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Nun Coaches Students With Magic

Sister Carol Ann kicked off another year at Villa Maria Education Center as she usually does, with a bit of magic. With some sleight-of-hand and the power of illusion, she brought smiles to the faces of a new batch of students with a magic show to welcome them to school.

Magic is nothing new for Sister Carol Ann. She has long been a member of magician societies and has received praise from several of the presidents. And yet, making items materialize out of thin air might not be the most entertaining thing about this particular Bernardine Franciscan nun, at least not for sports fans.

Sister Carol Ann is an assistant coach for the New York Giants. Yes, she is a school-teaching, magic-performing, football-coaching nun.

As a child, Sister Carol Ann knew she wanted to live an entertainer's life, and she wanted to be a nun. She also wanted to teach. And of course, pursue a religious lifestyle. No matter where her mind wandered, she always came back to God.

"So first I became one thing, and then I became everything else," she said while sitting in her office at Villa Maria Education Center. The sign hanging on her door, aptly, reads "Coach."

The beginning of this term's classes at Villa Maria also marked the 50th anniversary of Sister Carol Ann's pursuit of the habit. She enrolled in her religious studies at 14 and was in the last class allowed to seek the convent life so young. After her, women had to be out of high school to sign up.

As an educator, Sister Carol Ann now serves as principal at Villa Maria Education Center. The school, tucked away on Skymeadow Drive, helps children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. According to Sister Carol Ann, the majority of the students just need to develop the skills and confidence to overcome their specific learning challenges.

In the school, she uses the same techniques to inspire the students that she used to help the Giant's make it into the playoffs in 1981, the first time in 18 years. Teamwork and confidence, and a little prayer and magic, form the cornerstones of the confidence needed by her wards, big or small.

Villa Maria Education Center has joined Main Street Connect by purchasing an annual visibility package.

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