• on July 17, 2018

Community takes ‘leap of faith’ to support new Catholic high school

SURREY—The archdiocese’s youngest Catholic school doesn’t even have classrooms yet.

Saint John Paul II Academy, which opens this fall, doesn’t have a gymnasium, offices, or a science lab. It only has a principal, teachers, students – and a vision.

“This has been one of the most worthwhile projects I have been associated with during my 36-year involvement in Catholic education in the archdiocese,” said principal Michel DesLauriers.

The brand-new school is opening with small class sizes and with the goal to provide more Catholic high school education in South Surrey – an area, he says, that badly needs it.

Classes will be temporarily held at the Star of the Sea Community Centre while the school campus, now a partially-cleared field at 184 Street near 24 Avenue, is built. The school is accepting Grade 8 students this September, and will add a Grade 9 class in 2019-2020, relying on parents and buses to help students access extracurricular activities unavailable at the centre.

By 2020, the Saint John Paul II Academy should have a permanent home.

All that flux has some community members feeling that getting on board requires a “leap of faith.” Teacher Christine Jansen is one of them.

Jansen came across a job advertisement for the academy through an online archdiocesan newsletter. “Completely not interested in changing jobs, my eyes fell to the first posting on the list, which called for a humanities teacher for Grade 8 students,” she said. “Later that afternoon, I found myself still thinking about it.”

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