St Francis de Sales School Principal, Kyle Schmitt, spoke at all masses the weekend of November 24th & 25th to reflect on the Blue Ribbon Award. Below is his speech.
The occasion for my remarks today are to give thanksgiving. As some of you may have heard, or seen from the new banners flying on the parish buildings or in the narthex, our school has won its second Blue Ribbon Award. We won the award in 2007 and now again in 2018. I am here today to share with you what that means exactly.
I want to start with some facts. There are approximately 130,000 total public and private schools in the United States. Of those 130,000, 349 schools received the Blue Ribbon Award this year. That equates to 0.2% of the schools in the United States. 300 of those schools were public, and 49 were private. Right now, we are among the 49 best private schools in the country. That is what this award means and that is what we are claiming and celebrating today.
The Blue Ribbon Award program began in 1982 and since it’s inception over the last 26 years less than 9000 schools have received the distinction at some point which is ~14% of the 130,000 schools. Please note that a school is only eligible to apply once every five years. Of the 9000 schools that have received the award, less than 10% of schools have received it more than once. As a two-time award winning school we are part of that very select group.
Theresa Grom, our assistant principal, and I had the honor and privilege of traveling to Washington DC last week to accept the award at the ceremony. But it is the entire parish community that has won this award. We all had a hand in this achievement. God deserves the first praise. All the glory and honor are ultimately his and his alone. Our primary reason for existing as a Catholic school is to bring our students to know, love, and serve God the father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit. That is our mission.
Without the support of Father Ryan and you, the parish, our school would not have won this award. Fr. Ryan’s unwavering commitment and support are inspirational. It takes a sizable investment of financial resources to build and maintain the program of academic excellence we have at St. Francis de Sales. Tuition, paid by families, covers a bit more than half of the total cost of education per student. Fundraising contributes a modest amount as well. The remainder of the investment, which represents about a third of the total cost per pupil, is provided by Fr. Ryan to the school on behalf of the parish. The parish investment allows us to not only keep our doors open, but to remain affordable to all families that seek a Catholic education, and to invest in achieving excellence in our programs.
And of course we would not be a school of excellence without our wonderful students and parents, our dedicated faculty and staff, and our many generous volunteers, donors, and other special friends - many of whom were able to join us two Wednesdays ago in a celebration party.
So thank you for having me here to share this news with you and thank you for your support of our successes. After mass, I will be at a table in the gathering space if you’d like to stop by, ask questions about the award, chat about your alumni story, or buy Christmas Cards designed by our art club students.