On December 11th, the Our Lady of Mercy School community in Madison came together to celebrate receiving their distinguished 2012 Blue Ribbon Award for
academic excellence from the U.S. Department of Education. Students were bustling with excitement over the honor as they were recognized by their school board, teachers, administrators, school pastors, local dignitaries, and Archbishop Henry J. Mansell.
Their principal, Sr. Carol Sansone, ASCJ, had travelled to Washington, D.C. last month to collect the school’s prestigious award at a special ceremony
hosted by the Department of Education, and now it was time for the students to relish in the distinction.
“This day is about all of you, and what you have accomplished,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dale Hoyt told the students, who scored in the 85th percentile or higher in reading and math in the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. He noted that the school was one in only four New England Catholic schools to be granted the Blue Ribbon distinction. “How much higher can you go?” exclaimed Hoyt.
The festivities included performances by the school’s band and several students who sang solos; a blessing of Blue Ribbon pins for each student by pastors Monsignor John Conte and the Rev. James Shanley, and a declaration by the
Superintendent of “No homework” for the night.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell took the opportunity to commend the school on its tremendous sense of community. He referred to a study done by Harvard University, which showed that Catholic schools are successful because they “Operate as families, they work together... We see ourselves as part of a larger community.” He congratulated the students, and left them with a poignant message, “We can never lose our focus. We are not complete unless we receive our communion
In addition to Our Lady of Mercy, two other Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford earned the coveted Blue Ribbon: Corpus Christi School (Wethersfield), and Saint Dominic School (Southington).