SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — St. John School has just begun its new transformation into one of the best and brightest schools in Ashtabula County. Formerly known as Ss. John and Paul, the high school/junior high was located on Station Avenue in Ashtabula and the elementary building was located on Columbus Avenue. The community has opened its arms to preschool through 12th grade, which has become a thriving member of the Saybrook Township community.
The Rev. Jeff Stoll, pastor of Saybrook United Methodist Church, had a few words to say about St. John School as his new neighbor. “The church really appreciated it. We had a number of members who attended Saybrook School. They appreciated the fact that it wasn’t torn down,” he said. “I think we appreciate that the building is being used and we have neighbors. My hope is that as a church we are involved with the school and as a church family we appreciate the school being there and it being a church facility.”
Adding to the close relationship between United Methodist Church and St. John School, Stoll has two sons attending the school.
St. John School has an enrollment of 276 students from preschool through the senior class.
When talking to St. John School sixth grader Fallyn Johnson about her feelings for the new building, she said, “I feel like it’s a new beginning, but I also feel that the old school was OK and that being in a new grade in a new school and being the first sixth grader in the school makes history. I think the school we have now is more comfortable and very easy to get lost in.”
On Oct. 2, St. John School was given a blessing by the Most Rev. George Murry, bishop of the Youngstown Diocese, at a formal prayer ceremony. Alumni, parents, staff, faculty and members of the Saybrook community attended the ceremony and open house.
“I thought it was wonderful that the Ashtabula community came out to celebrate with us the opening of our school and the blessing,” said Nicholas Perkoski, principal of St. John School. “I was shocked as for how many people showed up. We weren’t expecting that many people and about 450 people showed up.”
Along with the exciting move of the school and blessing ceremony, St. John School’s homecoming dance was held for the first time at the new building.
“I thought that Homecoming Week was a blast!” said sophomore Zachery Cimorelli. “Ice skating was fun and the dance was the best dance I had been to in a while. It felt a little different that Homecoming Week was at our new school, but I still had a great time with everyone.”
During Homecoming Week, the school featured different events planned out for the entire school. Monday was marked as “Blue Shirt Day,” a day where the entire student body and faculty wore blue shirts to symbolize an initiative for anti-bullying, which was also sponsored by the National Honor Society.
Freshman Mallory Shellenberger had strong feelings about Blue Shirt Day. “It showed how everyone is equal. Since we are all the same, there is no reason for anyone to be bullied,” she said.
Following the rest of the week, Tuesday held the blessing of the school and the open house with Bishop Murry. Wednesday was International Day; classes were assigned specific countries to research and display and could dress in the colors or traditional clothes of each assigned country. Thursday the school held a Mass in the school gymnasium and then took grades seven through 12 ice skating at the Mentor Civic Arena. The elementary students had field day outdoors behind the school.
Third-grade student Alexandra Delia expressed thoughts about field day. “It was fun and it helped us exercise,” she said.
Thursday night marked the crowning of the king and queen. The winners were Michael Mahoney and Brenna Powers respectively. Last year’s king and queen, Ben Williams and Carolee Zullo, and this year’s court were also present. The crowning was held outdoors of the new St. John School and a bonfire was held afterwards. Finishing out the week, Friday marked Spirit Day. The entire school held a pep assembly to promote school spirit for the upcoming dance. The culmination of Homecoming Week was the dance held in the gym on Saturday night.