Major Milestone for Country Day Nursery School

Country Day School

Country Day Nursery School, a private preschool for three, four and five year old children, celebrated its 45th anniversary in September of 2017. Country Day was founded by Lois O’Neill Kelly and her late sister Margaret O’Neill McGrath.

The current director is Lois’ daughter, Patrice Bonin. Mrs. Bonin became the director in 1999. She is the certified teacher and has an assistant teacher and two aides.

Country Day operates in the home founded by the Dolph family, early settlers of Moosic Lake and ultimately Dunmore. The home was built in what was originally then Luzerne County. Lackawanna County was formed later. The home is currently occupied by Lois Kelly as well as her daughter and son-in-law, Patrice and Tom Bonin, and their five children. It is much busier than it was 100 years ago.

The Dolph family owned from the 1100 block of Quincy to the 1100 block of Prescott. The main house was located at 1205 Clay Ave. When one of the Dolphs married a Robertson, they built a house on 1204 Quincey Ave. Mr. and Mrs. Robertson had five children.

During World War I it was a meeting place for woman to knit hats and socks for the soldiers. In the 1920s, one of the sons, Charles and his wife Mary Ellen purchased the home and reinvented it.

Mrs. Robertson died in the 30s and Mr. Robertson lived in the home until his sisters, Florence and Anna moved in. Florence Dolph was pictured in the Scranton Times riding down the banister on her 100th birthday.

Country Day Nursery Patrice Bonin

Patrice Bonin is the current director of the Country Day Nursery school.

In 1949, the home on Quincey Ave and several other homes were sold to the Diocese of Scranton. The Diocese then formed Christ the King Parish. Mass was held on the 1100 block of Clay. The diocese then redesigned the home, the rectory and Parish were adjacent. The Church was sadly closed in the early 2000s.

The property and buildings were sold to Paul Woelkers. They updated the rectory and now it is the “Archangel,”, an adult day care. In 1971, Paul and Lois O’Neill Kelly purchased the home and moved from the O’Neill family homestead at 1235 Clay Ave to 1205 Clay Ave.

Country Day Nursery School was founded in 1972. The motto of “A child learns through play and work” stays the same. Classes were originally held Monday through Thursday from 9-11:30 a.m. and an afternoon class from 12:30 to 3 p.m. from September to May. Currently the hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children are taken outdoors, including the wintertime, in the playground.

The original Country Day Nursery School was located on the entire 1100 block of Quincey and Clay Avenue, along from Poplar Street to the Dolph property. It was a beautiful one-story building with living quarters for the teachers on the second floor. The property was enclosed with an eight-foot fence. The front entrance was, and is, dedicated to a young boy who passed away while attending the school. The original entrance still stands. The Country Day was opened from 1926 to 1939. Growing up, I would watch the cars drive the children to and from school. The most prominent families would send their children.

When the original school closed, the board members were very lenient with letting the neighborhood children play on the playground. Occasionally the public schools would use the auditorium for plays. The building was later bought by Howard Duckstwein and his wife, who made it into the Scranton Garment Factory. This was great for the area and employed many people.

Like most jobs, the garments jobs slowly went overseas. Mr. Duckstein then created the Country Day Apartments. Currently the property is occupied by two buildings.

Holy Cross High School Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Holy Cross anniversary photo

Holy Cross High School, Dunmore, a Diocese of Scranton Catholic School named in 2007, will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Catholic education on Saturday, Aug. 12, with a Mass at 5:30 p.m. at the high school followed by a reception at The Colonnade. Principal celebrant for the Mass will be the Rev. Monsignor David L. Tressler, Diocesan secretary for catholic education and superintendent of schools.

The reception at The Colonnade will be held from 7:30-9:30 p.m. and will include passed hors d’oeuvres and age appropriate beverages. Tickets are $25 per person and must be purchased prior to the event. The celebration will include basket raffles with tickets available for purchase at the event.

The celebration is open to all friends, family and alumni of Holy Cross High School and Diocesan Catholic Schools.  For more information, or to make your reservation, please call Holy Cross High School, 570-346-7541. Tickets may be purchased with cash, check, or credit card.


Committee members show in photo above include, from left: Katie VonBergen , administrative staff; Ben Tolerico, Holy Cross High School principal; Jennifer Stonikinis, English faculty; Kristina Toolan, art faculty;  Jillian Rojek, music and science faculty;  and John Anthony Farkas, Jr., manager of development and alumni relations for Diocesan Catholic schools.

The committee also includes Laura Hudak, English faculty.


McDade Park Celebrates 40 Years

McDade-pondLackawanna County marked the 40th anniversary of McDade Park in Scranton on July 30. To celebrate the milestone, the Lackawanna County Commissioners, former Commissioners and other dignitaries celebrated the park’s anniversary on Sunday, July 30, at 11 a.m., the exact same date in 1977 that it was dedicated as The Joseph M. McDade Recreational Park.  The facility has become the “Crown Jewel” of the County’s park network.

“This is truly a great day for Lackawanna County as we recognize the 40th anniversary of McDade Park.  It is a gem of an operation, giving residents and visitors an opportunity to relax, get together, or enjoy the natural vistas of the park,” said Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley.

“Today celebrates our history,” explained Commissioner Jerry Notarianni.  “Our past leaders are to be congratulated for being innovative and taking a chance on enhancing our quality of life for everyone to enjoy.”

“Today’s anniversary of the park is a testimony to the foresight of our community’s leadership.  McDade Park is a beautiful facility that families and groups can utilize for any occasion,” noted Commissioner Laureen A. Cummings.

The development of Keyser Park, as it was originally known, began when then Congressman McDade secured $2 million for use by the Bureau of Mines for the restoration of mine reclamation areas.

A badly-scarred 126-acre tract of land owned by the County was selected for the project.  The funding was used for site rehabilitation and top soil seeding.  The work gained national attention.

Additional Federal and State grants were secured during the park’s start-up to further enhance its development.  The resources were used for roadways, a sanitary sewer system, electric service, support buildings, athletic fields, sports courts, and a children’s playground.

The U.S. Forestry Service planted trees and special shrubs, and the State participated in the park’s growth with the construction of the Pennsylvania Anthracite Museum along with other enhancements.

McDade Park has, over the years, witnessed tremendous growth and expansion.  Every administration, since the park’s initial development, has invested significant dollars into the facility.

Since its inception, over $5 million in lease-hold improvements have been made.  They include: the Coal Mine Tour attraction, which has gained national acclaim for the park and area; a Coal Mine Building; pavilions; boundless playground; stocked fishing area; trails; swim complex; bathhouses; Cancer and 911 Memorials; street lighting; Coal Miner statue; and a maintenance building.     The anniversary program featured the Pledge of Allegiance followed by remarks from Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley, Commissioner Jerry Notarianni and Commissioner Laureen A. Cummings, comments by William Davis, the County’s Deputy Director of Parks & Recreation; and brief statements from other invited guests.