BY SHELLY GABLE || PHOTOS BY JOM III GALLERY, LLC FEB 2017
Sacred Heart catholic School, located in Warner Robins, has roots that connect from a convent in Ireland to Robins Air Force Base starting in the mid-1950s. Concerned that the large number of Catholic military families were not being provided with a proper education within their faith, a collaboration between RAFB and the priests at the Macon Deanery sought to provide an answer to a growing problem. Provided with a Quonset hut, when Sacred Heart Catholic School (SHCS) opened its single door in 1955, it had approximately 90 students. A year later, Presentation Sisters Regis, Ignatius, Vianney, and Celsus arrived to begin serving 165 students in that hut, journeying all the way from North Presentation Convent in Cork, Ireland.
What started in a surplus military barrack on base has grown in offerings while staying small enough to provide quality education and remain true to its Irish heritage. The school moved to a small brick building three years after opening, and every few years after that saw the need for another expansion, all of which has culminated into an entirely new school. As of January 4, 2017, it has opened its collective doors on a beautiful, fresh campus. And though the Presentation Sisters no longer serve at the school, having left in 2004 to pursue another assignment, Sacred Heart ensures that all of its students understand the rich history surrounding its faith and tradition with their mission statement: “In keeping with the tradition of the Presentation Sisters, every child shines in the light of the Catholic faith through service, self-discipline, and academic excellence.”
The school also has a new principal, Allan Chromy, who is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel. Mr. Chromy specialized in Airmen Education and Training while on active duty, and now in his retirement, has been called to serve in this new capacity.
Mr. Chromy felt a connection to this small school with a big heart last summer saying, “I was interviewing at several different Catholic Schools, but there was something different, something special that was calling me to the Warner Robins community. I feel so blessed to be here now. The warm welcome has been overwhelming and just shows that God is truly good all of the time.” That “something special” prompted Mr. Chromy to relocate from Colorado Springs, Colorado, all the way to Warner Robins.
Sacred Heart is fully accredited, with 190 students in grades K3-8, and offers a cross-curricular, differentiated program. The school seeks to provide a well-rounded educational experience to each student, feeding their minds and their hearts with excellence in academic instruction as well as formal religious teaching on a daily basis. Included in the curriculum is weekly Mass at the Parish church and regular visits to the school chapel, along with middle schoolers reciting the rosary with Mr. Chromy once a week. Academically, the school fulfills all requirements set forth by Georgia state standards and those of the Diocese of Savannah.
With the recent upgrade in structure, Mr. Chromy says that the school will see an even greater level of achievement with its students: “Our new school, with 16 large classrooms, a music room, an art room, and a student success center, will be pivotal in ensuring the success of every student not only academically, but as service-oriented, purpose-driven members of the community.” The school is further accredited by the Florida Catholic Conference and belongs to the National Catholic Educational Association.
Yearly events at Sacred Heart include a Geography Bee, Spelling Bee, Science Fair, Poetry Contest, and an eighth grade play. Field trips and character parades are a regular occurrence at Sacred Heart, as are STEM days at the STEM-certified school. The school has unique housing system based on the Presentation Sisters, and offers Irish Dance and a celebration of the life of Nano Nagle, who founded the Presentation Sisters. Study hall and before- and after-school care are open to those who need it, and extra-curricular activities include archery, basketball, chess club, Irish dance, hand-bell choir, and soccer.
“We believe that our student’s high rate of success has to do with their ability to have self-discipline and hear God’s word woven throughout all of their academics every day,” remarks Paulette Williams, middle school teacher and marketing director for the school. #
Sacred Heart Catholic School
250 South Davis Drive
Warner Robins GA, 31088