After serving four years in Sierra Vista at All Saints Catholic School my Franciscan footprints found me walking north and west in the desert sands this summer to Casa Grande, AZ .With Labor Day ending the summer season I know I will remember this summer for a long time. Others often heard me say – ” I will not forget the summer of 2015! ”
I moved to Casa Grande on June 25th. I took on the principalship of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School with the permission of my religious community – The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
The city of Casa Grande was established in 1915. The name Casa Grande is Spanish for “Big House” . It was named this for the famous Hohokam Indian Ruins 20 miles to the northeast in Coolidge.
The current population of Casa Grande is about 50,000. It is located halfway between Tucson and Phoenix and at the intersection of two intestate highways ( I-8 and I-10).
When Casa Grande was first established it was known for cotton and other cash crops along with dairy farms. These are still vibrant today but also many people live in Casa Grande and commute to Phoenix or Tucson for jobs.
When I arrived at St. Anthony School I found it in the midst of a major renovation project. The office area was completely gutted and being redone.
All nine classrooms had the plaster taken down to the brick wall. New electrical wiring was put in and then new plaster boards with a fresh coat of paint. Each room received a new bulletin board, white board and Smart Board. All of this was done by the week before inservice began for the faculty.
The office area ran into some snags so it took longer than expected. Myself and my secretary worked out of the library all summer.
All of our office files, furniture, equipment was stored in the cafeteria which is attached to the office area. A minor complication developed and everything being stored in the cafeteria had to be moved outside-so a new ceiling could be put into the cafeteria.
The average temperature in July in Casa Grande is about 114 with monsoons popping up towards the end of the day. So yes, some sand and rain blew around at times at our office files, equipment etc. We prayed daily to our patron-St. Anthony of Padua to hurry the workers to finish the renovation. We were very anxious to get into our new home. That day was Saturday, August 1st.
School has begun and I have begun the task of learning lots of new names.
May St. Anthony of Padua, our patron saint of our school, watch over us this year and may he especially bring all of our students closer to the Child Jesus.