By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
St. Agnes School, one of four schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville to be named a 2014 Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, celebrated its latest honor with an outdoor assembly for students, faculty, staff, parents and friends of the school on Oct. 1.
St. Agnes School, St. Aloysius School in Pewee Valley, Ky., Holy Spirit School and St. Patrick School were named Blue Ribbon Schools on Sept. 30. It was the third time St. Agnes had won the award and the second time Holy Spirit had been honored. (Separate stories highlighting each school will appear in future editions of The Record.)
The elementary and middle school on Newburg Road is the only elementary school, public or private, in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to be a three-time Blue Ribbon winner. St. Agnes School previously won the educational award in 1999 and 2005. Schools must wait at least five years after winning before they are eligible to apply again.
Principal Julie Daly told the students gathered Oct. 1 that the national honor was a result of their hard work, commitment and engagement.
“You come to St. Agnes School everyday and do what your teachers ask of you. You work hard on your studies. You work hard on engaging the wider community and the St. Agnes community,” she said.
Daly also recognized parents and teachers by saying the students do not achieve success ontheir own.
“You are sent to school everyday by your parents,” she noted. “Your parents pay tuition to send you to St. Agnes Catholic School for you to get wonderful, well-rounded full education. They do that in partnership with your teachers.
“Your teachers choose to work at St. Agnes Catholic School, a school where they can teach you about faith and teach you about religion and teach you about right and wrong and making good choices.”
Daly also commended Carol Meirose, recently retired principal of St. Agnes, for her dedication and commitment to the school.
“She was instrumental in making sure we applied for this in this special year for us because it’s the year 2014 … we’ve been around for 100 years and what a wonderful award to win in our 100th year,” she said.
Daly noted that of the 50 private or parochial schools in the nation that were named National Blue Ribbon Schools, five of those were from the city of Louisville.
“I think that is great news for our local school community here in the city of Louisville. But what is really special is that of those five local Louisville schools who won this national blue ribbon award, four of them are Catholic schools. I think that just really speaks well of our collective Catholic education system,” she said.
State Representative Jim Wayne also spoke at the assembly and said God gave to the community the gift of St. Agnes School so “we could better serve God’s people.”
“You are not getting an education here that is a high class education so you can go out and make millions of dollars and live comfortably in a big house and take fancy vacations,” he said. “You are getting a good education here so you can be ready to serve God’s people.”
Wayne, who is also a member of St. Agnes parish, noted that St. Agnes students know how to serve others from the leadership exhibited by Meirose, Daly and Passionist Father David Colhour, pastor of St. Agnes Church.
“You are thinking of people outside of this school from the beginning. You are thinking of the homeless. You are thinking of the poor. You are thinking of the people who have disabilities and who are sick,” he said. “And you are taught throughout your time at St. Agnes School to care for everybody.”
Wayne also presented Daly with a certificate of achievement from the state House of Representatives.
Father Colhour, pastor of St. Agnes Church, said it was remarkable the school has been able to maintain its high level of success.
“To keep it at this level which is very, very high — that takes work and dedication,” he said in an interview after the assembly.
Father Colhour added that Meirose began the application process knowing she soon would retire.
“The application was thoughtful, detailed. It was par excellence of the leadership of this school,” he said.
While he was not able to attend the celebration, Mayor Greg Fischer issued a proclamation stating that Oct. 1, 2014, should be known as St. Agnes School Day in Louisville.
Daly, Father Colhour and Clarice Casper, a sixth-grade teacher, will attend an awards ceremony Nov. 10-11 in Washington, D.C.