St. John Neumann Catholic School in Lancaster opened the doors of its new school building Sept. 8 on the campus of St. John Neumann Parish to begin the 2020-2021 school year.
“Today, we gather as the community of St. John Neumann Catholic School,” said Kyla Hockley, principal. “Today, we honor a new chapter – looking with hope to the future while anchoring ourselves to the proud tradition of St. Anne School. How lucky are we to be here today! This moment in history comes as the result of trust in God’s plan and God’s time, and so we begin by giving our praise and thanksgiving to God.”
This year’s traditional opening-day festivities included an outdoor ceremony to welcome students and parents to their new school as well as provide for the blessing of new items (new crucifixes, U.S. flags and new classroom clocks) that will be displayed in every classroom and office in the school. Bishop Ronald Gainer will bless the school building on Thursday, Sept. 24.
“A school is so much more than teachers and students,” said Father Daniel Powell, Executive Pastor of St. John Neumann Catholic School. “A school is a place where the Body of Christ is alive and well, where God calls, where each person’s unique gifts are discovered and refined, and where faith and virtue come alive. Today, we ask God’s blessing on the physical signs of His loving presence within the St. John Neumann Catholic School community.”
The new school building includes ten classrooms which will house grades K-8 and the computer lab, administrative and nurse’s offices and a multi-purpose room to be used as both cafeteria and gymnasium. The St. John Neumann Parish Center has been renovated as part of the same project to include classrooms for pre-kindergarten, algebra, specials classes (art, music, library) and instructional support.
This year, in response to COVID concerns, classes are being offered both in person and virtually, with the vast majority of families choosing the in-person option. Class sizes were limited to accommodate for social distancing and classroom space requirements.
St. John Neumann Catholic School, formerly St. Anne School, was founded in 1924 and was located at St. Anne Church on Liberty Street in Lancaster City for the past 95 years. Plans to build and re-locate the school have been in discussion for the last two decades. In the fall of 2018, St. John Neumann Parish launched a Capital Campaign to raise the funds necessary to build the new Education Center and renovate the church to allow for additional classrooms.
On Feb. 2, 2020, the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new school was held and construction commenced at that time.
St. John Neumann Catholic School is a PreK-4 to Grade 8 Catholic school in the Diocese of Harrisburg, proudly serving the families of St. Anne Parish, St. John Neumann Parish and students from across Lancaster County. Learn more at www.sjncslancaster.org/.
(Janice Wolfe is the Director of Development and Communications at St. John Neumann Catholic School.)
By Janice Wolfe Special to The Witness