The New Vision

Catholic Schools Week highlights schools’ unique opportunities

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The theme for Catholic Schools week, which runs Jan. 27 to Feb. 2, is “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.”
Schools typically celebrate the week with Masses, open houses and activities for students, families, parishioners, and the community at large.
For example Lourdes School in Nogales will invite students to wear the school colors of green and blue on a rally day on Jan. 31 with volleyball and basketball games between students and their parents. In Yuma, the three Catholic schools — Immaculate Conception, St. Francis and Yuma Catholic High School — will come together for a Mass during the week.
The Diocese of Tucson’s schools are in Tucson, Yuma, Casa Grande, Douglas, Nogales, San Carlos and Sierra Vista. The oldest is San Xavier Mission School in Tucson, which opened in 1864, while the newest is Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Tucson  which opened in 2003.
More than 6,670 students attend Catholic schools within the Diocese, about 4,640 at the elementary school level and 2,030 at the secondary school level. Nearly every student graduates from Diocesan Catholic schools and 99 percent of students at the secondary level go on to a two- or four-year college, said Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, CFMM, the Diocese’s superintendent of Catholic schools.
Success starts at the beginning, Sr. Rosa Maria said. Diocesan schools only accept students who are not more than two years behind grade level.
“We need to get students ready for college,” she said. “Teachers are available to mentor after school and summer school is available if a student needs additional assistance.”
Each school has a unique community and a history of academic, community service and athletic successes.
“We want to take care of the whole child and not only their academics but also their physical education,” Sister Rosa Maria said. “What is most important is their spiritual life; that they learn about their Catholic faith and follow Jesus Christ.”
The cost of education for Catholic schools may be a concern for some families but financial assistance is available for all, thanks in part to the Arizona Private School Tuition Tax Credit. Taxpayers can donate up to $2,006 if filing jointly and $1,003 if filing singly.
Some schools offer another source of tuition assistance. At San Miguel High School in Tucson, for example, students receive financial aid by participating in a Corporate Internship Program where students are placed in Tucson-area businesses where they work for one or two days a week.

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