CLARKSVILLE – St. Louis School principal Terry Weiss sat in her Clarksville office on the evening of Sept. 8 reading e-mails.
She opened one from a name she didn’t recognize which started, “Dear Blue Ribbon school principals…”
Weiss re-read it.
The school spent the better part of the last year working on attaining the designation of Blue Ribbon School from the U.S. Department of Education. While administrators had suspicions they would receive the honor, they were fearful to assume anything.
With that e-mail, she shared hugs with staff. She called others on the phone. Screams of joy rang out.
“It was a really exciting moment,” Weiss said.
Being named one of the 50 private schools around the country to receive the honor for 2010 was humbling, Weiss said.
St. Louis became the fourth school in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in three years to be named a Blue Ribbon School. It is the only Catholic school in the archdiocese named this year.
“It’s very special,” Weiss said. “It’s a wonderful affirmation for the faculty and staff, students and families that everything they do, every day, is being recognized. We know that we have a great school here and I’ve known that since I stepped foot in here back in 1996. It’s nice that somebody else recognizes that.”
The school staff compiled a package that included information about every program available, Weiss’ personal philosophy and a submission from Monsignor Joseph L. Luca, pastor of the parish.
Parents heard the news prior to coming to school, so when Weiss and her staff stood outside Sept. 10 with signs celebrating the designation, they honked their horns in approval.
Principal Terry Weiss told students, faculty and parents of the honor during an assembly. The announcement resulted in thunderous applause inside the school’s gymnasium.
St. Louis is now the 14th Catholic school in the archdiocese to be named a Blue Ribbon School, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Department of Education.
“St. Louis’ remarkable achievement underscores the value Catholic schools serve to the children of our community,” Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien said. “Catholic schools can compete at the highest levels of education and excel because they strive heroically to meet the needs of every student. I am proud of St. Louis and congratulate the students, teachers, parents and the entire parish community on this outstanding honor.”
Monsignor Luca welcomed students to the announcement assembly. Beforehand, he spoke of the value of Catholic education in Howard County, which features a celebrated public schools system.
“For me, it not only validates what we’ve been doing for 86 years, but it also reminds us that we have this incredible opportunity to not only provide excellence in education but to have the ability to offer formation to our children in gospel values,” Monsignor Luca said. “That’s the difference between a Catholic school and one that is not. They’re getting both education and formation and that equals serving the whole person.”
From Archdiocese of Baltimore
Mercy High School, Baltimore, 1984-85
Notre Dame Preparatory School, Towson, 1984-85
Calvert Hall College High School, Towson, 1984-85 and 1988-89
Loyola Blakefield, Towson, 1986-87
St. Rita, Dundalk, 1986-87
Archbishop Keough High School, 1987-88
Mount St. Joseph High School, Irvington, 1988-89
Trinity School, Ellicott City, 1989-90 and 1998-99
Archbishop Spalding High School, Severn, 1992-93
The John Carroll School, Bel Air, 1995-96
St. John the Evangelist, Severna Park, 2008-09
Resurrection-St. Paul School, Ellicott City, 2009
St. John Regional Catholic School, Frederick, 2009