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Noting a special school

May 1, 2012
Fairmont Sentinel

To the Editor:

I want to compliment the role of all teachers and the influence and success they have on society. I do want to congratulate St. John Vianney School on the 95th anniversary of Catholic education in Fairmont. The historical resilience of St. John Vianney School is a living testament to so many men and women who have committed their very lives to a deep belief in the God-centered mission of the school. Perhaps this is not only distinctive of St. John Vianney but of every parochial school, and I would like to recognize their influence in our community.

Our mission as a Catholic school with a primary commitment to providing a religious education for our youth, is not one that is constrained by secular edicts. Rather, the distinctiveness of our mission contributes to the rich mosaic of our wonderful community.

At the heart of parochial education, along with the teachers, are the administrators who provide strong leadership. At St. John Vianney, Principal Joan Schaffer's influence and leadership spreads like a ripple from a pebble thrown into a pond. She leads the school by example and not by words alone. The greatest gift an administrator can give students is the testimony of his or her life. Joan's testimony is one of values, excellence and compassion. She is the beacon who lights the way.

In closing, and with continual interest in the preservation of our founding fathers' assurance of the right to parochial education, we must be enthusiastic about meeting the challenges of providing such education. We must look forward with great energy to the future of parochial education and at St. John Vianney, we anticipate with great optimism, the celebration of our centennial in just five years.

Mike Garry




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