St. Ignatius Loyola School in Manhattan has been named—for the second time—a National Blue Ribbon School, and the elated principal, Mary E. Larkin, said the secret to the school’s success is “we continue to maintain high excellence as a school. It’s the hard work of everyone—the administrators, the faculty, the students and the parent community.”
The principal noted that the school’s mission statement says administrators and faculty seek to “incorporate Catholic Christian values with high academic achievement, thus encouraging enthusiasm for learning and civic responsibility.”
The school was first designated as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2011.
“It was a wonderful surprise; it was very exciting—and to win it a second time makes it even more exciting,” Ms. Larkin told CNY in a phone interview.
She added that the basic message of the school’s mission statement is that “you’re teaching the whole child, from kindergarten to eighth grade, not just in the classroom, but during lunch, throughout the whole day…It’s about the academics, the sports and the arts, and being a good person. Because at the end of the day, that is what you want for each child, to grow up to be a good person.”
Ms. Larkin became principal in July 2008, after serving as assistant principal for one year. She started as a teacher at the school in September 2001.
She will attend the National Blue Ribbons Schools award ceremony Nov. 7-9 in Washington, D.C., where she will be joined by assistant principal Rosalie Savarese and director of admissions Ana Zuck. The event is hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, which confers the honor.
St. Ignatius Loyola is the only Catholic school among the 20 schools in New York state to receive the award this year. A total of 349 schools nationwide, including 49 nonpublic schools, were honored.
The school, founded in 1854, is located on East 84th Street in Manhattan. It is a K-8 school, with an enrollment of 540 boys and girls.
In both years, 2011 and 2018, St. Ignatius Loyola was cited in the category of “Exemplary High Performing Schools.” The other category is “Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools.”
Ms. Larkin said she first received the good news from the Department of Education via email Oct. 1, and parents then received the news from the school via text message.
Parents Joe and Anne Sweeny have two children enrolled, Megan in seventh grade and Patrick in fifth grade.
“This is amazing. Megan was in kindergarten when the school won it the first time. I reminded her. Everyone is so proud; the school is like part of our family,” Mrs. Sweeny said.
“We are all very thrilled. This is the second time that the school has received the Blue Ribbon award, both times under Ms. Larkin’s leadership, and I think that’s amazing.”
Mrs. Sweeny added, “It is a huge honor. We are incredibly proud to be part of the St. Ignatius school community…Megan and Patrick both have been there since kindergarten.”
She said she and her husband and other parents are grateful for the school’s excellent academic programs, religious education and the overall positive school environment. “Their spiritual education is wonderful,” Mrs. Sweeny said. “I consider St. Ignatius part of our family.”