What People Are Saying
Click here to listen to Jose's testimonial about being a student at our Academy.
Click here to listen to Milla's testimonial about being a student at our Academy.
“Many members of our family attended St. John Paul the Great Academy when it was known as Saint Francis School. The school was a dominant force in the lives of hundreds of Torrington families for a century, and we look forward to its continued service to the children of Torrington.”
Tom Hogan, Retired Attorney, Former Chairman - Litchfield Board of Education
Class of 1959
“I attended St. Francis from 1972-1980. Those years I consider the best years of my academic life. I feel I received a well- rounded education and feel that it has continued to help me through my adult years. Catholic education was the primary focus at that time, but as time went on I realized that I was fortunate to have learned/studied subjects that my classmates who attended other local schools were never afforded. I always thought it was funny when they would ask me "How do you know all this?" and I would reply "Catholic Education". Back in the 1970's class sizes were large but you never felt like you were just a number. It was a very nurturing environment where we were taught respect for our teachers and fellow students, the ability to be welcoming, and acceptance of others. I felt I received a solid and rewarding educational experience also. I have carried on with many friendships with former classmates to this day and I feel blessed and so fortunate for that experience also. How fast 40 years goes by. I attended local high school and local community college and I am currently the Administrative Assistant for Chief of Police for the City of Torrington for the past 33 years. Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story.”
Michele Hall Ciesco
St. Francis School, Class of 1980
“Our daughter, Amanda, was a third-generation student at St. Francis School, graduating in 2005. She attended from Pre-K through 8th grade where she excelled academically, spiritually, and socially. St. Francis School laid the foundation for Amanda to succeed by providing a quality, faith-based education in a nurturing, fun-filled environment. Parents were encouraged to volunteer and become part of the school community. Amanda continued her education at Holy Cross High School and graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science degree. Today Amanda is a kind, ethical, and generous woman of great character and spirit who always believes in paying it forward. We believe the choice of St. Francis was one of the best education decisions we could have made; and we whole-heartedly support and recommend St. John Paul the Great Academy.”
Diana and James Ryan
St. Francis School, Class of 1962
(James’s mother, Mary Ryan, and his sister, Eileen Ryan, were also graduates of St. Francis School)
“My name is Nicholas Blouin and I attended St. Peter School from kindergarten through 8th grade, graduating in 2003. I strongly believe that the high level of education I received during my time at St. Peter School set a solid foundation for my future academic success. I was fortunate to have many teachers passionate about providing a topnotch education while at St. Peter School. In my opinion, both Sr. Lorraine and Sr. Annette provided their students with an early advantage composed of strong academics, discipline, respect, and faith. Currently I have an excellent career as an instructor/evaluator pilot for an aircraft manufacturer.”
St. Peter School, Class of 2003
“My name is Matt Gorman. I am a Torrington native and graduated from St. Peter School in 2003. Catholic schools were crucial to my growth and development into young adulthood. The bond between the faculty and the students is unmatched. It allows teachers and principals to draw out strengths their students never knew they had. The values it instilled and the community it provided continues with me to this day. Simply put: I wouldn’t be where I am today without the Catholic Education I received at St. Peter School.”
St. Peter School, Class of 2003
“Being a St. Peter School graduate (Class 99’), I can attest to the value of a parochial school education. Small class size, one-on-one attention between student and teacher, and a focus on laying a strong moral foundation for students, provide children with an early advantage that will ensure latter success both personally and academically. As a parent, I feel confident in sending my son to a parochial school, where I know he will be encouraged—and nurtured—to excel both in his studies and his personal growth.”
Jessica Hodorski Gueniat, Executive Director, The Torrington Library
St. Peter School, Class of 1999
“Attending St. Francis School provided me with a sturdy foundation for becoming the person that I am today. The smaller classes allowed for me to actually know all of those that I went to school with and get the one on one attention from a teacher when I needed it. I graduated from St. Francis in 2006 and went on to Torrington High School where I was a three-sport athlete and a member of numerous clubs, including National Honor Society. Subsequent to graduating from THS, I moved on to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where I double majored in Criminal Justice and Psychology and rowed Crew. From there I went on to my current career as a New York State Trooper. I believe that I would not have had the drive and determination to pursue all of my goals without the foundation that St. Francis provided me.”
St. Francis School, Class of 2006
“My nine years of being in a Catholic school are a huge part of me today. They instilled a lifelong love of my faith and have instilled not just a great education but the importance of character, values and morals-which to me make up an entire person. I am thrilled that my children will be among the next generation of God’s leaders and will be among an extended family at St. John Paul the Great Academy.”
Christina (Mele) Santoro
St. Peter School, Class of 1999
“I like being a student at St. John Paul the Great Academy. I have learned new things in every subject. One thing I really like is that I don’t get judged for who I am. As a new student here, I felt welcomed on the first day. I made many friends that have helped me experience what it is truly like to be a student here. I fit in very well; I never get excluded in any activity here. I’m always a part of them. For the time I have been here, I have felt a part of this small but mighty class”.
Jose Orellana (Junior High/Current Grade 7)
St. John Paul the Great Academy, Class of 2021
“Hello, my name is Isabella O’Brien. I love being a student at St. John Paul the Great Academy in Torrington because it is a STREAM school. We say the Pledge of Allegiance every day. We pray to Jesus every day. When new people come, we guide them and we play with them. I’ve been in this school since Pre-K 3. The school guides me to being a good person and also a future leader. The teachers are very nice. We do safety drills. Our principal is very nice. The people here are very nice. We sing songs about Jesus, also. So, I am very proud of my school.”
Isabella O’Brien (Upper Primary/Current Grade 4)
St. John Paul the Great Academy, Class of 2024
"Nothing brings a smile to my face as much as reminiscing about all the memories I made at Saint Francis School. I was so lucky to be a part of a smaller school community where you really get to know every classmate and teacher. Having this atmosphere made each student feel like they were a priority, and made it easier to open up to each teacher with any questions or thoughts. These were the years that shaped me into the person I have become today, and I am beyond grateful to my parents for enrolling me there.
I attended Saint Francis of Assisi School from Pre-K 3 until graduating 8th grade in 2005. I was fortunate to follow in the footsteps of my father (James Ryan), my aunt (Eileen Ryan), my grandmother (Mary Ryan), and my grandfather (James Ryan) all of whom also attended St Francis School. I can only hope that when I have children someday, they will be able to experience a school like St. John Paul the Great Academy."
Class of 2005