St. Catherine’s annual Spring Fling is a special event for families and friends to mingle and come together as community. To relax, catch up, enjoy good food, music, and companionship.
This year, Spring Fling will be extra special: not only are we celebrating St. Catherine’s 50th Anniversary year (with a tribute to former faculty and staff), April 29th is the feast day of our patron saint, St. Catherine of Sienna, and we are breaking ground for the first campus expansion in over ten years. Wear paint-splatter-ready clothes for an art project and get ready to jot down your favorite memories of SCM for a time capsule – this groundbreaking will be an interactive community experience and everyone is invited to participate!
Since St. Catherine’s was founded in 1966 by Sr. Edna Ann Hebert and Sr. Shirley Owens, with only two Primary classrooms, it relocated four times to accommodate its organically growing student population. Elementary levels were added, then an Adolescent Community, then an Infant Community… as students grew older and our families grew in size with more siblings, the school grew to accommodate and serve their needs.
The current Timberside campus opened in 2006, the legacy of an incredible capital campaign undertaken by then-parents to find for St. Catherine’s a permanent home to call its own. Within a few years however, it became apparent that, with our strong retention past the Primary years, the school would need more space.
In 2014, SCM launched “Building on the Legacy” – a capital campaign with a goal of raising funds for a much-needed campus expansion. At Spring Fling this year, with the campaign close to completing its third year with $2.85million raised toward a $3.031 million goal, St. Catherine’s will hold a groundbreaking ceremony to kickoff the construction project taking place this summer. Construction will include two additional Elementary classes vital to accommodate current families, a new Atrium for an age-appropriate, spiritually enriching environment for our older students, a mediation garden, and the new Sr. Edna Ann Hebert library with shelving for the 9,000 volumes needed by a school our size, modular space for research projects, and a Reading Support Center.
The groundbreaking is planned for 4:30 p.m. and will include a welcome from our Head of School, Susan Tracy, highlights of the campus expansion and its significance to the school’s 50th anniversary by our Board President Nathaniel Martinez, a blessing of the location, hymns sung by students, and “shovels in the ground” wielded by Sr. Edna Ann Hebert; Jorge Villalobos, Building Committee Chair; Susan Tracy, Head of School; Nathaniel Martinez, Board President; and Capital Campaign Committee Chairs, Deborah Gremillion and Kristina Baizan Devereux.
Dr. Julie Vogel, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Bob Fretz, Jr. of Fretz Construction and Shelley Pottorf of Architend, LLC will also be in attendance.
Bring clothes that you won’t mind getting paint-splattered as pickets will be available for a painting project for children and adults. The pickets will be displayed during the entire construction phase. Written memories of St. Catherine’s will be gathered for a time capsule that will be buried by Bob Fretz in a classroom wall.
We are so close to our Capital Campaign goal, but we continue to need support to fund the project to completion. We are so grateful to those families who contributed to the Timberside campus over ten years ago, some with the knowledge that their children would not benefit by the end result. This holds true for the current capital campaign: with almost 50% of current families contributing (and a grandparent who stepped in with the largest gift from an individual of $150,000!), it’s a resounding testament to the parents’ belief in the school’s mission and its impact on their children’s lives and their families.
Capital Campaign Co-Chair Deborah Gremillion pointed out that, with this expansion, “We’re coming full circle, bringing it back to the core work of supporting literacy, proving prepared environments…coming back to the legacy of the work of Sr. Edna Ann Hebert.”
“As more and more of our families over the last five years committed to Montessori and wanted to continue their children’s Montessori education after the Primary years, our needs grew more pressing,” Gremillion continued. “We’re not far away from being 100% funded, so every single dollar will go towards making us fully funded and debt-free. It’s a great gift to all of our children.”