Immaculate Conception School Principal Caitilin Dewey with 4th grader Sebastian Peralta, and 1st grader Henry Wright, winners of the “Appreciation” award for the December Character Trait. Both boys were lauded by faculty & staff for their positive attitudes and genuine appreciation for all their lives have to offer.
By Sandy Rigas
The difference they make is worth celebrating. It’s a tradition of excellence that began 240 years ago when the first Catholic school in the United States opened in Philadelphia in 1783. About two decades after the Village of Wellsville was incorporated, Immaculate Conception School opened its doors in 1875, providing Allegany County with a Catholic school alternative for the past 148 years.
Currently, there are 482 Catholic schools in New York State and 38 Catholic Pre-k through eighth grade elementary schools in the Diocese of Buffalo. Most of those schools are in the greater Buffalo area. Cattaraugus County has two, and Allegany, one. The Diocese of Buffalo is celebrating its 175th year.
The theme for this year’s nationwide celebration is “Faith, Service, Excellence” which are hallmarks of a Catholic education. “Our schools are focused on nurturing academic excellence, Christian character, and service to others. It is our mission to educate your child to reach his/her potential in an atmosphere rooted in Catholic tradition and Christian values. Our high standards are based upon the Diocesan Curriculum and New York State Learning Standards,” according to the Diocese of Buffalo.
A major advantage, not by design but because Catholic schools are an alternative to public education is that their student enrollment will be smaller than the local public schools. “Smaller class sizes provide for a more intimate learning environment that public schools can’t offer, giving your child more attention,” the Diocese of Buffalo says.
The National Catholic Educational Association, which formed in 1974, created the annual celebration to draw attention to the difference Catholic schools make in students’ lives.
“Catholic schools center on setting very high standards for every student who has enrolled. They prepare students to achieve, excel, and become leaders that add value to any society,” the NCEA states. “The nationwide high school graduation rate for students who have attended Catholic schools is 99%. (In New York State, the graduation rate for students who attended public schools K-12 is 85%.) “They truly bring out the best in your child.”
Immaculate Conception School’s celebration this week began with Sunday Mass and will conclude Friday with a K-6 field trip to Saint Bonaventure University to see a play, followed by lunch at Sprague’s in Portville. There are daily themes of celebrating family, community, school, teachers & staff, and nation.
The ICS Home & School Association has two events planned for Tuesday. There will be a coffee and donut social for parents and guests following the Honors Assembly at 8:15 a.m. and a Family Bowling Night at 6 p.m. at the Bowl-M-Over Lanes on Dyke Street, in Wellsville.
For information about how a Catholic school education could change your child’s life, call the school at (585) 593-5840 and ask to speak with Caitilin Dewey, Principal, or Julie Willson, Administrative Assistant.
Enrollment is open and tuition is affordable; most students receive financial aid or scholarships. Before and After School Care are available. Pre-K4 is tuition-free for Wellsville residents, and tuition for Pre-K3 is the lowest daycare rate in town.