New school gets prepared to welcome students for first year locally

 

StPeters1 StPeters2 StPeters3 By Ron Giofu

 

It’s tough for a student to pick up and move to a new school but when the school moves, it has its’ own challenges.

But for St. Peter’s Catholic School, there have been plenty of rewards as well.

The new all-boys private school opens today at the former St. Theresa School building in Malden Centre with head master Peter Thyrring stating he is enthused by the support the school has received.

“The community is so supportive. It’s amazing,” he said.

Acknowledging there are those parents who are nervous to sign their children up for the school, Thyrring pointed out they have six students and one teacher thus far. He expects the number of students to double by the end of September and he hopes to have 20 students by Christmas. A recent open house had over 40 people, he added.

“We’re building a new school from scratch,” he said. “Nobody knows us.”

Summer is not an ideal time to recruit students, he believed, with October and November and January through March being better times to try and attract students.

There are three staff members other than Thyrring, he said, with all three being local residents. He said it has been a team effort between himself, staff and parents to get the school going in Amherstburg and believed a small number of students will work to the students’ benefit.

“For us, it’s a win-win situation,” he said. “When you are small, you can do more things. They say good things come in small packages and I think we fit that criteria.”

Outings that are planned include a cycling excursion at Holiday Beach, hosting a race with 300-400 other students in King City and a trip to Point Pelee.

St. Peter’s was most recently located in Haliburton and was in Vaughn before that. Thyrring said in the three months since he confirmed the school was relocating to Amherstburg, he has had to move from Haliburton, make renovations to the interior of the school and recruit students. When he advertised for teachers, he said he received 120 applications.

“That just blew me away,” he stated.

Thyrring said students are welcome to enrol at St. Peter’s throughout the year.

“We are looking for active and athletic boys who want to be here,” he said. “We are always looking for new students to join the family. We are like an extended family, which is really neat.”

The town has been working well with St. Peter’s, Thyrring continued, and neighbours who recall going to St. Theresa School have also dropped by to wish him well. Thyrring noted that a drawing depicting the early years of St. Theresa School will still hang in the library and photos of the pennants the St. Theresa sports teams won will be displayed in the entranceway to the gymnasium to act as a reminder of the former school and an inspiration for the new school to match.

Sports and hands-on learning are two things Thyrring highlighted about St. Peter’s. He said he was not critical of other school systems, but said his was different and allowed for different opportunities for boys.

Duane and Christine Sinasac enrolled sons Ryan and Cameron at St. Peter’s with Cameron being the first to enrol. Duane said when Cameron first read in the River Town Times the school was looking at coming to Amherstburg, he knew he wanted to attend.

“He said ‘I’m going,’” said Duane. “He’s the one that got us involved.

Ryan soon became interested as well and now both will be attending the school, which begins with a half-day Wednesday.

“We’re beyond happy he decided to give it a try,” added Christine.

Duane, who also helps Thyrring maintain the building, said Thyrring’s approach meshes well with what they were looking for in terms of their children’s educations.

“Peter’s philosophy about the school and how it should be is what we wanted for the kids,” said Duane.

The Sinasacs added Cameron was too young for organized sports teams at his previous school but was enthused he will be allowed to compete right away at St. Peter’s.

The school also held a yard sale over the weekend to help raise money for the school. Thyrring noted that one person bought many of the blackboards and lockers.

“She does it for her interior design,” he said.

 

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