Tonawanda News

The Town

December 19, 2013

Ribits a godsend for O'Hara art students

A recognized priest-artist joins faculty at Cardinal O'Hara High School


Tonawanda News — “Last year, he assisted with Masses at the school and at the reconciliation services. He was, and is now, invaluable on a daily basis. We’re fortunate to have two priest who minister to our kids.”

Holzerland said Ribits offers students his intense passion for art — and holds them accountable.

“In the classroom, he offers students a higher level of thinking, skills they need every day,” she said. “Not all our students are Catholic and he helps each student to have a deeper understanding of God. He shares the kids’ backgounds which helps them know each other. He’s just really good.”

At O’Hara, Ribits teaches two religion classes and a studio in art class for those who are really interested in art.

“Art needs a lot of self-discipline. We work in acrylic — easier to clean up,” he noted.

Outside of school and his art projects, Ribits enjoys hiking, biking and running.

“In good weather, it’s not unusual to see Father Tom riding his bike to school,” Holzerland said.

In fact, the day of the interview was a “dress down” red and green day at the school to raise money to help four needy families on the West Side of Buffalo.

Ribits came in dressed in red and green sweaters, with one red and one green sneaker.

“I have a lot of sneakers,” he laughed, “in fact I have another pair like this at home. I take one year at a time and live the present moment,” he added.

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