Hundreds celebrated the grand opening Sunday, May 13, of Saint Patrick Academy, which recently moved from Austin Street to 315 Banfield Road.
“Three miles makes all the difference,” said Head of School Mark Schwerdt when asked about the impact the new 28,000-square-foot facility will have on Saint Patrick Academy’s education.
Schwerdt said the impact is apparent upon first arriving on campus.
“We have built a school where kids can tumble, climb, run, skip, throw, tag, kick and laugh in fields, on climbing structures, off natural boulders and through wooded trails,” he said. “Our outdoor space provides an extraordinary learning environment.”
He said the placement of small group areas between classrooms and off hallways in the school allows for focused and collaborative academic opportunities. The furniture, including standing desks, stools that rock and shapes that bend and give way for natural movement, aids in concentration and focus.
“The lower school’s reading nook and the middle school lounge serve as places for socialization and learning,” he added.
He said even the hallways were designed as “teaching spaces.”
“They are patterned with our Education in Virtue program, which are geometrical shapes and the tools of measurement, so classes can empty out into open learning spaces,” he said.
For many parents of children who attend the academy, the opening reception was an opportunity to reflect on their experience.
“The school’s core values are reflected in character development, religious education and socialization,” said Kate Faust. “Our children think about others, care about their community, and treat each other with kindness. Most important of all, the teachers actually treat our children as if they were their own – with dignity, respect and love.”
The emphasis on values like kindness, love and compassion attracted Darin and Michelle Tribbett.
“The strength within their faith education stems from kindness – it is the expectation and is highly visible throughout the school,” Darin said.
“The sense of community at Saint Pat’s is unmistakable,” Michelle added. “The warmth, support and friendship among the students, families and faculty is a source of strength and blessing within the academy and allows for an outstanding school atmosphere.”
Jim Broom, founder of the Hope for Tomorrow Foundation, which purchased the land where the academy was built, said the future is bright.
“While our students consistently score in the top percentiles for academics, what I see as the most important is the emphasis at Saint Patrick Academy on core values, kindness and joy,” he said. “There is great value in the service our students bring to the community.”
Schwerdt said their enrollment numbers have never been better.
“Our enrollment growth is 60 percent, which is almost unheard of for schools,” he said. “We are very excited for the future and the possibilities this new campus provides our kids and the communities we serve.”