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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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        For those who drive down Pickle Road in Oregon, seeing the Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School and Saint Kateri Catholic Academy sign in the schools’ front lawn is a familiar sight.

        However, for a brief period on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 31, the sign was covered with red cloth. School President Father Eric Schild and Principal Kevin Parkins held a press conference on this morning to officially unveil the academy’s name revision: Cardinal Stritch Catholic Academy.

 

        In 2009, three area Catholic elementary schools – Sacred Heart, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Jerome – merged to form one school. The pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade institution was given the name Kateri Catholic Academy, after then-beatified Kateri Tekakwitha, by leaders of the merged schools and Cardinal Stritch.

        This decision, Fr. Schild explained, was made “to be efficient and effective in providing Catholic education.”

        Fr. Schild briefly spoke of the high school’s history, beginning with its inception in 1961. The high school, named after the second bishop of the Diocese of Toledo, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, has since grown and experienced change, but has always been well-known and deeply rooted in the community.

        This reputation of Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School, combined with a new elementary and middle school under a different name, resulted in confusion within and outside of the community.

        “People saw us as two separate schools with two separate missions,” Fr. Schild said. In the years following the merger, brand identity would become a challenge for the new school system. Two names needed to be presented as one unified campus, and though great effort was made to do so, the message was still not received by all.

        “We are unified in Christ, unified in mission, and now unified by name,” Fr. Schild announced once the updated sign was unveiled.

        Careful planning and consideration went into the name revision, as Fr. Schild explained the process of the schools’ Advancement Office polling and speaking with area parishes, in addition to students and their parents, teachers and leaders of the schools. The name revision was passed on to the board of directors before getting its final approval from Bishop Daniel Thomas.

        “Bishop Thomas makes the final call on these decisions,” Fr. Schild confirmed.

        Fr. Schild added that this name revision does not mean the name Kateri Tekakwitha will be forgotten. To honor her intercession in this eight-year process, the chapel located in the front of the school building will now bear her name.

        As a reminder of what the occasion was about, representatives from each grade level, pre-kindergarten through 12th, were present and helped with the unveiling. Seventh-grade student of the now-Cardinal Stritch Catholic Academy, Sydney Payeff, also spoke, telling of her family’s history with the high school and the academy.

        “The future is bright,” Principal Kevin Parkins added.

        Parkins expressed the benefits of having both high school and academy on one campus. These ranged from increasing the number of smiles the younger students bring when they are dressed up for their annual Halloween parade to the greater ability to meet all students’ academic needs.

        “If a sixth-grade student is excelling in math, we can move them up to Algebra I.” The same goes, Parkins said, for a student struggling in a certain subject area. He or she can be placed in the class that best fits their skill level.

        No matter the names, Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School and Academy share the same mission and priorities.           

“These students,” Parkins said, referring to the schools’ entire student bodies, “represent all that we are here at Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School and Cardinal Stritch Catholic Academy.”

 

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