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Diocesan Schools Begin New School Year

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The Diocese of Raleigh’s 31 Catholic schools and Early Childhood Centers (ECC) are in the process of opening their doors for the 2012-2013 school year. St. Ann School in Fayetteville was the first to open with students reporting on August 9. All 24 Diocesan schools will be open by August 27. The seven ECC will follow.

Enrollment is expected to total approximately 9,000 students this year, equal to last year. The system, which employs more than 800 educators, welcomes in five new principals, 60 new teachers and two new ECC directors. One of the new principals is Sr. Maureen Donati, IHM, who assumes the position at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School (OLLS) in Raleigh. 

Sr. Maureen spent the past four years as principal of Lady of Fatima School in Delaware County, PA, an Archdiocese of Philadelphia school that was merged with another in the face of dwindling enrollment.

Asked by her community if she was interested in applying for the position at OLLS, Sr. Maureen said she welcomed the opportunity. “It’s wonderful to see the life and excitement of the school staff as we approached the start of this new term,” Sr. Maureen said. “One of my first goals is to sit down with as many people as I can to get to know the hopes, dreams and even concerns of the parents, faculty and parishioners.”

Commenting on the planned construction of the new Cathedral Campus, Sr. Maureen added, “It’s an exciting time to be a member of the church in North Carolina, and I’m so happy and blessed to be a part of it."

Joyce Price is entering her sixth year as principal of St. Mary Catholic School in Wilmington. As with all principals, she has spent a good part of the summer preparing for the new school year. “There are a lot of exciting things taking place in Catholic education,” she said. “In addition to the Year of Faith, which begins in October, we are integrating the national Common Core Standards into our Diocesan curriculum and installing a new communications system in our school.” (The Common Core Standards have been adopted by the public school systems of 45 states and a number of Catholic schools in the country.)

Echoing the sentiment of Catholic school principals, Joyce said, “I feel blessed to be in my position. To be called to be a leader in a Catholic school is an honor.” She said, during the summer months, what she missed most is the lack of energy in the building due to the absence of the students. When those pictures and drawings go up on the walls in the school rooms and halls, and the children are all around me, it’s delightful.”

Above: Sr. Maureen Donati, IHM, principal of Our Lady of Lourdes, talking to first grade class of Mrs. Amy Parent and aide Mrs. Daisy King on first full day of school. Click photo to view larger.

Below: Sr. Donati meeting with 5th grade class of Mrs. Nancy Cooley. Click photo to view larger.