Nativity Students Design Holiday Towels

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As the season of giving quickly approaches, Nativity Preparatory Academy is thankful to all the community members who make the dreams of students become reality. Nativity’s tuition-free, Catholic education is made possible by the generous donors who support the school’s mission to provide an exemplary education to students in need. Our students are not only thankful for the opportunities they’ve been afforded through Nativity, but they love to get involved in the fundraising process in any way they can. 

Windsor Cottage, a home-furnishing and decor consignment shop in Rochester, offers Nativity students a chance to showcase their artwork on flour sack towels that are sold in the store throughout the holiday season. Two student designs are selected each year to be featured on the high-quality towels. Peggy Growney, owner of Windsor Cottage and member of Nativity’s Board of Trustees, donates all proceeds from the towels to benefit Nativity Prep. According to Growney, the towels are not only a popular commodity in the store, but they also catch the eye of customers who are unfamiliar with Nativity and its mission. 

“Those who first learn about Nativity through this project are delighted with the artwork,” Growney says. “Everyone loves these towels. They’re perfect for holiday gift giving and oftentimes, people buy a dozen at a time!”

Proceeds from towel sales help to fund a variety of initiatives including enrichment activities outside of the classroom — an effective way of improving student success. School days at Nativity are extended until 5:30, allowing students to develop new interests and passions outside of the standard curriculum. The towel project also showcases students’ artistic talents. This year, Breeya, a 5th grader at Nativity, was one of two students whose work was selected. She loves to draw and says it makes her feel good to see people buying products with her artwork. 

“It’s a ‘feel-good’ gift that actually benefits the school and makes everyone smile,” Growney adds. “How great is that?” 

“I like to help people in as many ways as I can” said Breeya “I was just excited that my artwork was going to be presented to people, and that I could be helping the school in different ways. I’m doing community service, which makes me feel good, and my artwork is on display, which also makes me feel good.”

Nativity Prep. is thrilled to have students express their creativity while also serving their school and their community. This corresponds perfectly with the school’s values of responsibility and gratitude: two key elements of the Nativity Pledge. The featured towels are available now at Windsor Cottage for the holiday season!


Jennifer Kremer Appointed Principal of Nativity Prep.

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Nativity Preparatory Academy, the only tuition-free Catholic middle school in Rochester, recently appointed Jennifer Kremer of Rochester as the new school principal. In this role, Kremer is responsible for oversight of academic programs and extracurricular activities, as well as direction of the faculty and student performance.

Kremer joins Nativity Prep with 20 years of experience as a Catholic School educator. This includes 17 years of teaching Nazareth Schools, along with 19 years in various leadership roles at St. Monica Church. Kremer holds a B.A. in Music Education from Nazareth College, as well as a Master’s in Educational Administration from the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester.

“Jennifer is a consummate educator who brings a wealth of leadership experience to her new position,” said John Mattia, President of Nativity Prep. “Her passion for student success, faculty collaboration, and commitment to diversity and inclusion is a perfect fit with our mission to provide a uniquely effective education to those in need.”

“Nativity’s reputation for serving underprivileged students reflects my personal drive to make a meaningful difference in the lives of young people in our community,” said Kremer. “At the same time, I look forward to leveraging my skills and experience to build on the excellent capabilities of our dedicated faculty and staff. My first months at Nativity have been rewarding in ways I did not anticipate. The students are not only welcoming, but they see Nativity and all its members as family, and they find such worth and value in being members of this community.  I feel blessed to be part of the Nativity family.”

Among Kremer’s initial goals are to maintain Nativity’s strong 95 percent attendance rate, foster collaboration with partner educational institutions, and to enhance graduate success by supporting alumni through high school and beyond.

About Nativity Preparatory Academy

Nativity Preparatory Academy is a Catholic middle school serving inner-city Rochester students in Grades 5–8. Founded in 2009, the school is co-sponsored by McQuaid Jesuit and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester. The school’s mission is to prepare students for entrance into local private and parochial high schools and eventually college. For more information,

2019 Nativity in Bloom: Event Recap

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The 8th annual Nativity in Bloom event was held on May 3, 2019. This fundraising event includes a silent auction, performances by Nativity Prep and opportunities to learn more about the amazing things happening at Nativity Prep.

Nativity Preparatory Academy to offer free tuition for inner-city students

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In an unprecedented move by a local privately-operated urban middle school for students in Grades 5-8, Nativity Preparatory Academy  has announced that, starting this fall, they will eliminate the tuition structure, leaving only an annual activity and supplies fee for each student. Based on a nationally renowned educational model, Nativity Prep is entering its 10th year of providing a Catholic middle school education for underserved Rochester inner-city youth.

“Providing our students with an exceptional education focused on the whole person is at the heart of our mission,” says Principal Maria Cahill. “Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we are removing any financial barriers to obtaining a Nativity education by making this a tuition-free school.”

Nativity Prep is small by design, with a current student capacity of 80 students.  The school’s intimate, nurturing academic environment is coupled with a strong sense of spirituality, morality, and personal responsibility. Nativity welcomes a diverse background of faith traditions with the unifying purpose of caring about education.

“Nativity Prep is an incredible story,” says John Mattia, the school’s President. “The majority of our graduates attend one of the area’s college prep high schools and continue on to college. An education at Nativity Prep has proven to be life changing.”

An extended school day and academic year, along with a strong enrichment program, offers students and families an immersive experience. Dedicated and caring administrators, faculty and staff personally mentor and support students well after graduation.

“We hope that this new tuition-free structure will help to ease any potential financial burden affiliated with choosing a Nativity education,” Cahill explains. “Parents should have the ability to choose the right school for their child, and cost shouldn’t be the deciding factor.”

Nativity Prep is still accepting applications for the 2018-2019 school year. Interested families should call 585-271-1630 for more information.

John Mattia appointed President of Nativity Prep

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On behalf of the Board of Trustees, it is with great enthusiasm that I announce the appointment of  John Mattia as the new President of Nativity Preparatory Academy reporting to me. In this role, John will exercise general supervision, set direction, and control the overall management of the operations of the school. Specific areas of oversight include our academic program, advancement and fundraising efforts, our graduate support program, and marketing and communications efforts as we work to build community relationships and spread the word of the success of Nativity and our students.

John comes to Nativity with a terrific track record of success as a business technology consultant prior to his current role as the Director of Technology at McQuaid Jesuit. As a member of McQuaid’s senior leadership team, John has been instrumental in finding ways to help the school leverage technology to fulfill its mission. He was responsible for implementing the school’s first online learning management system, the launch of schoolwide use of iPads for every student, and technology to support the school’s new STEM center.

John holds both a BA and MBA from St. Bonaventure University where his areas of concentration included finance, business information systems and accounting. A lifelong resident of Rochester, John is also a proud graduate of McQuaid Jesuit. He brings a deep sense of conviction in the Nativity mission, a commitment to those we serve, and an understanding of the power of collaboration. His strong communication and marketing skills, business acumen and incredible energy will serve the school well.  John will be joining the Nativity family effective July 1, 2018.  I know that he is looking forward to working with our dedicated faculty and staff to further the success of our students as they pursue an education that can truly transform their lives.

Bill Carpenter, Board Chair

2017 Billy D’Antonio Summer Classic Recap

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The 2017 Billy D Golf Tournament was a booming success!  A sold out crowd took to the links for a great day of golf, and were joined by dozens of family members and friends for the dinner festivities.  All totaled, participants, sponsors and supporters raised $45,000 for Nativity Prep in memory of Billy D’Antonio.

Be sure to join in the fun at the 2018 Billy D Golf Tournament on Saturday, August 4th at Shadow Lake!  For more information go to

Nativity Preparatory Academy
15 Whalin Street
Rochester, NY 14620