Students of snow-damaged Maryland Catholic school to resume classes


Classes will resume for students of a Maryland Catholic school at a new location after their school’s roof collapsed in the Feb. 6 snowstorm.

The students of St. John School in Hollywood, Maryland, will attend classes in the former Holy Angels-Sacred Heart School in Avenue, Md. for the rest of the school year, the Archdiocese of Washington reported. Classes will resume on Monday.

The damaged school serves 184 students in grades kindergarten through eight. Holy Angels-Sacred Heart was closed in June 2009 because of financial challenges and low enrollment.

Fr. Bill Gurnee, pastor of Holy Angels parish, said the parish was “Very happy to be able to help.”

“Many of our parishioners called me right after the accident to ask if we could invite St. John’s School to use our building. We look forward to having the kids and faculty here.”

Pat Suit, the principal of St. John School, said “so many people reached out to us after the roof collapse.”

“We are very grateful for their support and for their offers of space,” she added. “Holy Angels was a wonderful fit and has the space that will allow our school community to stay together, which was a priority for us.”

The damage to the St. John School’s building was so severe that the 1953 section of the building had to be taken down. According to the Archdiocese of Washington, over 95 percent of furniture and computers were salvaged from the damaged section.

The original 1924 section of the building was not damaged and insurance will cover the replacement cost of rebuilding.

Archbishop of Washington Donald W. Wuerl toured the collapsed St. John's School building Friday afternoon. He said the initial shock of the damage brought on sadness.

According to Southern Maryland Newspapers Online, he told the pastor and principal to look forward to a resurrection that will lift people's spirits.

“They’re not going to miss a beat,” the archbishop said of the students and their relocation. “This makes good sense.”

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