Jun 17, 2014

St. Michael’s Academy celebrates end of school year, new strategic plan



Story and photos by Sharon Roulier

SPRINGFIELD – Students, faculty, parents and honored guests gathered June 17 for a special liturgy at Holy Cross Church, celebrating the end of the academic year and the beginning of a new strategic plan for St. Michael’s Academy.

The Mass was celebrated by Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell, who told the students attending that the day was one of “thanksgiving.” He encouraged the students to thank God for “family, friends, food, teachers and everything that comes from God.”

Five years ago, five Catholic schools in Springfield were merged to form one Catholic elementary school in the city. The school, which serves pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, was originally located on three campuses.

Following a June 2011 tornado that destroyed two of its campuses located on the Cathedral High School property, the classrooms were relocated to 153 Eddywood St., the original location of the former Holy Cross School.

“It’s really an exciting time for us because we feel that we have overcome the merger, the tornado and all the challenges that were ahead of us and we’re finally in a position where we’re moving forward and achieving great things,” said Ann Dougal, principal of St. Michael’s Academy.

Over the last three years the school welcomed the help of some 80 volunteers and constituents, who created a plan with several long-term goals to direct the school toward a successful future. One of the school’s strategic goals was to begin the Fund for St. Michael’s Academy, which was instituted on July 1, 2013. To date, more than $180,000 has been raised for the fund, used to support the school’s budget.

The goal was met through the generous matching gift of $75,000 from Big Y Chief Executive Officer Donald D’Amour and his wife, Michele, longtime supporters of Catholic education in the diocese. The D’Amours, along with Paul and Josephine Sears of Springfield, co-chairs of the fund drive, were honored by the school at an awards ceremony in the gym following the morning liturgy.

Bishop McDonnell and Franciscan Sister of St. Joseph M. Andrea Ciszewski, superintendent of diocesan schools, also received recognition for their support of Catholic education.

This academic year, the fund has allowed the St. Michael’s Academy to purchase 16 interactive smart boards for its classrooms, along with laptops for its teachers.

Dougal said the enrollment at the school remains steady at 540 students. She said registration has begun for the 2014-2015 academic year. For more information about St. Michael’s Academy, log onto the school’s website at www.smaspringfield.org or call 413-782-5246.