June 2, 2006

New-old school: St. Anthony students finish year at former parish school

By Mary Ann Wyand

June 2 is the last day of classes before summer vacation for 73 St. Anthony School students in Indianapolis, who have had a very busy and memorable year.

They started the 2005-06 school year at the former All Saints School at 75 N. Belleville Place then moved back to the original parish school at 337 N. Warmen Ave., next to St. Anthony Church during Holy Week.

Benedictine Sister Pamela Doyle, principal of the Indianapolis West Deanery grade school, said this school year has been quite a “moving” experience.

She said relocating the school to its original parish site has been a very positive experience for the students, faculty and staff.

“The students came in to the new school on Tuesday, April 11, for the first time,” Sister Pamela said. “We unpacked and unpacked and unpacked all day on Monday, April 10, and it took us from sunup to sundown. But we got everything taken care of as much as we could, and the students arrived to what seemed like a brand new building. It is definitely a new-old school. It’s good to be back on parish property. My most favorite thing about the move is that now we are right next to the church.”

Sister Pamela stood at the front door of the school and greeted the students on their first day in the new location.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better transition,” she said. “It went very smoothly. The faculty and staff worked very hard, and we had a lot of volunteer help. It was very exciting to me to see the excitement of the students and the enthusiasm of the teachers in their new surroundings.”

Moving into the new school during Holy Week presented an additional challenge, Sister Pamela said, because the faculty and staff worked hard to make sure the students focused on preparations for Easter.

“There was a feeling of reverence for the week even in the midst of the excitement and newness,” she said. “We gathered on Holy Thursday and Good Friday for prayer services at the church. It was so wonderful to process over to the church for prayers.”

Fourth-grade teacher Mindy Roberts said Theresa Dotts, the school custodian, “was the biggest help” and “went above and beyond the call of duty during the school’s move.”

Roberts said Dotts cleans the school on weekdays and “put in countless hours, even during spring break, to make sure everything got finished.”

Librarian Anna Weddle worked with Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School faculty members, who volunteered to help her sort, pack and relocate the school’s collection of books. About half of the 6,000 books were donated to other Catholic grade schools.

Pre-kindergarten student Maria Balbay Ortiz said on May 11 that she likes the new school because “it’s so beautiful.”

Fourth-grade student John Centers said he likes the new school because it is “smaller and more comfortable.”

Second-grade student Samantha Buis said the newly remodeled school “is wonderful,” and “the church is so pretty. I like the church.” †


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