By David Sedeño
The Texas Catholic
After 18 years at St. Cecilia Catholic School, Principal Candice Barbosa is saying goodbye.
Next fall, Barbosa will move to Bishop Lynch High School where she will become the director of Student Formation, a new position in which she will oversee the development of the whole student.
In many ways, say administrators at Bishop Lynch, Barbosa is a perfect fit because over the years at St. Cecilia she has done just that: helping students navigate not only the hallways and their studies, but instilling in them values to prepare them for the future.
“At Bishop Lynch, they want to develop the child completely,” she said. “We do that here, educating the whole child. What are your interests? What are your motivations? How will you be contributing as global Catholic citizens? What changes are you going to push forward? That is what we do here.”
Many years ago, Barbosa had wanted to become a police officer, but after an internship at a police station she was motivated to help children avoid problems that she saw played out at that police station.
“I told my parents that I was going into education and they were so relieved for all 4-foot-one-inch of me,” she said.
In her six years as a teacher and 12 as the principal, Barbosa has seen numerous teary kindergarten students grow up to become confident and faithful eighth-graders prepared for challenges of high school and beyond. Many of those come back often.
“Kids come back all the time and say, “Hey, I miss it here.’ And I ask why and they say, ‘because Ms. Barbosa I was loved here and in high school we are just a number.’
“We try hard to show kids we are there for them, not just for the academic portion but to help them develop who they are going to be,” she said.
And that part of helping develop the student is what attracted her to Bishop Lynch administrators who, after completing a strategic plan, will institute a “House” system beginning next fall. Barbosa, as director of Student Formation, will be in charge. The system will group students in eight houses, comprised of students from all classifications and genders. Each house will have a dean and six mentors who will lead between 125-150 students.
“Her training and her experience and her commitment to student formation in a Catholic school context makes her an outstanding fit for this job,” said Chad Riley, the principal at Bishop Lynch. “She is a seasoned Catholic school leader and she has had many years of professional experience, mentoring, coaching and training other Catholic school professionals.
“Our core values at BL are ‘caring, faithful and dedicated’ and through her experience and dedication she is an excellent fit for our school community and is an exemplar of what it is to live out the core values,” he said.
Barbosa said that she has been blessed to have committed teachers at St. Cecilia who understand that urban education is a calling and that is what has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of students over the years.
“We don’t get paid big bucks, but you still have to be willing to give everything that you have,” she said. “They all believe in what they are doing and I am a firm believer that Catholic education should be available to all who want it, not just for those who can afford it.”
Find more stories on Dallas Catholic Schools in the May 24 print edition of The Texas Catholic.