Today, at the beginning of Great and Holy Lent, Saint Sava Academy, the dual-language, preschool-8th grade parochial school of Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral in Chicago, formally launched a Capital Campaign to raise funds for the purchase and adaptation of a new 18,200 sq. ft. school building on a 2-acre campus.
Information about the Capital Campaign, and the ability to donate online and in other ways, are available at www.ssabuildingfund.com.
A blessed opportunity
Blessing the Capital Campaign effort and calling upon people and organizations of goodwill to help, His Grace Bishop Longin of New Gracanica and Midwestern America said, “Once again, as we navigate this year’s Lenten journey in anticipation of the Lord’s triumphant Resurrection, a unique opportunity has arisen that allows you to make a difference here and now.”
With continuous growth in enrollment over the past several years, the move to a larger facility is necessary to meet the demands and needs of the Saint Sava Academy community and to expand its educational programs. The Academy features a dual-language curriculum model with current program offerings in Serbian and Russian. Discussions are also underway to possibly add new language programs as well.
A third of the way to our goal
“We start this Capital Campaign with approximately $450,000 pledged of the $1.25 Million purchase price, so we are already about a third of the way to our goal,” said Fr. Darko Spasojevic, Cathedral Dean of Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral.
“But we would like to engage our entire community and Church in this blessed effort because there is no more important ministry for us than providing a high-quality education within an Orthodox Christian environment and we appeal to all of our parishioners and friends to help.”
A unique ministry
The Academy is one of the most unique ministries of the Serbian Orthodox Church in North America because it is one of only two elementary schools (the other is St. Sava Orthodox School in Milwaukee) to provide educational opportunities to children on a daily basis.
“Our enrollment this year grew to 128 students, up from 105 last year and 96 in 2015, so we see that there is a demand for our dynamic, dual-language programs,” said Neno Djordjevic, president of the Board of Trustees.
“With our new building, we envision our student body growing to 170-180 children within a year, and it is important to underscore that these children will be learning everything they need — math, science, English, social studies, music, the arts, computers and technology– all while studying Serbian or Russian and participating in the liturgical life of our Church in their own Chapel,” he added.
“No other Serbian institution in this country reaches so many people, so directly, every day, Monday through Friday.”
Accomplishments and opportunities
Since the school’s inception in 2001, former students and graduates of the Academy have demonstrated academic excellence during their post-Saint Sava Academy years, including in high school and college/university. Saint Sava Academy has been represented throughout the Chicagoland area at numerous educational and extra-curricular exhibitions, competitions and cultural events.
The Academy has received various honors, distinctions and recognitions including from the Illinois State Board of Education, Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia, Government of the Republic of Srpska, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (formerly Diaspora) and the Consulate General of the Republic of Serbia in Chicago. Our middle school students recently placed in 1st at a regional ‘We the People’ mock congressional hearing competition held at the Lake County, IL Courthouse. In addition, the Illinois State Board of Education recently recognized the school’s Serbian and Russian language programs. When our students graduate from Saint Sava Academy they will have already fulfilled their high school foreign language requirements due to their language education in Serbian or Russian.
“The purchase and acquisition of a new building is of outmost importance and bare necessity,” said St. Sava Academy Principal Marko Bojovic.
“Our current, aging facility has reached its maximum student enrollment and classroom capacity. Despite the blessings and successes of the past, we must proceed to the next stage of the school’s history which will encompass a larger, modern campus to continue to meet the needs of our students. The Academy administration, faculty and staff look forward to fulfilling the mission of Saint Sava Academy in the comforts of its future home. The new location will be able to offer more in terms of educational and extra-curricular programs, opportunities and activities. Therefore, I call upon all those who believe in the mission of ‘dual-language education in an Orthodox-Christian learning environment’ to support this worthy cause in any way possible,” said Principal Bojovic.