January 26, 2007

Catholic Schools Week Supplement

Making their mark: 20 reasons to celebrate Catholic schools

Compiled by John Shaughnessy

In their emphasis on faith, service and quality education, Catholic schools in the archdiocese have left their mark. Here are 20 reasons to celebrate Catholic schools, teachers and students in the archdiocese. The list is not organized in any particular order.

  1. In 2006, six schools were named as Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education: Christ the King School in Indianapolis, Father Michael Shawe Memorial Jr./Sr. High School in Madison, St. Bartholomew School in Columbus, St. Lawrence School in Indianapolis, St. Lawrence School in Lawrenceburg and St. Monica School in Indianapolis.
  2. In the past four years, 21 schools in the archdiocese have earned the Blue Ribbon distinction—the highest national honor from the U.S. Department of Education. No other diocese in the country has matched that distinction.
  3. Five Catholic schools in the archdiocese won Indiana High School Athletic Association state championships in the fall of 2006. Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis won the 3A state championship in football. Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis earned a state title in girls’ golf. Cathedral High School in Indianapolis won state championships in 4A football and 4A volleyball. And Roncalli High School in Indianapolis captured the 3A state volleyball title.
  4. Three of the student-athletes on those championship teams won the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Mental Attitude Award for excelling in scholarship, leadership, mental attitude and athletic ability. Aimee Neff of Brebeuf won the award for girls’ golf. Paige Weber of Roncalli earned the recognition in 3A volleyball. And Bobby Powers of Cathedral earned the distinction in 4A football.
  5. In the past 11 years, about $3.5 million has been raised to provide need-based scholarships for economically-disadvantaged students to attend schools in the archdiocese. The money has benefited more than 4,000 students.
  6. In June, 11 seniors graduated from Seton Catholic High School, the first class to graduate from a Catholic high school in Richmond in 70 years.
  7. The likelihood of urban Catholic school students in the archdiocese attending college is three to seven times higher than that of their counterparts in other schools.
  8. In recognition of his 218 hours of community service at an Indianapolis hospital in six months, John Trennepohl earned a national volunteer service award from President George W. Bush. John is a student at Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School in Indianapolis.
  9. The Catholic high school graduation rate in the archdiocese in 2006 was 95.6 percent, according to the Indiana Department of Education. That rate was almost 20 percent higher than the percentage of eligible Indiana students who earned a high school diploma in 2006—76.5 percent.
  10. In August, the first reunion of African-Americans who attended St. Bridget and St. Rita schools in Indianapolis attracted more than 600 people from across the country. “It’s a tribute to Catholic education,” said Lora Vann, a co-chairperson of the reunion. “We were very well educated. Among our graduates, we have a psychiatrist, a diplomat, doctors, attorneys, priests, nurses, veterinarians and engineers.”
  11. About 95 percent of Catholic high school graduates in the archdiocese attend college.
  12. In October, Bishop Chatard students raised more than $24,000 for Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis through the school’s dance marathon program.
  13. The highway in front of Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville was renamed Providence Way, leading the school’s president, Joan Hurley, to say, “I think this speaks volumes on the effect a Catholic school has on the community.”
  14. In the ISTEP—Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress—students in the archdiocese continue to improve at significant rates, out performing the state average by 16 to 31 percent.
  15. In November, Maria Sewell was one of 235 students from around the world chosen to participate in the fifth annual Global Youth Forum, a forum devoted to international understanding, education, leadership and humanitarianism. A student at Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis, Maria joined students from Russia, Romania, Egypt, Morocco, England and Sweden at the forum in Kansas City, Mo.
  16. In June, Cathedral High School’s choir performed at the 2006 Mozart International Youth Choral Festival in Austria.
  17. Nearly 96 percent of archdiocesan schools earned the status of “exemplary progress” or “commendable progress,” according to an Indiana state formula that holds schools accountable for improving student achievement from one year to the next.
  18. The “exemplary progress” recognition—the highest level listed by the state—was achieved by 56 of the 67 archdiocesan schools that were measured.
  19. Through successful capital campaigns, Roncalli High School and Our Lady of Providence High School opened state-of-the-art performing arts centers in 2006.
  20. Roncalli student Tim Hickle won first place in the 2006 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Statewide Essay Contest. His essay was chosen among 3,600 statewide entries. †

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