CHANDLER — Sixty years ago, the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill opened a small Catholic school serving mostly migrant and farming families. Today, families from all over the East Valley choose Seton for its strong Catholic values and rigorous academics.
The school has three generations of alumni who have gone on to college and career success, become heads of domestic churches found within the home and held their duty to God and country in high regard via the military and government leadership.
“We wanted our kids to grow up in the faith. I think that’s all it was,” Sylvia Stoll told The Catholic Sun following an Alumni Mass and Hall of Fame Awards luncheon Oct. 4 at Seton.
She and her husband, Mark, were part of the first graduating class in 1958. The Stolls dated and married after high school, sending all four children through Seton. Four grandchildren are also alumni with two more current students. Another pair are future Sentinels.
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[/quote_box_right]Seton Catholic is deeply rooted in Catholicism. The entire campus community focuses on St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s charisms — courage, determination, faith and love — a year at a time via guest speakers, service opportunities and retreats.
“I know why we’re here: to get to heaven. And I need all the help I can to get them there,” Sylvia said.
Countless teachers, Sisters of Charity — Sr. Marie Therese still offers tutoring — and Christian Brothers have provided such support. Fr. Doug Lorig, pastor of St. Maria Goretti in Scottsdale, spent four years at Seton as chaplain and theology teacher. He singled out three men in whom he saw potential vocations and held them after class to say so.
Two of them are now priests in the Diocese of Phoenix. Seton honored one of them, Fr. Chris Fraser, JCL, with the Distinguished Alumnus Award this month. The judicial vicar, Seton Class of ’89, distinguished himself by becoming one of four classmates to take four years of Latin, obtaining a trio of degrees including a doctorate in Canon Law and becoming a priest.
He concelebrated the Alumni Mass alongside fellow alum Fr. Scott Sperry, who was ordained in June, and Msgr. Jerry McCarthy, Class of 1964 and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Tucson.
Fr. Fraser said the high school experience is a time of growth in developing gifts, relationships, “and where we understand, in a more mature way, the centrality of faith in Christ and the blessings poured upon us through the gift of the sacraments.”
He said a true Catholic education presents the cross of Christ as the model, “the blueprint and ultimately, the destiny of every person…. In the end, we have to be willing to see the cross in those years, which molded us to be the people we are today, which should move us to gratitude.”
The alumni celebration included the blessing of a restored Mary statue sponsored by the Class of ’64. It’s all that remains of Seton’s original campus and was a gift from the Class of ’58.