2016 National Catholic Schools Week

  • Charles County,St Mary's County,Calvert County
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What is National Catholic Schools Week?

National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week, which in 2016 is January 31 - February 6. The theme for the National Catholic Schools Week 2016 is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.” Schools typically observe the annual celebration week with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to our church, our communities and our nation.

Daily Themes
Celebrate the following daily themes and celebrations in your (arch)diocese during Catholic Schools Week 2016.

Sunday - In Our Parish
Monday - In Our Community
Tuesday - In Our Students
Wednesday - In Our Nation (National Appreciation Day For Catholic Schools)
Thursday - In Our Vocations
Friday - In Our Faculty, Staff and Volunteers (Teacher & Principal Appreciation Day)
Saturday - In Our Families

La Plata, MD - As the Archdiocese of Washington celebrates Catholic Schools Week Jan. 31 - Feb. 6, there is no shortage of schools to celebrate in Charles County.

Archbishop Neale School in La Plata has seen its share of storms in 88 years.

There was a recognized need for a Catholic school in Southern Maryland before the La Plata Public School was struck by a tornado in the fall of 1926.

When McDonough Institute, a private school for higher education in La Plata, was put up for sale, the Archdiocese of Baltimore purchased the property for a Catholic school.
Sacred Heart began with 28 students and seven grades in September 1927. In six years, enrollment had grown to 12 grades.

In 1948, the school became known as Sacred Heart Consolidation School.  In 1948, the Archdiocese of Washington was established and the Sacred Heart School was placed under its administration.

Three years later, with swelling numbers, a new school was built and was renamed Archbishop Neale School in memory of Archbishop Leonard Neale of Port Tobacco, the second Archbishop of Baltimore.

The sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Scranton, PA, taught at Sacred Heart School since its inception, and since 1952 at Archbishop Neale School.

In 1976, the Archbishop Neale High School Department closed, giving way to a larger enrollment in elementary and junior high schools. Half-day kindergarten classes were added in 1979, expanding to full-day kindergarten in 1990. Pre-kindergarten was added in 1992.

In April 2002, history repeated itself. Another deadly tornado struck La Plata and surrounding counties beginning at Archbishop Neale School, where several buildings were destroyed.

The school was temporarily housed on Sacred Heart Church property in modular classrooms for the 2002-2003 school year while the school was rebuilt and resumed classes January 2004.

St. Mary’s School

St. Mary’s School in Bryantown just celebrated its 100th anniversary.

The school opened in September 1915 when five sisters from the Sisters of Notre Dame began educating Catholic students.

Back then there were only two buildings, one for white students and another for the African-American population.

Numbers were fairly even at the two schools, with 104 white students and 96 black.

The cost of tuition was $20 a year, but no one who wanted to attend was turned away.

A senior high school for white children was added in 1921 and the first class graduated in 1924, although, as narratives recording the school’s history indicate, the high school was not officially accredited until 1925. A boarding school was also established in 1921 and functioned until 1931.

After more than five decades, the school building became architecturally unsound and had to be demolished.

With parish members leading the way, a new $1 million educational complex including an elementary school, convent and parish hall opened in 1967.

The church and school later built a memorial to the colored school on the grounds, which was dedicated in September 1998.

St. Peter’s School

St. Peter’s School in Waldorf has a special designation—that of being the first Catholic School in Southern Maryland never to be racially segregated.

The school was established by Rev. Henry Sank in 1956.

St. Peter’s cultivates spiritual growth and academic excellence by anchoring students in Christian virtues.

Classes are currently offered for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

St. Mary's Ryken 

"Celebrating Catholic tradition is the point of the week. The value, the education and the religion that is integrated is what we focus on.We will be having Father Andrew White's choir guest sing as choir for our mass on Feb 1st. Also, the Nation Honor Society will be cooking a breakfast for the staff in appreciation for efforts toward the hard work put in by them."

Mother Catherine Spalding School

Although it is no longer a school run by the Archdiocese of Washington, the independent Mother Catherine Academy (MCA) is also celebrating Catholic Schools Week in several ways. Students from MCA will be speaking at masses at several area parishes on Sunday Jan. 31. The school is also holding an open house that same day from 1 to 3 p.m.

Other Catholic Schools Week events at MCA include a mass at the school on Tuesday, Feb, 2; and lunches for parents and teachers. The latter is being presented by the Parent/Teacher Partnership in conjunction with the school’s Board of Trustees.

The new independent school was formed when the Archdiocese of Washington identified the former Mother Catherine Spalding School for closure. Since it opened last fall the school has experienced a five- percent increase in enrollment, according to a school spokesman.

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