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Students Give St. Vincent de Paul School a Facelift

St. Vincent de Paul School students and graduates paint a classroom inside the school as part of the “X-Treme School Makevoer Week.” Through the initiative, volunteers will paint the school’s classrooms and hallways and perform other improvements.

School may be out for the summer, but students are back at St. Vincent de Paul School this week giving the facility a facelift.

As part of St. Vincent’s “X-Treme School Makeover Week,” students, alumni, parents and teachers are painting and performing other improvements at the school Monday through Friday.

“What we really needed was a facelift,” said John Yelenic, director of mission and advancement. “Just something so that when the kids come to school everyday, it’s new, it’s awesome, it motivates them, it encourages them, and not just the kids, the parents and teachers as well.”

On Tuesday, students and other volunteers were busy giving hallways and classrooms a fresh coat of paint.

During the week, volunteers will paint part of the school’s gym, every hallway and hopefully every classroom, said Yelenic, who is overseeing this week’s efforts. Other work will include updating classroom technology, changing floor plans, improving the school’s music room and doing landscaping, he said.

“It’s nice to get that fresh coat of paint, it’s nice to kind of change up the lighting. It’s nice to add something that’s a little different,” Yelenic said. “Hopefully that excitement can motivate them for a month or two or three or four. That’s what we are hoping to do.”

Yelenic said that in addition to St. Vincent students pitching in this week, students from other area Catholic schools and others who support the parish are helping out.

Landon Prager, an incoming eighth-grader at St. Vincent, is serving as “communications director” this week and sought donations from local stores.

“I tried to talk to different stores and different management to get donations for our school to make it better and help us during this week,” said Prager, 13. “We’re hoping to make it a good environment and grow the learning for everybody and for my last year here. I think it’s a good idea to do the work, because if I help, we can get our school fixed up faster.”

Another task being accomplished this week is cleaning up the school’s stage area. Yelenic said alumnus Blake Peluchette and his girlfriend Sara Palmer worked to clear out the space, clean the curtains and paint the stage’s back wall.

“They did a lot of work in the past couple of days to figure out we’ve got a lot more potential in this stage than we thought. So it’s another way for us to heighten our arts,” Yelenic said.

Peluchette, 19, said his work to make the stage more usable is part of his lifelong commitment to the school and the parish.

“I’ve been involved with the parish ever since I was born. Basically, St. Vincent’s has been my life,” he said. “It’s a great way to do something for someone else. To finally help the school, give them some better opportunities. It’s a great way to get to know people. It humbles you as well.”

Yelenic also noted that in May students at the school raised $15,000 in 24 hours by writing letters to local foundations for further support through donations. That money is going toward this week’s improvements.

The makeover will be showcased at St. Vincent’s “back to school night” on Aug. 19, which will feature a ribbon cutting to unveil the completed work, Yelenic said.

“We start school at night instead of in the day so that parents can come with their kids and they can take part in the launching of a new school year, meet the teachers, bring in their supplies, put a name to the face of that teacher,” he said. “That’s when we’re going to unveil all the work that’s been done.”

As the work continues through Friday, Yelenic said the theme of the project is to be “extreme.”

“Our whole idea is extreme. We want to do extreme, over the top,” he said.

“You know how it is, if you shoot for the moon, you’ll fall among the stars. And that’s important for us.”

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