By JOEY REISTROFFER
GREENVILLE — This year certainly has been filled with jubilee for the folks at St. Joseph’s High School.
Founders of the school started with a dream in the early 1990s. Through prayer and a lot of hard work, they have gone from “The Little House on Augusta Road” in the 1993, to “The Miracle on the Hill” today.
The high school on the hill at 4810 Frontage Road certainly has plenty to be proud of in 2000.
First, Bishop Robert J. Baker welcomed these students into the diocesan fold on the first day of classes, Aug. 15. Now, Phase II construction work is winding down, and the school is spreading its wings. Phase II crews finished work on two floors of classrooms, the cafeteria and the science lab facilities.
No more cramped quarters for these students. They have room to soar, both educationally and spiritually. So Headmaster Keith Kiser and the board of trustees, led by Margaret Ann Moon, decided to throw an open-house, ribbon-cutting party Oct. 22 to toast the accomplishments. About 250 people toured the school and applauded the progress.
Phase II opened up eight classrooms on the second floor and seven on the third floor, put the final polish on the cafeteria and renovated five science labs. The architect, Bradley Van Name, is proud of the work, and he should be. He was an original founder of St. Joseph’s, and he’s seen his dream blossom.
“To do what we have done in the time we did it is just short of a miracle,” Van Name said. “We used hope to inspire us.”
Phase II, however, is not complete. Those are just the interior renovations, which cost $965,000, said Greg Haselden, director of finance. Now workers will concentrate on the athletic facilities, including a baseball field, a softball field, a soccer field and four tennis courts. Haselden said that project will cost another $700,000.
When the fields are finished, they are determined to move forward to Phase III, Haselden said. Plans are not concrete, but they could involve the renovation of the chapel and a gymnasium, he said.
St. Joseph’s has grown at breathtaking speed. It started with 13 students; more students joined, and the school moved to a bigger facility on East Washington Street a year later. They outgrew those quarters in a couple of years and moved to the school’s present site on Frontage Road. This is their home. This is where they plan to stay, and they have plenty of room to expand on its 79 acres.
Walk into Burgess Hall and look right. There is a picture of Pope John Paul II and one of Bishop Baker. Then look straight ahead, and you’ll find the school’s motto carved into the wall. It says, “St. Joseph’s High School: Striving to form the minds, hearts and souls of its students in the likeness of Christ.”
Today, St. Joseph’s has 165 students.
Many are like Brett Meyers, who graduated in 1998. He said he came to St. Joseph’s because he wanted a challenge. He got that challenge at the East Washington Street campus, where he not only had to work on his education but also had to build the school.
“I even helped install sheetrock and plumbing,” Meyers said. It was worth it, he said, because he was among people who cared. “I felt I was not just a number, but someone who really mattered and was needed,” Meyers said. “I was challenged to be a better Catholic and to be a better person.”
Now St. Joseph’s has the facilities to educate and mold many, many more young minds “in the likeness of Christ.”
So Oct. 22 was a time to celebrate. The folks at St. Joseph’s cut a red ribbon leading into the new cafeteria, then toasted their accomplishments.
“The dream truly lives on,” Moon said.