By Michael Gresham
The Texas Catholic
Being named one of the top-performing schools in the nation is quite an honor. Earning that recognition for the third time in a quarter century is cause for even more celebration.
A celebratory spirit swept through the All Saints Catholic School community on Sept. 16 as the U.S. Secretary of Education announced the school was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for the third time in 24 years.
The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. All Saints Catholic School educates students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.
All Saints Catholic School President Colin Campbell said that the school’s small class sizes, rigorous academic and spiritual programs and leadership and service opportunities form young men and women who are dedicated to achieving excellence.
“As a recipient of the Blue Ribbon of Excellence award, we are recognized as one of the top-performing schools in the United States,” Campbell said. “There are over 130,000 schools in the U.S. Of those, 10,000 have received a Blue Ribbon of Excellence award and only 170 have received three. This places All Saints Catholic School in the top 0.1 percent of schools in the nation.”
As news of the award was announced, Veronica Alonzo, associate superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Dallas, congratulated the school on its most recent honor.
“All Saints serves as a model of effective school practices,” Alonzo said. “We are proud of the entire All Saints community for this impressive achievement.”
Principal Shana Druffner credited the mission and the passion of the faculty and staff, noting that the award is indicative of the exemplary teaching All Saints students receive every day.
“Great teachers make great schools, and we have great teachers,” Druffner said. “Due to their efforts, our students achieve excellence in their faith, academics, service, and character. We could not do it without the partnership, prayers, and support we have from our outstanding parent community.”
Liz Roth has two children at the school, a fifth-grader and an eighth-grader, and a third who graduated from All Saints in 2021. Roth said All Saints earning the Blue Ribbon Award shouldn’t surprise anyone.
“Given the quality of the education and the hard work of Mrs. Druffner, all of our teachers, and our students, I was excited, but not surprised,” Roth said. “All Saints is a truly special place and this award is just another reminder of that.”
Roth served as the president of the school’s Home and School Association from 2017-2019. She currently serves as its director of development. She believes the school is simply “amazing.”
“We transferred here from another area school in 2016 because we were looking for a smaller environment without sacrificing the quality of education and we have not been disappointed,” Roth explained. “From the STEAM program to the fine arts program, everything here is top notch. We are seeing the benefits of the education our oldest received here now that he is in high school and we continue to be thankful for all that ASCS has to offer.”
Beth and Ricardo Buitron are parents of second-grade twins, who have been at the school since the age of 4. Like Roth, they said they believed the Blue Ribbon Award was well-deserved.
“All Saints deserves this award because of the high academic standards that it maintains, coupled with the great emphasis of Catholic community among the staff, parents and children,” Beth
Buitron said. “All Saints has helped us create a rich environment in which our children learn in a loving, faith-based setting. We are a school where parents know each other. The staff and administration are as equally woven into our children’s lives as much as their teachers are.”
The Buitrons are among those families who are very involved in the school community. Beth is serving this year as the president of the Home and School Association while Ricardo is serving in his second year as the coordinator of the Dad’s Club. The Buitrons admit they were ecstatic when they heard the news.
“I immediately started tying blue ribbons to the gates of the school,” Beth said. “We are excited to tell everyone about how much we love All Saints.”
Campbell said All Saints will celebrate the school’s achievement throughout the academic year, especially during Blue Ribbon Week, Nov. 14-18.
The National Catholic Educational Association reported that 22 Catholic schools will receive the 2022 National Blue Ribbon at a two-day event in Washington, D.C., Nov. 3 – 4. This year, Catholic schools are 22 of the 24 private schools recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools.
“Catholic schools teach the whole person – body, mind and spirit. Academic excellence goes hand-in-hand with the gospel spirit evident in Catholic schools,” said NCEA President/CEO Lincoln Snyder. “The honor of being named a National Blue Ribbon school affirms what our Catholic school leaders and educators experience every day — Catholic schools are extraordinary places.”