Family ties help Uniontown Catholic school thrive

UNIONTOWN — “We are family” could be a theme song for every Catholic school in the diocese. That trait is especially strong at St. John the Evangelist Regional Catholic School, where parents, grandparents and guardians are involved in many aspects of school life.

“Our families are fantastic — loyal, supportive and hardworking,” said Christine Roskovensky, principal for 22 of the 35 years she has been at the school. “We are a true family — everyone looks out for each other and takes care of one another.”

While nearly all of the families are involved at the school, Rich and Kristen Shumar and Mike and Kelly Fisher have been especially active over the past several years, she said.

“These two couples put their heart and soul into every activity to make them successful,” she said.

Like many parents, the involvement started small and grew.

“I began as a volunteer cutting apples in the kitchen when our son started pre-K 4,” Kristen Shumar said.

The Shumars joined the Core Team the following year. Kristen became president two years later and continues in that role today

Their son, Luke, is in seventh grade, and their daughter, Sarah, is in fifth grade.

Kristen said she became a volunteer to support their children.

“Then you get comfortable with other parents and the school staff,” she said. “You like being around others. It’s a big family.”

Kristen is also an assistant coach for the cross country team and cheerleading squad. She and Kelly Fisher, who is secretary of the Core Team, help coordinate dances and the school’s spaghetti dinner.

Rich Shumar coaches the boy’s basketball team and works at the spaghetti dinner, in addition to being on the Core Team.

The Fishers became active volunteers four years ago. Mike coaches the soccer team and helps with other sports and fundraisers. They have two daughters, Sophia in sixth grade and Ava in fourth.

Through their involvement at the school, the Shumars and Fishers have become friends.

“We volunteer for the kids and to see the school flourish,” Kelly said. “We have benefitted from the involvement, too, getting to know other parents and families.

“Everybody is always willing to help. We can work together as volunteers and support each other’s children.”

“The family atmosphere is what makes the school special,” Rich Shumar said. “By volunteering, you are more involved with your children. I enjoy it.”

The Shumars are parishioners of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Uniontown, and the Fishers are parishioners of St. Therese, Little Flower of Jesus Parish, Uniontown.

“Without our parents, St. John’s would not be the viable, highly successful school that it is,” Roskovensky said.

— Jerry Zufelt

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