New Catholic high school breaks ground and history

On Friday, Jan. 27, 2017, diocesan members, future students and Catholic education enthusiasts gathered in Avondale, Arizona for the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Catholic high school, St. John Paul II.

Billy Hardiman
Future Principle, Sr. Mary Jordan Hoover, O.P. and Bishop Olmstead break ground for the new Catholic high school in the West Valley on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.

After many years of desire for a Catholic high school in the West Valley, the demand was finally answered.

This addition to the six existing Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Phoenix is being built on the lot beside St. Thomas Aquinas elementary school. St. John Paul II (JPII) will open in the fall of 2018.

St. John Vianney and St. Thomas Aquinas, two major feeder schools for the new high school, brought their seventh grade students to the groundbreaking ceremony. These kids could be the first graduating class from St. John Paul II. This was a special moment for the students who were able to take part in the historic first steps of their potential alma mater.

Billy Hardiman
The construction site where St. John Paul II High School is being built.

The involvement of important leaders in the Catholic community was a part of what made the Jan. 27 ceremony so monumental. Bishop Olmstead is the leading force behind Catholic education in the Diocese of Phoenix. Olmestead has been a strong advocate for the development of JPII since the idea was initiated many years ago.   

As JPII High School’s proposed completion date inches nearer, more information will be coming out concerning the school and its details. For example, the blueprints for the school’s structure were just recently released. The tremendous attention to detail evident in the blueprints portrays the love that will go into the building of this school.

Billy Hardiman
Major contributors to the New High school, including Bishop Olmstead and principal Sr. Mary Jordan Hoover, O.P., make the first digs in the ground.

JPII High School will be staffed and run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. A few sisters from this order based out of Nashville, Tennessee, came to Arizona in the summer of 2016 to become acclimated to the community.

Courtesy of St John Paul II website
Future Principle, Sr. Mary Jordan Hoover, O.P., shares her joy and insight for the new Catholic high school in the West Valley.

The future principal, Sr. Mary Jordan Hoover, O.P, has experience opening a Catholic high school. Saint John Paul the Great in Arlington, Virginia opened in 2008 and has been very successful.

According to St. John Paul II’s website, Sr. Hoover stated that, “It is a joy to be part of the life of the Church in Phoenix and to work together with so many faithful Church and lay leaders toward the opening of this new high school.”

JPII High School is a huge project for diocesan employees and volunteers. All hands are on deck to make this new high school a great one. Visit St. John Paul II’s website to join in the countdown for the first day of school (551 days and counting).

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