January 24, 2020

Catholic School Week Supplement

Archdiocesan schools earn national recognition

St. Thomas Aquinas School students Emmerson Bloede, left, Lauryn Klitzman and Genevieve Maminta celebrate with ice cream treats after their Indianapolis North Deanery school received national recognition as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence from the U.S. Department of Education. (Submitted photo)

St. Thomas Aquinas School students Emmerson Bloede, left, Lauryn Klitzman and Genevieve Maminta celebrate with ice cream treats after their Indianapolis North Deanery school received national recognition as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence from the U.S. Department of Education. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

The tradition of academic excellence in the archdiocese continued this school year when two Indianapolis Catholic schools received national recognition as Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence from the U.S. Department of Education.

When the communities of Immaculate Heart of Mary School and St. Thomas Aquinas School were recognized in September, they extended the archdiocese’s success concerning this national award.

Archdiocesan schools have received 35 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence honors since the program started in 1982, according to Gina Fleming, superintendent of the 68 Catholic schools in the archdiocese. Only 362 schools in the country received the distinction this year, including just 50 non-public schools.

“The criteria a school must meet to be eligible for this award is appropriately ambitious, and both Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Thomas Aquinas met or exceeded expectations on both fronts,” Fleming said. “This does not happen by accident. It is through God’s grace and the daily diligence and care of teachers, staff members, school and parish leaders, parents and students that such a prestigious honor can be achieved.”

Immaculate Heart of Mary principal Ronda Swartz said, “What I am most proud of is that our school was able to achieve one of the most prestigious academic honors while remaining dedicated to our mission—to making God known, loved and served in all that we do. All Catholic schools are blessed with this understanding and the opportunity to weave faith into all that we do.”

St. Thomas Aquinas principal Nancy Valdiserri noted, “Daily, we try to remember our blessings—that we are here to serve God and each other. We are very lucky to belong to a diverse, loving community that promotes social justice, high standards and the love of learning.”

For Fleming, the continuing national recognition of archdiocesan schools reflects the comprehensive approach that Catholic schools in the archdiocese take to education.

“In our Catholic schools, we focus on the holistic development of every young person we serve,” she said. “Given that all are made in the image and likeness of God, it is our responsibility to help students develop their gifts fully so they can honor and glorify God in all they do.” †

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