SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR HONORED
Two Saint Peter’s parents who have dedicated many years of service to the school were celebrated on November 12 at the Catholic Business Network of Montgomery County annual gala.
Mrs. Anna Santos is the current President of the School Advisory Board and has held this position for the past four years. Santos has seen the school through its most recent strategic plan and is currently overseeing the formation of team that will create the newest one. Santos, a registered nurse, also assists as a substitute in the Health Room.
Mrs. Megan Clark, an alumna of Saint Peter’s, has dedicated many years of service to the school, including serving as the President of the Home and School Association.
A FAMILY TREE ROOTED AT SAINT PETER’S
By Erin Pant, Our Parish Times, September 2021 Edition
In August of 1957, Saint Peter’s Parish opened the doors to its day school. The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill arrived in Olney from Philadelphia to teach the 160 pupils. One of the students in the inaugural first grade class was Catherine Yates.
Catherine was one of fifteen siblings who each attended Saint Peter’s School. Her parents were very active in the parish and school. Her mom, Marie, took on many roles including working in the school office and coordinating church wedding receptions. Her father Richard, a doctor, provided medical care to the Sisters, and was instrumental in many parish affairs, including securing the commission of the statue of Saint Peter, which remains the parish’s signature symbol today.
“In those days, Olney was very country,” said Catherine. She recalls having to walk through farmland, dodging past cows on her way to school each morning. Catherine has especially fond memories of the Sisters, “I loved the nuns, they were very special. Saint Peter’s was always a happy and holy atmosphere. It was a wonderful place to be.”
Catherine married Bill Mooney in 1971. The ceremony was held in Saint Peter’s Parish Hall, which at the time was the main church. The Mooney’s had two children, Brian and Karen, and when the time came, they proudly enrolled them at Saint Peter’s. “They loved the school from the start,” recalls Catherine.
When Brian and Karen attended Saint Peter’s in the 1980’s, it had undergone several changes since their mom’s time at the school. Most of the faculty were now lay people, and in 1989, a major milestone occurred when the new church was completed.
“Our teachers were wonderful, I still remember many of them vividly today,” said Brian Mooney. “There were high expectations, but we had a lot of fun.”
Karen Mooney recalls the many special community events, some of which continue today, like spaghetti dinners, bingos, and Donuts for Dad.
Both Brian and Karen enjoyed the strong sense of community that Saint Peter’s provided them. So much so, that years later, when they each became parents, they made the decision to send their children to Saint Peter’s, forming a three-generation tradition.
Brian’s son Nathan is now in 4th grade. “We wanted to give Nathan a strong academic foundation and sense of community, and St. Peter’s felt to be the natural choice,” said Brian. “School has changed a lot, but there are these moments that harken back to the time that I spent there, and it is really feels special to share that with him.”
Karen’s daughter Harley is in 2nd grade, “I wanted my daughter to be in a loving environment that focused on faith and education. There are many times that Harley will ask me about how things were when I was there. I try to explain that there was only one hallway, and she can’t even comprehend it!”
While many things at Saint Peter’s have changed over the decades, from the expansion of the school building to the curriculum to the uniforms, the experience gained within the walls has not.
“Through all of the years and all of the changes, it’s clear that the core of St. Peter’s is the community,” said Brian.
“It is very reassuring to know, based on my own firsthand experience, that my daughter is in the right place,” added Karen.
Today, Catherine attends school masses as often as she can. “I just love seeing my grandchildren there.” She also enjoys accompanying them down the same halls she once walked, though she admits she sometimes gets lost navigating the newer parts of the building. “I couldn’t be happier with my own children’s choice to follow in our footsteps and send their children to Saint Peter’s, it’s such a blessing.”
Spadoni take helm at Saint Peter
By Erin Pant, Our Parish Times, August 2021 Edition
Mr. Vincent Spadoni, a familiar face in the Archdiocese of Washington, has been appointed principal of Saint Peter School in Olney.
“It’s one of the greatest honors of my career to be called to lead this community,” said Spadoni. “As long as I’ve been in the Archdiocese, Saint Peter School has had such an outstanding reputation for its community, its connection to the parish, and its strong academic program. I look forward to building on the legacy that was here, while bringing some of my own energy and excitement to the school.”
Spadoni has served in administrative roles in the Archdiocese of Washington for more than 20 years. Most recently, he served as the President of the Consortium of Catholic Academies in Washington, D.C. where he was responsible for the oversight of all operations, from finance and facilities to academics and development for four urban Catholic schools. Prior to that, Spadoni served as principal of Saint Ambrose School in Cheverly and Saint Elizabeth School in Rockville. In 2012, he was named the Distinguished Principal of the Year for the Archdiocese of Washington.
Mr. Spadoni describes his transition to Saint Peter as incredibly warm and one of the smoothest of his career. “I’ve had all of these connections to Saint Peter over the years, so I didn’t feel like a stranger coming in,” said Spadoni. “I’m coming into a very strong, solid school in every way, and I credit my predecessors, Mrs. Liz Whelan and Mrs. Kristen Cocozzella for that. Mrs. Cocozzella made this transition incredibly positive and helpful.”
Saint Peter is experiencing a period of growth, with enrollment up 11% and several grades expanding into two classes for the 2021-2022 school year.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know our students, our teachers, and our families, and seeing how best I can serve our community,” said Spadoni. “My hope for the coming school year is that our community will experience a new sense of normalcy, and a renewed excitement and enthusiasm for Saint Peter.”
WITH SECOND BLUE RIBBON AWARD, ST. PETER’S SCHOOL IN OLNEY KNOWN FOR FAMILY SPIRIT AND FAITH
Saint Peter's was profiled in the September 30, 2020 edition of the Catholic Standard
As the U.S. Department of Education this year honored St. Peter’s Catholic School in Olney, Maryland, with a National Blue Ribbon School Award signaling it as one of the best in the nation, one parent there called the honor “an outward recognition for all the fantastic work being done there.”