St. Mary School will welcome back 290 students Aug. 23 for the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Students in prekindergarten through eighth grade at the Catholic school, 700 S. Third St. in German Village, should keep a few rules in mind.

A part of the school's dress code, tennis shoes must be white, navy or black, or a combination of all three, principal Kayla Walton said.

Students will be required to wear physical-education uniforms, which now have the school's mission statement on the back.

For the first time since the school's founding in 1865, the school has a new academic crest, developed by Walton and art teacher Christina Hickey.

It bears the iconic St. Mary Catholic Church steeple, school colors and images of German Village. It will appear on uniforms, official school letterhead, the school's website and other related material, Hickey said.

In keeping with tradition, the school will hold a schultute celebration in which first-graders will receive a cone-shaped package filled with treats and school supplies.

"It started as a way to bring in our German heritage," Walton said.

On a related note, the school and church have launched a capital campaign, "Save Saint Mary Church." The church has been closed since September 2016, when a lightning strike badly damaged the facility.

In the meantime, several independent fundraisers have raised about $1 million, $800,000 of which was used to pay back a loan from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus and some outstanding church debt, said Mike Hartshorn, who is co-chairman of the capital campaign with his wife, Peggy.

Hartshorn said the goal is to raise $4.5 million through pledges and cash by the end of October.

"When we go into our campaign, what's going to be great about it is every penny will go to the rebuilding and restoration of the church," he said.

If the fundraising goes as planned, followed by architecture drawings and permit approval, the church could be open again by Easter, Hartshorn said, with all phases of construction completed by late 2018.

"That's if, in fact, we can raise the funds," he said. "That is a big thing."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary