By Corrine Erlandson
FORT WAYNE — May 30 marked the final day of St. Joseph-St. Elizabeth School, which operated for 16 years as a joint school for both St. Joseph and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishes and families. An all school Mass celebrated at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, prayer service and an evening celebration and supper marked the last day.
“Some might be happy because it’s the last day of school,” St. Elizabeth Ann Seton pastor Father Jim Shafer said in his homily during Mass. “Some might be sad because today marks the closing of St. Joseph-St. Elizabeth School. But really, our hearts should be full of gratitude for the many blessings of our 16 years as a joint school.”
An evening celebration at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish marked the closing of the joint school and the opening of two new schools, St. Joseph School and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School. Father Tim Wrozek, pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Father Shafer, Principal Lois Widner, joint school principal, and incoming St. Joseph School Principal Cristy Jordan, assisted with a prayer service. Father Wrozek and Father Shafer blessed two donated dogwood trees that will be planted at both St. Joseph and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishes as a symbol of new life and new growth with the opening of the two new schools.
“We have been an awesome school for the past 16 years — two campuses joined together with one vision,” said Lois Widner, who was administrator of the joint school and now principal of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School. “We now have an excellent opportunity to serve our community and provide two excellent schools for a quality Catholic education. We are spreading the Good News of Christ and continuing to educate the whole child — academically, physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
A fond farewell was also bid to Marianne Connett, school secretary, who is retiring after 27 years of dedicated service at both the previous St. Joseph School and St. Joseph-St. Elizabeth School. A gift of a Vera Bradley bag and a travel gift certificate was presented to Connett on behalf of the school community.
During the celebration, fourth-grade teacher Anna Cunningham Gray spoke words of appreciation for her teacher’s aide, fellow teachers, administrators and students as she retired from her classroom post to join her family’s business.
A hot dog supper, along with cake, popcorn, cotton candy and music provided by a deejay rounded out the evening’s celebration.
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