BY CAROLYN JOHNSON
Research has shown that Catholic schools in the United States do an extraordinary job cultivating in their students the resources for social mobility, regardless of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, typically at a fraction of the tuition private schools charge. In fact, they do so at a fraction of the tuition public schools charge in tax dollars. While students can apply for tuition assistance, Catholic school parents include those working several jobs to assure their children a solid education that includes values they hold dear.
A trademark of Catholic education is the commitment to love, to work for justice, to speak for the common good and to seek holiness above all else. These schools mainly attract Catholics and other Christians.
January 29 through February 3, Catholic schools in the United States celebrate Catholic Schools Week. Festivities vary, but they aim to celebrate students, teachers, and school communities and raise awareness about this option in education. Local schools participating in this effort follow.
Saint Anthony School (N-8) in Nanuet has created and maintains an educational system that is highly respected for its academic excellence. The school’s academic standards meet or surpass New York State requirements. According to Lois Dorsey, fifth grade teacher at Saint Anthony’s, the school’s new principal Sister Pat Howell has been “a blessing, a breath of fresh air.” She brought in new computers and is working to install smart boards in every classroom. There will be a faculty-student volleyball match, and “Twin Day” where young students and their older “buddies” will dress alike. As with all school special events, parents and community members are invited to attend, strengthening the home-school-community bond.
Saint Augustine School in New City was recently nominated for the United States Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Schools Program. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement to high levels. Scores in the top ten percent on state assessments measure academic superiority. This nomination recognizes the hard work and achievement of students and faculty, and the support of the surrounding community.
Saint Peter’s (N-8) elementary school in West Haverstraw, established in 1863, is the oldest Catholic school in Rockland County. A parent explains the school’s long-time success. “I love the diversity in St. Peter, the warm atmosphere, and the strong foundation for my self-esteem. I want the same for my children.”
Hailing from both Rockland and Bergen Counties, students at St. Paul Interparochial School (N-8) in Ramsey, New Jersey follow the example of Saint Paul, preparing to take their place as faith-filled stewards in the church and world. This conscious intention is weaved throughout the curriculum and social life of the school. Catholic Schools Week events at St. Paul’s include a bagel breakfast and two open houses (January 29 and February 1), Special Person Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, Family Bingo Night, School Spirit Day and a pep rally, featuring the school’s two impressive cheerleading teams. On Student Appreciation Day, students enjoy making their own ice cream sundaes.
Albertus Magnus is the only Catholic High School in Rockland County, a co-educational community of faith in which, according to its President Joseph Troy, “Our future leaders strive for academic excellence, seek truth, and show respect for the dignity of each person.” Troy was hired in 1995 to close an ailing school; instead, he buoyed it into a school that continues to thrive, even in a strained economy.
Saint Joseph Regional High School, just over the border of New York into Montvale, New Jersey, begins its fiftieth year as one of the premier Catholic high schools in the state of New Jersey. The members of the all-male Class of 2011 earned more than $10,000,000 in scholarship opportunities were accepted to some of the most prestigious colleges in the nation. In 2011, its service programs earned two Jefferson Awards from the New Jersey Governor’s Office for outreach to others and for environmental awareness. Barry Donnelly, Principal of St. Joseph’s High School says, “As St. Joseph’s High School begins its Golden Anniversary celebration in 2011-2012, we commit ourselves to providing the opportunities every individual needs so that his own special gifts and talents will grow and flourish.”
Don Bosco Preparatory School in Ramsey, New Jersey is a Catholic secondary school that prepares young men for life, following Saint John Bosco’s educational philosophy of reason, religion, kindness and joyful optimism. Besides enjoying a nationally recognized football program, Bosco students learn about issues of justice, and are encouraged to practice justice through many service projects at home and abroad.
Open House Schedule for Local Catholic Elementary Schools
Sacred Heart, Suffern: Sunday, January 29, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., and Monday, January 30 through Thursday, February 2, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
St. Anthony, Nanuet: Monday, January 30 through Thursday, February 2, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
St. Augustine, New City: Wednesday, February 1, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 7 – 8 p.m.
St. Margaret, Pearl River: Sunday, January 29, 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., through Tuesday, January 31-February 2, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
St. Paul, Valley Cottage: Thursday, February 2, 9-11 a.m.
Saint Paul Interparochial School, Ramsey, New Jersey, January 29 and February 1
St. Peter, Haverstraw: Monday, January 30 through Thursday, February 2, 8 – 11 a.m.
Tell us what’s happening at your school, public or private, religious or secular at rocklandtimes.com