St. Vincent de Paul School photo
The graduating sixth graders from St. Vincent de Paul in Salem.
St. Vincent de Paul School photo
The graduating sixth graders from St. Vincent de Paul in Salem.

SALEM — Last year, St. Vincent de Paul School was in peril of being closed because of low student enrollment. Prayer and hard work changed that picture and the numbers are up.

This year there are 16 students in the sixth grade class — the highest grade at the school — and they are quick to tell you that being at St. Vincent de Paul School is one of the best things that has happened in their young lives. Tommy Duffy, Jovany Ortiz and Hector Chavez have been at St. Vincent’s since pre-school. Javier Hernandez began in Kindergarten.  

Some of the students went to experience other schools for a year or two, only to return to St. Vincent’s where they felt more at home.  

“I can go to church, and I am allowed to pray at school,” said Cami Tolento.  

Anthony Uribe Trujillo, one of the students that came to St. Vincent as a sixth grader, expressed his feeling this way: “It is not just being in a private school, it’s been about my connection with God.”

Students participated in field trips that enhanced their educational experience and enriched their spiritual life. Trips included Outdoor School, Canyonview Camp, The Oregon Zoo, Mount Angel Abbey and The Grotto. Thirteen students will be continuing their Catholic education by attending Blanchet Catholic School in Salem for their mid-high and high school education.

Tommy Duffy is one of the students who will attend Blanchet. He has described his education at St. Vincent’s as “a good stepping stone for future education.” That’s something fellow student Hector Chavez agrees with. “(It’s) a good start to your future and a good way to learn about God,” Chavez said.

Here are the graduates: Hector Chavez, Brandon Contreras, Tommy Duffy, Emanuel Escobar, Harley Fenton, Jesus Hernandez-Cortez, Javier Hernandez, Carter Lulay, Nataly Loera, Cecilia Lopez, Ulices Mendoza, Jovany Ortiz, Brenden Tobias, Cami Tolento, Kyle Untalan, Anthony Uribe Trujillo