Twenty-three years after first opening their doors to 250 students in 1995, St. Junipero Serra Catholic School in Rancho Santa Margarita will once again open their doors this fall with excitement and anticipation, as students, parents and staff get their first look at the new Student Creation and Leadership Center and the St. Junipero Serra Chapel. This final phase of construction began on April 3, 2017, with a ground-breaking ceremony and blessing by the Most Reverend Bishop Kevin W. Vann of the Diocese of Orange.
According to SJSC President, Angeline Trudell, "This final phase brings together the key components of our Mission as a Catholic School in the Diocese of Orange: our commitment to living and modeling our Catholic Faith with our new chapel; our dedication to advancing student learning and opportunities-preparing them to be leaders in the 21st century; and our recognition that we are partners in leadership with our parent community. Our Miracle of 23 years has blossomed."
Perhaps the most anticipated part of the construction project is the building of the St. Junipero Serra Chapel, which will have seating for 248 and is a place for prayer and liturgy for students and families. In addition to praying inside the chapel, students can also pray outside the chapel, with a Stations of the Cross stone wall, and a beautiful Rosary Garden which includes a rosary and cross laid out in stone and canopied by olive trees. The chapel, built and adorned with stone, oak and bronze, houses a cross, tabernacle and corpus that were hand-sculpted in Mexico.
In addition to the chapel, the SJSC teachers and administration are excited to show their students the new Student Creation and Leadership Center upon their return to campus on September 4. The first floor of the center includes a Production Studio with video equipment and green screens, a Think Space with writable walls for sharing and projecting ideas, a Performance room to support the school’s music and theater programs, and two SmartLabs from Creative Learning Systems. SmartLabs are state-of-the-art STEM centers for students to explore, think, collaborate, problem solve and more. The labs engage learners of all ages, abilities and interests. As Beth Thomas, Director of Education Technology at SJSC, puts it, “The SmartLabs are like learning playgrounds for the students.”
The second floor of the new building houses the leadership center, including a 1400 square foot parenthub--a space for administration and parents to work collaboratively. According to SJSC President, Angeline Trudell, “The leadership center is where parent leadership, collaboration, hard work, and community building come together.”
When asked about the the leadership center, PTO President, Shannon O’Connor said the approach at SJSC has always been focused on teamwork between administration and parents, supporting student growth, “Parental involvement has been a differentiator for the St. Serra educational experience and the new leadership facility demonstrates the administration’s commitment to parental volunteerism enabling us to have a beautiful and spacious meeting and work area on campus.”
From the Shoulders of a Few…To the Shoulders of Us All
As our founding families instilled in us, it’s not about the bricks and mortar, but what’s inside.
None of our permanent buildings have been paid for with tuition dollars, but instead with the generosity of our families and special benefactors. We ask EVERY St. Serra family to leave their footprint on this campus with a tax deductible multi-year pledge to our campaign - making a positive impact on the children of today and the leaders of tomorrow.
We also ask you to continue to pray for our success.
Thank you for our children, your most precious gift to us and for the beautiful things in life that are revealed to us through their eyes and hearts.
Thank you for the miracle of St. Junipero Serra Catholic School. We pray that, in your glory and with the generosity of the Serra community, our vision will be fulfilled.
Help each one of us to understand the importance of sacrifice and empower us to give openly from our hearts.
Please, Lord, bless all of us who believe that St. Junipero Serra Catholic School is one of your miracles, one that will blossom forever.
Please be with us as we continue to develop faith-filled leaders who will make a difference in our world. We know that each of us is needed in this effort to expand Catholic education.
Together, with your guidance, we know that all things are possible.