On Tuesday morning, December 1, 2020 Bishop Timothy Doherty visited the new St. Francis Early Learning Academy to tour the finished 10,000 ft. facility and to bless the new preschool. St. Francis, which opened in August to serve Lafayette are preschool-aged children, was made possible by a generous donation made by Franciscan Health, Inc. a ministry of The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration.
“Over the last few years, the Lafayette Catholic School System, and our six supporting parishes, recognized a need for expanded access to a high-quality preschool experience for our families,” said Eric Davis, Executive Director of the Lafayette Catholic School System (LCSS). “We wanted to provide these families with a high-performing educational path from preschool all the way through high school.” To do that LCSS committed resources to more than double its preschool offerings from previous years. The new state of the art facility fits the bill, with the capacity to educate 250 students within its brightly decorated walls.
After the ceremony to bless the building, Bishop Doherty visited with some of the students and staff, toured the indoor recess space and observed some of the classrooms as the children sang to the alphabet song or practiced their numbers on a smart board. Bishop Doherty also learned about a number of the enhanced safety and security features that LCSS added for the protection of its students as it renovated the building.
Since its official opening on August 18, St. Francis, like the other four LCSS schools, has been committed to safely maintaining in-person instruction during the pandemic, but that has not changed its commitment to providing a caring, fun and educational environment. The school is staffed with highly trained teachers, has a faith-imbued curriculum and flexible programs that can accommodate busy families.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide a new, larger preschool setting for the Greater Lafayette community,” said St. Francis Director, Betsy Tuholski a 2005 graduate of Central Catholic. “Our families have really responded. Even with the pandemic, our phones are always ringing. We had to even expand some of our initial offerings because of the amount of interest. We are so grateful to Franciscan and the Sisters for providing this opportunity, and to our pastorates for their support. To have the Bishop take the time out of his schedule to come to bless the building today made it all even more special.”
St. Francis Early Learning Academy will begin enrolling new students for the Fall of 2021 on Jan 24, 2021.