St. Francis College and Bay Ridge Catholic Academy announce partnership

class at bay ridge catholic academy with st francis president
A kindergarten class at Bay Ridge Catholic Academy poses for a photo with Principal Gary Williams, Dr. Miguel Martinez-Saenz, president of St. Francis College and Robert Oliva, assistant Vice President of St. Francis College as the two schools officially launch an academic partnership.
Paul Frangipane

Two Brooklyn Catholic schools have formed a new partnership aimed at giving students at both institutions an academic boost.

St. Francis College and Bay Ridge Catholic Academy launched their new collaboration last week school honchos met to lay out their vision for the partnership between the college and the academy, which serves Pre-K through eighth grade.

“I know this will be a flourishing experience and I know the students at Bay Ridge Catholic Academy will benefit immensely,” said Bay Ridge Principal Gary Williams.

Linked by the borough’s diocese, the two schools will be working closely to bring together the church’s youngest and oldest students.

“I am proud to say that this is the only such grammar school partnership with Saint Francis College,” Williams continued. “We are eager to embark on this distinguished alliance to advance the educational opportunities at our school.”

bay ridge catholic academy students
Dr. Miguel Martinez-Saenz, president of St. Francis College, speaks to fourth grade students at Bay Ridge Catholic Academy as the college and the elementary school officially launched a new partnership. Paul Frangipane

Students from the 163-year-old Catholic college will gain experience as student teachers at the elementary school, where they’ll tutor and lead classrooms of students as part of their studies.

In addition, learning directly from St. Francis’ finest students, Bay Ridge kids are gaining access to lectures in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and, when the occasion calls for it, will be able to visit the college’s lab facilities.

“Building these kinds of relationships is important and it is never too early to engage students,” said Dr. Miguel Martinez-Saenz, the president of St. Francis. “It is never too early to inspire people to dream and get them focused on the importance of service to others. 

St. Francis College Assistant Vice President Robert Oliva visits fourth grade students at Bay Ridge Catholic Academy as the two schools launch a partnership that will bring student teachers and new resources to the elementary school. Paul Frangipane

Martinez-Saenz, after a visit to Bay Ridge, hailed the partnership as a way to mutually benefit both generations of students. 

“It was inspiring to see the future right in front of us, and I think we have an obligation to get that future orientated in a positive way,” he said. “The students at St. Francis College will have the opportunity to come in and be role models for these young folks. This is what we are committed to; this is our values in action.”

Come summer, learning will continue as St. Francis opens its doors to Bay Ridge students for science and entrepreneurship classes, CPR training, and more.

students in uniform talk to st francis president
Dr. Miguel Martinez-Saenz, president of St. Francis College, visited students at Bay Ridge Catholic Academy last week to launch a partnership between the two schools. Paul Frangipane

Visiting the campus for class and learning from college kids might get Bay Ridge’s older students more interested in higher education, another goal of the program, and St. Francis’ admissions team will be making regular visits to the campus as well as offering personalized campus tours to interested students. 

Martinez-Saenz plans to continue stopping by with students and faculty to talk about the college and the application process, and, as a cherry on top, Bay Ridge kids will be offered the chance to attend some of St. Francis’ top-tier sports games with their parents.

“St. Francis College is a college of opportunity and we are constantly seeking opportunities for our students to go out into the community to make a difference in the world. This partnership allows us to do that, whether by student teachers, mentors, tutors, or simply having Bay Ridge Catholic Academy students experience a day in the life of a college student,” Oliva said. “We are providing opportunities for our young people in our Diocese.”