St. Alexis School celebrates 50 years of serving students
Members of the St. Alexis School community have seen many changes in the past five decades but say the family feel of the school has remained its core strength since it opened in 1963.
“It's grown by bits and pieces,” alumnus Matt Mlecko said.
“The buildings have changed, but the teachers tend to stay there a long time, which I think is a good thing.”
Those involved with the school in McCandless are celebrating its 50th anniversary this school year. Principal Jim Correll said administrators plan to recognize the occasion with a special Mass in May or June.
Mlecko attended the school from 1978 to 1984 and now sends two of his children to St. Alexis.
He said that when he brought his second-grader, Logan, to school one morning, a teacher recognized his last name, hugged him and told him that the hug was from his grandmother, who recently had died.
“We've been there a long time,” said Mlecko, 41, of McCandless. “This (school) is a family, and we want to have our kids there.”
The school currently has about 250 students in preschool through the eighth grade and draws from eight school districts.
St. Alexis opened as a school for first- through sixth-graders in 1963 in the cafeteria building, three years after the parish was established.
Longtime parishioner Jack Schuler began attending the church its first year when he was 11 years old. He was too old to attend St. Alexis School but said the school was created because the church's founding pastor, the late Rev. Francis Rodgers, was an advocate of Catholic education.
“He absolutely believed that Catholic education was important — that it was the foundation of morality and a guide for what to be in life,” said Schuler, 64, of McCandless.
Church volunteer Jeff Fisher attended St. Alexis School from 1966 to 1972 in a class of about 30 students.
Fisher, 54, of McCandless, said he remembers the school as “strict” and that it taught him “good Christian values.”
When the school opened, it was tuition-free and funded by parishioners' donations.
St. Alexis' pastor, the Rev. Paul Zywan, said many Catholic schools once were tuition-free because many teachers were sisters.
“We were the second-to-last elementary school to charge tuition in the diocese,” Zywan, of McCandless, said.
Zywan said the school began charging tuition in the 1970s. This year, St. Alexis' annual tuition for first- through eighth-graders is $3,950.
First-grade teacher Lois Titus, who has worked at the school for 40 years, said when she started teaching, she was one of only three lay teachers at St. Alexis. The rest were sisters, who, Fisher said, wore long, traditional habits.
The only sister now teaching at St. Alexis is Sister Jean Stoltz. She is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, based in Baden.
Titus, of Shaler Township, now teaches the children of some of her former students and said the family feel of the school has been an important draw for families. “It's really neat that they trusted us with their kids,” she said.
Two additional buildings, later connected by hallways, were added over the years, along with preschool, kindergarten, and the seventh and eighth grades.
Correll, 43, of Cranberry Township, said despite the school's age, he is pleased that St. Alexis has kept up with technology. Classrooms are equipped with interactive whiteboards, and technology is integrated into the curriculum, he said.
“The nice thing is they've stayed with the times,” Correll said.
Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Cinemark in McCandless boasts modern luxuries
- Shaler officials OK modifications to cell tower off Glenn Scott Drive
- Hampton grad grabs lead in music video
- Charity named for late Hampton boy keeps raising funds to battle cancer
- North Hills Community Outreach seeks volunteers to detail cars for community auto program
- Professional actress offers coaching at Jeter Backyard Theater in Pine
- Molly Maguires celebrate 50 years of making music with Etna, Shaler concerts
- Temple Ohav Shalom welcomes new rabbi, directors in time for High Holidays
- Shaler take-back event offers chance to safely dispose of prescription drugs
- Children promoting nonviolence target of International Day of Peace in North Park
- Residents in Bennington Woods plan focus on safe driving