August 5th, 2011

Elementary Excellence: St. Raphael

Sarah Newell

CSN Staff Writer

Elementary Excellence: St. Raphael
photo from John Plumeri

New additions and improvements carry Giants

Founded in 1949, St. Raphael the Archangel Grade School offers a Catholic foundation to its Giants on an off the athletic fields.

And so, Athletic Director John Plumeri says he works with his staff to develop and improve the athletic environment in order to enrich the lives of the student athletes within the parish.

“I’m going into my second year as Athletic Director,” said Plumeri. “My wife Tracy went to school here, and I have four children that have or are going to be in school here. I got involved when I saw that there had been a few fast turnovers with past athletic directors. I wanted to try to make things better.”

In Plumeri’s first year as athletic director (2010-2011), he already has moved the Giants right to the goal line.

“Basically, one of the first things I saw was the need for better facilities to practice on for our athletes. We now utilize John Paul and also St. Barnabas for practice space,” said Plumeri.

In addition to finding facilities to utilize for practice, Plumeri has created new opportunities for the young players, as well as put together new programs within St. Raphael.

“We didn’t have flag football, volleyball or basketball for grades k-2. We just had soccer. We have tried to get the kids involved at an earlier age, and I work to make sure we have good coordinators running and organizing the sports across the grades. It’s great to get the younger kids involved finding their niche and keeping them active. In addition, we’ve never hosted leagues before. Now, we host volleyball and basketball leagues. It’s good for others to come in and see what’s going on at St. Raphael.”

As a former football player at St. Barnabas and Trinity High School, Plumeri also had goals for on the football field.

“As I came into the AD position, I saw football suffering at the school. I always remembered football at the school as a powerhouse,” said Plumeri. “We have really good coaches, interest, and the numbers are better than they have been, so I think football will get back to where it needs to be.”

St. Raphael has experienced success throughout various sports, but Plumeri pointed out specific athletic teams that have showed great strides in the past few years.

“Soccer is one of our stronger sports,” said Plumeri. “The girls soccer team just recently was runner-up in city (7th/8th grade), and baseball did fairly well this year. Our numbers were down, so we merged with John Paul in football. Just lately, it seems like things are growing recently in the parish due to our new priest Father Don Hill. He’s working with us to get people involved.”

And as far as fundraising and volunteer efforts are concerned, Plumeri says he is excited about the involvement.

“We are very well organized (as an athletic committee). My wife is the president of the Giants Club, which is our Boosters Program. The organization takes care of the sports program. We have a good group of people. Our board has five women and five men. We also have an assistant athletic director. The volunteers have been outstanding, and they go the extra mile. The new leagues at St. Raphael help funding, as well as our efforts with the fish fry.”

Ultimately, Plumeri looks to continue to teach fundamentals for athletics and life.

Said Plumeri: “I think it’s good to give kids a positive reinforcement through sports. The more positive you are around kids, the potential is limitless. We want to help them to grow and get ready for high school.”



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