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St. Mary Catholic School celebrates 10th anniversary

Lead Summary
By
Caitlin Forsha-crforsha@gmail.com
 St. Mary Catholic School is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and its pupils and staff are commemorating the beginning of this landmark year by recognizing Catholic Schools Week.
   Hillsboro Mayor Dick Zink visited St. Mary’s on Jan. 21 to present the school with a proclamation for Catholic Schools Week. This week of activities, which falls during the week of Jan. 31-Feb. 6 this year, was started by the National Catholic Educational Association. The theme for 2010 is “Dividends for Life.”
   St. Mary will kick off Catholic Schools Week with a schoolwide mass at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31. A breakfast for students and parents will be held on Monday. The second and third grade students will participate in a Mass at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in Cincinnati.
   The school is holding a special day honoring grandparents on Friday.
   The students at St. Mary are also recognizing Catholic Schools Week with
celebrations of their own.
   According to St. Mary Principal Mary Stanforth, the students have a
theme for each day of the week to either dress up or participate in fun
activities. 
   On Monday, students will dress as someone they admire, and on Thursday,
they are allowed to dress as their favorite book character. The school
participates in Mass on
Tuesday, but students are allowed to enliven their Mass uniforms by adding
crazy socks or other fun accessories.
   On Wednesday, the school is participating in a service project, cleaning
up their school. 
   The final day of activities during the school week will be the Hawaiian
Day on Friday, when students and teachers will dress up and participate in
limbo contests, hula-hooping, and other fun Hawaiian-themed activities.
   Perhaps the biggest event of the week will be the open house, scheduled
for Thursday, Feb. 4 from 6-8 p.m.
   Stanforth hopes that the open house and chili supper will be a good way
to raise awareness about the school and pique the interest of prospective
students and their parents for next year.
   Stanforth, who is serving her first year as principal of the school,
said that St. Mary was founded in 2000 with only first and second grades, a
dozen students, one teacher, and one secretary.
   The school has since expanded to include kindergarten and third grades,
with enrollment more than doubling, and 23 preschool students ages 3 and 4.
The school also has a staff of four classroom teachers, an intervention
specialist who also teaches music and art, and two aides.
   Stanforth said that the school plans to add a 4th grade next year, and
she hopes that they can continue to add a grade level for the next few
years until the school has a complete elementary program.
   Stanforth said that she hopes to use Catholic Schools Week as a means to
bring about awareness about the school and a drive to increase enrollment
for next year.
   “One of the biggest misconceptions is that you have to be Catholic to go
here,”  Stanforth said. “But we accept all faiths.”
   Stanforth added that the St. Mary students take the TerraNova
standardized test every year and have consistently scored within the top 25
percent in the country. St. Mary also boasts small class sizes, and the
school offers scholarships to qualifying students to help with the cost of
tuition.
   This year is the school’s first year offering gymnastics, and
Stanforth said that they hope to introduce a foreign language program into
the curriculum next school year.
   At one point, St. Mary had six grades and approximately twice as many
students as are currently enrolled, and Stanforth is confident that the
school is equipped to expand to “at least sixth grade.”
   “I want to give them a good, solid education in their primary years,”
said Stanforth, who added that she believes that this background will
prepare students as they transition into the public school system for junior
high school.
   Stanforth, who retired after 35 years of teaching in the public school
system, said that her position as principal has been “very enlightening.”
   “I love the small setting,” said Stanforth. “I really want to see this
school succeed. I want to see us get our enrollment up and expand every
year.”[[In-content Ad]]

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