Father McGivney Catholic High School senior Morgan Wagner shared her high school journey with the mass of people who came out to dedicate the area’s newest Catholic high school on Sunday.
Morgan’s high school journey actually began in the sixth-grade when she was a student at St. Michael’s Catholic School in Staunton. That’s when she first heard about the possibility of Father McGivney High School.
For two years, she said a rendering of the future Father McGivney school hung on the refrigerator of her home. During her eighth-grade year, she attended an open house at the school, which opened in 2012 in the north wing of St. John Neumann Catholic School in Maryville.
“I knew then that this was my high school,” Morgan said. “In those two small hallways of St. John Neumann, my high school experience was born, and it was the best high school experience I could have ever imagined.”
Morgan was part of a class of 19 students. “We were so lucky to be the pioneers of the new high school,” she said.
Morgan said she’s in awe that they are now able to stand in the building that she dreamed about for so many years. “This building represents so many things to so many people,” she said. “This building is now the place I can call home.”
McGivney quickly outgrew its space at St. John Neumann, and a capital campaign was launched to raise the $5 million needed to construct the new high school building.
Principal Mike Scholz said more than 1,400 people answered the call to donate. “This means a lot to a lot of people,” he said of the school’s dedication.
Scholz praised the students at Father McGivney. “These students are accomplishing some amazing things,” he said. “They make me grow my faith by watching them every day.”
The new Father McGivney Catholic High School is 53,000 square feet, which includes state-of-the-art classrooms, science labs, art room, gymnasium, chapel and student lounge.
“I know there will be a lot of memorable moments in this place,” said Rev. Jeffrey Goeckner, chaplain at Father McGivney school.
Hurford Architects designed the facility, and Holland Construction served as the construction manager. The school sits on an 80-acre lot with room for a planned athletics complex and future expansion.
The new school was blessed by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki with the Diocese of Springfield during the ceremony Sunday at the school, located at 7190 Bouse Road. The bishop joined by priests of area parishes sprinkled holy water throughout the building and over the grounds blessing all aspects of the school.
Paprocki said even before he was officially installed as bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in June 2010, he was asked to have a meeting regarding the proposed Father McGivney high school. He recalled having a “great sense of hope” about the project, but wanted to be “prudent,” which is why the school first opened in a wing at St. John Neumann.
Paprocki joked that he hoped to one day see a Bishop Paprocki hockey rink on the campus of Father McGivney. He said he would pray for the growth and prosperity of the school, it’s students and staff.