BARDSTOWN, Ky. — Students of St. Joseph School here in Bardstown filled the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral Nov. 17 for a parish-wide celebration of its recent national distinction.
St. Joseph was named a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education along with Holy Trinity School in Louisville. This is the first Blue Ribbon distinction for St. Joseph.
Administrators from St. Joseph attended the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., earlier this month where they were formally recognized.
Margaret Bowen, principal of St. Joseph, said the school community was able to achieve the Blue Ribbon distinction thanks in no small part to the parishioners and educators who have come before them.
“I really believe that for St. Joseph it began a long time ago when the people of this faith community felt so strongly to build a school, to educate their children in the Catholic faith. … That foundation that was laid is what helped us become a Blue Ribbon school,” she said.
Bowen told the students it was important for each of them to remember “that you are carrying and living out that faith and that tradition.”
She also lauded the faculty and parents and said she has “felt the love of this community.”
“I have seen the hard work and dedication of teachers. I have seen parents making sacrifices,” she said.
A number of former teachers, principals and a former pastor were on hand to offer words of praise and thanksgiving. Sister of Charity of Nazareth Dorothy Wilson, who served as principal of St. Joseph from 1969 to 1975, commended the principal, teachers, students and parents. Sister Wilson, 89, also served as associate superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Louisville for 16 years.
“I thought of what it takes to be a Blue Ribbon school. … You have to have a principal that knows the human personalities of a child, who all have various abilities that are all equally important,” she said.
Sister Wilson also complimented the teachers “who work day in and day out” and the students for their work ethic. She also remembered parents of “these children that are entrusted to our care.”
“This award is really a tribute to these four groups — principal, teachers, students and parents. You are the ones that determine the quality of the school,” she said.
Father Terry Bradshaw, pastor of St. Joseph, told those gathered at the Proto-Cathedral that the St. Joseph faith community has “a history and heritage that has been passed on to us.
“Part of our Catholic identity is the education of the mind, the body and the soul of every person. That is what Jesus reveals to us, God’s plan for us, to reflect him in the world,” Father Bradshaw said.
Later in the day, the student body took part in a dance party in the school’s gymnasium to conclude the weeklong Blue Ribbon celebration.