Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School celebrates 125 years
Antonia Galasso and Katelyn Hosler stand by their displays for the Education Fair at Ss. Peter and Paul School, Lehighton. Galasso interviewed her family members, while Hosler found a family friend, Catherine DeMatte, to interview.
Those attending Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School's open house this past weekend could enjoy the results of the students' research. The student shared decades of history about their school they gleaned while talking to family members and friends who had ties to the school.
Their research was displayed at the Education Fair to celebrate the school's 125 anniversary.
Each student in grades third through eighth was given the assignment to interview someone with ties to the school, such as a former student, teacher, volunteer or pastor and share their story through words, pictures, news articles and school mementos. Children in lower grades made dioramas and a put together a quilt that were also on display.
The project brought out old report cards, handmade awards made by the nuns who had taught at the school and plenty of other memorabilia that was not only interesting, but made people smile.
Principal Sherry Sernak had said that there was not a lot of history available on the school anywhere. Since they couldn't find any written records, the school decided to discover the history through the people whose lives were touched by the school.
"We wanted to learn more about the school's history," said Sernak. Each display gave a snippet of the school's rich history. For some students, such as Antonia Galasso, the assignment was as easy as speaking to her father and her grandmother, who are former students, while others, such as Katelyn who is a first generation student, relied on a family friend to learn more about the school.
"I learned that a lot of my family went to Ss. Peter and Paul School," said Galasso. Not only did her grandmother go to Ss. Peter and Paul School, but so did her three great-uncles, a great-aunt and her aunt and a sister.
For Hosler, she relied on Catherine DeMatte's memories to help her put her display together.
"This is exactly what I was looking for when I asked the students to get involved," said Sernak. "I had hoped to learn more about the school's history through the former students."
According to the "Parishes of the Diocese of Allentown" Catholicism dates back to 1850, when there were seven Catholic families in the area. The exact date of the founding of the church is unknown, but the parish formed in 1885 and the school opened in 1886.
At first the church served both as a church and school, but in 1906, the cornerstone was laid for a new church and the old church was remodeled into a full-time parochial school. The cornerstone for the new school was laid on Aug. 17, 1924 and classes were held for the first time on Feb. 9. 1925. There was an addition to the school in 1975.
Ss. Peter and Paul held an open house and registrations on Sunday, with tours and everyone having time to view the Academic Fair.
Ss. Peter and Paul School is a Middle States Accredited school in the Diocese of Allentown, offering full time preschool though eighth grade classes in a quality Catholic atmosphere. Small class sizes allow students to excel, scoring well-above national averages on standardized test scores. Most SS. Peter and Paul graduates go on to excel in the top five or ten percent of their high school classes.
In addition to their regular curriculum, which exceeds state standards, SS Peter and Paul offers a Robotics Club, instrumental music classes, Student Council, newspaper, yearbook, service opportunities, CYO sports activities, and before and after school care.
In addition to the initial open house, the weeklong celebration will also include a speaker series featuring former students who have since become members of religious orders and communities.