Fr. John Amsberry celebrates Mass for students at Blanchet.
Fr. John Amsberry celebrates Mass for students at Blanchet.
SALEM — Blanchet Catholic School here kicked off its 18th year by welcoming 365 students, including 92 new youths representing 36 different local schools and six foreign countries. A short schedule of classes was followed by class meetings and a celebration of Mass by Father John Amsberry.

Blanchet has welcomed two new teachers — Gretchen Wunderlich will teach sixth and seventh grade science and honors biology and Jane Menke will teach eighth and ninth grade English. Both bring experience in Catholic education.

Blanchet’s theme for the year – “Compassion” – will be put into action through service projects. On Sept. 24, faculty and students will participate in the second annual school-wide Day of Service, devoting the entire day to helping agencies and organizations in the community. Each class is assigned a theme such as at-risk youth, the environment and human dignity.   

In April, Blanchet broke ground on a 10,600-square-foot addition to its facilities including a new cafeteria, commercial kitchen, athletic locker rooms, student store and landscaped courtyard. The new commons building will be completed in early November with a dedication and blessing ceremony scheduled for Friday, Nov. 16. Call the new “heart of campus,” it will be available for reunions and for neighborhood and community events.   
“We feel incredibly blessed at Blanchet to start our 18th year of providing a quality, Catholic college prep education to mid-valley youth," says Charles Lee, the school's president. "We have many reasons to be excited for this year – from a steady enrollment, to our new Commons building. We look forward to spreading compassion by participation in our campus wide Day of Service and many memorable activities throughout the school year.”