September 23, 2022

Two schools earn national distinction, adding to archdiocese’s tradition

By John Shaughnessy

Logo for 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U. S. Department of EducationAfter they learned the great news on Sept. 16, the students of Christ the King School in Indianapolis danced in their classrooms as the loudspeaker played “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang.

The celebration was also on at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis where students greeted their community’s great news with cheers and high-fives.

Both celebrations were in reaction to the two schools adding to the outstanding academic tradition of Catholic education in the archdiocese as they were recognized as 2022 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U. S. Department of Education.

The recognition extended the archdiocese’s success concerning this national award. Catholic schools in the archdiocese have received 37 National Blue Ribbon honors since the program started in 1982.

“We are extremely excited that Christ the King Catholic School and Cathedral High School have been recognized for their exemplary academic performance,” said Brian Disney, superintendent of the 68 Catholic schools in the archdiocese. “Both schools provide excellent faith formation and academics in addition to extra- and co-curricular activities.”

The education that’s provided at the two schools also reflects the emphasis of Catholic education in schools across the archdiocese, according to the superintendent.

“Our Catholic schools focus on educating the whole child—spiritually, intellectually, mentally, physically,” Disney noted. “The commitment to the growth and formation of each student as a beloved son or daughter of God provides opportunities for excellence.”

Ten schools in Indiana received the national award, with three of them being Catholic schools. Only 297 schools in the country received the distinction, including just 24 non-public schools.

Both Christ the King and Cathedral were recognized as “exemplary, high-performing schools.” Both schools immediately celebrated the accomplishment—with more celebrations planned for the future.

“I am so proud and happy for my students, staff, parents and parish,” said Ed Seib, principal of Christ the King. “Many parents and parishioners have reached out to congratulate the staff. Our former pastor, Father Todd Riebe, was one of the first to reach out. I have been quick to thank them, but also congratulate them as well. This is an honor we earned together.”

The Cathedral community also responded with pride.

“Students and teachers are thrilled,” said Grace Trahan-Rodecap, Cathedral’s director of marketing. “There were cheers, clapping, high-fives. They are really proud.”

Beyond the celebrations, the focus at the two schools emphasized the approaches that led to the recognition.

In its application to be considered for the honor, Christ the King not only highlighted its academics but also how the school stressed the “spiritual, social and emotional health of our students” in a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is an amazing honor to receive under normal circumstances, but the fact they we earned this during the pandemic is a testament to the perseverance of our community,” Seib said. “Our community took their role as protectors to heart, and together we created a holy, healthy and happy learning environment.”

 Cathedral administrators noted that this year’s honor marks the fourth time the school has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. They also noted that Cathedral is the only private high school in Indiana to earn the honor this year.

“Being named a National Blue Ribbon School is such an honor and a great acknowledgment of the hard work, passion and dedication our educators put in each and every day,” said Cathedral principal Julie Barthel. “Cathedral is a special place, and to get this distinction affirms the work that we do for our students each day to educate hearts and minds. I could not be more proud of the entire Cathedral family.”

Christ the King plans on having a Blue Ribbon Day of celebration at the school in the upcoming weeks, Seib said.

“We will also celebrate with the entire community at our Fall Community Night on Nov. 16,” he said. “This is an event we have every year where we invite parishioners, prospective families and current families to have dinner and then take part in family-friendly activities in the classrooms.”

Cathedral plans to have a celebration at the school during its Homecoming assembly on Oct. 7, and another celebration later.

Representatives from both schools will be in Washington on Nov. 3 for the National Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony led by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.

“As our country continues to recover from the pandemic, we know that our future will only be as strong as the education we provide to all of our children,” Cardona said in announcing this year’s honored schools.

“Blue Ribbon Schools have gone above and beyond to keep students healthy and safe while meeting their academic, social, emotional and mental health needs. These schools show what is possible to make an enduring, positive difference in students’ lives.” †

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