Private, parochial schools prepared for first day of classes

Published 12:12 am Saturday, August 9, 2014

NATCHEZ School administrators at Natchez’s private and parochial schools say a summer of hard work and preparation has them ready for the upcoming school year.

From the last school bell of the year in May, teachers and staff have been working through everything from developing new programs to moving into new buildings to prepare for the first day of school.

Adams County Christian School

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Routine renovations and maintenance to classrooms at ACCS kept administrators, faculty and staff plenty busy this summer, headmaster David King said.

“The summer is just always a busy, busy time for us, and this one was no different,” King said. “It’s been such a hectic time for us trying to get everything ready, but it’s also an exciting time for our staff to really take pride in their school.”

A majority of the classrooms throughout the school received a fresh coat of paint this summer, King said, and also some technology upgrades to help with classroom instruction.

King said he also put an emphasis on developing the school’s preschool program this summer and hopes to see that work continue into the upcoming school year.

“That’s where it all starts, so we want to make sure we’re educating the next generation of students and community leaders,” King said. “We’re very excited about the progress our preschool has made, and we want that to continue.”

Registering students who have spent the summer with school off their minds has also been a challenge, King said.

“We were actually registering kids as late as 5 p.m. (Friday),” King said. “That’s kept us plenty busy, and I think we’ll be right at where we’ve been in the last few years, attendance wise.”

King said he expects enrollment to be approximately 480 students this school year.

“We graduated 50 seniors, which was great, but we were sad to see such a great class go,” King said. “We’re just excited about the new year, and we’re confident about this senior class we have coming in this year.

“I think everyone is going to do great things.”

ACCS’s first day is Monday.

Cathedral School

Sixth- through eighth-grade students will have a new home at Cathedral as the construction of the school’s new middle school building finished over the summer.

“Most of our time this summer has revolved around the new middle school building, so I think everyone is just excited to see that finally done and ready to go,” Chief administrator and high school principal Pat Sanguinetti said. “It’s been great to see everyone so excited for the new building, and we’re just looking forward to the new year.”

The 14,500-square-foot building includes eight classrooms, as well as a state-of-the-art science lab.

The building is part of a larger construction and remodeling project for Cathedral.

The goal of the campaign, which is titled, “Our Children, Our Tradition, Our Future,” is to provide the students with more science, technology, engineering and math programs.

Chemistry and biology labs, as well as two elementary bathrooms and two high school bathrooms, were completed last summer.

Sanguinetti said now that the middle school building is complete, school administrators will turn their focus to the new athletic facility, which will be located near the softball fields.

“That’s really the last stage of this campaign, so we’re hoping we can start that soon,” Sanguinetti said. “I’m not sure exactly when we’ll start construction, but I know for a fact it will be done by Aug. 1.”

Apart from construction on campus, Sanguinetti said administrators have also been busy registering new students.

Sanguinetti said Cathedral ended last year with 650 students. As of Friday, 676 students had been registered.

“It means we’re doing something right,” Sanguinetti said.

Cathedral’s first day is Monday.

Trinity Episcopal Day School

Nearly 30 Miss-Lou families signed up to be Trinity Saints this summer, as the school’s total enrollment reached 260, Head of School Les Hegwood said.

“It’s a good problem to have, but it’s kept us busy this summer,” Hegwood said. “We’ve had to work to balance the work to get those families signed up and working to advance our strategic initiatives.”

The school’s global initiative studies and religious studies have been the focus of teachers and staff this summer, Hegwood said.

Developing those programs, he said, will ensure the curriculum is ready to help students excel inside and outside the classroom.

“In the classroom, we’re trying to create a realistic college preparatory experience, but we also want to make sure our offerings are preparing students for what’s next,” Hegwood said. “What we also want to ensure is that our culture is being shaped by our Episcopal, Christian identity.”

Hegwood said creating and executing a strong religious studies program would ensure Trinity students maintain that identity.

“We want to make sure we are Episcopal not just in name, but also how we conduct business and interact in life,” Hegwood said. “College is the next step, but that’s only four years, so we want to make sure these kids know how to treat one another, love themselves and their neighbors.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to put an emphasis on that and letting those ethics shape us.”

Trinity’s first day is Thursday.