Courtesy Photo The 2021 graduates of Notre Dame High School in Clarksburg toss their caps at graduation. The school announced July 21 that the graduates were offered approximately $1.7 million in scholarships.
By Colleen Rowan
“We are true to who we are, and our curriculum follows that,” Superintendent Mary Ann Deschaine said of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Catholic schools. With the faith at the center of everything and the path they provide to academic success for students, the diocese’s Catholic schools continue to be the choice of many families. To sustain them for the future, the schools’ Catholic identity and mission and academic excellence are being strengthened through the recently launched “Intentional Growth Planning for Our Catholic Schools of West Virginia.” The diocese’s six Catholic high schools and 18 Catholic elementary and grade schools are located in 13 counties of West Virginia. A number of them, Deschaine said, are already seeing an increase in enrollment which she believes has much to do with the schools’ continued commitment to students and their success through the COVID-19 pandemic. “We didn’t miss a beat in offering education the last two years,” she said. “If it was in-face instruction or remote, our data demonstrates that our children are progressing. … We are able to provide that personalized instruction for our kids.” The Catholic Schools’ Snapshot provided earlier this year reported that the class of 2020 of the diocese’s six high schools received $28.4 million in academic and athletic scholarships. On July 21, Notre Dame High School in Clarksburg announced that its graduates of 2021 were offered approximately $1.7 million dollars in scholarships. In the snapshot, Deschaine says: “West Virginia Catholic Schools provide exceptional academics in a Christ-centered environment, while nurturing responsibility, accountability, citizenship, and empathy. Our PK-12 focus is to encourage individual and critical thinking; deepen faith; build self-esteem; and develop a sound moral foundation rooted in the gospel. God is in our schools. Everything we do, choices we make, and plans we develop are prayerfully made with the best intentions of our students’ success. The social, emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental well-being of each child is just as important to academic achievement. We lead with faith.” The diocese’s secondary schools are Central Catholic High School in Wheeling, Charleston Catholic High School, Madonna High School in Weirton, Notre Dame High School in Clarksburg, Parkersburg Catholic High School, and St. Joseph Central Catholic High School in Hunting- ton. The diocese has 18 Catholic elementary and grade schools. In Wheeling are Corpus Christi School, Our Lady of Peace School, St. Michael Parish School, and St. Vincent de Paul Parish School. In Weirton are St. Joseph the Worker Grade School and St. Paul School. In the south are Sacred Heart Grade School in Charleston, St. Francis of Assisi School in St. Albans, Our Lady of Fatima Parish School and St. Joseph Catholic School in Huntington, SS. Peter and Paul Catholic School in Oak Hill, and St. Francis de Sales School in Beckley. In the Central Region of the state through the I-79 corridor are St. Francis de Sales Central Catholic School in Morgantown, Fairmont Catholic Grade School, St. Mary Central School in Clarksburg, and St. Patrick School in Weston. The Central Region is also home to Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School, while the Eastern Panhandle provides Catholic education at St. Joseph School in Martinsburg. Students at these schools attend weekly school Masses and other prayerful gatherings, keeping the Catholic faith at the forefront. Catholic school principals and teachers are hoping that families in their areas will choose their schools for their children this year. “Families in our area should choose Fairmont Catholic because we develop learning through aca-demic excellence and foster faith, family and education,” said Diane Burnside, principal of Fairmont Catholic School. “Our faculty and staff serve as moral role models as we serve God and our community. We are motivated, dedicated and devoted to our students from the minute they enter our doors in the morning to leaving at the end of the day. God is LOVE! We are blessed!” Shannon Wall, principal and an alumna of Corpus Christi School in Wheeling, echoed these sentiments about her school as well which serves children in the Warwood area of Wheeling. “At Corpus Christi School, we provide a rounded education which not only offers high academics but also strong faith-filled values,” she said. “We get to know our students and families on a personal level which allows us to individualize our instruction and help each child to grow into the best version of themselves while learning the importance of accepting and helping others.” The Department of Catholic Schools provides testimonials from parents, families, and students on its website. One of them is from Anne Garvin, a parent of students at Parkersburg Catholic High School, who said the school “provides my children with the gifts of faith, knowledge, which allows them to learn, serve, lead, and succeed both now and in their grown-up lives. I love what a Parkersburg Catholic education has done for my four children. Their education is a true blessing.” Read more testimonials at https:// wvcatholicschools.org/testimonials/. Deschaine also noted that on Aug. 10 and 11, the diocese’s Department of Catholic Schools is offering “Mountain Movers,” a virtual professional development conference, for all of its teachers and principals. “We have over 15 virtual breakout sessions, but we are focusing on Catholic identity and mission and academic excellence,” Deschaine said. “It’s huge that we … are offering this and having our teachers be able to dive deep into formation, into incorporating the faith into their classrooms while still focusing on our academics along the way. I think that’s pretty powerful.” The conference was planned after the Department of Catholic Schools looked at NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) scores, and the intentional growth plans conducted by individual schools. For contact information for all of the diocese’s Catholic schools, see the ad on Page 7 of this issue or visit wvcatholicschools.org/our-schools/.