St. John the Evangelist Catholic School marks milestone year

Bishop Mark Bartchak visits St. John in November to celebrate an anniversary Mass at the school.
Bishop Mark Bartchak visits St. John in November to celebrate an anniversary Mass at the school. Photo provided

Editor’s note: The following appeared in the May Family Pages section.

For the 2015-16 school year, St. John the Evangelist Catholic School in Bellefonte celebrates its 125th anniversary. The school has continuously served generations of families since 1890, when the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, opened its doors. Today, nearly 140 students attend St. John School in pre-K through fifth grade, and enrollment continues to grow each year.

Faith, service and academic achievement have been vital to our success. Our students learn to be good Christians and good citizens through faith formation, character development and service to our parish, our school and our community. Academics are rigorous, and students receive the personal attention and encouragement they need to succeed. The foundation our students build at St. John prepares them to travel whatever path God leads them.

At St. John, we are truly a family. Love and respect for others is at the heart of our school environment. And, generations of families have passed through our halls, living and learning their faith. Right now, dozens of students have parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings who are St. John graduates. Even some of our teachers and staff are alumni of St. John School.

Celebrating 125 years

To mark our milestone anniversary year, our school family has come together for memorable moments of fellowship, faith and fun.

▪  To begin the school year, we renewed a meaningful St. John School tradition, bringing our entire school community together in the courtyard for the Pledge of Allegiance.

▪  Our Home & School Association hosted a fun-filled family night, the Back-to-School Birthday Bash. In addition to face painting, a bounce house and sno-cones, students and families cheered on a Duck Derby fundraiser in Kepler Pool, which provided bonuses for our dedicated teachers.

▪  Before Thanksgiving break, we were blessed to celebrate an anniversary Mass with Bishop Mark Bartchak. The bishop also visited with students and teachers in their classrooms.

▪  Our anniversary year made National Catholic Schools Week extra special. Volunteers organized activities to honor our history and celebrate our bright future, and students spent the week talking about their gifts and talents, and their dreams for the future. We learned about the Sisters who opened our school and taught here for 102 years. An appreciation assembly recognized members of our community who work to keep us safe: our elected officials, our police officers, volunteer firefighters and EMTs. Bellefonte Mayor Tom Wilson gave a special proclamation for our school anniversary.

▪  Our 125th Anniversary Dinner/Dance, held April 2 at Mountain View Country Club, offered families, alumni and friends of St. John School an opportunity to gather and celebrate. We were blessed to enjoy the company of many of our retired teachers, including some founding Sisters, pastors, alumni spanning six decades and current school families and friends.

It’s no wonder St. John School has existed for 125 years and continues to thrive. With growing enrollment and an advancing curriculum, St. John School is stronger than ever.

Kristina Tice is the principal at St. John Catholic School.

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