Many things have changed in the last 40 years at Long Beach Catholic Regional School, but one thing has always remained constant: the presence of Principal Veronica Danca.
On June 9, parishioners, teachers, friends, family members and former students gathered at Long Beach Catholic to celebrate Danca’s retirement; last Friday, students and staff cheered her on as she left the school in a convertible.
The 67-year-old began her career in education at the school in 1973 as a substitute before becoming a full-time teacher six years later. Since then, she hasn’t left Long Beach Catholic and never had a desire to, she said.
“My entire educational career experience has been at Long Beach Catholic School,” she said. “It’s been a second home for me, a second family.”
Now, she’s retiring from her position, 15 years after becoming an administrator, and has received an outpouring of appreciation from those who have attended or worked at Long Beach Catholic.
One of Danca’s children started a Facebook page to compile well wishes for the retiring principal. It garnered 460 likes as of Wednesday, and countless messages of gratitude for the Long Beach resident’s service.
“People always talk about that one amazing teacher that changed their life,” Heather Tangney wrote on the page. “Mrs. Danca was that teacher for me!”
It isn’t the first time Danca has been recognized for her service to the school. Two years ago, she received a key to the city from councilman John McLaughlin, and was named the grand marshal of last year’s Irish Day parade.
“When I was asked to be grand marshal, it became real that what I was doing was not just limited to Long Beach Catholic,” she said. “The community was involved as well and it gave me a sense of gratitude to know that.”
Danca said that she spent her entire career as a student within Catholic education from elementary school all the way through to higher education. When she decided that she wanted to teach, she said she knew she wanted to remain within catholic education.
“I always knew that if and when I became a teacher I’d do it in a catholic school because I always wanted to share my faith with children,” she said.