Orthodox plan to open first school in area

St. Demetrios Church is being considered for the site of the school.
& lt;a href=mailto:wilkinson@vindy.com & gt;By D.A. WILKINSON & lt;/a & gt;
WARREN -- A group plans to open a new parochial school for Eastern Orthodox Christians in the Warren and Youngstown area.
Holy Trinity Orthodox Christian Academy is scheduled to open in late August for pupils in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Chris DiGiacobbe, president of the school board, said it expects to have the 10 pupils needed to open the school.
Plans call for the school to eventually expand to include all grades, she said.
The school for Orthodox Christians would be the first Orthodox school in the area.
Such schools have become more common outside of large cities in the past 30 years, according to the Rev. Daniel Rohan, a leader in the Orthodox community, who is not involved in the school.
The school is being organized by Orthodox Christian Schools of Northeast Ohio Inc., which runs schools in Cleveland, Akron and Canton, DiGiacobbe said.
The school would be what is commonly called a private, parochial school.
One reason for the private school is that unlike public schools, "You can talk about God," said DiGiacobbe.
J.C. Benton, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education, said such schools are technically state chartered, nonpublic schools. The chartering by the state makes the school's diploma valid.
Holy Trinity's teachers will have to be Orthodox and the school will offer religious education as part of its curriculum, DiGiacobbe said. Pupils do not have to be Orthodox Christians.
Such schools get very little state money, which is awarded under a complex formula, said Benton.
Under what the state calls "community schools," but what are commonly called charter schools, religious groups can open schools and currently get $4,949 in tax revenue per child. But those schools cannot teach religion.
DiGiacobbe said Holy Trinity's tuition will be $2,000 per pupil with a 10-percent discount for a second child. There would also be a $250 book fee. Area Orthodox churches may be asked to start scholarship funds for pupils.
A parent information night was held last week. A sponsorship dinner will be at 5 p.m. Saturday at St. Demetrios Community Center in Warren.
St. Demetrios Church is being considered as the site of the school, said DiGiacobbe. There are three other Orthodox churches in Warren, and about 10 more in the Youngstown area.
If there is enough interest from the Youngstown area, transportation arrangements can be made.
Pupils would study science, history, math, Latin, logic and foreign languages. Under the modified classical curriculum that is used, pupils learn how the subjects are related, DiGiacobbe said. Basics such as reading, writing and spelling also will be taught.
A key reason for the school is to prevent what happens in many faiths: Children grow up and grow away from the church, DiGiacobbe said.
Pupils at Holy Trinity will also pray the third and ninth hours each day and participate in a divine liturgy on feast days.
The third hour is 9 a.m. under ancient Christian time and represents the time the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles on Pentecost. The ninth hour, or 3 p.m., is when Jesus died on the cross. The times were picked for daily prayers since they will be the times the school day begins and ends.
XFor more information, call (330) 393-3025.
& lt;a href=mailto:wilkinson@vindy.com & gt;wilkinson@vindy.com & lt;/a & gt;

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