Helias Catholic High School launches Spirit of Excellence Campaign


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It’s time to finish the work, say administrators, boosters and friends of Helias Catholic High School in Jefferson City.

The school has launched its Spirit of Excellence Campaign to raise $14 million to build a performing arts center, a baseball/softball complex, and an addition to the existing James L. Rackers Fieldhouse, including necessary updates to its athletic and strength and conditioning facilities.

These improvements are the final phase of the school’s campus master plan.

“Now is the time to fulfill the promises made to our community, to complete our campus and strengthen our school’s ability to provide an excellent Catholic education that inspires our students’ development in mind, body and spirit,” stated Helias Catholic President Ron Vossen, a Helias Catholic graduate and 45-year veteran educator at the school.

Mr. Vossen spoke at a Feb. 2 press conference inside the lobby of the school’s recently renovated Crucifix Entrance.

Dozens of people with ties to the school attended, including Bishop W. Shawn McKnight; Monsignor Robert A. Kurwicki, vicar general of the diocese; Erin Vader Ed.D., diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools; Philip Macias, CFO for the diocese; and Mike Bruns, the executive director of the Foundation for the Benefit of Helias Catholic High School.

Bishop McKnight referred to the assembly as “our local community in action, showing forth how much we value Helias and its important role in the wider Jefferson City community.”

He noted that Catholic schools are the principle means by which a community of faith works with parents to fulfill the common mission of raising young people together in the faith.

“We are at our best as a Church and local community when we provide for our next generation of leaders,” the bishop stated.

Combined with contributions from the 2015 Rooted in Faith, Building on Excellence campaign and additional funds pledged toward the project, the Spirit of Excellence campaign seeks to raise a total of $14 million between new donations and generous committed support of up to $7 million from the Foundation for the Benefit of Helias Catholic High School.

Mr. Vossen noted that this final phase will bring all the school’s facilities onto its centrally located campus.

Previous improvements under the master plan included a building addition containing a chapel, science center and administrative office, and the construction of the impressive Crusader Athletic Complex.

Helias Catholic Principal Spencer Allen said this final phase will have a significant impact on students “and this business of guiding the formation of scholars and saints for Christ.”

He shared several ways the project will enhance the school’s core values of faith, excellence and community.

For instance, he pointed to the significance moving all of the school’s home softball and baseball games onto the campus “where symbols of our faith are all around us.”

Likewise, he cited the ease with which the new performing arts center will be able to be used for Mass, rather than setting up chairs in the fieldhouse.

“We’ll be able to come together for Christ even more often after this project,” he stated.

Completing the master plan will also allow the school’s faculty, staff and administration “to continue building on a proven tradition of excellence, inside and outside of the classroom,” he stated.

It will also allow Helias Catholic to host events with our partner parishes, with our diocesan schools, with our partners in the broader community, he said.

Peter Lyskowski, chairman of the Spirit of Excellence Committee, noted that Helias Catholic is blessed with world-class facilities, “and the boundless generosity of our community that continues to make them possible.”

“We have an opportunity now to create a new home for excellence, a new communion of faith, right here in the heart of Jefferson City,” said Mr. Lyskowski, a 1995 Helias Catholic graduate, and parent of two Crusaders.

Erin Vader Ed.D., diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools, said that having come from outside the diocese, she’s “amazed and proud and humbled every day by what we do in our schools.”

She pointed to Helias Catholic’s storied history and all it has accomplished in its nearly seven decades of existence.

“It has provided us an example for all our schools in the diocese, on how to make sure we are raising our students, our children, helping our parents raise their children, to be good stewards of this world and be prepared for citizenship in the next,” she said.

“That’s everything that Catholic education is about.”

Dr. Vader noted that the school’s success would not be possible without the sacrificial stewardship of all of its supporters — including parents, alumni, families, foundations and donors.

Mr. Vossen agreed.

“We look now to our very, very supportive community, that has always stepped up to make our school the best it can possibly be,” he said.

Mr. Vossen invited the entire community to join in the effort to complete the campus.

“Every contribution and show of support helps ensure that Helias Catholic’s spirit of excellence will be here for future generations of Crusaders as our community moves onward together,” he stated.

Bishop McKnight said he hopes the community’s response to the campaign will be “a testament to our values and a sign of our commitment to shaping the future leaders of our community.”

“Through our collective generosity and unwavering faith, may we realize this exciting vision for the future of Helias Catholic, giving our students a space that is inspired by the spirit of excellence — fostering personal growth, encouraging creativity and nurturing spirituality,” he stated.

For more information and to support the Spirit of Excellence campaign, please visit heliascatholic.com/spiritofexcellence or contact Helias Catholic President Ron Vossen at rvossen@heliascatholic.com or 573-635-6139.