Dignitaries, students and community members gathered at Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale Nov. 5 to celebrate the groundbreaking of the school’s new St. Catherine of Bologna Performing Arts Center.
The groundbreaking featured a variety of speakers, blessings, prayers and music to mark the beginning of a project that will span 13 months. St. Catherine of Bologna is the patron saint of performing arts, according to a press release.
Upon completion, the new center will be 21,000 square feet of multi-use space. The building will feature classrooms for drama, music, dance and choir programs as well as a recording studio for digital media students and a blackbox theater.
NDP Principal Jill Plat said she envisions the new center as a place where students can join in worship, work collaboratively on problem solving, generate creative solutions, create art, debate issues and have real-world experiences.
“Often, it is through these activities that students find their strongest connection with school and build their lasting friendships and sense of belonging,” she said. “With an expanded performing arts center, our ability to maintain the strong traditions of NDP will continue and grow.”
Students showcased their talents at the event with NDP’s honors choir and the guitar orchestra providing music throughout the service.
Senior Katy Eberle offered the opening prayer while senior Matthew Rogers led in the pledge of allegiance. Junior Frankie Keffer led in the reading of the word of God while junior Bennett Curran led in the responsorial psalm.
Both Ms. Platt and Harry Plummer, superintendent of the Diocese of Phoenix, spoke at the event. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted led introductory and concluding rites as well as leading the prayer of blessing upon the site.
Of the many parents and students in attendance, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and Rep. David Schweikert were also in attendance.
Mr. Plummer said he believes the arts are essential in schools despite the push for more STEM --- science, technology, engineering and mathematics --- classes. While he believes those types of classes are important, they shouldn’t come at the expense of other education endeavors, such as the arts.
“In short, I believe the arts advance so many skills we purport that it is impossible to understand a Catholic school without them,” Mr. Plummer said.