January 27, 2017

2017 Catholic Schools Week Supplement

20 Reasons to Celebrate Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese

By John Shaughnessy

The success stories in Catholic schools in the archdiocese are countless.

They range from a young child in grade school learning to read and learning the fundamentals of the Catholic faith to a high school student preparing for college and becoming involved in service that helps change the life of another person.

There are also the success stories that come when students give everything they have to their academics, their athletics, their artistic pursuits and their faith.

The 2016-17 school year in the archdiocese has already led to numerous successes, ones that happened quietly and others that gained headlines. Here is a sampling of those successes, captured in a recap we call, “20 Reasons to Celebrate Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese.”


  1. St. Thomas Aquinas School in Indianapolis is one of four Catholic schools in the country to earn the 2016 “Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award.” The award is the nation’s top physical education distinction for schools, and celebrates a school’s commitment to providing students with at least 60 minutes a day of physical activity.
     
  2. Brent Adams, a math teacher at St. Lawrence School in Indianapolis, was selected as a 2016 International STEM Fellow, recognizing his excellence in teaching his seventh- and eighth-grade students in science, technology, engineering and math. As part of the honor, he traveled to China to participate in a program with Chinese educators.
     
  3. Cathedral High School in Indianapolis was named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. Cathedral was one of only 50 private schools across the country to receive the honor in 2016, and the only high school—public or private—to be so recognized in Indiana.
     
  4. Catholic schools in the archdiocese have earned 31 National Blue Ribbon awards.
     
  5. Roncalli High School in Indianapolis received the Urban League’s “Educational Excellence” Award for its pioneering efforts to welcome students with special needs.
     
  6. Curt Eckstein, a senior at Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception in Oldenburg, won the 2016 boys’ Indiana high school cross country championship. He was also named the winner of the Charles F. Maas Mental Attitude Award for the state cross‑country tournament.
     
  7. A team of teachers at St. Barnabas School in Indianapolis is in the midst of a special three‑year program at the University of Notre Dame that focuses on helping teachers inspire student learning in science, technology, engineering and math. St. Barnabas is one of just 10 schools from across the country chosen for this program.
     
  8. Nancy Buening, principal of St. Mary School in Greensburg, is a recipient of the “Lead. Learn. Proclaim. Award” from the National Catholic Educational Association. The award honors “the outstanding work of Catholic school educators in communities across the country.”
     
  9. Five center-city Catholic schools in Indianapolis became part of the Notre Dame ACE Academies network. The five schools—Central Catholic, Holy Angels, Holy Cross Central, St. Anthony and St. Philip Neri—joined a network that strives to help children from low-income areas receive a Catholic education and grow up in a community of faith.
     
  10. Carl and Mary Kay Wolford of Holy Family Parish in New Albany were honored with the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the National Catholic Educational Association. The national honor recognized the couple for the way their lives have impacted Catholic education “and the well‑being of our nation’s youths.”
     
  11. Father Thomas Scecina was inducted into the Indiana Military Veterans Hall of Fame in November. The namesake of Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School in Indianapolis served the United States as a military chaplain during World War II before dying at sea with other prisoners of war in 1944.
     
  12. The 2016 football team of Cardinal Ritter Jr./Sr. High School in Indianapolis captured the Indiana class 2A state championship with a 28-6 win over Eastbrook High School on Nov. 25.
     
  13. The overall high school graduation rate in the archdiocese is 97 percent.
     
  14. The 2016 girls’ volleyball team of Cathedral High School in Indianapolis won its second straight class 4A state championship by defeating top-ranked Crown Point High School in the finals on Nov. 5.
     
  15. St. Joan of Arc School in Indianapolis received the Urban League’s “Educational Excellence” Award for their ongoing commitment to excellence in serving students of diverse races and ethnicities.
     
  16. The Junior Spell Bowl team of St. Roch School in Indianapolis won their fourth state championship in five years during the annual spelling competition at Purdue University.
     
  17. The football team of Roncalli High School in Indianapolis culminated an undefeated season with a dramatic 34-22 win over Northwood High school in the Indiana class 4A state championship.
     
  18. St. Mary School in Greensburg added a seventh‑ and eighth-grade to its school.
     
  19. 27 aspiring Catholic school leaders joined the archdiocese’s new Catholic School Leadership Academy, which helps to prepare great leaders in Catholic schools.
     
  20. Catholic school enrollment in the archdiocese is nearly 24,000 students, an increase of about 2,000 students since 2010. All schools focus on the spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth of every child, with the main goal of preparing them for heaven.

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