Crowd applauds ribbon-cutting, blessing of newly renovated St. Peter Catholic

February 27, 2024

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, accompanied by students of the pioneer class of 2027 and school officials, cuts the ribbon at the newly renovated St. Peter Catholic High School on Feb. 16 in Houston. (Photo by Jo Ann Zuñiga/Herald)

HOUSTON — Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, presiding over the ribbon-cutting and blessing Feb. 16 of the newly renovated St. Peter Catholic High School, pointed to the front row with the Class of 2027.

“We salute the pioneer class of St. Peter,” Cardinal DiNardo declared as the crowd of more than 200 supporters and families sitting in the decorated gymnasium behind the students burst out in applause.

“Catholic educators sacrifice to teach our new generation with honesty and integrity while preparing them to meet the challenges to come,” he said at the 10-acre campus located at 6220 La Salette St. and Old Spanish Trail.

The 10-member freshmen class of the career and technology high school also knows about sacrifice. Ashly Morales, the sole girl in the school so far, may soon be joined by a friend graduating eighth grade from Resurrection Catholic School.

“It was lonely at first, but all the boys here had respect and were very kind,” said Morales, who is focusing on the education track to become a teacher.

Attending the ceremony, her friend, 14-year-old Mariel Hernandez, said she has applied to St. Peter for the fall semester and is excited as she waits to be accepted into the unique program. She plans to focus on architecture as a career.

“There are lots of opportunities here,” she said as her father, Jorge Hernandez, who works in construction, proudly nodded in agreement.

Mark Letsos Jr., chair of the board of trustees for the school, said in opening remarks, “We thank God for guiding us with this mission. This blessing and dedication mark a giant milestone, but this is just the beginning in creating models of faith and comprehensive education.”

Students can choose to go on to associate degree programs or four-year colleges, or they can go directly into the workforce with certifications to do jobs that are needed by industry, said Letsos, an operations manager at Johnston, LLC, business, engineering and architectural consultants.

Now, the students have recently moved from a satellite campus to the two-story brick building transformed into a state-of-the-art high school, focusing on computer information technology and web development; business, marketing, and finance; architecture and construction; education and training; and other major careers, including certification in labor skills.

Arturo Alonso, the first student to apply and be accepted at St. Peter, also spoke to the crowd, “We may be small in numbers, but mighty as pioneers. We plan to do great things. I’m grateful and thankful.”

Janann Pitmann, American Institute of Architects and principal with Jackson & Ryan Architects which designed the school renovations, said part of the multi-million-dollar upgraded technology included prepping for multiple computer monitors, new fire alarms, cameras, large energy-efficient windows, and a tower elevator to make the second floor accessible.

“We removed walls to create large spaces for updated biology, chemistry and physics labs. They can do science experiments that they haven’t even dreamed of yet,” Pitmann said.

Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Superintendent Dr. Debra Haney said, “This is a dream come true from the first time we started planning in 2018 to now having students coming to class every day.”

She said that the goal as educators is to reduce barriers for students, acknowledging that not every child is college-bound.

“We want to offer an education that is different and unique to each of them, what can allow them to do what’s best with their talents and lives,” Haney said.

School Principal Dr. Marc Martinez thanked the Archdiocese, St. Peter parish and donors, including the Scanlan Foundation, Shea Homes and a list of supporters posted on a legacy wall at the entrance of the school.

“We are all many parts of one body, and we all belong together,” Martinez said. The following day on Feb. 17, St. Peter hosted an open house where more than 75 families showed up for tours, Martinez said. The school received 30 more applications for new students that day. Enrollment remains open through March 1 and can possibly be extended. Those accepted will receive award letters by March 8, he said.

The school is designed to accommodate up to 200 students during this Phase 1. As enrollment grows, Phase 2 would add a transportation, distribution and logistics career path. Phase 3 would add health sciences and pharmacy technology.

Possible partnerships with interested businesses can offer internships to students. The school will be open to all students and families seeking an alternative to public high school, high-cost private school, or charter school with an annual $15,000 tuition and financial assistance available.

For additional information, including how to apply to the school, visit