On this first day of school, the building quickly filled with bright smiles, hugs and anticipation for the new year. Students were greeted by teachers and staff who prepared for their arrival by attending a retreat on Monday, which was directed by the ministry and service office. "Sewing Seeds of Faith" provided faculty and staff the opportunity to start the year off together in prayer and conversation that focused on the longterm impact they make on all students with each encounter. "Though everyone had many to-do items on their lists, we took a moment's pause to pray together, laugh and offer each other support," said John Marshall, principal. "We were ready for our students."
Adding to the anticipation of the day, was the opening of the CJ STEMM Center for classes. Closed for construction since last January, students finally re-entered spaces that had been radically transformed over the last seven months. "I expected that there would be a change, but I didn't think it would be so dramatic," said Nyjia Lott '16. "Last year we saw drawings and I thought that it would turn out more like the demonstration classroom that they upgraded last year. It made me smile."
"When I walked up there this morning, I just stopped and looked around. It was so different," said Thomas Carmody '14. "I was expecting it to be nice, but not at all to this level or degree of organization. I am taking AP Chemistry and the facilities are so much nicer; it makes me want to start right in with experiments — we have so much more available to us now.
"I've seen a lot of change of the last four years; CJ is pushing. This is just one more way that CJ shows progression and making it better than anything else out there. It's cool to be part of this evolution."
Once students settled into their first class to the tune of, "Are You Ready for This," pumping through the hallways, the day began with prayer, pledge, an introductory to the Center by Mr. Marshall, and a blessing for the new Center and school by Fr. Matt Robben, who later walked into every learning space and office in the building and blessed all with holy water. "This is going to be a great one," said Marshall.