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The Madera Tribune

After modest start, a vision is realized

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webmaster | 07/01/03

What started out as a vision for educating and building strong Catholic minds and souls in a one-room schoolhouse in 1927 has now become an important fixture in Madera as the legacy of St. Joachim's School is firmly entrenched in the fabric of our community with the culmination being the celebration of the school's 75th anniversary.

The history of Catholic education is a long and storied one with the goal to not only educate the mind but to also instill Catholic virtues and infuse religious instruction to augment the core curriculum in order to foster the development of the soul.

This vision, initially begun in Madera as St. Joachim Catholic School, was established in 1927 under the direction of the Rev. John O'Shea, OSJ, pastor of St. Joachim Catholic Church.

The one room schoolhouse originally was located in what is now Griffin Hall at 201 N. C St., but due to increasing enrollment, expansion was needed. Funds were raised through the efforts of the Rev. Vincent Mazzucco, OSJ, and the parishioners of St. Joachim, giving birth to a new facility which was formally dedicated and opened in 1945 at its current location.

As Madera itself has grown and changed over the years, so has St. Joachim school in order to respond to an ever-increasing enrollment and to provide the best facilities to provide the highest quality education.

In 1972, the Rev. James Catalano, OSJ, pastor at the time, envisioned even greater growth for the school and the need to respond to its changing educational needs. As a result, he developed a master plan for the development of the parish as well as new buildings and facilites for the school as funds were raised.

In 1989, a new kindergarten classroom, library/computer lab and a cafeteria were built, existing classrooms were remodeled, and administrative offices were added along with a faculty room.

In 1995, under the direction of the Rev. Arnold Ortiz, OSJ, a new science laboratory was built. A new administration building was erected the following year. The administration building contains offices, a faculty room, auxiliary offices which have served many purposes, an infirmary and a large supply room.

The generosity of the parishioners and dedication to fulfilling this master plan was continued under the direction of the Rev. Larry Toschi who was appointed pastor of St. Joachim's in 1998.

The generation of the necessary funds for the realization of the master plan was largely a result of the financial contribution of the parishioners with some people responding to the need by donating entire buildings.

The new Science Lab was donated by the Chezick family in an incredible display of charity and devotion to the education of the children as well as their commitment in showing their appreciation to the school which has given so much to the students both academically and spiritually.

Ground was broken for the new Holy Spouses Social Hall and gymnasium in 1999. The social hall and gymnasium encompasses more than 15,000 square feet and includes kitchen facilities. It was built by Industrial Commercial Contractors, owned by Peter Stravinski. Upon completion, Holy Spouses Hall was dedicated at the end of the 2000-2001 school year.

Future plans are already underway for a Pre-School, as St. Joachim's continues to respond to the changing needs of the community and students in order to continue to offer the highest quality education and the resources to accomplish this goal.


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