Fort Mill is getting a new high school this fall.
St. Anne Catholic High School is moving from Rock Hill to St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Fort Mill – just across from Fort Mill High School. The move doesn’t impact pre-K through middle school classes at St. Anne Catholic School in Rock Hill.
“It's just the high school, so we will be (grades) 9-12 next year,” said Michele Burns, advancement coordinator for the school. “Currently, we will begin the year with 50 students.”
Though Catholic schooling has a much deeper history in York County than some may realize – a 1951 parochial school in Rock Hill predates desegregation of public schools – St. Anne was accredited in 2012 and expanded to a prekindergarten to grade 12 school in 2014.
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The entire school is up to about 350 students on its campus at 1698 Bird Street in Rock Hill.
“We started with six students, so we’ve seen quite a bit of growth,” Burns said.
Which is why the move was needed. The incoming senior class will be the first at St. Anne Catholic. The school had been looking for space for more than a year. St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Fort Mill had it.
The Rev. John Giuliani, pastor at the Fort Mill church, and his counterpart at St. Anne Catholic Church in Rock Hill asked the Diocese of Charleston if the new arrangement would work.
Officials agreed, and now the St. Anne high school students will be in Fort Mill at least two years, but as long as the school needs for finding a larger space than the one they’re leaving.
“I view this opportunity as a ministry that St. Philip Neri parishioners can happily embrace,” Giuliani said. “Our faith enables us to recognize the importance of a Catholic education.”
The move meets a practical need for the school as it, like Fort Mill and other communities in the area, tries to keep pace with growth.
“It's a nice partnership," Burns said. "We were looking for space for our high school for about a year and a half, and we weren't having any luck. They will accommodate us as long as we need.”
With a son who will be a senior this year, Burns knows there will be logistics to work out. Start times will be staggered for the high school compared to lower grades, as some parents will be bringing children to two locations. For some, the Fort Mill site may be a little farther each day. For others like her, a Fort Mill resident, it will be closer.
“Reaction has been phenomenal,” Burns said of response thus far. “Our parents have been overwhelmingly in support of this move.”
St. Anne Catholic School students come from Charlotte, Chester, Fort Mill, Indian Land, Lake Wylie and York in addition to Rock Hill. The school fields athletic teams and has both visual and performing arts programs.
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For more information on St. Anne Catholic School, visit stanneschool.com.