A final goodbye for Holy Angels Academy
BY: Dave Ricci, Sports Reporter | August 24, 2013
The message scrawled across the door of the cafeteria will echo in the hearts of every female who ever called herself, "an Angel."
Long Live HAA.
That message was painted in big red letters on the door of the downstairs lunch room as a reminder of the young ladies who lost the fight to save their school, but will never lose the pride of attending Holy Angels Academy.
I went to the public auction that was held at Holy Angels on Aug. 24. At first I was torn.
After nearly a decade of covering HAA athletics and news ,I felt compelled to go and pick up a lasting keepsake.
But, at same time I thought what right do I have to try and out bid a former student who might really need that item far more than me.
So, I decided to go simply to say goodbye to the school that was tucked at the corner of Shoshone and Hertel in North Buffalo.
Goodbye to the building that was a staple of the neighborhood I grew up in for 152 years.
I walked around the Mary Lou Vogt Gym for at least 15 minutes. Thinking back to all of the amazing basketball games I've seen there. The rivalry games with Mt.Mercy and Sacred Heart. The packed house on Friday nights playing Nardin. The energy of the student cheering section, it was something special to witness.
Then I took I walk around the rest of the school and that's when the goodbye became so absolute. So real. And so heartbreaking. Beyond the dozens of student-athletes I came to know over the years I thought about the friends and family members who walked those halls and were shaped by that school.
The thousands and thousands of girls who sat in those classrooms. In that courtyard and looked out of those classroom windows. Dreaming and planning their lives.
Standing in the cafeteria I saw a red heart painted on the wall. I touched it with my hand and with my heart.
I could honestly say for a split-second I could feel the spirit of the young lady who drew it. I felt a twinge of the pain she must have felt as she drew it. The tear that must have been rolling down her cheek.
It was at that point I bumped into Metro contributing writer Mike Haim. He summed it up well.
Mike said he'd been to other auctions, but this was different. Some how this didn't seem right.
Mike was correct. When a business goes belly up or an office closes it's certainly sad. But at the same time by the time the auction
phase happens there has been closer.
Not so in the case of Holy Angels. This was still a living, breathing entity. Seeing people circling around the remains of this school, looking for bargains just seemed wrong. Made me a little sick. Little angry.
Yes, items had to go. I won't argue that. But some how. Some way. It just seemed too soon.
There were signs of somber farewells all over the school. "Bye" was spelled out in push pins on the bulletin board outside of the athletic directors office.
"Long Live HAA." and "HAA" inside a heart were on the black board in one classroom. Inside classroom 110 the blackboard held the final goodbye to beloved teacher Sister Karen Marie: "Thank you HAA & SKM!" With a big smile next to it.
I ended up staying at least two hours. I just couldn't bring myself to say goodbye. I couldn't even begin to imagine what the last group of students, teachers and administrators felt that last day. It was just too soon. Holy Angels had more to give.