Submitted by Pope John Paul II High School
Construction on the $1.75 million expansion of Thurston County’s only Catholic high school, Pope John Paul II, (JPII) is underway.
A reception and “hard hat tour” for patrons of the school was held at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
In just six short years, the four-year college preparatory high school has grown from 20 to nearly 80 students and is expecting its largest freshman class to enter in September.
“It is incredibly rewarding to see our construction begin!” says JPII’s President and Principal Ron Edwards. “Our students’ and their curriculum needs have grown beyond the capacity of our current building. We are adding three new classrooms, one dedicated to the performing arts, and a second science laboratory, and we are increasing the space for the commons. In the midst of this project we are also upgrading our technology infrastructure.”
Making the high school’s expansion possible is a $1.75 million capital campaign being led by JPII’s Board of Directors and Campaign Co-Chairs Dr. Andy and Liz Kapust and Matt and Monica Zepeda. To date, $1.55 million has been secured. Fundraising efforts are still underway for this project.
Since 2010, JPII has more than doubled its academic, athletic and co-curricular offerings. A fully accredited high school, JPII employs a staff of certified educators. The average class size is 14 and the student to teacher ratio is 12 to 1. This year, 77 students representing a wide range on the socio-economic spectrum along with international students attended.
“JPII students are thriving. Because they are in a small school, they have meaningful relationships with their teachers which translate into higher academic achievement, preparing graduates to succeed in college, and far beyond, while living lives that matter,” says Liz Kapust.
The school’s mission is to develop young men and women who are intellectually strong, spiritually alive, and committed to serving others. Fifty percent of JPII’s students receive tuition support through need-based scholarships. Most graduates have gone on to institutes of higher learning and have consistently scored high on ACT and SAT tests.
“In the first four years of graduating classes four students have been recognized by the National Merit Society – considering the fact that we have just 52 graduates this is exceptional,” explains Therese Allin, the school’s associate principal.
“We are committed to the purposeful growth of school facilities, because we have seen, first-hand, the power of a JPII education to make a meaningful difference in our students’ lives,” says Monica Zepeda.
“Our goal is to be educating 120 students by 2020, and this project will give us the resources to reach that goal,” Zepeda adds.
“We anticipate everything will be in place and ready for the opening of the 2016-2017 school year that begins on August 31,” says Edwards.
The school, located at 5608 Pacific Ave. SE, is in the former Lacey fire station building, just east of St. Martin’s University. Tovani Hart Architects and Korsmo Construction are involved in the project.