A school of their own
by Staff Writer
by Tori Hamby
When rising 10th-grader Hannah Cutlip sat down at her home computer to take an online test, her grandmother was confused.
Free from teacher supervision, Hannah could have easily found the correct answers online or in her textbook, but her book remained closed and her browser clear. By signing an honor code at Christ the King Catholic High School, Hannah had pledged not to cheat, so unauthorized help was out of the question.
“It blew my mind,” Hannah’s grandmother Leigh Marr said. “When you sign the honor code there are no ifs, ands or buts – the students know that you just don’t cheat.”
With the high school’s first year complete, students say they want to pass on the same academic integrity to next year’s incoming class of freshmen. About 70 students – almost three times last year’s enrollment number – will call themselves Crusaders in the fall.
Next year will be the second and final year the school will spend at its temporary location on Oak Ridge Farm Highway in Mooresville, Principal Dan Dolan said. The school’s permanent facility at Poplar Tent and Shiloh Church roads in Cabarrus County should be ready for the beginning of 2013-14 school year.
Christ the King Catholic High started the year with about 25 ninth-graders and plans to add a grade each year – graduating its first senior class in 2015. Most students come from St. Mark Catholic School, an elementary and middle school in Huntersville, but as the Diocese of Charlotte’s only Catholic high school north of Charlotte, attracts students from throughout Lake Norman.
While students said they are looking forward to expanding their school and starting the upcoming year as leaders, they said they will miss some the unusual perks that come with attending a school the size of many public school classrooms. The school fielded a variety of athletic teams last year, including boys cross country, basketball and lacrosse; girls volleyball; and co-ed golf, tennis, crew and sailing. Although the school held formal tryouts, every student made the team, allowing many to participate competitively in sports they had never tried.
John Walkowski had never played tennis and golf, but decided to take the opportunity to pick up a racket and golf club.
“It was a good experience,” said John, also a member of the basketball team. “I had always been interested in tennis because my dad played it in high school, so I gave it a try.”
By 2015 the school will offer 18 sports including cheerleading, baseball, softball and swimming.
A group of adventurous students capped off the school year with a 10-day service trip to Costa Rica. They painted a school and kindergarten classroom in the tiny farming community of San Jorge near the Nicaraguan border.
Instead of alarm clocks, screeching monkeys stirred students from their beds each morning. Students such as Angela Arce spent the trip living with host families whose members spoke little English, but left Costa Rica “Facebook friends with the whole village,” parent chaperone Margie Henry said.
As the student body prepares for freshmen to arrive in August, veteran Crusaders said they have some advice for new students.
“There’s a higher standard here,” Mary Selzer said. She is one of a set of triplets who attend the school. “Be ready for a ton of essays and a lot of participation. The smaller environment forces you to be highly involved.”