I am back on Walcott Street for my 11th year as the Head of School at Saint Raphael Academy, and I love the opportunity to work with so many Saints every day. The trees lining Walcott Street are starting to show their beautiful autumnal colors, and the chrysanthemums are in full bloom throughout the campus. The last month has been nothing short of awesome on our campus, and there is electricity in the air. The SRA faculty, staff and students are thrilled to see one another (without face coverings), and the tempo and flow of the day is finally back to normal.
Throughout the summer, we added new faces within our student population, and several of our teachers are also new to our campus this fall. Our development office also experienced some changes. I am thrilled to announce Mr. Ron Dalton ’79 is now the Director of Development and Ms. Mel Colvin ’02 is our new Alumni Coordinator. I am so excited to be working with both professionals!
Our capital campaign, “The Next 100 Years,” ended as an overwhelming success. As many of you know, the campaign began during the pandemic and our goal was to raise $5,000,000. The final amount raised was an astounding $5,200,000, far exceeding my expectations. More importantly, we’re pleased to announce that this spring, the West Building was renamed the Walker Family Building in recognition of the gracious gift that Chuck Walker ’64 and his family made toward the capital campaign. Most of the funds raised in the campaign will be used for financial aid for our current students and endowment funding to financially support future SRA students. Even though the campaign is officially over, we are still accepting gifts if you would like to help with either financial aid or our endowment.
Every year, the school administration designs a plan to beautify the Academy and give our students the best experience during their time on Walcott Street. This summer was no different. One of the biggest upgrades we accomplished during the last few months is the new bathrooms in the East Building (formerly known as St. Joseph’s School). The bathrooms were old, outdated and deteriorating, and certainly not at the standard we expect for our Academy. Renovations were completed a month ago, and the bathrooms look beautiful. We also began updating the former Saint Joseph’s Church rectory at 193 Walcott Street. SRA purchased this building a few years ago, and we have relocated our Campus Ministry in this wonderful facility. Additionally, we finally put a full kitchen with stove, oven and two fryers in the Walker Building. This is a welcome change for the same space where students were required to stand while eating their lunch back in the day. Times have certainly changed over the years at the Academy!
It is hard to believe, but we have already begun meeting to discuss the 100th anniversary of Saint Raphael Academy. The Academy officially opened on September 10, 1924, in the White Building at 123 Walcott. Over the last 98 years, the campus developed to now include eight buildings along Walcott Street. Much has changed, but the charism of being a Catholic high school founded in the tradition of Saint John Baptist de La Salle has remained constant throughout the years. As we plan for the upcoming centennial, it is our hope to highlight the accomplishments of the past, recognize and acknowledge past students for their many achievements, and celebrate what Saint Raphael Academy has been for Pawtucket and the surrounding Blackstone Valley region. Expect more information to follow in the coming months.
This has been a tremendous year at the Academy; we are back to normal operations, improvements continue to be made on our campus, and we have just finished the largest capital campaign in the history of the Academy! None of this happens without the generosity and kindness of our alumni! All of you are making dreams come true on Walcott Street, and I cannot thank you enough!
Head of School
Saint Raphael Academy