St. Dominics principal Debbie DePollo poses out side the school Thursday Jan. 28, 2011. The school celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. Photo by David Grace
St. Dominic Catholic School is celebrating a milestone anniversary — one that, not too long ago, some feared it might never reach.
Just one short year ago, in a letter dated Jan. 22, parents and faculty were told that the school would cease operations at the end of the 2009-2010 school year. A month later, officials of St. Dominic Catholic Church and the Diocese of Knoxville announced that Bishop Richard Stika had reversed his decision and that the school had received a “two-year opportunity to demonstrate the school’s overall strength.”
Now, with a “renewed vigor” and an “attitude of gratitude,” parents, faculty, students, parishioners and community members are rallying around the school as it celebrates its 65th anniversary.
Three Sisters of Mercy opened St. Dominic School in the basement of the church on Crescent Drive in the fall of 1945. During that same year, the property and white frame house located on the corner of Crescent and Center Street were purchased to house the school and convent. Classes were held in the downstairs rooms of the house using card tables and chairs as desks. From an opening enrollment of 25 pupils, the school’s population grew quickly that first year — nearly doubling in size to 43 students by year’s end.
The early school even boasted a kindergarten, the first to be opened in Kingsport.
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