By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published September 5, 2019
CUMMING—Faculty, staff, students and families of Pinecrest Academy gathered to celebrate the opening of the new lower school building on Wednesday, Aug. 7.
Dr. Edward J. Spurka, head of school, was the master of ceremonies for the event. He thanked attendees for their “unending prayers for Pinecrest that began over 25 years ago with a vision of our founding families.”
Father Matthew Kaderabek, LC, lower school chaplain of Pinecrest Academy, blessed the outside of the building and the crowd. Hank Lynch and Jack Morrissey, seniors, who have attended Pinecrest since pre-K, held the ribbon for the ceremony.
The ribbon cutters represented the past, present and future of the school. Sarah Stubbs, a third-grade teacher and alum of Pinecrest represented the past; Vanessa Pausa, a senior who has attended Pinecrest since pre-K represented current students and Taylor and Tommy Berthelsen, pre-K 3 and 4 siblings, represented the future of the school.
Immediately following the ceremony, students led tours of the new building and families gathered for a meet and greet in the upper school gym.
Pinecrest Academy, a pre-K through 12th grade college preparatory Catholic school, was founded in 1993. Over the years, the campus has expanded, adding permanent middle and high school buildings, a chapel and two gymnasiums.
The lower school building, a $5.6 million project, took ten months to complete, and was ready for the first day of school on Aug. 8, to the surprise of Pinecrest faculty and students. Soon to come are saint names for every classroom and stained glass windows for the chapel.
The new lower school building includes classrooms for 186 students in kindergarten through fifth grade and the chapel, dedicated to the life and ministry of Monsignor R. Donald Kiernan, who helped to gather support for the school it its early years. He died in 2018.
Brooke Femiano, a third-grade student, said that she looks forward to everything about the new school year and building, especially her favorite class.
“I like learning new math,” said Brooke.
“Today, this beautiful lower school building stands as a symbol for what our community can accomplish when we trust all things to Christ, do the hard work and unite as a community,” said Lenny Forti, the new lower school principal for Pinecrest.
He looks forward to getting to know the students and their families, and helping students become Christian leaders.
Phase one of the school’s capital campaign included the new lower school building and turf for the football field. A ribbon cutting ceremony will celebrate the new turf at the first home football game on Friday, Sept. 13 against Athens Christian School.
Phase two of the capital campaign will include a building for pre-K students and a media center.
Charlene Dougal, director of development for Pinecrest Academy, has been involved with the school since 2013. Her family moved to Cumming so their children could attend the school.
Our community has stepped up and said, “Let’s get these things done,” said Dougal. “Catholic education is alive and well in Forsyth County.”