Students at York Catholic High School began their year with striking renovations on campus aimed at enhancing their academic and extra-curricular experiences.
Through the efforts of its “Grow Today, Impact Tomorrow” Capital Campaign, York Catholic unveiled a new turf athletic field on Aug. 19 and celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony for renovated classrooms and facility-wide air conditioning on Sept. 5.
The enhancements mark the first of the Phase I work; additional upgrades this school year and through the summer of 2020 will include the modernization of science labs and lecture rooms, facility-wide safety enhancements, the creation of a Student and Media Center, and renovations to the lobby and chapel.
Excitement surrounding the new developments was evident at the first unveiling of York Catholic’s newest feature, the turf field, on Aug. 19.
Accompanied by performances from the high school marching band and cheerleading squads, the field’s ribbon-cutting ceremony featured the introduction of the school’s fall sports teams, celebrating the talents of nearly 300 musicians and athletes. Father Daniel Richards, school chaplain, blessed the field, and families and students were welcomed on to the new turf, emblazoned with an image of the Fighting Irish’s mascot.
“One of the major changes we have now is the different colored lines on the field. This allows us to have marching band and 13 different teams that will be able to utilize this field,” said Kevin Bankos, athletic director.
“York Catholic is blessed with the many donors who not only made this project possible, but also with those who have made the reality of the many campus improvements over this summer,” said principal Katie Seufert. “As a result of their generosity, we have upgraded to this beautiful field, refurbished our gym floor, renovated 24 classrooms and two hallways, improved technology and installed brand new larger lockers.”
Freshly renovated classrooms and hallways welcomed students for the start of classes after the Labor Day weekend. Bishop Ronald Gainer visited the school on Sept. 5 and blessed the renovations, following a school-wide Mass celebrated in the auditorium.
“Let me say how happy I am and how blessed I feel to have the opportunity to join with you on the third day of school at York Catholic. I hope and pray and am convinced this will be the beginning of a wonderful experience and a great adventure in your life,” Bishop Gainer told the students.
He also expressed gratitude for supporters of the Capital Campaign that has resulted in physical changes to the school.
“Today, we ask God to be with you throughout every class, in every classroom, in every program and activity, in everything that is a part of York Catholic, that God will guide, direct, bless and sanctify every moment and set upon each of you, so you can grow in a new closeness in Jesus Christ and with one another,” he said.
“That’s the ultimate goal of Catholic education,” Bishop Gainer said. We want you to succeed in the world, and I trust that you get the very best academic formation here. Academic excellence is one of the trademarks of our Catholic schools. But it goes far beyond forming your minds, enriching your intellects. Your whole person has a mind, a heart, a body and an immortal soul…. You come here to be enriched, to be educated, and to be formed by the Word of God and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.”
Following the Mass, Bishop Gainer joined school officials – including Principal Katie Seufert – in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The $4.5 million Phase I renovations are made possible by donors to the Capital Campaign, which was announced in November of last year.
“The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive and we have found the Capital Campaign is energizing not only our current students and staff, but also re-energizing our alumni and friends in the York community,” Seufert said of the efforts.
The goal is to raise a total of $8 million over three to five years, which will allow for two separate phases of renovation. Phase II will include converting and modernizing the Brady Science Wing that serves seventh and eighth grade students, central offices, additional restrooms, and home and guest grandstands, concession stand, restrooms, and locker rooms at the athletic field.
“While our building has remained much the same, our programs have continued to meet the evolving needs of our students into the 21st century,” Seufert said. “We are excited to revive the building of the late 1950s to match that of our outstanding 21st century spiritual, academic, and extra-curricular programs.”
(For information about York Catholic High School and its Capital Campaign, visit www.yorkcatholic.org.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness