Twenty Years of Helping Our Neighbors Succeed

Springs Director Sr. Margaret Mary Kennedy, OP, and the Most Reverend Leonard Paul Blair, Archbishop of Hartford at the Center’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.

The Springs Learning Center, an educational mission of the Dominican Sisters of Peace located in New Haven, CT, celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a gathering for tutors, supporters and learners on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

Springs Learning Center Director Sr. Margaret Mary Kennedy, OP, opened the celebration with a bilingual prayer service, conducted in English and in Spanish. About 99% of the learners who come to the Center are native Spanish speakers.

The event, which took place at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, featured presentations by Sr. Pat Twohill, OP, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, Dr. Marc M. Camille, President, Albertus Magnus College, another founded ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, New Haven Mayor  Justin Elicker, and The Most Reverend Leonard Paul Blair, Archbishop of Hartford. US Representative Rosa DeLauro also sent a special citation marking the occasion.

Archbishop Blair offered the blessing for the day’s luncheon, which featured a buffet of international dishes prepared by the tutors and learners at the center.

Local parishes honored the Center’s anniversary.

Sr. Margaret Mary honored the founders of the Springs Learning Center, Sisters Maryann Lawlor, Mary Ellen Boyle, and Barbara DeCrosta, and shared a greeting from Sister Maryann Lawlor, who now lives in Columbus, OH. She also offered special thanks to four volunteer tutors who had served the Center for more than 15 years: Sr. Barbara DeCrosta, Marilyn Lyons, Mary Parcella, and Mary Ann Pelligrino.  Tutors Nathan and Michaela Hennig were recognized for returning from their honeymoon early to attend the celebration.

As guests ate and mingled, they read stories written by learners and tutors explaining how the Springs Learning Center had impacted their lives.

Entertainment was provided by a local dance troupe, the Guadalupanas, and guests were treated to a special cake baked by Springs learner Maria Quochimbo. Maria works at Pan Del Cielo Bakery in Bridgeport, which is owned by a former Springs learner.

The Springs Learning Center serves approximately 80 learners annually with English as a Second Language (ESL) as well as other adult learning opportunities. The Center also helps new Americans obtain driver’s licenses, IDs, and other needed documentation to help them adapt to and succeed in their new nation.

Guests also enjoyed snapping photos in a special frame made for the occasion by Ana Lucia Gutierrez-Gomez, a volunteer from Albertus Magnus College.

Sr. Margaret Mary is grateful to the members of her Advisory Council for their assistance, including Chair Sharon Wrzosek, Noreen Haffner, Deacon Frank Bevvin, Jeanne Mangino, and Angela Arpino.