This has truly been an outstanding year for Catholic school education. As I look back upon the 2011-2012 school year, I am amazed at what our students, teachers, and supporters have accomplished. From vibrant faith atmospheres to superior academics, our schools continue to set the standard for effective education.
I cannot possibly mention all of the achievements from this school year. Nevertheless, I’d like to highlight just a few:
• DePaul Cristo Rey High School officially opened its doors to students in August. This year, the school served 88 freshmen through its unique work-study program directed at students from urban backgrounds.
• In September, we announced that All Saints and St. Columban Schools were recipients on the prestigious National Blue Ribbon Award. These schools joined a long list of Archdiocesan schools that have been recognized with this honor.
• Ms. Mayra Alza, the new Coordinator of Latino Outreach, began her work. During her months on the job, Ms. Alza has worked with school leaders to recruit a record-breaking number of new Latino families into Cincinnati-area Catholic elementary schools.
• 50 students from Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese were named as National Merit semi-finalists (out of 212 in the state of Ohio). Of these students, three were named as recipients of National Merit Scholarship, an award that recognizes the top achieving students in the country.
• Chaminade Julienne and Carroll High Schools were named winners of the 2011 Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for receiving a perfect score in a state evaluation of their science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (or “STEMM”) programs.
• In October, we released the Initial Assessment Report for the Vision for Catholic Schools. This lengthy document contained enormous amounts of data related to the religious, academic, financial, and marketing performance of our Catholic schools. In the months that followed, six Task Forces analyzed the data to shape the final vision, due to be released this fall.
• Mr. Terry Chapman, principal of Our Lady of Victory School, was named an Outstanding Catholic School Principal by the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA).
• Other Archdiocesan educators were recognized for their excellence as well. Mr. Roger Aur, Campus Minister from Elder High School, received a Secondary Award from the NCEA. Ms. Deborah Colina, first grade teacher from St. Ignatius Loyola School, was given the NCEA’s Distinguished Educator Award. Ms. Michelle Kahny, eighth grade Language Arts teacher at Our Lady of Victory School, was named a 2012 Outstanding Educator for the Cincinnati area.
• Our Facebook presence continued to grow, with over 14,000 individuals “liking” our page. In early February, the results of our Tuition Giveaway effort were announced, benefiting families throughout the Archdiocese.
• Many Catholic high schools earned state championships in a variety of sports.
• Carroll High School celebrated its 50th year as a Catholic school in the Archdiocese. St. Martin School marked 100 years of serving students.
• In the spring, we learned that the Archdiocese is now ranked as the seventh largest diocese in the country, as measured by the number of students attending Catholic schools. We had previously been ranked eighth.
• In April, over 9,000 Catholic school students, teachers, parents, and supporters gathered at the University of Dayton for the first-ever “Unity Mass”. The Mass, which was celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Binzer, included students from schools throughout the Dayton and Northern regions of the Archdiocese.
• In May, we announced that St. Peter Claver Latin School for Boys, a school serving urban students in Over-the-Rhine (Cincinnati), has been recognized as a Catholic school.
• Over 3,000 students graduated from the 23 high schools of the Archdiocese. Over 99% of these students will be entering college in the fall.
Overall, we have experienced a banner year for our Catholic schools. As we enter the summer months, I am tremendously grateful for the hard work and dedication of our students, teachers, parents, and supporters. May God bless you this summer and return you safely in the fall!