BY CYRIL ACKERMAN/NOVEMBER 2018
St. Francis Xavier Catholic School currently resides at 465 Table Rock Road, Gettysburg. The school is currently celebrating its 140th anniversary. The mission of St. Francis Xavier School is to pass on the Gospel values and rich heritage of the Catholic faith, to assist parents in the spiritual, moral, and academic education of their children, and to prepare our students to be faith-filled members of the church, community, and nation.
Father Joseph Boll opened the first catholic school in Gettysburg area in 1877. With its modest beginnings Father Boll was the first Principal and course of study included Catechism, Bible History, and Algebra, Bookkeeping, Modern History and Latin. For the first three years students paid tuition of $.50 per month and a bargain at that for the money! The Sisters of Christian Charity from Emmitsburg, Maryland, were the first group of religious women to teach at the school and were withdrawn in 1920. At this time the Sisters of Mercy were invited to staff St. Francis Xavier School. In 1994, the Sisters of St. Joseph were invited by the Pastor to assist in ministering to the people of God. Today St. Francis Xavier School encompasses PK 4’s and Kindergarten through Grade 8. Curriculum offered now includes religion, social studies, Spanish, integrated language arts, mathematics, music, physical education, art, music and attending the library. Other special programs offered are speech therapy, remedial reading, choir, yearbook, student council, remedial math, remedial math, peer mediations and technology club. Sports offered to student body include basketball, cheerleading, volleyball intermural basketball and biddy basketball.
An overview of St. Francis Xavier School: Roman Catholic denomination with membership In National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). It has 247 students with a student teacher ratio of 16:1 (13:1 is the national average). As of 2009 SFX School became accredited as an outstanding school by the Middle States Commission for Elementary School.
Needless to say a very dedicated staff makes all this possible. They bring all that it takes in takes in terms of teacher preparation, including certifications and advanced degrees, and also one more invaluable requirement and that is commitment to catholic education. That dedicated staff does this knowing that they could do the same career in the public sector and make more money in the process. Let’s close by honoring one such individual who dedicated her career to SFX for many years. In 2010 Sister Phyllis retired as school principal. From entering the Sisters of Mercy convent at age 17 to her retirement her commitment to catholic education was unwavering and touch many live in this community.
Join us Dec. 3, at Cumberland Township’s public meeting at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Brethren on Biglerville Road for a presentation on St. Francis Xavier School.
Cyril Ackerman currently serves as secretary of Cumberland Township Historical Society.