What’s New At St. Michael The Archangel High School?
By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor
LEE’S SUMMIT — St. Michael the Archangel High School opened Aug. 14, with students, faculty and staff excited to begin the academic year in a brand-new, state of the art school. There were still a few areas in the school building as well as the campus grounds that weren’t complete, but no matter. It would get done. And inside the school building, it has.
Entering the school on the second floor, a visitor passes the academic and advancement offices before stopping at a flight of enormous wooden stairs heading down to the first floor. These stairs, called the Learning Stairs, are used for all-school Masses, assemblies, large classes and for eating lunch, studying and hanging out with friends after school and between classes. The stairs have charging stations for the laptop computers that all the students are equipped with.
Rounding the Learning Stairs and passing several classroom areas, a visitor comes to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel, at the center of the school, its heart. The completed chapel was dedicated and consecrated by Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr., on Sept. 29. Alan Burns, the school’s Communication Director and Director of Enrollment, said the ceremony was attended by the entire student body of nearly 300 and the faculty, benefactors and donors, as well as local residents.
“This is the heartbeat of the school,” Burns said, “with a voluntary Mass celebrated daily and all-school Masses on Fridays.”
Another feature of the school is the Legacy Conference Room, with windows looking out and down into, what SMAH Principal Jodie Maddox once described as “a ginormous gym.” St. Michael the Archangel High School is the first new Catholic high school built in the diocese in 53 years and, as such, sits on the shoulders of former high schools and their students, especially Archbishop O’Hara (closed 2017), St. Mary’s (closed 2013) and De LaSalle (closed 1971). Three glass-fronted cabinet-walls of the Legacy Conference Room showcase memorabilia from the closed schools, including a letter jacket from De LaSalle’s football team that Burns said might be nearly a century old.
There are also display cabinets set up around the school containing footballs, school jackets and other items from the three schools. Even the school colors are legacies —blue from St. Mary’s, silver from De LaSalle and green from O’Hara.
The gym has seating for about 800 all on one side focusing on the gym floor, or the stage on the far wall. There is a weight room, filled with newer equipment brought over from O’Hara, and easy access to the practice fields behind the school. St. Michael’s opened with many sports programs — football, basketball, volleyball, golf, archery, men’s and women’s soccer, track and cross country, baseball, softball, tennis, cheer and dance teams, even bass fishing. There is a good-sized, well-stocked pond slightly east of the school, already beloved by the principal, the faculty and students, and some ducks….Read More