Srs. Liz, Martha Spark High School Initiative
|From left: Sr. Martha Mary Rohde, Charley Johnston, Sr. Liz Dunn, and Sandy Johnston at the groundbreaking ceremony for Indiantown Charter High School in Florida along with an architectural rendering of the school. The school will offer excellent academics, dual enrollment in college courses, and workforce development for electrical and mechanical technologies and automotive and agricultural industries.|
by Tricia Buxton and Liz Dunn, OP
“If you build it, they will come.” This familiar quote from the movie Field of Dreams can certainly be applied to a new endeavor in Indiantown, FL, that was sparked by a conversation between Liz Dunn, OP; Martha Mary Rohde, OP; and close friends Sandy and Charley Johnston.
Liz and Martha Mary have been meeting since August 2021 with Sandy and Charley who love the mission of Hope Rural School and asked the Sisters what they saw as an educational need for students there. Liz and Martha shared their dream of opening a high school in Indiantown that would integrate traditional high school curriculum with workforce and college courses. “We expressed the need to educate students who were interested in a trade to have an opportunity to pursue these career options,” said Liz. “Charley and Sandy wanted to make a commitment to helping students of all ages, backgrounds, and means achieve their dreams through education. Our visions matched!”
Liz and Martha then set up a meeting with the Johnstons and representatives from Indian River State College (IRSC) who had began a charter school in Stuart, FL, 18 years earlier. After the meeting, IRSC made public its vision of beginning a charter school in Indiantown, one of the most economically depressed areas in its service district. The project was accelerated by a generous monetary gift of the Johnstons. Martin County gave a land lease of 25 acres to the school, and the Martin County School Board unanimously voted to accept the IRSC’s application to establish Indiantown Charter High School (ICHS). “We are thrilled to see this vision come to fruition and hope that future students of ICHS realize their full potential and achieve their dreams,” said Liz. “We know families in Indiantown will create an energy and spirit that will make this high school successful. It is through our shared purpose and working together that we continue to create a world of possibilities; hope in so many lives; and, yes, a living miracle here in Indiantown!”
A groundbreaking was held in June 2022 for ICHS. It will be the second public charter school in Martin County operated by IRSC. The 64,000-square-foot school will be completed by August 2023.