This summer, when The Avalon School relocates from Gaithersburg to its new home on the campus of St. Catherine Laboure Parish, Wheaton, it will be the first time in the all-boys Catholic school’s 15-year history that it will be adjacent to a Catholic church.
“Most notable will be having a permanent tabernacle with the Real Presence (of Our Lord),” said Kevin Davern, headmaster of The Avalon School. “It’s the heart.”
Richard McPherson, president of The Avalon and Brookewood Schools, said, “The move is extremely exciting for us. For the first time, since our second year as a school, we will be in a building that will allow us to grow our enrollment. We will have the Blessed Sacrament nearby at all times to help us grow spiritually.”
McPherson also noted the close proximity of Wheaton’s Claridge Park with its 20-plus acres and that Avalon will now be less than two miles from its sister school, Brookewood, an all-girls Catholic school for grades 1-12 in Kensington.
“After 15 years, in four different buildings, we feel like we now have a real home for Avalon,” he said. Avalon’s school motto, “Duc in Altum,” (Luke 5:4) means “put out into the deep,” an-oft repeated dictum of St. Pope John Paul II inviting the faithful to look to the future with hope and confidence.
With 220 boys in grades K-12, Avalon’s move to the larger and refurbished building facilities of St. Catherine Laboure School, which closed its doors in 2013, is both welcome and joyous news in the school’s tight-knit community.
“Avalon is such a great school, really like a family. We have treasured our experiences there over the years and can’t wait for this new, exciting chapter,” said Maria Calvetti, a longtime school parent of three Avalon boys – a 2017 graduate and two current students.
The former St. Catherine Laboure School building has 22 large classrooms, science and computer lab space, an auditorium, as well as a field and a gymnasium. St. Catherine Laboure Parish offers two daily Masses and has a Eucharistic Adoration chapel.
To help facilitate the transition in September, Avalon will offer free shuttle service next school year from its current site in Gaithersburg; from Milestone Center in Germantown; as well as from the Wheaton Metro, and plans to add additional shuttles from other areas as needed.
Under the direction of Father Francisco Aguirre, administrator of St. Catherine Laboure Church, the parish will continue to provide a weekly Catholic religious education program for more than 1,100 students and adults.
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