Mount Saint Mary’s celebrates first day |

Mount Saint Mary’s celebrates first day

Mount St. Mary’s Academy in Grass Valley started the new school year with a celebration.

While new principal Edee Wood welcomed students on the first day of school Aug. 20, parents were greeted with fresh coffee, homemade bread, muffins, fresh fruit and a cheerful faculty.

“There was an air of excitement this morning that you usually don’t see on the first day of school. It was great,” said parent Donna Anderson.

“It was great to see so many new faces at school this year,” said Alanna Thurman, a sixth-grade student.

Like most Nevada County schools, Mount St. Mary’s Academy has struggled with declining enrollment.

But this year is different.

“For the first time in three years, we have seen an increase in our enrollment,” Wood said.

Enrollment at the school has increased by more than 20 percent over the 2007-08 year, drawing students from around the county.

Classrooms bustled with the chores of getting new school supplies, students settling in and learning the routine.

“We added a whole pod to our classroom this year,” said Mackenzie Thurman, a fifth-grader. “We now have 20 kids in our class.”

The academy soon will celebrate 150 years of academic excellence. The Mount St. Mary Academy was founded in 1859, and is the oldest continuously operating Catholic grade school west of the Mississippi.

Gary Gallelli is a Mount St. Mary’s parent.

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