By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
The entire student body of St. Aloysius School in Pewee Valley, Ky., stood in the shape of a giant cross and released nearly 400 blue balloons into the soggy sky Wednesday, Oct. 15.
The balloon release was part of the school’s celebration of its recent national award from the United States Department of Education. St. Aloysius School, which has 390 students and an additional 30 preschoolers, was named a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School along with three others in the Archdiocese of Louisville — St. Agnes, Holy Spirit and St. Patrick schools.
At an all-school Mass, St. Aloysius pastor Father John J. Stoltz told the students the award was not just about a place or a building.
“It’s about you. You are blue ribbon students, good students, well behaved students who study and learn well,” Father Stoltz said.
He said the teachers and administration were also instrumental in the success of the students and the school.
“Because of your wisdom, because of the excellence of your craft, we won this award,” he said.
He also credited the dedication of parents, the Parent Teacher Organization, the school board and the entire parish.
Referring to the day’s Gospel reading, Father Stoltz quoted Jesus saying, “ ‘Without me, you can do nothing.’ ”
“For all that we do, including a Blue Ribbon award, we realize that we are indeed of Jesus Christ and without him we can’t do anything at all,” he said.
Following Mass, Maryann Hayslip, the St. Aloysius principal, addressed the student body and recalled the school’s motto — Be positive, be patient and be persistent.
“These three ideas can certainly be applied to our Blue Ribbon experience. If we were not completely positive that St. Aloysius offers an exceptional educational experience, we would not have pursued the award,” she said.
“Your teachers and I are positive we have the best students. We are positive our efforts will meet the school mission to bring you a Christ-centered education and create lifelong leaners ready to live out your Catholic faith.”
The principal noted that being patient is hard and sometimes being persistent is just as difficult.
“You are proving yourself again each and every day over and over in your patience, in your persistence and in being positive,” she told the students.
In an interview after the balloon release, Hayslip said she and other administrators knew they had a wonderful program at St. Aloysius and the award was just “icing on the cake.”
Hayslip noted that students celebrated all week. The students ate blueberry muffins, played “blue ribbon bingo” and had a blue-themed free-dress day.
“We won’t stop celebrating this week, we will talk about the blue ribbon all year,” she said. “This Blue Ribbon award is not about the building, it’s about a way of being.”
Hayslip and seventh-grade teacher Jennifer DeLozier, who completed a great deal of the award application, will attend the national award ceremony in Washington, D.C., next month.