On September 27, 2014, Clare Woods Academy, a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis, held a celebration dedicating and blessing their new school building located in the former St. John's Lutheran Church School in Wheaton, IL.
The day began with a blessing for the new school from Bishop Joseph Imesch and the long awaited ribbon cutting ceremony. Mayor Mike Gresk proclaimed the day Sister Rita Marie Malachinski/Clare Woods Academy Day in the city of Wheaton. Sr. Rita Marie was presented with a plaque that will hang in the school naming her as foundress of Bartlett Learning Center/Clare Woods Academy.
Clare Woods Academy, previously known as Bartlett Learning Center, was established in 1968 by Sister Rita Marie Malachinski, SSJ-TOSF. This young woman with a big heart and an expansive vision saw the children with special needs and was determined to make a difference in their lives. Bartlett Learning Center began with just 12 students, and quickly expanded as word of this new school spread. As inquiries about residential placement increased, the center expanded to include a 5-day residential option.
Today, Clare Woods Academy provides a loving and trusting educational environment in which students can perform to their fullest potential which enables them to become responsible and respected members of family, community and society.
When summarizing her experience with Bartlett Learning Center/Clare Woods Academy, Sister Rita Marie stated "Every day spent in the program was indeed a gift".
Click here to view photos from the dedication.