The St. Anne performance of Fiddler on the Roof was a smashing success! St. Anne welcomed over 400 people through its doors to two sold out performances on April 27th and 28th. The production was student-driven with cast and crew handling everything from top to bottom- costumes, makeup, sets, tech, and much more. The performance served as the directorial debut for St. Anne teacher and actress, Ms. Saluda Camp. Congratulations to the many who helped make this performance the best yet!
Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 2nd! St. Anne will once again make history as it graduates the Class of 2018, the first senior class to graduate since becoming a K3-12 school 4 years ago. The ceremony will take place at St. Anne Church at 1:00 PM. Join us as we honor this special group of seniors!
Our 8th grade class traveled to Charleston in April for the much anticipated end-of-year 8th grade trip! The students had the opportunity to delve into the history of the beautiful Holy City with a walking tour, visits to the Yorktown and Fort Sumter, a Ghost Tour, and much more. The trip is a tradition at St. Anne, and our 8th graders had a fantastic time!
A Commitment to Diversity: First Racially-Integrated School in South Carolina Continues its Legacy through Latino Outreach
By Manuel Fernandez | Program Director, Latino Enrollment Institute
Aug. 23, 2017
Every school has a story to tell.
Throughout the six-year history of the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI), we have seen Catholic school principals from all over the country come to the LEI in the hopes of transforming their schools, and in essence, change their school’s story. Some schools are near closing and desperately need to increase enrollment quickly. Other schools already have a large Latino population and simply want to start serving them better. And still schools see their neighborhoods, their country, and the Church changing and want to be proactive in making sure their school is ready for this inevitable change.
When Shaileen Riginos of St. Anne Catholic School in Rock Hill, South Carolina, applied to the LEI in the summer of 2015, she asked herself, “What do I want our school story to be?” Their enrollment was healthy, their finances were in order, and parents were happy with the direction of the school. But one major area gnawed at her. Despite the fact that St. Anne’s parish was 28 percent Latino, there were very few Latinos enrolled in the school. With the cost of tuition, attracting low-income families was proving to be difficult.
Shaileen also had a legacy to fulfill. St. Anne had been a leader in diversity since its inception in 1951, when just three years after opening it became the first racially integrated school in South Carolina. It was important for Shaileen to continue St. Anne’s legacy of being a welcoming community to people of all ethnicities and backgrounds.
As it turns out, coming to the LEI turned out to be a godsend for not only her school, but Shaileen as well. “The LEI opened my eyes to the needs of Catholic schools nationwide and of our own school here in Rock Hill, and one of the most significant ways we can help not only Catholic schools and the Church, but even more importantly, Latino children and families, was to get them into our schools. And I knew at that point that St. Anne needed to do that.”
St. Anne is blessed to have an extremely supportive pastor, Father Fabio Refosco. Father Fabio wanted to begin right away, but he wanted to do it right, in a way that would serve the needs of his community and his school. He and Shaileen decided to start small. Because of the cost of tuition, he knew he would need to find enough scholarship money to serve the needs of low-income families. Displaying a keen business sense, Father Fabio found enough scholarship money to offer financial assistance to active Latino parishioners seeking a Catholic education.
On her end, Shaileen got to work immediately. Using the strategies she learned from her time at the LEI, she reached out to theLatino community and found many families excited at the prospect of joining such a faith-filled school. Her staff immediately bought in and welcomed their new families with open arms.
“I received no pushback whatsoever from my staff. Everything happened so naturally. It was a beautiful thing to watch unfold.”
As a result of all of the hard work of Fr. Fabio, Shaileen, and her staff, St. Anne has seen the diversity of her school increase exponentially. St. Anne went from eighteen Latino students before attending the LEI to forty-five Latino students today. And the school’s Latino students come from all over globe: Spain, Peru, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Mexico, showing strength in diversity even within the Latino community.
Shaileen now knows St. Anne’s story. It is a story of faith, love, growth, and not insignificantly, a true commitment to diversity. It has been that way since 1954 when, against intense outside pressure to remain segregated, St. Anne’s opened its doors to five African-American children from a nearby parish. And it carries on today as St. Anne welcomes families from countries such as Vietnam, China, Spain, Mexico, Germany, India, and many more.
“Our diversity is a major strength. Coming to the LEI helped us expand that. Helping our Latino families and our low-income families is honestly the BEST part of my job. The parents have been so incredibly appreciative of the gifts our school gives them, but they don’t realize that we are the blessed ones to be able to work with them. Those are the moments when I know that Catholic education makes a difference!”
A wonderful story indeed.
The St. Anne Catholic School Girl Up Club recently hosted a workout class led by Ms. Jill Thieman at the Charlotte Gymnastics Academy. The event was called ‘Burn for Bikes’ and all funds raised were donated to the Girl Up initiative, SchoolCycle, which aims to help eliminate one of the biggest obstacles keeping girls out of school: distance. The idea behind the initiative is that a bike can help a girl travel quickly and safely to and from school. That way, she can obtain the education she needs to create a better future for herself, her family and her community. Together, the event raised enough to transform the life of one girl in Malawi by providing a bicycle for her. Throughout this giving season, the SAS Girl Up club has raised enough money to provide 28 bicycles to girls in Malawi and will continue to support SchoolCycle.
WHAT A DAY! We had a great turnout for our FIRST High School Open House at the SPN Campus! Students and Parents were presented with an overview of academic programs and student life. This was a wonderful way for all to learn first- hand what it’s like to be a student at St. Anne High School. Our 8th graders also took part in student-led break out groups, and were excited to get their first exposure to a “college fair” in Mr. Hiser’s room. Feedback has been very positive as one parent remarked, “You guys could not have done a better job today!” Thank you to all who attended!