February 9, 2016 // Local

Our Lady School gearing up for 2016-17 school year opening

Principal Eric Grekowicz smiles for a photo in between his presentations at the open house on Feb. 7.

By Kay Cozad

FORT WAYNE — Our Lady of Good Hope Parish is currently accepting applications for admission to its new school for the 2016-2017 school year. Our Lady School will educate grades kindergarten through 8 with a maximum of 150 students served.

Our Lady of Good Hope pastor, Father Mark Gurtner, explained that a two-year process of investigation brought the parish to this exciting venture. “It was really parents who came to me who were sending their children to other Catholic schools. And honestly they just wanted a school at their own parish,” said Father Gurtner.

Located on Saint Joe Road on the north side of Fort Wayne, Our Lady School will be housed in the building that was once used for preschool at the parish. Renovations have been minor, said Father Gurtner. New flooring and paint with a few adjustments to the walls, a new secure interior entrance, new exterior doors and windows and a new science lab and computer wiring will have the building completed and ready for the students in the fall of 2016. Father Gurtner is quick to note that all start up costs have been funded by private individual and foundation donations, including the Mary Cross Tippmann Foundation.

Father Gurtner noted that currently 127 students have been registered for the school. Kindergarten and second grade are now full, he said, but openings are still available in all other grades. There will be one class per grade K-8 with classes educating between 17 and 20 students each.

Our Lady School will be accredited through the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and will offer financial assistance to those who qualify, accepting Indiana Choice Scholarships and SGO scholarships. The school will employ a Classical Liberal Arts curriculum, which will afford the students a more integrated or holistic education.

The Baker and Sordelet families listen to Father Mark Gurtner speak in a classroom.

“The idea is that, it seems that especially in public education, education has become very stratified — the subjects are taught in a way that are not related to one another. So the Classical curriculum seeks to do that in a more integrated way,” said Father Gurtner, adding, “The way that can be especially beneficial to the faith is … a more integrated method of teaching has the advantage of possibly the teaching of the faith as part of all our subjects.”

“In a classical curriculum one of the main questions we put before us is searching for the true, good and beautiful. So as we present information, see how it reflects the glory of God, even in something like math or science. What’s true, good and beautiful and to present that to the kids,” noted Father Gurtner.

The curriculum will include art, computer and physical education. Our Lady School’s mascot is the knight, with anticipated sports teams and CYO participation.

Dr. Eric Grekowicz will oversee the new school as principal, bringing his enthusiasm and experience with Classical curriculum from his former position as Catholic school principal in Michigan. “Kids get invested in their education and interested in the history of the Church and daily Mass. It’s exciting for the kids, families and teachers,” said Grekowicz, adding, “What the school is doing is it’s going back 100 years ago to the way we used to educate kids. The Catholic Church educated people in a very holistic manner for almost 2,000 years. It’s only been since the rise of industrialization that we educate the way we do. … It used to be that everything was taught simultaneously, and the connections between different disciplines were then clear.” The method is what teachers want naturally to do, noted Grekowicz, who is grateful to be part of the start up of this school.

His hope for the new school, “That children come out holy and well prepared for their life and eternity.” Father Gurtner added, “First and foremost I want them, in addition to what their parents do, to become disciples of Jesus Christ through the school. And hopefully the education we will give them will be part of that.”

Superintendent of Catholic Schools Marsha Jordan said of Our Lady School, “In an era where there continues to be a decline in Catholic schools across the country, we are fortunate in our diocese to welcome the second new elementary school within a three year span. Each of our parish schools is blessed with strong religious instruction, excellent academics and supportive parish communities. Our Lady of Good Hope will continue this tradition with a holistic approach to instruction, while nurturing the Catholic faith in its students. Our Lady will become both state and AdvancED accredited by following all legal and curricular standards of the diocese and the state. As I have worked closely with Eric Grecowicz over the last six months, I have been impressed with his energy, enthusiasm and vision for the future of Our Lady School and its students.”

Nicholas Diemer looks at the pictures in a classroom.

Secretary for Catholic Education Carl Loesch concluded, “Over the 159-year history of our diocese dating all the way back to St. Mother Theodore Guérin, Msgr. Benoit and so many other visionary leaders, our diocese has been blessed with many outstanding Catholic schools. May the Blessed Mother, patroness of our diocese, watch over this school named in her honor and all the schools in our diocese.”

The school recently offered the community an open house where parishioners and other interested visitors could see the building and learn more about the school. The search for teachers has begun and those interested may contact the school.

For more information about
Our Lady School, to schedule a tour
or inquire about employment
call 260-485-9615,
see the Facebook page
or visit www.olghfw.com.



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