Friar Ponchie Vasquez remembers the day in August 2022 when he had to send a letter to parents telling them San Xavier Mission School was going to close.

The school didnt have enough students or teachers to keep up with their budget.

The community is very welcoming and we fit into the culture already, Vasquez said about being a friar in the San Xavier community.

He came to the community 2022 and serves as the schools pastor and guardian. He said the Tohono Oodham reservation is a community that is rich in history.

The culture is essential in helping the kids learn their himdag and of course their Catholicity, he said.

The schools principal Minh Randolph Solorzano is new to the school. She said the school is going to have programs that preserve the Tohono Oodhom language and culture, which they call their himdag.

Its the everyday traditions and culture that the Oodhom people live, Randolph Solorzano said.

The school had about forty students when it closed down. When it opens the school is hoping to have about 50 students in kindergarten through second grade.

The school said they are planning on expanding every year until they reach eighth grade. Right now they have a waiting list for the third grade and will be having an open house on March 6.

It makes me feel very invigorated. Im very excited and proud to be a part of this community, Randolph Solorzano said.

Vasquez said in order to renovate the main building, it took about $500 thousand, but in the future it will take about $700 thousand just to begin running the school.

The school will be hiring seven teachers and six staff members. They have 10 new students interested.

Were here to serve! Vasquez said.