School year begins for students at St. Andrew and Bishop Verot
The first day of a new year for St. Andrew Catholic School ended with early dismissal Monday morning as parents filed into the school to personally pick up their children.
Bishop Verot High School, another private Catholic school in Fort Myers, also opened its doors Monday, two weeks before the Lee County School District begins school Aug. 24.
St. Andrew, a private elementary and middle school in Cape Coral, is celebrating its 20th year.
It opened in 1989 after six Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters opened the school next door to the church. Each year it added new grades and by 1991 it offered classes for students in kindergarten to eighth grade.
Sister Elizabeth Meegan, principal of St. Andrew, said the school enrolled 283 students for the 2009-10 year, and has a total capacity of 288.
“We have a couple of openings in a couple of grades,” she said. “Sometimes people come in a week or two late.”
Schools across the country have been feeling the effect of last year’s economic crash, yet St. Andrew is still putting up positive enrollment numbers.
Bishop Verot High School reported that its enrollment is at about the same as last year.
“Last year we finished at 720 and this year we started at 710 and we have a few registering today,” said Dan Jackman, director of communications at Bishop Verot High. “We aren’t down that much considering the economy and what is happening with the area.”
Jackman said new freshmen were invited to the campus last week to participate in a book fair and class orientations. They toured the campus and went through a full circuit of classes, meaning school work started Monday.
“Today they would know exactly where they are going and where their locker was,” he said. “Last week was a dry run.”
Because Bishop Verot does not bus its students, Jackman said parents and students had to get used to the protocol at the school’s drop-off/pick-up area.
Most of the freshmen are dropped off by their parents and by the time they are old enough, they drive themselves to school.
St. Andrew’s first day of school was special because no students or parents cried, officials said. Each year some students and their parents shed a tear in the morning, but this year was dry.
“It was great, no parents were crying and no children were crying,” said Meegan.
Although it was back to business for most of the older students, Meegan said students entering sixth grade had to make some adjustments to the new schedules and format of middle school.
“Sixth-graders are getting used to middle school,” she said. “But they have begun, they were doing reviews and getting themselves organized.”
Bianca Ferrara, a sixth-grader at St. Andrew, said she had to get used to changing classes in middle school.
“It’s new because it’s middle school and we switched for every class,” she said. “We got our lockers open and went over the rules.”
Bianca’s mother, Pam, said she has enrolled both of her daughters at St. Andrew Catholic School for the last eight years, even though the family lives in Fort Myers.
Her older daughter is in eighth grade this year.