Bishop John Noonan commends St Thomas Aquinas Catholic School for 'commitment to hard work, excellence'

A teacher from St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School teaches one of the students during a lecture. (Screenshot from: St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School website)

Orlando Bishop John Noonan recently visited St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Saint Cloud. As reported, the visit was in line with its recent school renovation. 

Commitment to Hard Work, Excellence

Bishop Noonan gave a celebratory school Mass for the students, teachers, and staff over their renovation. He then encouraged its students "to pray and become disciples of Jesus."

The bishop toured the new classrooms and interacted with the students. Joining him in the tour was the superintendent of Catholic schools, Henry Fortier. 

Bishop Noonan then commended the school's principal, Nicolas Pavgouzas, and his team for their "commitment to hard work and excellence." 

Jean Askey, vice-principal, and Father Derek Saldanha, parochial administrator, also assisted in the tour. 

New Classrooms

In a report with The Florida Catholic, Magy Brown, the school's art teacher, painted most of the classrooms. 

Pavgouzas said the rooms that were worth noting included the science lab, religion, and art classrooms. 

He told the news outlet that each room offered comfort and learning to both teacher and student. 

The principal pointed out that the renovated art classroom was now "a collaborative space in which students can learn and create." 

With the new art classroom, he said teachers could now use classic art materials and modern technology to "bring art to life."

He also said that the renovated science lab featured modern technology. The principal stressed that they took inspiration from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Visions for the Future. 

Pavgouzas stated that their students could now do laboratory work in their stations. They could also make use of the lab's interactive technology and displays. 

Feeling God's Presence

The principal said that students and teachers could now "feel God's presence in the religion classroom." 

He stressed that the school designed the room to make students feel like entering a chapel each day. Pavgouzas added that they drew inspiration from Ephesians 6:10-18, "Armor of God' in its design. 

The principal emphasized that the new classroom provided an avenue for the students to "grow in their spiritual life." He also said that it is a place for the youth to "turn their hearts and minds to Christ." 

He stressed that the school wanted to give their students the "Armor of God" once they graduated. The principal said that the armor is something that their students would bring with them all their lives. 

The school also replaced all its furniture from the past two school years. The media room now features a new anchor desk and set-up for its students. 

School's History

According to the school's website, the parish community of St. Thomas Aquinas began a fundraising campaign in December 1987 to construct a school for its parish. 

After that, the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School opened on Aug. 21, 1989. At the time, the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland led the school. 

Sister Linda Martin became the Catholic school's first principal.

During its first year, the school welcomed 123 pre-kindergarten to second-grade students.

The website stated that St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School prioritizes the spiritual development of its students. A typical school day would reportedly revolve around faith in "teaching and living."

The Catholic School became the first school under the Diocese of Orlando. 

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