Groundbreaking In Every Way!

 

The entire St. Thomas Aquinas High School faculty, staff, administration and students as well as many guests witnessed a new piece of history being unearthed today for the Catholic high school on Dover Point Road.

Welcoming everyone to a groundbreaking ceremony for the school’s new capital campaign was STA Alumnus, Brian Fogarty ’89. “Being a student and also a football player here at St. Thomas, I played on this very field.  This has been a very longtime coming, not just for me from the 1980s but even for people here today who graduated in the ‘60s and who played on this field. It’s very exciting for all of us to see the culmination of this happening.”

Fogarty went on to introduce a variety of guests who contributed to the planning, development and now implementation of the $2m campaign: Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Dave Thibault; Director of Operations from the Catholic Schools Office, Steve McManus; Pastor of St. Mary and St. Ignatius of Loyola Parishes, Fr. Andrew Nelson; Chair of the St. Thomas Aquinas School Board, Paul Nadeau; School Board Member and past Chair, Timothy Ford ’95; and School Board Member and current parent, Chuck Rage.

Today’s ceremony marks a particularly significant moment for Mr. Kevin Collins as he prepares to step down as the school’s principal at the end of the school year.

“For nearly 60 years, this has been a Field of Dreams.  And perhaps the biggest dream of all was that we could give to our student-athletes the kind of field that they deserve.

Just think: on this field, with all its limitations, St. Thomas Aquinas’ teams have won dozens of State Championships and innumerable individual championships.  Records have been set and records have been broken on this ground.  We have all shared the thrill of victory more often than the agony of defeat.  All of that greatness is a testament to our students’ abilities and to the individuals who led them.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the Athletic Directors of the past...individuals like Dick Spaulding, Karen Devriendt, and Jack Leary -- not to mention one-time Assistant Athletic Director Mrs. Jen Duprat.  Together, they managed to help bring glory to this tired plot of land.  And clearly Mr. Brown has continued to carry on their legacy.  During his tenure, no fewer than 23 teams have been either champions or finalists. But, in spite of their achievements, they all knew that it was the quality of the athletes, not the field, that made all the difference.”

“I want to acknowledge the members of our community who helped get this started in 2013 who were unable to make it today. Mr. Charlie Griffiths, Mr. Boyd Morrison, and Mr. Paul Callaghan were all Board members who spent countless hours planning and promoting this idea. They created the spark that today bursts into flame, and they deserve our gratitude.”

Collins then invited STA’s School Chaplain, Fr. Andrew Nelson, to bless the grounds.

“Care of our bodies fosters mental well-being and we are more ready to establish friendly and affable relations with other people,” he remarked. Then citing scripture, “Do you not know that the runners in this stadium all run in the race but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to wear a perishable crown but we an imperishable one. Thus, I do not run aimlessly, I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train for fear that after having preached to others, I myself shall be disqualified.” (1 Cor. 9:24-27).

“These words of St. Paul remind us of that great race which we run- to be with the Lord forever in heaven.” The over 400 students and school community looked on as Fr. Andrew then blessed the fields.   

Lending his own thoughts to a project that has been six years in the making, Athletic Director Ryan Brown noted, “[The STA] athletic program currently fields 27 individual sport programs.  We have around 300 student-athletes compete annually, with roughly 40 coaches working with those student-athletes.  Most of that has occurred right here on this field.  On any given day in the fall or spring, there are up to 200 kids running around and it’s not uncommon for us to be hosting 3 different games simultaneously.  This field has exceeded expectations, but it’s time for it to retire.”   

Brown also reminded those in attendance that the project would not be possible without the help of many.

“[T]he support from the Diocese, specifically Dave Thibault and Steve McManus, has made this dream a reality.  Our school board has worked tirelessly to make this day happen. With us today representing the school board are Paul Nadeau, Tim Ford and Chuck Rage.  Many donors have provided their time, talent and treasure to the project.   Mr. Collins, Mr. Fergus Cullen- both have been at the forefront of pushing this forward.  And maybe most importantly our student-athletes, faculty/staff, families and coaches- have been behind this initiative 100% all the way along.”  

The capital campaign will include the installation of a 140,000-square foot synthetic turf field but also significant renovations to other campus facilities.  

“[Today’s groundbreaking] is just a start,” stated Collins. “Athletics is only one pillar of St. Thomas Aquinas.  The arts, and above all, spirituality are also part of our life’s blood.  So, the upgrade to the girls’ locker room, improvements to sound and lighting for our performing arts, and an even more beautiful chapel are all part of this endeavor.”

Fogarty wrapped up the ceremony by leading various constituents through photograph opportunities, including student-athletes and the school’s St. Bernard mascot, Bernie.

#saintspride