St. Patrick celebrates ‘Blue Ribbon’ award

By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

Father Jeffrey Shooner, pastor of St. Patrick Church, spoke to students at the school's Blue Ribbon celebration Nov. 7.
Father Jeffrey Shooner, pastor of St. Patrick Church, spoke to students at the school’s Blue Ribbon celebration Nov. 7.

St. Patrick School hosted an all-school assembly Nov. 7 to celebrate its recognition as a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School.

The school at 1000 N. Beckley Station Road, which has an enrollment of 673 students, was one of only 50 private schools across the country to be named a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

The school in Eastwood shares the honor with three other Archdiocese of Louisville schools — St. Agnes, St. Aloysius in Pewee Valley, Ky., and Holy Spirit.

Special guests at the assembly included Mary Gardner, former St. Patrick assistant principal, Dr. Mary Beth Bowling, founding principal of St. Patrick and current assistant superintendent of schools, and Kentucky’s Third District Congressman John Yarmuth.

St. Patrick principal Dr. Michael Bratcher said the U.S. Department of Education National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements have been made.

“The National Blue Ribbon Program sets a standard of excellence for schools striving for the highest level of success,” Bratcher said. “Our test scores at St. Patrick Catholic School helped us reach this point.”

Gardner, the former assistant principal, noted that St. Patrick’s had qualifying test scores a decade ago but the school didn’t meet the foreign language requirement for Blue Ribbon status.

“So, for 10 years we have been working to be able to achieve that status again,” she said.

“Basically the way we did it was we didn’t really concentrate on our test scores. What we did was concentrate on you. We wanted each one of you to be successful,” she told the students.

Gardner said that each faculty member and student worked to their best ability.

“And that is what we are celebrating today. And that makes you excellent. You don’t have to be the smartest kid on the block, the strongest or prettiest or whatever. You just have to do your best everyday,” she said

Student council president Elise Coughlin told the crowd that St. Patrick is a special place to learn.

“Everyone was involved, even if they don’t know. Dr. Bratcher and Mrs. Kelly (the current assistant principal) guided the faculty and staff,” she noted.

“The lunch ladies and janitors kept us healthy and our school clean. The church members were a great Christian example and helped us grow spiritually.”

Coughlin said the biggest contribution to the school’s success was the students themselves.

Congressman Yarmuth presented school officials with a flag that was flown above the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

“This flag was flown for St. Patrick Catholic School’s achievement being named a Blue Ribbon School,” said a certificate from Stephen T. Ayers, U.S. Capitol architect.

Bratcher, eighth-grade teacher Anne Perryman and the school board chairperson Renee Puffer attended the Blue Ribbon awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., earlier this week.

Last month, St. Patrick was also named the October “School of the Month” by Today’s Catholic Teacher magazine. The article said “every aspect of every program and activity is guided by the school’s core values: a life devout, a life guided, a life informed, a life engaged and a life inspired.”

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