“Julie Billiart Schools were built out of need for all God’s children to find a path to success,” said Lannie Davis Frecker, president and CEO of Julie Billiart Schools. “The mission to serve children with special needs who are underserved elsewhere remains strong,” she added.
Davis Frecker addressed the First Friday Club of Cleveland at its Oct. 3 meeting. She is the driving force behind the expansion and growth of the Julie Billiart Schools Network. With campuses in Lyndhurst and Akron and plans for a third campus on the west side in 2021, Davis Frecker’s vision to serve more than 700 students with unique academic and social learning needs throughout Northeast Ohio is becoming a reality.
She said the Julie Billiart Schools grew out of the efforts of the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1954. Through the years, the sisters set the standard in Northeast Ohio for providing the highest level of education and care for children in grades K-8 with special learning and social needs. That tradition continues as students with special needs are empowered to believe that anything is possible. Julie Billiart was the first school in the diocese to devote itself to the education of children with learning problems.
The Lyndhurst campus operates in what was a 22-room mansion owned by the late Charles Arter and his wife, Grace. Charles Arter was a partner in the former Cleveland law firm Arter & Hadden. The couple’s children donated the estate to the sisters in 1957 and Julie Billiart School moved its operations there in January 1958. The second campus opened in 2017 in Akron as a ministry of St. Sebastian Parish.
“Society doesn’t always give and take the time to hear the voices of our kids. I honestly have one of the best jobs in the world because I can be the voice of our kids and I get to be with them when they find their own voice. I get to watch when they succeed. Recently Bishop Perez came to celebrate Mass at our school and during his homily he said, ‘What do you love about this school?’ and one of our students said, ‘this place is heaven, not the real heaven, but heaven on earth.’”
Davis Frecker concluded her talk by asking those gathered to pray for the students at Julie Billiart Schools, to talk about Julie Billiart schools to parents who need help for their children with special needs and to take the time to understand the needs of students with special learning needs.
For more information on Julie Billiart Schools, click HERE.
Barbara Wall, vice president for mission and ministry at Villanova University, will speak at the Oct. 31 First Friday Club of Cleveland meeting. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. with lunch and the program to follow. Her topic will be “Pope Francis: A Voice for Mercy, Justice and Love.”
For more information or to reserve a seat, visit firstfridayclubcleveland.org.