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Mary Carigiet celebrates with fifth graders
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Frank Triglia, 11, was just one of the fifth graders who lined up to give Mary Carigiet a happy birthday hug before she left the classroom with flowers, a cake and a birthday sash. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

It was a lesson in love and respect when fifth graders at St. Anthony’s School surprised a 104-year-old centenarian with a birthday party in their classroom after they returned from their lunch break on Tuesday.
Tears came to Mary Carigiet’s eyes at the end of the party when the children lined up toward her chair and, one-by-one, gave the very spry grandmother a hug – all 26 of them.
The boys and girls had prepared for the day at the bidding of their teacher Kim Morenzone who asked them to make generational artwork posters to show the history of the woman’s life over 10 decades.  The posters hung along the side of the classroom where Carigiet examined them all, one by one.
A long -time member of St. Anthony’s Church, she still lives by herself in a rural area of the community and is visited regularly by Sister Ann Venita Brito who offers communion to her every week.  At 104 she appears very sharp and continues to walk on her own and keeps up her house.
When the children sitting at their desks were asked to go to the front of the room and gather behind their guest for a picture, it took less than 30 seconds to see that happen in a quick but orderly fashion as though it had been rehearsed.  Morenzone said the surprise party was teaching her students the value of senior citizens in the community and the contributions they have made to the church and to life in general.
All the children were given small cupcakes to celebrate the birthday of the lady born in 1912.