Marty Flynn, athletic director, Anne Reap, lower school director and Joanne May, upper school director cut the ceremonial ribbon at TCPA. Rose O'Connor photo
Marty Flynn, athletic director, Anne Reap, lower school director and Joanne May, upper school director cut the ceremonial ribbon at TCPA. Rose O'Connor photo

For the Trenton Catholic Preparatory school family, the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony July 27 provided the opportunity for school families, alumni and supporters to reflect on their past and look toward their future.

Rising 7th grade student Jameson Haque is ready “to get back to school with a lot of familiar teachers and staff. I’ve been here since kindergarten and consistently seeing the same smiling faces makes it feel more like home.”

Miya Ratliff, who will be in the fourth grade in September, can’t wait for Art class because, as she explained proudly, “I am an artist.”

These seem like common back-to-school student musings, but for the students at TCPA, being able to attend the school in September was uncertain. It was announced by the Diocese in January that Trenton Catholic Academy, formed as a regional Pre-K-12 school in 2005, would not reopen its doors in September due to long-standing financial shortfalls that were exacerbated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Founded in 1962 as St. Anthony High School and later renamed McCorristin Catholic High School after its founder, the school was established as part of the re-structuring of the Catholic schools in the city of Trenton.

After months of receiving donations from supporters, individuals and corporations, while also working with diocesan officials, local township administrators and alumni, the newly established Board of Trustees was happy to announce that the school would reopen in September as Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy, an independent Catholic school.

Lower School director Anne Reap acknowledged the work done by volunteers as she spoke during the ceremony.

“Today it is about our families who fought for this school – school parents, as well as our alumni, faculty and staff, members of our community, our Diocese and most importantly, the members of our TCPA Boards. Pope Francis established the Year of the Family last March on the Solemnity of St. Joseph.  How fitting during this Year of the Family that we can truly live the joy of God’s love found in our now extended Iron Mike family.”

Reap also read remarks from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., who shared his wishes for a “glorious occasion and much success” and asked for “God’s blessing on the faculty, staff, alumni and students.”

Upper School parent Noraima Hernandez shared the significance of the school.

“TCPA is very important to the community because it provides an affordable, faith-based education for our children in a family type setting. Our children learn not only to respect others, but to respect themselves, which is so important in today’s society.”

The ceremony included speakers from the school administration, TCPA Board of Trustees, and representatives from Hamilton Township, including Mayor Jeff Martin and alumni Fred Dumont, director of community and economic development, and Councilman Rick Tighe.

Mercer County Commissioner Nina Melker presented a proclamation to TCPA to mark the significance of the day.

Board President and alumna Margaret Raymond-Flood thanked the numerous supporters of TCPA acknowledging that their hard work and dedication proved to be fruitful.

“I am elated. Knowing that the legacy of this school will live on has brought me to tears,” Ann Marie Williams-Gray, fellow Board trustee and alumna, shared.

The day was about remembering the past, but also looking ahead to the future.

“We have added several exciting new classes to the course offerings to be taken both in person and through Catholic Virtual. We will be reinstating clubs during the school day and after school,” Upper School director Joanne May shared.

Reap echoed her colleague.

“I am looking forward to welcoming back our students to a full-service school, which will include our strong academics, afterschool clubs, robust athletic programs, service opportunities and before and after school care. This is only the beginning of a slate full of new opportunities for our students.

Paul Pennacchi, alumnus and Board member offered, “Wasn’t it a great day?  After all the hard work the Board put in over the last six months, it doesn’t get better than this,” he said.

Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy is now accepting registrations for the fall.  Prospective families should visit www.trentoncatholicprep.org for more information.