WEBSTER – Things are changing at St. Louis and St. Anne elementary schools as faculty and administrators prepare for a new look and new name when the 2016-17 school year begins.
The two schools, now the parish schools for St. Louis and Sacred Heart of Jesus parishes, will be combined to make up All Saints Academy, a private Catholic school.
Bishop McManus announced the formation of the new academy in October 2014, after a year of meetings and consultations with the pastors of three Webster parishes, members of each parish and diocesan school administration personnel. St. Joseph Parish and its elementary school opted to continue on its own.
Both academy school buildings, to be called St. Louis and St. Anne campuses, will be in use but their student bodies will change. The St. Louis campus will have pupils from pre-kindergarten through Grade 4. The St. Anne campus will have pupils from Grade 5 through Grade 8.
The combined enrollment of the two schools now is 225, roughly equally divided between the two grade categories, according to David H. Grenier, principal of both schools. So both buildings will have about the same number in their classrooms as they do now, with plenty of room for growth.
Two classrooms at St. Louis are being modified to meet code specifications for about 40 pre-kindergarten youngsters, Mr. Grenier said. The playground has been enlarged from 30-by-30 feet to 30-by-60 feet and new equipment is being installed. For grades 1 through 4 there will be an accelerated reading program, he said.
Mr. Grenier said that STEM-based programs will be instituted for the sixth through eighth grades. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Project Lead the Way (PLTW) pilot program will be introduced. He said teachers in those grades will take a 40-hour, week-long PLTW training course at Worcester Polytechnic Institute during the summer. PLTW helps pupils learn how to think critically, ask questions and figure things out, Mr. Grenier said.
He said there will be a language program, probably in Spanish, for grades 1 through 8. The arts also will be a part of the curriculum. Choral music will continue and instrumental programs are planned in the next year or two, he said.
The programs at the new academy, as are the present schools, will be Catholic-based, he said. The school won’t lose sight of Catholic traditions and family values, he said.
According to the school’s website, the core values of All Saints Academy include providing a rigorous educational curriculum, cultivating a life based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, promoting an environment that is rooted in Catholic family values, fostering personal growth for the changing physical and social needs of our students and instilling a sense of responsibility for human dignity.
The present soccer and basketball sports teams at St. Anne and St. Louis have been merged. All Saints Academy teams, known as the Knights, are playing in both the 395 League and Worcester’s St. Mary’s League, he said.
He said a total of about 100 pupils in the two schools now play either on the sports teams or on girls’ or boys’ inter-mural teams and in girls cheerleading.
Mr. Grenier praised the cooperation of what he called “two outstanding, active parent organizations,” the Parent-Teachers Friends Association at St. Louis and the St. Anne’s School Association. He said they have been working together on projects during the year.
“It’s wonderful to see the cooperation between the parents’ associations for the benefit of the students and the school,” he said.
He said tuition at All Saints Academy will be $4,900 a year for each pupil. He said there will be aid available for families who qualify for it.
Mr. Grenier, of Oxford, was hired in May last year by the pastors of both parishes as implementation coordinator for the planned new academy. He is a graduate of Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School. He holds a bachelor of arts degree and a teaching certificate from Nichols College in Dudley, a master’s degree in education from Worcester State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Rivier College in Nashua, New Hampshire .
He was principal for three years at Grafton High School and then was principal for three years at Oxford High School. He retired in 2008. Previously he was assistant principal for seven years at Shepherd Hill Regional High School in Dudley. Before that he was a teacher in Marlboro for 15 years. He retired last summer from the Air National Guard with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Sean M. Gilrein, is assistant principal of both schools. He is a Charlton resident. He graduated from Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Westfield State University. While a student there, he said, he spent a year as an exchange student at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. He holds a master’s degree in education administration from Worcester State University.
He joined the Dudley-Charlton district in 1993 as assistant principal for Shepherd Hill Regional High School. Two years later, he was named the school’s principal and remained in the role until 2001, when he accepted the post of superintendent. After he retired, he served for one year as principal at Mashpee Middle High School on Cape Cod.
Bishop celebrates Mass with St. Leo students
By Patricia O’Connell
LEOMINSTER – St. Leo Elementary School observed Catholic Schools Week Tuesday with a Mass celebrated by Bishop McManus.
This Mass was part of the annual national Catholic Schools Week, which starts each year the last week in January. Catholic schools around the country host various events and activities to recognize the contributions and benefits of Catholic education.
The theme of this year’s national Catholic Schools Week was Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.
Throughout the diocese, during the last week, various events have been held, including this week’s Mass at St. Leo.
The bishop’s visit to Leominster also fell on the Feast of the Presentation.
Bishop McManus opened his homily by questioning the students about another very important feast held 40 days earlier.
“What was that feast?” he asked.
This was an easy question, which led to a discussion about the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree and decorating it.
“On mostly every Christmas tree there are lights that go round and round the tree,” he noted. “We put lights in the windows. Why do you think lights are so important during the Christmas season?’
“It reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world,” he added.
He reminded the children of what happened when Our Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph brought Jesus to the temple, 40 days after his birth. He told the students about the elderly man named Simeon, and the prophetess named Anna, who spent her time at prayer. “Simeon called Jesus the Light of the World,” he said.
Bishop McManus then asked the children if they noticed what the priest does when he first approaches the altar, to offer Mass. “He kisses the altar because the altar is a symbol of Jesus,” he explained.
He also noted that the candles on the altar remind us that Jesus is the Light of the World.
Then he spoke about the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which started last December 8, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. “Pope Francis said that every parish should be an oasis of mercy,” said the bishop, adding that, “Catholic schools should be an oasis of mercy.”
Students who attend these schools should feel safe and secure, he said. “This is why our Catholic schools exist.”
Then he asked the children to put their faith into action.
“During this upcoming week I want you to look for opportunities to do works of mercy, to do works of kindness,” he stated, so that St. Leo’s school will truly be a place of mercy.
Our Lady of the Valley students write messages to community
By Christina Galleone
UXBRIDGE – If Jesus placed an ad looking for servants, would you apply? At Our Lady of the Valley Regional School, the children in Marybeth Hay’s Pre-4K class did. And their qualifications were excellent. As part of a Catholic Schools Week Feb. 1 door decorating contest – with the theme of service to others – for grades Pre-3K through 2nd grade, Ms. Hay’s class responded to the “ad” by posting “resumes” on the classroom door. The students’ qualifications included being faithful, kind and helpful. In Sally Albin’s kindergarten class, the students’ door was to be filled with “God’s Conversation Hearts,” an outpouring of the ways the children could show their love for God and others.
During the same day, students in grades 1-8 showed their gratitude to our soldiers by sending them Valentines with messages of appreciation. Marion Graves, who teaches first grade and is the student council adviser, organized the project, in which kids in grades 1-6 wrote messages on Valentines donated by the Big Y, and kids in grades 7-8 designed and sent Valentines through Uxbridge Supports Our Troops. The contest and the Valentines project helped the children kick off the week-long celebration with love, gratitude and a focus on their faith.
Catholic Schools throughout the diocese are participating in national Catholic Schools Week this week. Here are snapshots of some of their activities. Check back each day for more and go to www.facebook.com/CatholicFreePressnews to see activities from other schools.
St. Bernadette’s School, Northborough
Photo by Christina Galeone
St. Bernadette’s School students in grades 5-8 have fun learning how to use technology to make music. The special Catholic Schools Week interactive event was presented Monday by Brent Daniels (a Catholic school graduate) from Academic Entertainment.
St. Mary Elementary School, Shrewsbury
Photos by Tanya Connor
SHREWSBURY – Families from St. Mary Elementary School and St. Mary Parish came together for Mass Saturday evening. Gifts carried forward during the offertory procession symbolized how the school lives the works of mercy, during this Year of Mercy. Bringing gift boxes representing Christmas gifts collected for refugees are Juliana Haugli, followed by her mother, Kim, and Isabella Colangelo, followed by her mother, Betsy. Carrying cards students make for residents of Notre Dame Long Term Care Center are Sabrina Boyle and Nick Berg.
MILLBURY – Assumption Elementary School held “Wacky Welays” (relay races) during gym class on Monday. Here pre-kindergarteners try to pop a balloon (Isabella Meriam) and balance an “egg” on a “spoon” (Nigel Ofori-Mensah).
St. Anthony School, Fitchburg
FITCHBURG – Ryan Sarasin, a graduate of St. Anthony Elementary School, talks to students here Monday about his priestly vocation. He is studying at St. Anselm College.
Our Lady of the Valley School, Uxbridge
UXBRIDGE – Students at Our Lady of the Valley Elementary School busy themselves Monday. Among their Catholic Schools Week projects were participating in a door-decorating contest and writing messages of appreciation for Valentines for soldiers.