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Capital campaign for Catholic going well

High school gets new principal

March 4, 2011

PARKERSBURG - Parkersburg Catholic Schools has had an eventful year with new principal Karen Robinson taking over at the high school for Marie Held who retired in June, the elementary school seeing library improvements and the capital improvement campaign moving ahead.

Kevin Simonton, Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School principal, said enrollment is holding steady at 163 students.

"Our library is becoming fully automated, hardware and software donated. It will be connected to all county libraries, with accelerated reading programs, and everything, the students will be able to borrow books from all over. It was made possible through private donations," Simonton said.

Article Photos

Photo by Pamela Brust
Karen Robinson, the new principal at Parkersburg Catholic High School, with Skip Roedersheimer, left, director of advancement for the schools, and Kevin Simonton, Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School principal.

"Our music program continues to grow. We've expanded it, and have more students enrolled. We've made some changes, one teacher does violin up to fourth grade and fifth- and sixth-graders are playing brass and wind instruments with another teacher, and now, with the new band program at the high school, they can continue their music studies there," he said.

"We've also adopted new math textbooks for the coming year," Simonton said.

Skip Roedersheimer, director of advancement for the Catholic schools in Parkersburg, said the capital improvements campaign is going well.

"Currently, we are at a little over $2.6 million raised. The campaign, Our Faith, Our Future, will go through 2012. St. Sebastian Center (named for the patron saint of athletes) was completed in November of last year, the bishop dedicated it and it's fully functioning and gets a lot of use," he said.

"The center is a health and wellness facility for our students, athletes and alumni at Parkersburg Catholic. It includes a weight room, locker rooms, cardiovascular and free weight equipment. The next stage will be parking lot improvements, and the next building campaign stage will be the science wing at the high school. That is probably two years away, hopefully," Roedersheimer said.

"We continue to do little projects throughout the school, revamping classrooms, improving storage facilities, relocating the custodian staff to give them better facilities," he said.

"The support we received from the local parishes and supporters in the area as been tremendous. It is not a great economic time, but we are encouraged by the successes we have had. At the same time, we also realize we still have a lot of work to do to achieve all our goals," Roedersheimer said. "Our ultimate goal is to have a new elementary school on the campus of Fairview Avenue and improve the science classrooms and also build a new chapel on campus."

Parkersburg Catholic High School's new principal, Karen Robinson, of Vincent, Ohio, started her new job on July 1.

Prior to coming to PCHS, she had been employed at private and public schools, starting her career at DeSales Heights Academy in Parkersburg, then working in private and public education as a teacher and principal in Washington County, Zanesville and was at New Lexington Elementary when she learned of the PCHS opening. She said she wanted to come back to the area, her husband is the athletic director at Athens High School, and she wanted to return to the Catholic schools system.

One of the changes at the high school is a new band program.

"We have a brand new teacher with the band program, who is awesome, and we are encouraging him to put a band on the field next year. I'm getting to know the curriculum and the standards, it's an educational process for me as well. I have all kinds of goals," she said.

Robinson said she's reviewing policies and procedures and has re-implemented the quarterly academic achievement awards, and plans mid-term meetings with students and parents to encourage struggling students to achieve their fullest potential.

"I have a very capable and caring faculty that has really worked with me to help me understand the inner workings at the school, they have been wonderful to work with," she said. "Our athletic program is terrific and the kids are very dedicated to their success there," she said.

"We have also just started a consortium this year, the Mid-Ohio Valley Catholic Schools, all working together including St. John's and St. Marys, the elementary and high school so we can allow people in the valley to realize all their opportunities for Catholic education," Robinson said.



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