• August 19, 2019

Catholic high school starts year - Odessa American: News

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Catholic high school starts year

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Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 5:15 pm

Led by Fr. Timothy Hayter, Holy Cross Catholic High School began its inaugural year at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church Wednesday.

The high school has been a dream in the Permian Basin for at least a decade. It will be located at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton temporarily until it is able to move to land on Holiday Hill Road in Midland. A capital campaign is ongoing.

The school started with grades nine and 10 and will add a grade a year through high school.

Hayter distributed cards with a prayer for students to bring with them to chapel daily and recite.

“The cross is a focal point for us,” Hayter told the roughly 21 students, plus staff, attending.

He explained the meaning of the cross and resurrection of Jesus and that Jesus is their light and guide. Wednesday also was the day St. Maximilian Kolbe died in 1941 and was canonized by Pope John Paul II 40 years after his death.

The Biography Online website states, “In 1941, he (Kolbe) was arrested and sent to Auschwitz, where in terrible circumstances he continued to work as a priest and offer solace to fellow inmates. When the Nazi guards selected 10 people to be starved to death in punishment, Kolbe volunteered to die in place of a stranger.”

Hayter said Kolbe died in place of Franciszek Gajowniczek, who had a wife and children.

Head of School Carolyn Gonzalez said the cross is why the school was started. Everyone was called to be at the school today from Hayter, who is the chaplain for the school, to the teachers, administrators and students.

“Every one of us are first — the first English teacher, the first math teacher, the first theology teacher. You are the first class. You were called to be that so as you carry that today. I just want to remember that you may be worried about all the little stuff, but when Father talked about the true light, our true light sits right here,” Gonzalez said, pointing to her heart. “It’s that holy spirit, that guide Jesus on that cross, so your true light is going to take care of you no matter the worries of the every day.”

Roy Ramirez, vice president of the board for Holy Cross, said one of his favorite scriptures talks about the light shining in the darkness that darkness does not overcome.

“We have Easter vigil. We have little candles and each person gets a candle. The lights are turned down and even if there was just one candle in all of that darkness, it would dispel the darkness. You would be able to see that light. There would be no more darkness … and then we all light from that one candle, so that is the light of Christ. Each of us are helping bring Christ to others,” Ramirez said.

“You guys are the beginning, and from here, from you guys, we’re going to light more candles because of Him. We’re founded on Him. We’re based on Him at the beginning of the day, the end of the day. He is the alpha and the omega and with Him this is going to endure. You guys are the first ones. I’m so proud of you,” Ramirez said.

For her part, Gonzalez, who was assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction at Ector County ISD before taking on the head of school position at Holy Cross. She’s was busy this summer getting ready for Wednesday.

“I’m just so glad it’s here, to start in chapel, start with prayer, start with 21 of our students on the first day with God is tremendous for me as a teacher and as a head of school, so for me it’s a truly blessed day,” Gonzalez said.

Omar Ornelas and Gabby Estrada, both 15 of Midland, were glad to be part of history.

“It’s great to be part of something new and that has never been done here in the Permian Basin and Midland area, so I’m really excited about the chances and opportunities we will get,” said Estrada, who is in 10th grade.

The students signed a large piece of white cardboard putting down their hopes for the year.

“Mine was to get good grades,” said Ornelas, who is starting is freshman year.

“Mine was to try new and exciting things just to branch out of my safety (zone),” Estrada said.

Odessa, TX

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