Published October 24, 2018
CUMMING—An estimated 1,000 supporters of Pinecrest Academy celebrated the school’s 25th anniversary on Friday, Sept. 7 as it embarked on building permanent lower school classrooms.
Prayers were said and the ground was sprinkled with holy water as the school broke ground for the building on the campus of the independent Catholic school in Forsyth County.
The school community came together for a Mass, ground blessing and groundbreaking. Several founding families, including John and Arlene Gannon, participated.
A time capsule was filled with keepsakes from each grade level. Mementos included an invitation to Kindergarten Circus (a long-standing tradition), class pictures, favorite books including “Magic Tree House” and “Charlotte’s Web,” a computer mouse, a children’s Bible, a PE uniform, a Fortnite Poster, a Bible signed by eighth grade teachers, a Google Earth picture of Pinecrest Academy and an issue of The Excalibur school newspaper.
At the future construction site, attendees wore yellow construction hard hats with “I work for God” messages on each hat. Mark Doxtader, chairman of the board, spoke to those in attendance. Charlene Dougal, director of development, thanked the donors for making the school and its future possible, particularly those who made it possible for Pinecrest to begin the construction.
Legion of Christ Father Matthew Kaderabek, the lower school chaplain, led prayers of blessing, and sprinkled holy water where the new building is to be built. He led the crowd in singing “As I Kneel Before You,” a hymn that has been sung since Pinecrest’s earliest days, in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The first individuals to toss the dirt with gold shovels were children who donated their hard-earned money to the new building. Chase Featsent, McKaylie Featsent, Evie Marovic, and Ethan Tam were joined by their parents and a grandmother for the ceremonial dirt tossing.
Pinecrest founders and school leaders Mark Doxtader, Dr. Ed Spurka, Larry Blandford, Bruce Carlisle, Matt Smith and Mark Tollett took turns at tossing dirt. Afterward, Pinecrest’s construction partners, Hodges & Hicks General Contractors, LLC, had their turn as well.
Kathleen Nichols, formation director for Pinecrest, closed the ceremony with a reminder that the academy opened its doors in 1993 on the Blessed Mother’s Birthday, Sept. 8, and led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Pinecrest Academy and to Mary.
The events continued Saturday afternoon with a consecration of Pinecrest Academy to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel, followed by a Mass with Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory. Concelebrating Mass were Father David Steffy, Father Matthew Kaderabek, Father Daren Weisbrod, Father Paul Alger, Father Kevin Baldwin, Father Michael Brisson, Msgr. Hugh Marren and Father Lino Otero.
The ceremony that preceded Mass included a prayer consecrating Pinecrest Academy to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Attendees were given lighted blessed candles bearing an image of the Sacred Heart as they entered the chapel.