By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
For the second time in recent years, students, faculty and staff at Holy Spirit School celebrated being named a U.S. National Blue Ribbon School.
The school was previously honored in 2007 with the Blue Ribbon distinction by the U.S. Department of Education.
The entire student body and members of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization and Parent Advisory Board gathered Nov. 3 for an assembly in the school’s gym. Special guests Richard A. Lechleiter, president of the Catholic Education Foundation, and Leisa Schulz, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Louisville, were also in attendance.
School principal Doris Swenson told the students about the competitive nature of the national award.
“Only 50 private schools a year get to receive the recognition as a Blue Ribbon school,” Swenson said. “And we got to be one of those 50 this year all the way across the U.S.”
Lechleiter, whose four children attended Holy Spirit, presented a proclamation from Mayor Greg Fischer declaring Nov. 3 “Holy Spirit School Blue Ribbon Day.”
“When you are 1 out of 50 schools in the U.S. who gets this kind of honor, that really says a lot about Holy Spirit. It says a lot about each one of you. It says a big deal about Mrs. Swenson and the staff and the wonderful faculty we have at this school that makes such a difference in your life every day,” he said.
Lechleiter noted that the school, which has an enrollment of 422, was one of four schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville to receive the Blue Ribbon distinction. St. Agnes School, St. Aloysius School in Pewee Valley, Ky., and St. Patrick School were also named 2014 Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education.
He said Catholic schools provide a foundation for young people setting out in life.
“That really is the most important thing you can learn — how to connect your family and your faith in Jesus Christ and your ability to learn and be successful. Catholic schools, above any other thing, really are transformative for so many of our young people,” he said.
Schulz commended the students for their hard work and dedication.
“Every day you come here and do outstanding work,” she said. “And I think one of the wonderful things about our schools that are being recognized is that to you and to us, we come everyday and this is what we are about. We know that good things are going on and to us this is what we expect of ourselves, of our schools and parish communities.
“I know where the spirit comes from at Holy Spirit. Not only the spirit of Jesus Christ but also the spirit of all of you. It’s good to take a step back and
to celebrate all the wonderful accomplishments,” she added.
Schulz said the school’s next challenge is to continue to believe, to learn, to thrive and “to fulfill God’s mission for each and every one of you.”
Following the assembly in the gym, the students placed blue pinwheels on the parish grounds at the corner of Lexington Road and Cannons Lane.
As part of the celebration festivities, students were encouraged to donate new or gently-used blue jeans for the “Jeans for Teens” charity. Students also donated articles of clothing to benefit the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
“In our community right here in St. Matthews and Louisville, there are lots and lots people who don’t have everything that we have. We wanted to make part of our celebration giving back to our community,” Susan Jones, Holy Spirit’s assistant principal, said at the assembly.
Swenson and Jones will travel to Washington, D.C., later this month to receive the Blue Ribbon award from the U.S. Department of Education.