Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Catholic Schools: "We're not pretty, but we're good."

Although I'm not sure why the author of this article in The Portsmouth (Maine) Herald chose the title she did (Catholic school - it’s not what it used to be), but she nonetheless wrote a very positive and truthful piece about Catholic schools. I say truthful because I know of what I speak. My 8-year old Nolan is a 2nd grader at St. John's here in Lincoln and he loves it, as do we his parents...for many of the reasons cited in this article.

Sure there is a lot of fundraising (actually, I feel we could do more sometimes), but the involvement of the teachers, staff, parents and students is wonderful. We're gearing up for our school endowment dinner as well, and have a golf tournament coming up to raise funds (and have fun) as well.

A private Catholic school serving students in grades pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, the school is an educational gem, nestled unobtrusively among quiet, mostly residential Austin Street. The small school is stretching slightly at the seams, and some of the classrooms could use a paint job. There are only a few computers per grade. But Principal Janet DiNatale just tells parents, "We’re not pretty, but we’re good."

In hopes of raising funds for technology (including projectors and new computers) and establishing an endowment fund, the St. Patrick School Home and School Association will hold an auction on Friday, March 26 at the Portsmouth Country Club. Association President Steve Barns hopes to raise at least $10,000. And, according to Barnes, if they make a little more, they might even be able to expand the science lab and put a new sign out front.

Parental involvement in fundraising is crucial to the school’s operations. And the parents are willing to help. "I get calls every night with parents asking ‘what can I do?,’" says Barnes.

Meanwhile, there is no shortage of students and parents (Catholics and non-Catholics alike), who want to get their kids into the school. Spending an afternoon at St. Patrick, it’s not hard to see why.


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