and she LOVES it!


Our family goes way back. remember so many wonderful things about all our times at the school. Yes, we understand the tuition has increased with the loss of the religious sisters teaching, and also to have our wonderful teachers now and the curriculum, but we know it's well worth it all. The school has so much to offer.  With all our time spread over the years…we have seen a lot of changes and have many, many memories; especially those with our grandchildren and would not change a thing, 


The Catholic education is exceptional at SES. As the students learn and live their faith, as well as all the other important subjects, they are instilled with ethics, manners, hard work, respect for others, and stability. The loving teachers pay attention to who may need extra help and they are quick to communicate with the families. We recommend Saint Elizabeth Seton to everyone.  We pray for the staff and teachers and that SES continues to educate and form the children of our community for years to come!


Crusaders for Life

Olivia Fennessy

Today, we highlight Essential Mark of a Catholic education #4: "Imbued with a Catholic worldview throughout its curriculum 'The spirit of Catholicism should permeate the entire curriculum...constantly inspired and guided by the Gospel.' It is Catholic because it prepares for a fully human life at the service of others and for the life of the world to come”. ~ NCEA

How did attending SES differ from your experience in a public elementary school?

St. Elizabeth Seton paid attention to me as a student in a way that I never had been before. I went to public school from kindergarten to fourth grade and the educational system there works until a student experiences a lack of understanding. When I ran into problems with math in the third grade, my teacher was only able to spend a little bit of time on me before she had to move on for the sake of the rest of the class. When I moved into the fourth grade, everybody either understood the math or didn’t, but we would continue to move through the units as if the understanding was universal. When it came to reading, I had a natural ability above most of the others in my grade. Because of this, my teachers didn’t pay much attention to me in language and grammar classes and let me do my own thing. This may have seemed like a good thing at the time, but it wasn’t until I came to SES that I realized that while I may have naturally understood what to do with the English language and grammar, I didn’t know why I did it. It wasn’t until I came to SES that I realized how lacking my knowledge of math was and how easy it is to understand when the teacher spends individual time with you. I did exponentially better once a teacher was willing to treat me as an individual student. It was recognized that I, and all the other students, deserved the respect of a true and whole education.

How do you think SES helped educate and form you as a WHOLE person? SES not only improved my academic habits but also improved my faith life and relationships with teachers and peers. I was taught how to manage my time efficiently, how to communicate that I was struggling to my teachers, how to be a part of a tight-knit friend group, how to recognize Jesus’ presence, how to be responsible for my education, and how to recognize my worth as a student, friend, and daughter of God.


What is your favorite memory of your time at SES? My favorite memory of my time at SES is the last day of school when I was in the fifth grade. I had been excited for weeks to get out of school and start my summer break, but on this last day, we spent our time celebrating our completion of the year and enjoying each other’s company. After I had said goodbye, I got into my mom’s car and I cried. I cried for a long time. It seemed sudden after such a good day at school, but I was truly and utterly sad to be leaving for the summer. I had never gone to school and been able to talk about Jesus, I had never gone to school and been treated like I had an individual worth, I had never gone to school and felt so secure. Looking back at this memory is my favorite because this was the very beginning of my journey through Catholic education.


If you could share a personal message with a prospective student what would it be? Do not be afraid to participate. Participate in class because the teachers sincerely want you to learn. Participate in extracurriculars because they are for your benefit. Participate in mass because there are many students who do not have that opportunity.


How did your time at SES assist you in your choice of high school, college, and possibly beyond? SES gifted me with two main ideas for the rest of my education. One is that I require a place with challenging academics and the other is that a strong Catholic culture is a necessity. SES showed me that learning is not exclusively for the sake of a deadline, it is for the pursuit of knowledge and truth. I realized that while harder levels of academia are not going to necessarily be fun and easy, I did not want to go back to learning just to meet a quota. A Catholic culture in middle school is precisely what I needed as a student and I determined that it is a culture that I would like to continue being a part of. While it was nice to have people around me willing to talk about our faith, I believe that a Catholic community is crucial as it reflects the respect, dignity, and support that a student needs to learn.


Olivia, when she began her Catholic school education at SES in the 5th grade.


Olivia and SES classmate Jennifer Daraoui, participate in the NH March for Life in Concord, NH. 


After graduating from St. Thomas Aquinas HS,  Olivia is now a first year student at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, NH. She is majoring in Theology. 

Today, we highlight Essential Mark of a Catholic Education #3: “Animated by Communion and Community. 

A Catholic education at SES truly builds a greater community of people with a genuine mission to build a life based on faith and service. Our proof?  SES Alumna, Emily Pelletier.  On this day, we celebrate the uniqueness of our Catholic culture, and how SES can instill in its students a deeply-rooted sense of community.

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Crusader for Life: Emily Pelletier

1) What is your current viewpoint on community service and serving others?

Helping others is one of my most valued morals. The Golden Rule is something I learned at SES and has been shaped through my ongoing faith in God. Treating others as I want to be treated is such an easy thing to do. Try holding the door for people behind you, smiling when passing others in the hallway, or donate some time to local organizations.

2) What are the organizations you are involved with now and in what capacity do you serve?

Currently, I am serving as a Trustee for the Board of my alma mater, Cocheco Academy for the Arts. CATA is a charter school in Dover, NH where two other SES alumni have also attended. This school was a perfect transition from SES to high school because it is small and it taught me how to take the driver’s seat in my education. I felt empowered to dictate how I wanted to learn, and I owe both SES and CATA to my success.

I also am on the advisory committee for the Greater Rochester Young Professionals group. It is a networking and socializing group for adults 18-40 years old that help people learn valuable skills like resume writing or interviewing in a fun atmosphere.

In the past years, I have participated in chaperoning Holy Rosary’s confirmation class retreats, led the Crusader’s for Caring club at SES, presided over the Rochester Main Street Board of Directors, co-chaired Rochester Listens, and donated my time to various community events.

3) Please describe in your words how your time as a student at SES helped form your views on community service today?

I attended SES from Kindergarten through 8th grade, which are some of the best years of my life! Being raised Catholic and going to church were only a part of my faith. Being in a school that reinforced the lessons and helped start me on my faith journey was truly a gift. From early on we learned about helping others and were encouraged to be active members of our community. In 3rd grade, I became an altar server at Holy Rosary and I think that sparked the inspiration to serve others. It humbled me to be a part of the mass and made me proud to altar serve at school masses. It led to most of my friends becoming altar servers, and we became role models to younger students.

4) What is your favorite memory of your time at SES?

My favorite memory of SES is wrapped up in countless little memories. My whole family went to SES; from my brother Michael who is 20 years older all the way to my graduation. That marks 30 years my mother and father had children in the school, and they truly are a witness to commitment to faith and Catholic education. And even now, my nieces and nephews are attending SES. One of my greatest prayers is that SES continues to grow and someday my children will go there. I am still best friends with people I met in 1st grade and we talk almost every day! Our friendship was solidified not only through being school peers, but by serving others and being involved. Some of my favorite past times was of course the Rock-a-Thon, Ski or Fun days in January, curriculum fairs, and simply being with friends at school having fun.

5) If you could share a personal message with a prospective student or family,  what would it be?

St. Elizabeth Seton school is a blessing in disguise. Day to day you are going to school, but the staff and atmosphere will change your life for the better. The faith-based education helps set strong morals, the education meets all the required standards setting you up for success, and you will make lifelong friends. I cannot say enough good things about my time at SES!


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