By Colleen Rowan
PARKERSBURG—A new online project offers a unique look at the “History of Catholic Education in Parkersburg” from 1859 to today. This virtual window into the past was created by Roger Nedeff, an alumnus of St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary in Vienna and a member of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Parkersburg, and Erin Augenstein, a 1992 graduate of Parkersburg Catholic High School and a member of St. Michael Parish in Vienna. The duo created the timeline as a reflection to assist in the long-range, comprehensive planning of Parkersburg Catholic Schools (PSC)—Parkersburg Catholic High School and Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School. “We invite you all to take a look at the project and reminisce about the Sisters of the Poor Child Jesus, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Sisters of the Visitation, and the diocesan priests who served our seminary,” officials of the schools said in announcing the project in a post on Parkersburg Catholic Schools Facebook page. The timeline notes significant events in Catholic education of the area such as the 1955 opening of Parkersburg Catholic High School still located at 9th and Juliana streets and the 1963 opening of St. Joseph Preparatory Seminary in Vienna among others. Segments of the timeline feature icons with links to more extensive information, history and photos of certain events. For example, the first icon on the timeline is St. Francis Xavier Parish School – 1859. “School opens for elementary aged boys and girls; lay teachers. The school is housed in the rectory and later in a frame building next to the church,” the icon description notes. Visitors can click on this link to read about the history of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Parkersburg and more. Additional icons on the timeline offer links to the Visitation Academy – 1864 for girls; St. Francis Xavier School for Boys – 1881; and St. Joseph’s School of Nursing – 1969 among others. Parkersburg Catholic High School Principal Mary Caren “M.C.” Heffner said the project is “amazing.” The project began after Heffner asked Augenstein for a bit of history on the school for its Intentional Growth Plan (strategic plan) which all of the Catholic schools are compiling. Heffner said that Augenstein then enlisted the help of Nedeff to form the timeline. “I asked Erin to help me with historical data for the high school,” Heffner explained. “By partnering with Mr. Roger Nedeff, the two created a compiled history of significant educational events through 2007 in the Mid-Ohio Valley (MOV). Their work provides an extensive and inspiring look at Catholic education in our area.” Heffner continued by saying their timeline shows the “strong, innovative education our Catholic Church provided this area. Often, the Catholic education led education efforts of not only the MOV but the entire state. This timeline clearly shows how the Catholic Church created and continues an exciting legacy of innovative education for our families. PCS strives to continue leading the way in education.” The timeline can be viewed at https://padlet.com/erinaug. Enrollment is open at Parkersburg Catholic Schools. Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School serves pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade. Parkersburg Catholic High School serves seventh- through 12th grades. For more information about the schools, visit their website: www.parkersburgcatholic.com.