The award to St. Agnes indicates how far the school has come in the last five years after nearly closing in 2007. A dramatic fundraising effort saved the school, and enrollment has jumped 30 percent since then, from a low of 423 to the current 553.
In addition to strengthening its academic program to better prepare students for college, St. Agnes has also implemented major technology additions, such as Smart Boards in every classroom and more efficient computer labs, the school said in a press release. It incorporated several off-site learning experiences and rebuilt the administrative team and faculty.
“We could not be more proud of this top 50 recognition and how far we have come since 2007,” Father Mark Moriarty, school superintendent, and Jim Morehead, principal of the K-12 school, said in a Sept. 20 letter to parents. “We will not rest on the laurels of such an award, but use it to strengthen our commitment to academic excellence in a faithfully Catholic environment.”
The Honor Roll was created by the Acton Institute in 2004, with the Cardinal Newman Society assuming it this year. All Catholic high schools in the U.S. are eligible to apply for the biannual award; honorees this year include schools from 21 states.
This year marks the first time St. Agnes has applied for the award. Providence Academy is a past recipient.
“Honor roll schools are a reminder that Catholic education is getting better every day,” said Patrick Reilly, president of the Newman society. “We are delighted to see the increased level of competition among the schools that participated in the program this year.”
“Though the last five years has required a lot of hard work by many, we certainly recognize God’s providence first and foremost in why we are doing well, said Patrick Menke, St. Agnes School’s director of business administration. “We trust in Him for a future of hope.”
The Cardinal Newman Society states that its mission “is to help renew and strengthen Catholic identity in Catholic higher education.”