Students return to school across diocese

Students return to school across diocese

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Junior high students pose for a picture outside of St. John Vianney's new lockers Aug. 23. Annunciation Catholic School students also received lockers for the first time. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Junior high students pose for a picture outside of St. John Vianney’s new lockers Aug. 23. Annunciation Catholic School students also received lockers for the first time. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

Thousands of students stepped back into the classroom this week with most of the diocese’s 29 elementary schools starting a new year Aug. 21. Family cars filled parking lots as smiling students emerged with perfect uniforms, neatly combed hair and brightly colored backpacks. Many toted bags of fresh supplies for personal and classroom use.

Students at Annunciation Catholic School in Cave Creek started their school day as many Catholic school students do: gathered in prayer. It was a much tighter fit in the multi-purpose room this year.

“We made history again with our first kindergarten class and our first sixth-grade class and all of these other awesome students coming back,” Dr. Sharon Pristash, principal since Annunciation Catholic School opened in 2009, told students and their families who filled the perimeter.

Liz Trayer, music teacher, led the community in a piano-driven prayer to the tune of “All Are Welcome.” Students also did their best to sing, “We Are One in the Spirit.”

Typical first-day activities filled the first hours of class. Besides seat and locker assignments — they’re a new feature on campus — some students wanted to know early on which grades would share a lunch break. The fourth-grade class, many confirmed in the Church last spring, were excited to hear they would eat with Annunciation’s eldest students. Fourth-graders Ian Nicholson and Madelyn Kunis were among them.

Others, like Hailey Schwartz and Sarah Truskowaski, awaited science class and ultimately, the school and diocesan science fair.

“I really like doing experiments and learning about volcanoes and magnetism,” Truskolaski said.

A few kindergartners at St. John Vianney in Goodyear are already finding an appreciation for science. They enjoyed water table activities and playing with pretend insects during an indoor recess Aug. 23.

Classes at every grade level practiced walking in line earlier that morning. They filed into church for the first all-school liturgy of the year. Before the final blessing, Holy Cross Father Tom Eckert, pastor, reminded students of the first reading and its message.

“We should walk in a straight line — not just from class to class but in this day,” Fr. Eckert said.

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