St. Xavier celebrates ‘Blue Ribbon’ at liturgy

stxblueribbonmass-12-1-16-sBy Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer

St. Xavier High School commemorated its recent National Blue Ribbon School award with an all-school Mass Dec. 2.

Both St. Xavier and St. Francis of Assisi School were named U.S. Department of Education 2016 National Blue Ribbon Schools. St. Francis of Assisi hosted a Blue Ribbon Bash last month.

St. Xavier, 1609 Poplar Level Road, is the only school in Kentucky to be named a Blue Ribbon School four times. It was previously recognized in 1984, 1989 and 1993.

Dr. Perry Sangalli, president of St. Xavier, said the national award validates the “strength of St. Xavier’s curriculum and instruction over an extended period of time.”
“Such recognition gives us a neutral third party, outside view that confirms we are achieving what we think we are achieving,” he said, noting that it’s easy to become complacent.

“To have multiple outside parties, even beyond accreditation teams, validates the school’s achievements, validates the success and validates the school culture that is faithful to the mission. It is gratifying.”

The all-school Mass coincided with the school’s annual celebration of the feast of St. Francis Xavier, the namesake of the Xaverian Brothers who opened the all-boys school in 1864.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz celebrated the liturgy and spoke to those gathered — including students, staff, faculty, alumni, Xaverian Brothers and members of the community — about St. Francis Xavier and his vocational call.

If someone were to have asked the Jesuit saint, “Why are you going to India as a missionary?” the archbishop said he imagines the Jesuit would simply have replied, “I was called.”

“There wouldn’t be a lot of ego in his voice. … It would be very much a simple and humble statement that ‘there is something in me,’ he would say, ‘bigger than myself and I feel called.’ ”
Following the liturgy, Leisa Schulz, superintendent of Catholic schools, formally presented the Blue Ribbon award to Frank Espinosa, the school’s principal.

Schulz commended the school on its fourth Blue Ribbon award and said the multiple national recognitions are “especially distinctive.”

In a brief address to students, Espinosa said the award would not have been possible without all in the St. X community working together.

“It (the award) is something to be very proud of. It is something that distinguishes our school about our commitment to excellence, our commitment to hard work. In life, sometimes we don’t look at hard work as necessary. But if you want to be successful in this life, you have to commit to excellence. You have to commit to being the best you can be,” he said.

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