Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook

Archives New faces, new sports at Immaculate Heart

Sept. 1, 2021

By Darcy Fargo

WATERTOWN – The new school year will feature new faces at Immaculate Heart Central School.

“We have a fair number of new teachers this year,” said Rob Paskill, IHC’s director of Advancement & Marketing.

“It’s pretty typical to have some turnover. We have a very strong Catholic base right now, which is nice.”
IHC will also host 12 international students for the 2021-22 school year, up significantly from last year.

“I’m housing two myself,” Paskill said. “We’re really looking forward to having the international community be a part of our school. We feature the flags from their home countries in our cafeteria.”

In addition to the new international students, Paskill said IHC will have a number of new students joining its ranks this year.

“Enrollment is up,” he said. “We’ve been pushing to get the school’s name out there, especially in the military community. Our enrollment is almost at 400 for this year. We were down in the low 300s last year. It’s nice to have the new families.”

Paskill said the new families seem to be drawn to the school by its record of safety during the pandemic, its strong academic programs and the school’s increasing ability to offer sports programs.

“The enrollment is so large in the lower grades, we had to move grade six to the high school to make room,” Paskill said. “We have 40 kids coming into kindergarten. The middle school is now completely in its own wing.

The families saw that we have the space to maintain distance and still offer in-person education five days a week. Some families are concerned about how their child was faring with the online learning or hybrid set-up. With the Delta variant and all the other things going on, they don’t want to risk it. They came to us with the hopes of being in school five days a week.”

Toward that goal of staying open, Paskill said IHC, like other schools, will be requiring all students, teachers and staff to wear face coverings. Three feet of distance will be maintained between students in the classroom, and that distance will increase to six feet when students are eating. The school will also continue monitoring temperatures, conducting extra cleaning protocols and limiting sharing of classroom supplies.

To offer more sports, Paskill said IHC has been developing partnerships with other entities and schools.

“We offered the Black Rock Soccer Academy,” he said. “We had 12 boys from all over the world in the dorm at St. Anthony’s – formerly the rectory. Our soccer coach, Craig Wilkinson, started that program within the last couple of years. We’re trying to foster the soccer community, including our international students. We’re seeing positive results from it. It’s open to our students and non-students in the local community. The community has been great about accepting our students for some sports, and we accept other students for soccer and hockey.

This year, Watertown is taking our kids for wrestling, and lacrosse is going to be with Indian River. We haven’t had those offerings in recent years, and those were very positively received. We continue to work to develop those partnerships with the community.”

Also new to the school this year, a new priest will be seen wandering the halls and popping into religion classes.

“Father Matt Conger has been a blessing,” said Paskill. “He looks forward to coming and being part of the school day and having a presence here. Father Mickey (Demo) has been great to us, and he does as much as he can, but he’s pulled in many different directions. Father Matt is all in, and he’s really excited about it.”

Paskill said the IHC community is looking forward to “an awesome year.”

“We look forward to having the students back in the building, and we look forward to our new students, new teachers and new sports,” he said.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.