By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Wearing blue T-shirts and waving streamers of blue and white, students at Our Lady of Lourdes School chanted and cheered as they spelled out the school’s initials — OLOL — for a photograph Oct. 19.
Our Lady of Lourdes was named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education along with Sacred Heart Model School on Oct. 1. This is the second Blue Ribbon distinction for Our Lady of Lourdes. It was previously recognized in 2008.
Jeff Beavin, principal of Our Lady of Lourdes, said the national distinction was a notable achievement not only for the school but also the larger parish community.
“We have a lot of pride from the fact that we are closely tied to our parish,” he said.
The connection between the two shows the students they are part of something bigger, beyond their educational institution, he said.
The church and school are part of one campus and share an interior entryway, providing an opportunity for parishioners and students to interact.
“I always love having noon Masses here. At the same time the students are getting out of lunch, they can see the life of the parish, the life of the church,” he said.
The school celebrated the Blue Ribbon award with a day of activities, culminating in a parade and assembly. Students and teachers processed through the streets of the adjacent neighborhood as neighbors and parents lined the road with congratulatory messages.
The parade was an important component of the celebration, Beavin said, because of the school’s ties to the community.
“A number of students live just a couple of blocks from here. When I drive home in the afternoon I see kids shooting baskets in back yards. I honk and wave,” he said. “The parade is a way for us to show how proud we are of the neighborhood, not just the school.”
Following the parade, the student body gathered in the gymnasium to listen to comments by Father Scott Wimsett, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, and Richard Tonini, mayor of St. Matthews.
Father Wimsett acknowledged the parents, grandparents and parishioners gathered. In his prayer with the students, Father Wimsett gave thanks for the gift of Catholic education and the ministry of the teachers, teacher assistants and administrators.
“Not only are we striving, Lord, to be scholars, we are striving to be saints,” he said.
Tonini, a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes and a 1967 graduate of the parish school, urged the students to continue on the path of excellence.
“No matter what you do, do the best you can do,” he said. “Always be the best you can be.”
The school will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., next month. Beavin, along with former principal Jennifer Barz (now principal of Holy Cross High School); and Morgan Wissing, the school’s primary reading coordinator, plan to attend the ceremony.
Sacred Heart Model School plans to celebrate the distinction with a school assembly Nov. 2.