Dream comes true: Classes start at St. Jude

Another chapter in the history of St. Jude’s Parish in Peoria will be written on Tuesday, Aug. 18, when 49 children walk through the doors of the newest school in the Diocese of Peoria.

A presentation and blessing for the new St. Jude Catholic School and its students will take place at 9 a.m. in the church, 10811 N. Knoxville Ave. A social with cookies and punch will follow.

Leading the celebration will be Father R. Anthony Lee, their pastor, and Winnie Pratt, their principal.

Brother William Dygert, CSC, superintendent of diocesan schools, offered words of gratitude for what had been accomplished at St. Jude’s.

“Catholic schools are a privileged and very effective platform to proclaim the faith to our children and youth, so it is a blessing for the Diocese of Peoria to have a school in this parish, which is in a growing area of the diocese,” he said.

“Congratulations are especially due to Father Lee and the many members of the parish who worked long and hard over the years to make the school a reality,” Brother William added.

“I think it’s easy sometimes, when we are discerning a decision to open a new school, to focus on bricks and mortar and business models,” Father Lee told The Catholic Post. “Those things are important because without proper due diligence you can get off on the wrong track.

“But I think this is the most exciting time for me because it refocuses us back on what the mission is and why we are doing this,” he said. “It is to serve the families of the parish and to instill in them our Catholic Christian values.”

The approach they’re taking to education is differentiated instruction, which means meeting each child’s needs wherever he or she happens to be, according to Pratt.

“It’s about getting to know each child as an individual and teaching to their strengths certainly and then meeting their weaknesses when there are some,” she explained. “It’s whole-group instruction, it’s small-group instruction and it’s one-on-one instruction all the time.”

The environment they hope to foster is based on “Love and Logic,” a way of developing respectful relationships among the students, teachers and parents so that everyone will feel “safe, valued and successful.”

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