Learning the value of values
The mission of the Saints Academy is to provide a rigorous academic program through innovative teaching practices that prepares students for the world in which we live. We offer a strong spiritual foundation, based in the teachings of the Catholic Church, for students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. We endeavor to provide an environment that promotes our five core values of Discipleship, Partnership, Scholarship, Leadership, and Citizenship throughout the school day and into the daily lives of our students.
These five core values define our culture and our goals. Each student should be growing and learning guided by these values. So it helps set an academic plan, a tone, and an activity calendar for outside the classroom, too.
Discipleship: Following and listening to teachings of Jesus Christ, doing the right thing, following the rules, caring about others and the world, and treating others as you wish to be treated. As a school, we guide students to act with respect for all.
Partnership: being able to work with others respectfully. We value the input of our entire community: our faculty, staff, students, and families past and present. Our middle school students run our student council. They choose causes and charities that our school raises funds for, as well as address concerns of the student body and plan fun activities. The most notable partnership is of our eighth graders, student leaders of the school, and our second graders as the older students help them prepare for the sacrament of First Holy Communion. Middle school students also work across the grades on activities, such as their STREAM project. For the past seven years, our middle school students have participated in a state study headed by the Audubon Society to track the growth and spread of phragmites at Conomo Point in Essex. We invite community members such as the Mayor, school resource officers, hospital employees, local business people, and more into our school. Our school also partners with Endicott College, their student nurses work alongside our school nurse. We want our students to understand that cooperation and collaboration are essential.
Scholarship: As a school, our job is to prepare students for high school and beyond. Our students' job is to study, be prepared, work hard, set goals, and pay attention in school and at home. We want our students to be proud of their academic achievements. Our middle school was one of the finalists in Malden Catholic's Middle School Quiz Bowl Tournament last year. And each year, seventh and eighth graders participate in NASA's Genes in Space program. The Saints Academy works with our students to make them leaders in the classroom, our school, and the community.
Leadership: We put in place leadership-learning activities. Throughout grade school, we communicate that the eighth graders are our leaders. They lead by example and set the tone. They initiate and run many social activities. We instill in them that they will need to step up and continue this leadership beyond our school into high school. One tradition at Saints is the "Passing of the Flame." This is a formal ceremony where each eighth grader holds a lighted candle, says a few words related to the core values, then passes the candle to a seventh grader. It ends with "The flame has been passed." It's the beginning of their new journey after Saints and it's also a "Now's it's your turn, let's step it up" moment for the seventh graders. We want our students to be noticed in high school for their academic prowess, but equally as important for their leadership skills and positive traits.
Citizenship: This encompasses all of the values. A good citizen does their part and helps out others in the community. Our school works with different organizations in our broader community to do just that. We have a strong relationship with Beverly Bootstraps -- we host an annual food drive during the month of November and we participate in the Winter Wishes Holiday Gifts program. This year, our Student Council has already raised funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, The Riley Rocks Memorial Fund, and The Ocean Cleanup. Other organizations that we have had connections with are Beverly Council on Aging, Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, Ellis Square Friends, and My Brother's Table. Our students see that what they do helps others in a positive way.
Our hope is that the Saints Academy Students continue to live by these values and make a positive impact in the world.
MRS. KELLY FERNALD IS THE PRINCIPAL OF THE SAINTS ACADEMY IN BEVERLY, A PREK THROUGH GRADE EIGHT SCHOOL, KFERNALD@SAINTSACADEMY.ORG; 978-922-0048.