Avon St. Mary Dedicates New Outdoor Classroom, Prayer Garden

Fr. Cleaton Blesses Rosary Garden

Fr. Cleaton Blesses Rosary Garden

There is a small school on Stoney Ridge Road making big strides for education.

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception School dedicated a new Outdoor Classroom and Prayer Garden, located to the South of the Parish Center, on the morning of September 25. All students and faculty, as well as several parishioners, were on hand at Fr. Tom Cleaton, Pastor, gave a special blessing and led the community in prayer to celebrate the newest additions to foster student learning and aid in growing faith.

Teachers will now be able to offer new learning experiences and opportunities to students through use of the highly anticipated Outdoor Classroom. The classroom boasts several rows of built-in amphitheater style seating nestled in a grassy slope, and an area where teachers can teach and lead lessons up front.  Mr. Bart Chatfield, Computer and Technology teacher at the school, has also offered a number of after school labs in previous years. The addition of the new outdoor learning space has provided him the opportunity to expand lab sessions to standard curriculum. Among the featured lessons he has planned for this year is a “real-life” archeological dig, where students will learn about fossils and be able to discover those fossils in the same way as archeologists. Said Colleen Schager, school Principal, “As a former fifth/sixth grade science teacher, I’m looking forward to assisting our teachers with their life science classes in our natural habitat”

A number of parishioners and school parents made the outdoor learning areas possible, through months of planning, donations, and hard work, including Tom Hricovec of Kodiak Construction, Mike Walther of Walther Landscaping, anonymous donors of trees for the garden, and many volunteers. The Prayer Garden includes a Rosary Walk, Stations of the Cross, and a number of Biblical plants in the landscape. Members of the parish church, school, and beyond are welcome to come pray and enjoy the peace and mindfulness offered by the winding paths, wooded landscape, and tranquil sounds of the adjacent French Creek.

St. Mary’s is a community-driven Catholic parish and school in Avon, Ohio. St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception School provides Faith-based education for grades K-8, with the goal of creating academically and spiritually empowered citizens with a life-long love of learning. Beyond standard academics, St. Mary offers routine use of cutting edge technology in each classroom; music and art enrichment programs for every grade; a wide variety of extra-curricular activities including Robotics, Academic Challenge, Drama, Environmental, and a variety of other clubs; as well as CYO and/ or intramural athletics for every grade level.

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