Catholic regional high school to be renamed Pope Francis Preparatory School upon move to Springfield
CHICOPEE — Pope Francis High School, which is slated to move to a new Springfield campus next fall, will also be renamed Pope Francis Preparatory School to reflect its “evolution as a rigorous, college-preparatory institution,” officials announced on Monday.
The school, which is a merger of the former Cathedral High School and Holyoke Catholic High School, will be moving from its current site in Chicopee to its new building in August of 2018. The new school is now under construction on Wendover Road, the former site of Cathedral High School.
“As we look into moving into the new facility, we realize our vision for the future of the school would be best represented under the banner of Pope Francis Preparatory School,” said Michele D’Amour, chairwoman of the Pope Francis Board of Directors. “The mission of the school as a Christ-centered institution will remain the same. The name change better reflects the core of that mission to develop well-educated critical thinkers and faith-based leaders. The opening of a new facility provides the perfect opportunity to make that change.”
Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski announced in the spring of 2015 that the merger of the two schools would be named in honor of Pope Francis.
The construction of the new, 122,000-square-foot school began in September of 2016, and will serve students in Grades 9-12. The former Cathedral building was heavily damaged by the tornado of 2011, and demolished, and Pope Francis officially merged for the 2016-2017 school year in Chicopee.
Pope Francis High School’s academic program includes honors, advanced placement, and virtual high school classes, along with athletics and extra-curricular activities.
“We have an opportunity to redefine Catholic education with this new, state-of-the-art facility,” said Head of School Paul Harrington. “The creative use of space will offer students the ability to gather and share ideas. Our science wing, for example, will feature a makerspace to allow the students to build and create, and we’ll have an open learning common, which will foster collaboration.”
The name change was revealed Sunday afternoon during an event on the new campus celebrating that the project being just beyond 50 percent complete, a spokeswoman said.