In celebration of the 50th anniversary year for Our Lady of Peace School in Wheeling, Principal C'Ann Reilly gave the students a very "uplifting" surprise.
As part of the school year's kick-off event, Reilly and Pastor Dennis Schuelkens greeted hundreds of students outside the school building by lifting off in a green hot air balloon symbolizing the school year's theme, "Raising the Standards."
"The students did not know," Reilly said. "The whole package came together. It extends a message of faith and academic excellence, and it all just goes together."
Photo by Sarah Harmon
Principal of Our Lady of Peace School C’Ann Reilly, center, and Pastor Dennis Scheulkens greet students while being lifted off in a hot air balloon. Also pictured at left is Roy Wiehl, who provided the balloon.
Students held blue and white balloons that were let go into the sky while the hot air balloon rose to the tops of the trees, with Reilly and Schuelkens enthusiastically waving to the cheering crowd. Afterward the children enjoyed orange push-up ice cream pops to go with the theme of "pushing the standards" as they begin the school year.
Also greeting the students this year were new environmentally friendly and technological upgrades to the building.
Our Lady of Peace is home to 245 students in preschool through eighth grade this year. Reilly has been principal for 27 of the school's 50 years. When the school opened in 1962, only four teaching Marist sisters offered instruction to 124 students. Today, the staff numbers 20.