WAKEFIELD — For 5th Grade student, Mason Albergaia, Thursday, Jan. 3, was like no other day he's ever had at Monsignor Clarke School. Dressed in a button-down shirt and tie, his staff ID hanging from a lanyard around his neck, Albergaria sat Thursday afternoon at the desk typically occupied by Dr. Arthur W. Lisi and reflected on his day.
After greeting students on their way into school and looking over the daily schedule, Albergaria hopped on the intercom to make some important announcements.
“Today, all classes will have extended recess,” he notified students, before also promising them a surprise at lunchtime and thanking them for bringing in donations for the South Kingstown Animal Shelter.
Albergaria followed up his morning announcements with all sorts of meetings, just as Lisi does on a typical day—he met with the eighth graders to discuss their community service project, with the school’s director of facilities to talk about installing solar panels, and with various teachers to chat about things like enrollment and parent concerns.
“He got to learn a little bit more about each of our roles and what we do,” said Sara Marshall, director of admissions and development.
The principal of the day met with members of the student council, as well, for a conversation about dress code, after also accompanying the fourth graders to Brightview Commons, where they built gingerbread houses with the residents. And as he wrapped up his day, Albergaria was also asked to select and then read the final prayer.
“You don’t think about what you do in a given day until you have someone next to you,” Lisi said, praising Albergaria for a job well done.
As for the lunchtime surprise, Albergaria came through for his pupils with ice cream, milk and chocolate.
Albergaria giggled as his walkie-talkie hummed with a message, brief and staticky. But while he said it was “awesome” to be given the device for the day, for him, it wasn’t quite as special as handing out those treats at lunchtime.
“He actually got to make some real choices,” Marshall added.
While visiting each classroom Thursday morning, for example, students in one class requested that rather than having a single extended recess, they be given an extra recess in the morning.
“I said, ‘you’ve got to decide, there are pros and cons to both,’” Lisi said. “So I gave him the pros and cons, and the principal said, ‘you can take recess at 9:30.’”
So every class got to take two recesses, and Lisi said that students were thrilled. A resident of Wakefield, Albergaria earned his “principal of the day” title after his family won the bid on the item during a live auction hosted last spring by the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO).
“This is definitely going to liven up next year’s auction,” Marshall said, just after Albergaria sprinted off to continue distributing ice cream. “Dr. Lisi’s done such a nice job giving a good experience.”