In 1995, parents and grandparents in the Lamoille Valley area sought to create a Catholic school for local children. After many prayers, feasibility studies and demographic studies, the Bishop of Burlington granted a decree of “private juridic status” to Bishop John A. Marshall Corporation. We became the first new Catholic school in Vermont in 50 years! Three short years after receiving that most important decree, in 1998, we began holding classes at the Crosby Center at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Morrisville with 58 students. The following year we doubled our enrollment and expanded to a second location at the parish hall of St. Teresa Roman Catholic Church in Hyde Park. Our present building location on 680 Laporte Rd in Morrisville was opened on November 1, 1999, All Soul’s Day. The building was dedicated as The Imelda Lepine Educational Facility in November 2000. Our campus is situated on 50+ acres on Route 100 including interpretive nature trails, woodlands, and fields.
Excerpt from the first BJAMS yearbook, 1998-1999
A Journey of Faith
A brief history of the Bishop John A. Marshall School
A group of people interested in forming a Catholic School in Lamoille County first met in November of 1994. These people were very concerned about finding a school where their children would be taught morals and the Catholic faith. Some families in the area were homeschooling or commuting to Catholic schools in Burlington and Montpelier to accomplish this. It had been nearly forty years since the last new Catholic school in the state had opened and several schools had closed during that time period. Sr. Marianne Reed, superintendent of Catholic schools, who was present at the initial meetings, was cautiously optimistic. Did this group have any idea of what they were getting into? Did they realize how much would be involved? Could they comprehend the amount of money needed to run a school?
The Morin’s, Olsen’s, Wildman’s, Limoge’s, Mary Lou Jennings, and Chuck Wolfe persisted. In June of 1995, Susan Weber, a consultant and facilitator recommended by the National Catholic Education Association, presented a workshop to help develop a vision and mission for the school. This event helped to solidify the group’s purpose and plan.
Soon a steering committee was formed, and the work to open the school was on its way. It was decided to name the school in honor of Bishop Marshall. The board started dealing with demographic research, fundraising seminars, planning commissions, state laws, architects, and building codes.
In September 1996 Bishop Angell gave approval to establish the Bishop Marshall School. This made the school an official entity and gave rights to begin fundraising. The steering committee became the school board. Other committees were established, and in December, Dan Pudvah, director of development, became the school’s first employee.
In 1997, architects were hired to design the school building and Act 250 permits were applied for. A curriculum committee was formed to research various courses of study. Money was given by an anonymous donor for the purchase of the land for the school site, and the school received zoning and building permits from the town of Morrisville. Finally, at the end of the year, it was time to begin the fundraising.
1998 saw the start of the Capital Campaign. In January, Carolyn Roberts was named chair of the committee, with Ed Connors serving as co-chair. In April, the Lepine family gave a gift to build the educational building, which will be [was] named for their mother. Over one hundred people attended a Mass, which was celebrated on the School site in July. The school opened with 60 students in August, and Bishop Angell came to bless the school in October. The Tarrant family made a generous donation to the building fund in October.
Many people have put in a lot of time working on the various committees to help get the school started. We especially want to acknowledge the dedication and hard work done by the past and present members of the steering committee and the school board. Without the commitment of these people the Bishop Marshall School might still be just a dream.
- Susan Olsen, M.D.
- Barbara Phillips
- Chuck Wolff
- Karen Ducharme
- Michelle Morin
- Mary Meyrick
- Louis Ricciardello
- MaryLou Jennings
- Joan Wotherspoon
- Maria Berry
- James Dietz
- Robert Baska, M.D.
- Peter Chiaravalle
- Jeff Lund
- Hope McAndrew
- Timothy Meehan
- Tom O’Brien
- Phil Langan
- Fr. Denis Breton