Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill

School blossoms in developing community


HILTON HEAD — In its fourth year, St. Francis by the Sea School still has a lot of growing to do, and they’re coming together full force to reach their maximum potential.

The start of the school year introduced the third, fourth and fifth grades, who joined the already established pre-kindergarten through second grades. Three classrooms, currently being used for religious classes, await the arrival of the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, which will be added over the next three years.

Students at St. Francis by the Sea School Mary Fallon, first year principal at the school, is confident and enthusiastic about the growth. As she looked out her office window at land waiting to be developed, she described it as if it’s already there — the future of the school.

An assisted-living facility will soon neighbor the school, and Fallon hopes to make it a target service project for the students. The kids would read with the residents, do projects with them and make cards and gifts on special occasions.

A nearby hospital and library are also on Fallon’s list of community projects. “Our service ministry will be expanding with the addition of third, fourth and fifth grades,” Fallon said.

The fifth grade is working on an extended project entitled, “From our Window.” The students keep a daily journal on their observations of the growth of the school, so they can track the progress the young school is making.

Bishop David Thompson dedicated a 22,000-square-foot addition that opened this fall. The building houses a media center, computer lab, art room, music room, science lab, cafeteria and administrative offices. The library is across from the main doors of the school, where each morning the students gather before heading to class.

Fallon plans to bring on a librarian next year who will bring the media center up to full speed. “I want us to be a ‘reading school,'” said Fallon. “Everything else — math, science, computer — depends on reading.”

Call Fallon’s voice mail, and, “I’m not at my desk right now, I hope I’m in a class reading to children,” will be your greeting.

“Read to us, we’ll read to you,” she says.

Students become aquainted with computers in their classrooms, where they are used to accommodate different skill levels, as one student may use the computer for reinforcement another may use it for enrichment.

“It’s important that students be able to work in their own scope,” said Fallon. “Every child is gifted by God and it’s our job to help students find that gift.”

Plans are in the works for Spanish instruction, from which the children would learn the language and heritage of the Hispanic culture.

Fifth graders are encouraged to be the leaders of the school, guiding the younger students. They work on projects with the younger students and help with afternoon and morning programs.

Parent are told that an important part of enrolling students is taking an active part in living the faith. A handbook for Catholics is offered to parents as a guide for them to practice the faith as their children learn it everyday at school. Fallon stressed that being a Catholic school is the most important aspect of their mission.

Father Michael McCafferty, pastor, celebrates the liturgy with the students, who are involved in the parish Mass each Friday. “He is a big proponent of Catholic education,” said Fallon. “He’s a real shepherd.” On his own birthday, Father McCafferty treated the kids to pizza and cookies.

This year, rather than having a Christmas program, the school will participate in an Advent program. “We tend to skim over Advent,” said Fallon. “We need to teach about preparing. What Christmas really is.” The program will involve the parents coming to school to stop and remember what the season means.

For Catholic Schools Week, Notre Dame graduates will offer a parenting seminar at the school, and local acting groups will educate children on the lives of saints.

“I want children to be aware of the saints that have gone before us,” said Fallon.

Students were even asked to come dressed as their favorite storybook character or a saint for Halloween, rather than the usual ghosts and goblins.

The Family School Association gears up each year for the school’s annual gala, a parishwide event. The last shindig brought 518 people out for dinner and dancing and raised $50,000, which will be used to furnish the science and computer labs with learning tools.

“We learn something new every day, and it’s OK not to know all the answers or questions,” said Fallon, adding, “Education is a life-long pursuit.”

  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Apr 269:00 am Mass
    From the Calendar of Holy Trinity North Myrtle Beach
    7:00 pm Eclesiologia y Vaticano II #3
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    7:00 pm Eclesiologia y Vaticano II #3
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Apr 27All Day Recyclable Project Show
    From the Calendar of Our Lady of the Rosary Greenville
    All Day Progress Report #4
    From the Calendar of Our Lady of the Rosary Greenville
    All Day Progress Reports
    From the Calendar of St. Anne School Rock Hill
    All Day 2:00pm Dismissal
    From the Calendar of St. Mary School Greenville
    9:30 am Junior Ring and Scholarship Mass
    From the Calendar of Cardinal Newman School
    5:30 pm PTO Meeting
    From the Calendar of St. Peter School Columbia
    6:00 pm FallWinter Sports Banquet
    From the Calendar of St. Michael School Murrells Inlet
    All Day Field Day/Jump Rope for Heart
    From the Calendar of Summerville Catholic School
    Apr 28All Day Progress Reports Sent Home
    From the Calendar of Divine Redeemer
    Jr. High Young Ladies Retreat
    From the Calendar of Youth Ministry
    All Day Recyclable Project Show
    From the Calendar of Our Lady of the Rosary Greenville
    All Day Field Day
    From the Calendar of Prince of Peace School Taylors
    All Day Interims (22 Days)
    From the Calendar of St. Andrew School Myrtle Beach
    All Day 4th Quarter Report
    From the Calendar of St. Anthony of Padua School Greenville
    All Day Progress Reports Emailed
    From the Calendar of St. Mary School Greenville
    All Day Progress Reports
    From the Calendar of Nativity Charleston
    9:00 am Mass
    From the Calendar of Our Lady of the Rosary Greenville