St. John Neumann celebrates 40th anniversary

By Joyce Baca-Anderson - Principal
With the beginning of this new school year, St. John Neumann Catholic School celebrates its 40th anniversary. The school’s year-long celebration began with an all-school Mass on August 18 with Bishop Berg and Father Ben Bacino.

In 1971, a Catholic alternative to public education in Pueblo ceased to exist, when Bishop Charles Buswell made the decision to close all the Catholic schools. During the subsequent years, certain clergy and laity saw the need to re-establish such an alternative and in January of 1977 sought and were granted approval by Bishop Buswell to proceed. St. John Neumann Catholic School was incorporated in the state of Colorado in July of the same year and in September 1977, under the leadership of a ten-member board of directors, St. John Neumann Catholic School opened with an enrollment of 87 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. The Our Lady of the Assumption School building was rented and housed the elementary students until September 1982.

In September 1979, a second facility, St. Mary’s Education Center, was leased to accommodate a newly organized middle school. Expansion of St. John Neumann continued until it was evident that a larger facility was needed. In the spring of 1982, Bishop Arthur Tafoya leased the former Seton High School to the St. John Neumann K-8 System and in August of 1982, Pueblo School District No. 60 Board of Education voted to lease Lakeview Elementary School to the St. John Neumann K-8 System. With the addition of a preschool in 1985, the school system was organized according to the following format: pre-school and elementary at the Lakeview Building, and middle school at the Seton Building.

Father Stauter, a strong supporter of St. John Neumann Catholic School, left a majority of his estate to the school. In 1994, with the special funds from the Stauter estate, the St. John Neumann School system purchased the Lakeview Elementary School building, thereafter the site became known as the “Stauter Campus.” Forty years later, St. John Neumann continues to provide a rigorous preschool to middle school academic program by nurturing and challenging every student’s mind, body, and spirit in a loving, caring Catholic environment.

The anniversary celebration will continue throughout the school year. An outdoor picnic, “Family, Faith, & 40 years” will be held on September 21 at the school. Later this fall, the annual dinner auction will be held on Friday, November 3 at the Pueblo Sangre de Cristo Art Center honoring Garrison Ortiz and Mr. and Dr. Oldenburg. All alumni and Panther supporters are invited to attend.