ANDERSON—A long-time dream is coming true for all those involved with St. Joseph School.
Not only are they opening a new early childhood education development center for 3- and 4-year-olds, they are also expanding their grades to include middle school.
Michael Stein, director of mission advancement for St. Joseph Church, said the early education center will open this summer so working parents can take advantage of it.
Then, in the new school year, the first of the middle schoolers will be added with the creation of a sixth grade, he said. A seventh and eighth grade will be added in successive years.
Stein said church members and parents have been talking and praying about expanding the school for at least 10 years, and held stewardship campaigns to raise money.
When Father Hayden J. Vaverek, pastor, took the reins of the church, he decided it was time to take action, Stein said. He praised the priest for taking the leadership role.
The school, which was founded in 1967, will also remodel all of its classrooms, adding wooden shelves and cabinets, Smart boards, and computer stations. The library, lobby and teacher work area are slated for renovations as well.
“We have completely made over the old classrooms, which were the same as they were in the ’60s and ’70s,” he said.
Stein said the improvements will be complete by the start of the new school year in August.
But parents didn’t have to wait seven months to see what the classrooms will look like. St. Joseph held an open house in January for parishioners to show off a model of the new rooms. On Feb. 14, they invited the community and potential parents to come see. Stein said at least 12 new families filled out school enrollment applications.
“It was very successful,” he said. “We’re definitely counting our blessings.”
In preparation for having a middle school, Stein said they created a partnership with St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Greenville to make sure they were following an appropriate curriculum.
They are also in the process of purchasing a bus, pending final approval from Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, so graduates of little St. Joe’s in Anderson can attend Big St. Joe’s in Greenville, he said.