St Peter Indian Mission School_6192
Learning center offers Native American students new technology
By J.D. Long-García, firstname.lastname@example.org
November 20, 2008
BAPCHULE — There was only one member of St. Peter Mission School community who was unsure about the name of the new Joe Garagiola Learning Center — Joe Garagiola himself.
“Joe fussed about it,” Franciscan Sister Martha Carpenter said. “He said, ‘Nothing is named after me except my oldest son.’”
Garagiola — a former Major League Baseball player who’s known as “Awesome Fox” by the school community — eventually agreed on the condition that “Where every child is a gift” be included in the center’s name.
More than 300 people were on hand for the Nov. 2 blessing of the new facility. Led by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, the community gathered for prayer and thanksgiving.
“This center is a real homerun, Joe,” the bishop said during the blessing ceremony.
St. Peter students joined in thanking Garagiola, singing “This Man is Our Joe” to the melody of Woody Guthrie’s classic “This Land is Your Land.”
But the former ball player wasn’t the only one honored.
“We have never said as often as we should how thankful we are for the Franciscan sisters,” said Fr. Edward Meulmans, a retired priest who serves Native American missions in the diocese.
He said the students pick up the Franciscans’ loving spirit of service when they come to the school. The sisters create an environment that marries prayer with education, he said.
“The learning center, along with the church, will be an important building for us for years to come,” Fr. Meulmans said.
The five-year project replaced the school’s tiny library with the 5,125-square-foot learning center featuring a lab with 30 computers and a 12,000-volume library.
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