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Ten Commandments stand tall at New Kensington Catholic school

Emily Balser
| Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, 4:00 p.m.
Mary Queen of Apostles Principal Cathy Collett leads students and residents in the Lord's Prayer after the unveiling of the Ten Commandments stone installed in front of a new school sign on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Mary Queen of Apostles Principal Cathy Collett leads students and residents in the Lord's Prayer after the unveiling of the Ten Commandments stone installed in front of a new school sign on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.
Mary Queen of Apostles students participate in prayer after the unveiling of the Ten Commandments stone installed in front of the school on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Mary Queen of Apostles students participate in prayer after the unveiling of the Ten Commandments stone installed in front of the school on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017.

The unveiling of the Ten Commandments monument at Mary Queen of Apostles School in New Kensington on Wednesday was met with cheers and prayers.

The monument was removed earlier this year from Valley High School, across town, after a federal lawsuit and settlement that determined it violated separation of church and state required under the First Amendment.

Mary Queen of Apostles, a Catholic school at the corner of Freeport Road and Elmtree Road, was then selected as the monument's new location.

An anonymous $20,000 donation made it possible to install the monument this week. The school held an informal unveiling Wednesday and plans a more formal dedication in the spring.

“God provided exactly what we needed,” said Bill Staniszewski, MQA's business manager. “People have been so generous in this community.”

Principal Cathy Collett said she and the school's students have been looking forward to the monument going up. She said they are grateful for the opportunity.

“We are just really excited,” she said. “It's a perfect place for it to be.”

Staniszewski said the school has spent about $25,000 on the project so far, which includes the installation of the monument as well as the design and installation of the new school sign.

He said all of the money was acquired through fundraising.

The school will continue to raise money to buy lights and landscaping materials to put around the signs. The cost of those items is unknown, Staniszewski said.

New Kensington resident Jane Labrador lives five blocks away and attended the unveiling.

“It's a happy day,” she said. “It has a lot of meaning to me.”

Her history with the monument is long.

Labrador walked past the monument at Valley High School every day during her 30-year teaching career there. She admired it and was upset when it was removed.

“Now, it's front and center, where it should be,” she said.

New Kensington resident Rosanne Hansberry said she went to Catholic school growing up and believes God belongs back in schools and communities. She was happy to see the monument back up in a public setting.

“I think it's wonderful,” she said. “This is what I guess the silent majority wants.”

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-266-4680, emilybalser@tribweb.com or via Twitter @emilybalser.

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