St. John XXIII Catholic School provides traditional values and an exceptional education, says Dawn Pickerill, principal. “Obviously academics are very important,” she says, “but also to produce responsible members of society.”

The preschool through eighth grade school in Middletown currently is teaching those important academic and societal lessons to about 425 students, says Pickerill. St. John XXIII Catholic School is the beneficiary school of the Holy Family Parish, which consists of the combined members of Holy Trinity Church and St. John Church in Middletown.

The school is located at 3806 Manchester Road in the former Fenwick High School building. Because it is a former high school, the 17-acre campus has a high school regulation baseball field, football field and gym, Pickerill says.

That allows the private school to offer students some of the best facilities for athletic extracurricular activities, she says. St. John XXIII Catholic School offers cheerleading, football, soccer, golf, basketball, volleyball, track and field and lacrosse.

In addition, the full-size stage in the gym has stage lights for the performing arts productions, including this year’s Wizard of Oz play, says Pickerill. Some of the other after-school activities include art club, builders club, student council and the Power of the Pen writing team.

The school’s academic offerings feature a rigorous high school preparatory curriculum that emphasizes Catholic values, character development and leadership, says Pickerill. St. John XXIII Catholic School also offers classes in Spanish, fine arts, physical education and technology.

Technology is incorporated throughout the curriculum, as each student in the third grade through the eighth grade is provided with a laptop computer. Students can take notes in class by writing on the laptop with a stylus and answer assignment questions pushed out by teachers by writing with the stylus instead of typing, Pickerill says.

The school is offering parents of prospective students a great opportunity to see the educational facility up close and personal when it conducts an open house Jan. 26 from noon to 3 p.m., says Pickerill.

“It’s for any prospective parents to come and get a tour and they’ll be able to meet teachers, administration and get any questions answered,” she says. The open house is a great way to learn more about the school and a personal, private tour can also be arranged, says Pickerill.

Parents will learn that teachers and administrators at St. John XXIII Catholic School care deeply about their students, she says. “It is truly is a family atmosphere,” says Pickerill. “And we look out for each other. We do really look to grow the whole child.”

That growth means that students can graduate and make a difference. “We also want each child to know that they are loved and they are cared about and that they can go out and do great things in this world,” she says. “And that’s what expected of them.”