DURYEA – Cans of chicken noodle, vegetable and tomato soup weren’t just flying off store shelves recently. They were rolling down ramps in a heated competition inside Holy Rosary School.

As part of Catholic Schools Week 2024, the Duryea school held its annual ‘Soup Can Derby’ to benefit the Pittston food pantry. Students were invited to bring in cans of soup on Jan. 29 – and test how fast they would go down a plywood platform in the school gym against other student’s cans.

Holy Rosary School in Duryea held a ‘Soup Can Derby’ on Jan. 29, 2024.

“It is truly exciting. We get to dress up and not only have fun with things like the soup can derby racing, but we also get to donate and give back to our community,” seventh grader Julianna Ciuccio said.

On only the first day, students collected 386 soup cans and had a goal of surpassing 450 cans by the end of the week.

“Throughout the year we do many service projects. We sent Christmas stockings to Janet Weis (Children’s Hospital) for kids that are stuck in the hospital during the holiday,” Debbie Brady, Holy Rosary’s 8th grade teacher, explained. “The students just made soup the other day and brought it up to Crossin Towers and Father Michael helped with that.”

Each year, Holy Rosary students enjoy challenging their friends in the ‘Soup Can Derby.’ They understand, however, that it benefits a very important cause.

“Jesus went out with His disciples and gave to those who needed it, so this is us going out, we’re doing what Jesus wants us to do and give to those in need,” seventh grader Haley Karboski explained.

As part of Catholic Schools Week, Holy Rosary students also got to participate in an Irish Step Dance class, talent show, and wacky activities. In addition to the soup cans, they also collected socks for those in need and sold candy to benefit the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters who have been so integral to the history of the school.

Jackie Keating, who is not only the 6th grade teacher at Holy Rosary, but a parent of three daughters at the school, said she is constantly amazed by how receptive students are to the Christian values they are being taught.

“I think the one thing that stands out to everyone is the foundation of Christ,” Keating explained. “My gets get to experience that and live that every single day and not just on Sunday at Mass!”