Schools off to good start; Aug. 24-25 second collections for tuition assistance programs

St. John Neumann preschool student Reese Drone listens to his fourth-grade buddy, Isabella Ramos, as she reads a book. Photo by Michelle Dougherty

St. John Neumann preschool student Reese Drone listens to his fourth-grade buddy, Isabella Ramos, as she reads a book.
Photo by Michelle Dougherty

The Diocese of Knoxville’s 10 schools are off to a successful start as the 2013-14 school year begins, and school leaders are hoping for a successful response to the church’s second collection for tuition support during Masses Aug. 24-25.

Bishop Richard F. Stika celebrated the opening Mass on Thursday at Knoxville Catholic High School, and football teams from Knoxville Catholic and Notre Dame high schools resumed their rivalry Aug. 23 in the Irish Bowl at KCHS.

Total enrollment for the new year still is being tabulated. Sister Mary Marta Abbott, RSM, superintendent of Catholic Schools, said the 2012-13 school year ended with enrollment of about 3,300 students.

“It’s been a good start to the new year. It started early, but it started well,” Sister Mary Marta said.

The school year began for students on Aug. 5 at St. Dominic in Kingsport and Aug. 6 at St. Mary in Johnson City. The Chattanooga deanery’s three schools, Notre Dame High School, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Jude, began Aug. 8. And Knoxville-area Catholic schools opened Aug. 12.

Students in Sabrina Talley’s fourth-grade class at St. John Neumann School were part of school history on Aug. 23. The fourth-

St. John Neumann fourth-grade student Adam Osborne shares a book with preschool student Cole Latham. Photo by  Michelle Dougherty

St. John Neumann fourth-grade student Adam Osborne shares a book with preschool student Cole Latham.
Photo by Michelle Dougherty

graders were the first students to be reading buddies with St. John Neumann’s first preschool class.

“The fourth-graders were excited and a little nervous to meet their new reading buddies. The reading buddy program allows older elementary students to practice their reading fluency and share their time and talent with others. The program also exposes younger students to print, new vocabulary, and different genres of books,” said Michelle Dougherty, reading coach at St. John Neumann School.

St. John Neumann’s preschool began PreK 3 and PreK 4 classes Aug. 12, led by preschool director and PreK 4 teacher Beth Mattingly.

Sister Mary Marta said three new school leaders are being welcomed as the year begins. George Valadie is the president at Notre Dame. Sarah Trent is the principal at Sacred Heart Cathedral School, and Sister Marie Blanchette Cummings, OP, is the new principal at St. Mary School in Oak Ridge.

Leaders of all 10 schools gathered at an Aug. 20 Chancery principals meeting led by Sister Mary Marta and Sedonna Prater, former Sacred Heart principal who now is curriculum director for diocesan schools.

“We are looking forward to the new year and also for the second collection Aug. 24-25 for tuition support,” Sister Mary Marta said.

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