April 16, 2013

Saint Camillus Academy saved

Historic school to start new year in August

By Jeff Noble

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — A new name, a new board of directors, and in August, a new school year are on the agenda for Saint Camillus Academy.

Word of saving the historic school, an integral part of Corbin and the region since 1908, was announced during an open house held at St. Camillus on Thursday evening.

There will be a new name for the school — Saint Camillus Academy of Corbin, Inc.

At the open house, one board member of the new corporation said they’re geared up for a new school year in early August.

“Our goal is to have the school open this fall. We have every intention to open it. Will it open? We think so,” stated Libby Farmer, one of the board of directors of the new St. Camillus.

She said the new name has been registered with the state of Kentucky and has also been registered with the status for 501C status as a tax-exempt organization for fundraising purposes.

London attorney Scott Webster is doing the legal work for the new St. Camillus Academy, and was present at the open house.

“This corporation’s board of directors is made up of people who don’t have children who go to school here, as well as people who are interested in the school. One of the board members is a nun who is a member of the Sisters of Divine Providence, who own the property,” he said.

Webster referred to Sister Carleen, who in February told a group of parents the Sisters would be willing to lease the buildings for a dollar a year, if they could keep St. Camillus open for the upcoming school year.

The current operators of the school, the Diocese of Lexington, will continue to run St. Camillus until the end of the current school year in May. When that happens, Saint Camillus Academy of Corbin will take over the school’s operation.

“We’ve streamlined the budget, we have fundraising ideas, and we have pledges from all sorts of people which should cover the operating budget for at least a half a year. That’s estimated. That’s not regular income, but charitable donations from people who love the school, and want to help the school,” said Webster.

During the open house, tours of the school were given by current St. Camillus students, and a potluck dinner was served inside their cafeteria complex.  In addition, registration forms for the 2013-14 school year were available with priority placement for next year going to families who presently have their children in the school and are in good standing with the academy.

One exhibit in the school’s library showed a letter to parents, which explained, “The goal at St. Camillus is to restore education to the high standards of the past and to fully integrate a premier curriculum in classical Christian education. We aspire to become a school that serves as a model for classical learning and to excellence in the teaching arts.”

While one tour group was taking a visitor around the school, Farmer noted she could feel a new excitement inside the building.

“What’s amazing about Saint Camillus is the love people feel when they come here to visit the school. They’ve had children who went here, and the children thrive here, emotionally and educationally,” she said.

Principal Terry Newquist added not only did she look forward to Thursday’s open house, but also looked forward to the times ahead.

“I’m excited about tonight, and the kids are really excited about tonight as well. They did a lot of work getting the place cleaned up, spruced up and ready for their parents and visitors to see the school. I’m very excited about the future at Saint Camillus. It’s a positive step.”

Farmer said not only did the children serve as tour guides, they also took the time to write a very famous Kentuckian who’s teaches at Rupp Arena.

“The third graders even wrote a letter to ‘Coach Cal’ (UK men’s head basketball coach John Calipari) asking him to speak here at a fundraiser. It’s an exciting time now, and we’re hopeful we’ll have a lot of students return this new school year. And since the past couple of months, we’ve had a lot of community support. That means a lot,” she said.