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History of Holy Trinity Parish, 1833 - 1983,
Memories of Holy Trinity's White Hall, By Fr. Leo DeChant
Vigil mass at 5:00 pm
Catholic school plans big changes, 9-28-98
By NORMA HIGGINS, Morning Journal Correspondent
"AVON -- Two new faces are giving Avon's Holy Trinity Church and School, the oldest in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, a facelift.
Spearheaded by its new pastor, the Rev. John Misenko, who came to the church in April, and principal Sister Sean Groh, who arrived in August, the school is undergoing a number of changes.
Father Misenko and Sister Sean's goals for Holy Trinity include a three-year plan to increase the size of the school's enrollment, kindergarten through eighth-grade, and its curriculum. The school currently has 236 students.
''Many of the changes at Holy Trinity School are in direct relationship to the growth of Avon, similar to those (growth) problems being experienced in public schools,'' Father Misenko said.
Sister Sean said an important addition to the school program is 30 computers that will make it easier for students and their parents to feel comfortable using computers.
''We will also make the computers available to parents who are interested and possibly can't afford their own,'' she said. ''It's hard enough to pay for education, and we want to help wherever we can.''
Sister Sean said the school is building up its library with help from Bishop Anthony Pilla.
''We are stressing math and science classes, and we are encouraging students to take an active part through the school's student council,'' said Sister Sean. ''If I find a student has a talent, I will use it. We want to promote our students' confidence in themselves.''
''We have three years to plan, raise money, and build school rooms and a gymnasium that can also be used as a social hall for all age groups,'' Father Misenko added.
Father Misenko said he is appreciative of the hard work many volunteers and Parent-Teacher Union members did this summer to clear and trim trees, clean up landscaping and add flower beds.
''The first thing that had to be done was due to an act of God. During a wind storm, a tree fell down and we had to repair windows and fix the roof, and improve the playground,'' said Father Misenko.
''We are delighted with the involvement of the parishioners,'' he said.
Father Misenko noted that Holy Trinity School is the oldest school in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, and even pre-dates the diocese. The first church school was built at Nagel and Schwartz roads as a one-room log cabin in 1845. Holy Trinity Church was built in 1833.
''The diocese is very excited about their oldest school's progress,'' said Father Misenko.
Father Misenko came to Avon in April from St. Columbkille in the Seven Hills-Parma area where he was associate pastor.
''I've been a priest for 20 years, and have always been especially interested in education and schools,'' he said.
Sister Sean arrived in August from Geauga County. Originally from Elyria, she has spent 27 years in education, moving to Avon from the Gates Mills and Chesterland areas.
''It's nice to come home,'' she said smiling.
''We have found such enthusiasm in the school and in the parish,'' said Sister Sean, who noted both she and Father Misenko hope to build on that.
Funds from parish events, such as the annual chicken dinner held yesterday, will be used for parish needs, such as the cost of sidewalks on Jaycox Road, said Father Misenko."
Memories of Holy Trinity's White Hall, 5-8-05, by Fr. Leo DeChant
``About six months before her February 2004 death, my Aunt Coletta Wojciechowski (nee Thome), who was born July 3, 1914, retold the story of the 1924 tornado and its effects at Holy Trinity.
As a ten-year-old child, she found it fascinating to look into the church building from the top of the ferris wheel at the parish carnival; the steeple and the roof had been blown off the church by the tornado in June of that year.
My grandfather, her father, Ambrose Thome, Sr. volunteered to dig the basement of the white hall with his team of horses and a scoop shovel. When he finished the basement, he joined the crew of parishioners who constructed the original part of the white hall. It was meant as an emergency, temporary worship space until the church building could be repaired.
Although added onto since 1924, the 81 year service of that small building will end shortly. The parish intends to raze the building as part of the current construction project which is adding classrooms to the parochial school.
My grandfather had just finished setting out all his vegetable plants at his Jaycox Road truck farm when the tornado hit and brought torrential rains with it. The fields were flooded. Since there would be no money to be made on the farm that summer, he went to Elyria and got a job for the summer.
Just a little tidbit of local history, but it shows the willingness of the folks to step up and do what needed to be done for the good of the community. And when they did something that was meant to be "temporary," they did it well enough to last these 81 years!
(I might be off by one year on my aunt's birth year, but I don't think so.)''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 5-4-05, By Julie A Short
``Holy Trinity plans for classroom addition, preschool program
AVON -- Not to be outdone by the construction projects in progress at Avon's public schools, Holy Trinity School is planning a construction project of its own with the addition of six new classrooms.
"This is phase two of a three-phase project," school principal Sister Sean Groh said. "Phase one was the construction of our new multi-purpose room. Phase two is the classroom addition, plus 80 additional parking spaces, and phase three will bring the entire project together to make it architecturally pleasing. That means that the pitches for all the roofs of our buildings will have the same slant and the entire school building campus will match. All the buildings will also have air conditioning."
Sister Groh has also been investigating state regulations for the addition of a preschool program at the parish and hopes to begin enrolling students for the 2005-06 school year.
"Once the addition is complete, our modular classrooms will be available to house preschool and they are already equipped with their own bathrooms," Sister Groh said. "Preschool is something I've always wanted to have here and I think it will be a great offering to our residents."
Unfortunately in the name of progress, to make way for the new classrooms, the parish's legendary White Hall building will be torn down. The hall, built in 1924, is currently used for bingo and other church-related activities. The last parish event held in White Hall is May 26 . After that, Holy Trinity will not longer provide bingo at the parish.
"With the removal of the hall, the only other facility we have to accommodate for bingo would be our multi-purpose room," Sister Groh said. "This is the same place where the children are fed school lunches during the day and we can't serve lunches where people have been smoking cigarettes which they typically do during bingo. So because of this, we will no longer have bingo at Holy Trinity. We recently received extreme success from our Spring Fling event which included a silent auction and we were able to recoup from one event what we make from bingo the entire year."
According to Sister Groh, parishioners have been surprised to hear that the classroom addition will be complete for the start of the 2005-06 school year.
"We laid the foundation for the six classrooms when we did the gym/multipurpose room," Sister Groh said. "All the wiring and conduits are already above the area where we are going to break through the wall to get to the new phase. We tried to think ahead as much as possible. The bricks for the new phase are already here because we ordered them when the first addition was underway. That is why we are confident the addition will be complete by Aug. 1."
An official dedication of the new classrooms is scheduled for Sept. 11 with Bishop Robert Griese presiding. The new wing will be dedicated to the Sisters of Notre Dame.
The estimated $800,000 construction project will be paid for without a capital improvements campaign. In a letter to parishioners dated April 25, Pastor Fr. Misenko wrote "because of the consistent generosity of so many of our parishioners and the stewardship of the Finance Council, these projects will be mostly paid out of pocket and by adding modestly to our manageable debt ..."
Father Misenko went on to write that financially, the school is strong. He cited examples of a number of Catholic schools in the area that have recently closed or will close in the coming year.
"Our success is really in the commitment from not just our new families moving in, but the commitment of the parish as a whole," Sister Groh said. "Longtime residents of Avon have a vested interest in what we are doing. People from all over are finding out about Avon and how lively it is and they are excited."
Holy Trinity bears the honor of having the oldest parochial school within the current boundaries of the Diocese of Cleveland. One of the first desires of those early settlers was a parochial education for their children and thus they established such an institution in a one-room log cabin at the corner of Nagel and Schwartz roads in 1845.
Today, the school educates 395 students in grades K-8. There are 340 students enrolled in the parish's PSR program. According to Sister Groh, the school already has a confirmed enrollment of 423 for next year and that number is expected to climb over the summer.''
Other Lorain County Parishes:
St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, 2640 Stoney Ridge Rd.,
Avon, OH 44011, (440)934-4212, FAX(440)934-6246
Holy Spirit, 410 Lear Road, Avon Lake, OH 44012
(440)933-3777, (440)871-8157(Cleve), (440)933-3789, FAX(440)871-8157
St. Joseph, 32929 Lake Rd., Avon Lake, OH 44012
(440)933-3152, (440)871-0616(Cleve), FAX(440)933-8919
St. Teresa of Avila, 1878 Abbe Rd., Sheffield Village, OH 44054
St. Thomas the Apostle, 715 Harris Rd., Sheffield Lake, OH 44054
St. Julie Billiart, 5500 Lear Nagle Rd., North Ridgeville, OH 44039
(440)327-1978, (440)327-1979, FAX(440)327-1994
St. Peter, 35777 Center Ridge Rd., North Ridgeville, OH 44039
For Further Information:
Local Catholic Church History and Catholic Ancestors - Ohio
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF AVON, OHIO, TO 1974