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Bishop Burbidge Meets with Parents and Students of New Catholic High School

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A group of approximately 80 people, including prospective students of the incoming freshman class of the new Pope John Paul II High School in Greenville, met with Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge on Sunday, March 14 to discuss the start-up of the Diocese of Raleigh’s second high school. Bishop Burbidge announced the establishment of the school on March 8.

The facility is scheduled to open in August with a ninth grade class of up to 30 students. A grade will be added each year until the school reaches a 9th to 12th grade configuration. In the first few years of operation, the school will utilize classrooms at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Greenville. The plan calls for a permanent facility to be constructed on the St. Gabriel property in the coming years, with the initial phase calling for the building of a gymnasium in the next three years.

In his comments to the students and their parents, Bishop Burbidge said the school was “new life for the Diocese.” He expressed his gratitude to the parents for the sacrifice they are making in their commitment to their children and to the school. Speaking of the solid education that will be provided, Bishop Burbidge added, “In addition, five days a week they can learn about Jesus and even say the name of Jesus. What a gift you are giving your children.”

The Bishop told the gathering that on the day of the announcement, he contacted Greenville Mayor Pat Dunn and the President of East Carolina University to inform them of the new educational facility. “We will make the city of Greenville proud of Pope John Paul II High School,” the Bishops said. “What a wonderful way to honor Pope John Paul II,” he added, “a Pope who cherished our young people.”

Dr. Michael Fedewa, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools, explained the Greenville school will be modeled after Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh, adding the facility will offer a college preparatory curriculum.

It was announced that Dr. Joseph Nelson, who will be the new principal at St. Peter Catholic School in Greenville in 2010-2011, has agreed to be the lead administrator at Pope John Paul II High School, assisting with the hiring of faculty. Dr. Nelson, a veteran educator, is also a visiting lecturer at East Carolina University in the Department of Leadership Education. He praised the cooperation being given to the school’s steering committee and to him by St. Gabriel Pastor Fr. Michael Butler and St. Peter Pastor Fr. Justin Kerber, CP.

Speaking directly to the students, Bishop Burbidge said, “I’m happy for you. This will be a great school, with the administration and faculty being assembled.” Dr. Fedewa noted the school is receiving a number of applications from an “impressive group of licensed professionals.”

Above: Bishop Burbidge speaking with parents and students of newly established St. John Paul II Catholic High School in Greenville.

Above: Dr. Michael Fedewa, Diocesan Superintendent of Catholic Schools, discussing curriculum and plans for Pope John Paul II High School to begin in August 2010.

Above: Bishop Burbidge pictured with the freshman class of the new high school and Dr. Joseph Nelson, lead administrator of the school, standing on the left.