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LAGUNA NIGUEL : Groundbreaking for Private School Set

City officials and community and religious leaders will be present at a groundbreaking ceremony for the city’s first preschool-through-seventh-grade private school at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

St. Anne School, which will hold its first day of classes Sept. 17, will have 160 students. The school will initially operate from 18 portable classrooms, with permanent buildings going up on the 4.5-acre campus next year. So far, 12 teachers have been hired for the new school, at 25600 Rancho Niguel Road.

“This is a miracle school,” said co-founder Jack Hennings, an Episcopalian priest who will serve as the school’s chaplain. “There were a lot of people who didn’t think it could be done this quickly.”

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Hennings, along with Tim Busch and Ernest Sillers, decided just last May to open the school and received approval from the city Planning Commission earlier this month to proceed with their plans.

Sillers also helped found St. John’s Episcopal Pre-School in Rancho Santa Margarita, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano and the University of San Juan Capistrano.

“Three or four years from now, this will be one of the largest private schools in Orange County,” Hennings said. “We hope to eventually have 1,000 students and plan on adding an eighth grade next year.”

“I look forward to the first days of classes when the parents will be bringing their children to school knowing and trusting that they have arrived at a safe place where the children will be getting a tremendous education,” Hennings said.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this. It’s really exciting to serve the community. By serving those children, we are creating our future.”


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