The final day of the college 12 months is usually a joyous event, however for the scholars, college and employees of St. Pius X Montessori Catholic School and Our Lady of Victory Catholic School, that day was bittersweet. This marks the ultimate educational 12 months for each faculties, which have needed to shut on account of declining enrollment and monetary difficulties.
“I feel everybody has been wanting ahead to summer time break, much more so than in years previous because of the stress and craziness of educating by COVID,” mentioned Jen Ripley, principal of St. Pius X in Rodgers Forge. “This 12 months, nevertheless, has been so completely different as a result of with that pleasure comes nice disappointment for the employees, academics, households and college students, as a result of nobody is returning within the fall.”
Ripley, who has been at St. Pius X since August 2002 when she landed her first educating job on the faculty, has seen many essential milestones over practically 20 years.
The varsity celebrated its fiftieth anniversary in 2012 throughout Catholic Faculties Week, full with a fireworks show. The 12 months earlier than, the college launched the Montessori program with three main stage rooms (ages 3, 4, and 5). By 2019, the college had absolutely transitioned to the unbiased studying Montessori format, leaving a legacy as the one Catholic Montessori faculty within the state.
Over a lot of the course of its historical past, the College Sisters of Notre Dame have been affiliated with St. Pius X College, serving as academics and directors.
Ripley mentioned the St. Pius X House & College Affiliation helped put collectively an end-of-year celebration. Over the last week of college, there was a pizza lunch for all the scholars and employees, together with occasions to assist college students get pleasure from their previous few days collectively. On the final day of college, present and former households, employees and academics gathered for a picnic at Meadowbrook Park to share their recollections.
“It hit the toughest for me on the final day after I mentioned the prayer over the intercom for the final time after which walked out to run our carline dismissal,” Ripley mentioned. “It’s loopy how these two routine occurrences – issues I do each single day – tore me aside.”
The 2020-21 faculty 12 months was Ryan Hellem’s first – and now final – 12 months as principal of Our Woman of Victory College in Arbutus. Based in 1957, the college at one time had a big group of Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur as academics.
Based on Hellem, Our Woman of Victory served a really numerous inhabitants from all around the West Baltimore space. Greater than 35 zip codes have been represented, and there was even a large Burmese population.
“We’re a really welcoming group,” he mentioned. “I haven’t been in a spot with kinder college students, households, college and employees. It felt like house.”
The varsity’s slogan is “OLV is the place to be,” and that was at all times becoming.
“It’s a spot the place everybody felt protected and comfy day by day,” Hellem mentioned. “We have been a shining mild, particularly within the darkness of the pandemic.”
Many households have been at Our Woman of Victory for generations. There are college students whose dad and mom, grandparents and even great-grandparents attended the college. Greater than 500 alumni from the Nineteen Sixties to current attended a gathering on the faculty on June 11.
“The car parking zone was overflowing,” Hellem mentioned. “It was a bittersweet second for them to reconnect with previous pals and academics and to have yet one more probability to tour the constructing.”
Our Woman of Victory educators obtained a quotation from Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. “in recognition of the constructive and lasting contributions [they] have made to the group and the lives of numerous kids all through the years.” Additionally they obtained an analogous proclamation from Baltimore Metropolis Mayor Brandon Scott.
Regardless of the place college students got here from socioeconomically, racially, ethnically or religiously, Our Woman of Victory educated everybody within the Catholic custom, Hellem mentioned.
“It’s unhappy,” he mentioned of the college’s closing. “However I attempt to remind our households and our alumni that the college constructing is only a constructing. Folks make the college a college. The legacy of openness and loving and caring will at all times keep it up by our college students and alumni.”
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