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St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic School in Riverside has added a bell to their empty Cupola over the center gate entrance as an addition to their recent roof replacement. During the fundraising for a roof replacement for the front school building, Principal Jeanette Morrow noticed that the Cupola above the center gate entrance, despite it being empty for quite some time, could still hold a functional bell.

“I thought it would be a unique addition for our students to experience,” Morrow said. “Also, built into our architecture of the school, are two structures with the original Riverside city bell symbols. Since that is part of our city history as well, it seemed like a neat thing to add.”

The school had fundraisers all year long to raise money for the roof replacement and by March 2023, Morrow made an announcement on Facebook that they had reached nearly half their targeted goal. This was also when Morrow announced the idea of adding a bell and asked the community if anyone would like to help with the project.

“I do have to mention Joe Sebelia who was an integral part of making this dream happen,” Morrow said. “He is a very active member of our parish community and helped to see this project through to fruition through many challenges.”

It took the school, along with the entire parish community, several months to gather the funds for the roof, with just enough left over to purchase the bell as well. The bell is secondhand and was shipped in from a company in North Carolina. It was installed to the St. Thomas campus near the end of June with plenty of time before the first day of school on August 23.

The bell is now incorporated into the daily school day, using it during the morning prayer assembly to gather the community together and to announce the end of the school day at 2:45 p.m.
“Of course, we will have student bell ringers!” Morrow said. “They are very excited to earn this privilege.”

Through their year-long efforts to replace the roof of the front building came about a newly added feature that will be heard by students every day at school.

“[The bell] sure sounds great ringing through the St. Thomas the Apostle campus,” Morrow said.

Elena Macias is the Managing Editor of the Inland Catholic BYTE.