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Christian school students in Comox Valley thrilled about new digs

Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Academy students were excited this week about moving to a new school. - Mandy Larade
Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Academy students were excited this week about moving to a new school.
— image credit: Mandy Larade

While students might grumble at the thought of returning to school after spring break, the students at the Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Academy are exuberant.

The Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Academy has found permanent residence in the old Brooklyn Elementary School building in Comox. Formerly known as Gateway Academy, the private Christian school moved from the old Comox Elementary School located on Wallace Avenue before spring break started. The building was officially purchased Oct. 9, 2013.

This Monday was the official grand opening with a parade of students, staff, and parents walking from the former campus to the new one, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and a celebratory cake.

Pastor Scott Gaglardi spoke of the history of Phil and Jennie Gaglardi, and of the journey of the school since it began 35 years ago.

Gaglardi thanked the students, faculty, and families for making this purchase and move possible.

“The volunteers have put in an astounding 12,000 hours of volunteer work,” said Gaglardi.

For $2.4 million, the purchase was made possible by the donations from the Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Foundation and from Bob Gaglardi, son of Phil and Jennie. Bob and his daughter, Devonna Gaglardi, cut the ribbon during the school’s grand opening ceremony.

School principal Bernadette Pitcher was grateful for the many people who generously gave to make the day possible.

“It’s an awakening to God’s goodness, God’s faithfulness, and to be reminded of the dream that many people had for many years,” Pitcher said.

With the school almost hitting full capacity at 147 students from kindergarten to Grade 12, Pitcher is excited to have the privilege of a permanent spot, noting that there is more opportunity to improve the school’s environment.

“When you own your own home, you have the freedom to do things that you never had as a renter.”

As the students and staff settle into their new building, this is not the end. There is still work to be done on the freshly renovated facility.

Future renovation plans include installing a water meter and storage for landscape equipment, upgrading the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, completing the new senior high washrooms, painting the exterior, and adding a woodworking building.

“We’re praying and hoping that people will get excited about Christian education and just plan to make it a part of their giving every month,” Pitcher said.

The Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Academy has launched the Fresh Start Campaign to fundraise to cover some of these costs.

For more information about the Phil and Jennie Gaglardi Academy or about the Fresh Start Campaign, visit www.pjgaglardiacademy.ca or call 250-339-1200.

 

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