MARSHALL COUNTY - Our Lady of Peace School Principal C'Ann Reilly said Friday was "a time to build community" while celebrating the school's 50th year of existence during its annual Friends and Family Day.
Students, teachers, administrators, guests and family members were packed into the school's gymnasium. Music filled the gym between messages of congratulations and adulation.
Among the honored guests were West Virginia first lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, West Virginia Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, and Vincent de Paul Schmidt, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston.
Photo by Tyler Reynard
West Virginia first lady Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, left, poses with Our Lady of Peace School Principal C’Ann Reilly on Friday during the school’s Family and Friends Day.
As an ode to Tomblin, students dressed as American presidents and first ladies. She returned the flattery, saying the event was "amazing" and the students were well-behaved and displayed pride in their school.
"It's just wonderful to participate in these activities," Tomblin said. "It's wonderful to visit schools around the state to see the very positive things that are happening."
Kessler is no stranger to Our Lady of Peace; he has two sons currently enrolled in the school.
"It's a great school with a tradition of service," Kessler said.
Schmidt said the 50-year mark is a testament to the dedication and hard work of students, teachers, administration and parents throughout the school's history.
"Catholic Schools are known for being a community and this community here at Our Lady of Peace is so in tune with the mission of what the school should be and is all about," he said. "We're very, very lucky to have this school in Marshall County - the leadership in this school and the parents supporting our students to the end product."
Reilly said Tomblin, Kessler and Schmidt added to the excitement surrounding the day.
Reilly, who has been the school's principal for the past 27 years, said she has watched it grow in facilities and enrollment. With 247 children currently enrolled, she noted, the school is just one student shy of doubling its opening-day enrollment.