FORT MILL—When St. Anne first expanded to include high school students just three years ago, they had no idea how quickly they’d grow or what changes they would see.
The biggest change will be realized at the start of the 2017-2018 school year, when the high schoolers will move into their very own building on the St. Philip Neri Church campus.
Shaileen Riginos, principal, said the students are beyond excited.
“They are more thrilled than we can put in words,” she said. The incoming freshmen were a little nervous, she added, but once they went on a tour of the grounds and ministry building at St. Philip Neri, they were ready to go.
Since the church only uses the facility on weekends and some evenings — except for a little bit of office space — they were happy to offer it to St. Anne until a permanent arrangement is made. Riginos said they will have all of the upstairs and part of the downstairs, which includes a chapel, 12 classrooms, eating space, and plenty of room to grow.
The teens will also be able to enjoy all of their current activities — including sports, arts, clubs, and extracurricular — in their very own space.
Riginos said the high school location is only 15 minutes from St. Anne’s campus in Rock Hill, so they can still mingle for events or share facilities if they need to.
Some details are still in the works, such as upgrading the building’s technology capabilities. Church and school officials are also discussing the best way to handle chemistry class, which requires a full laboratory. Riginos said they have an entire school year to decide that, because students can take physical science or biology and won’t have to take chemistry until 2018-19.
As for leadership, St. Anne’s principal said she will remain at the main campus, while Melanie Ranier, dean of the high school, will take the helm of ninth through 12th grade.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone gave his blessing to the relocation and granted permission for a study to be conducted to determine the most effective growth plan for education in the Rock Hill Deanery.
“I am excited to hear of the continued success of St. Anne School and look forward to working together as the project progresses,” he said.
St. Anne began its high school in 2014 with just six students, and now has 49. The founding group of students will graduate in 2018.
Priests at The Oratory joined church and school leaders for the successful expansion of the high school and will continue working for the future of Catholic education in the area, Riginos said. Part of that will be the upcoming study, which will help determine what type of school model they follow and whether they will have one campus or two.
Top image, provided: The ministry building at St. Philip Neri Church, shown above, will serve as the high school for St. Anne students until a permanent arrangement is made.