Sept. 26, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
A Catholic school in Corona held a family back-to-school barbecue on Sunday, Sept. 23, to celebrate its 100th year of serving the community.
St. Leo Catholic Academy, located at 104-19 49th Ave., first opened its doors in 1923 and has helped around 5,000 students graduate from the institution, according to a spokesperson. The school currently teaches students from pre-K to eighth grade.
The Sept. 23 event brought more than 35 families to the school to enjoy the centenary celebrations, despite the heavy rain outside.
Attendees savored the food on offer while students showcased their dance moves with several performances. Students and parents also took part in a fun game of musical chairs while past students were also present to reminisce about their school days.
Theresa Picciano, the principal of St. Leo Catholic Academy, said the event started at 1:30 p.m. and ran through to 4:30 p.m.
“This extraordinary occasion not only celebrated the beginning of a new school year but also marked a century of unwavering commitment to providing quality Catholic education,” Picciano said. “We estimate about 5,000 graduates throughout our history and look forward to the next 100 years and a future filled with preparing students with a foundation for life with faith, academics, values and character development.”
The school said many of its past pupils have gone on to become parents of our current students, while some graduates have returned as teachers and staff.
Council member Franciso Moya and Jim Valvano, a well-known former basketball coach, attended St. Leo Catholic Academy too, the school said.
“We are so proud to call them all a part of our community,” Picciano said.
Students at the school are taught a range of subjects, including religion, literature, math, social studies, science, art, computers, music, gym, Spanish and theater. The institution also offers after-school programming, while it also has a full-time nurse and full-time counselor, according to its website.
Kalila Green, a computer and technology teacher at the school, said St. Leo Catholic Academy plays an important role in the lives of its students.
“St. Leo Catholic Academy is more than an educational institution; it is a living testament to the enduring values of academic excellence and Catholic tradition,” Green said. “Our institution has been an integral part of the Corona community, shaping the lives of generations of students while fostering a strong sense of community.”
The school is named after Pope Leo I, also known as Saint Leo the Great, who was Pope from 440 A.D. until his death in 461 A.D.