At The Woodlands Christian Academy, during the first school lunch of the 2019-20 school year some students ate grilled hamburgers and hot dogs cooked up by their principal.
Stephen Clark, the school’s high school principal, held an outdoor picnic celebration Wednesday for his students to kick off not only their first day of school, but the opening of their new Micah Academic Building: a three-story, $11 million project to house the school’s 230 high school students.
While Clark said it was great to start the year off with a new building, it’s what’s inside that really counts.
“The building is phenomenal, and we’re really blessed that our community and parents came together over the past few years to have the building, but we’re even more excited about the staff that we have,” Clark said. “It’s a great environment and culture that we have for the kids.”
The school has the largest high school class to date this year with about 65 students, but the administrators are still focused on maintaining the school’s culture despite growth. Senior Bakari Lastrap said he’s excited for this year.
“The campus is growing, the numbers are growing, so I’m just excited to grow with the school. I’m looking forward to having an exciting year,” Lastrap said.
Head of School Julie Ambler seemed happy that the construction project is finished, and students of all grade levels are back on campus.
“There are lots of smiles. I’m glad we made it. Our buildings look better with students in them,” Ambler said.
Other area private schools recently started or are preparing to start soon. Also in The Woodlands, John Cooper School began classes Thursday with 1,280 students in grades pre-K through 12. According to a press release, the school welcomed its largest enrollment for the high school at 463 students this year, which is also the school’s 31st year.
Head of School Mike Maher said he is proud of what the school has accomplished over the years, and that he is excited to begin the year with families who represent a broad spectrum of diversity and cultures along with dedicated faculty and administrative staff members.
St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School in The Woodlands had about 470 students return to campus earlier this week. More than 100 of those students were new to the school, which principal Veronica Tucker said was exciting.
“Our theme for the year is ‘belong’, so we really want to emphasize that the kids belong here. It’s been a great start to the year, with lots of smiles,” Tucker said of the atmosphere the first few days at the pre-K (beginning with three-year-olds) through eighth-grade campus attached to St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church.
This year, they’ve added an enrichment program, a social skills program and a running club to the school’s offerings.
With about the same number of students in grades pre-K through 12th grade, Legacy Preparatory Christian Academy is preparing to open its doors Aug. 19.
Elsewhere in Montgomery County, Sacred Heart Catholic School in Conroe welcomed about 260 students through eighth grade back to campus earlier this week.
Advancement Director Beth Istre said it went wonderfully. The school has already held its first all-school mass for the entire school community.
“(The students) seemed to jump right back in. I know they don’t always want to come back to school, but they miss us, and we miss them. It feels like our family is back together for the school year,” Istre said.