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1/18/2011 3:06:00 PM
A parent feels blessed by St. Vincent de Paul School
St. Vincent de Paul School photo
The Brandner family, Tom and Michelle with sons Paul and Clifford.
St. Vincent de Paul School photo
The Brandner family, Tom and Michelle with sons Paul and Clifford.
Annie Ojeda Duffy

SALEM — As I walked up the front steps of St. Vincent de Paul School in Salem back in 2001 I thought how much I always wanted to attend a Catholic School when I was growing up.

It would have been financially impossible for my parents to have me and my 11 siblings in private school. Years later, there I was, entering a Catholic school to enroll my own child in preschool.

My daughter will graduate this year from St. Vincent de Paul. My son is a third grader. Today, I call the school home.

At one time St. Vincent’s enrollment was nearly 800 students through eighth grade.  The 2010-2011 school year brought us 85 students, preschool through sixth grade.  The enrollment has diminished, but the staff and parents remains dedicated.  

As I reflect on the nine years we have been at St. Vincent de Paul, I am thankful for the education my children have received and the many friends we have made.  Recent standardized testing results placed my sixth grader at the 92nd percentile and my son at the 86th percentile across the nation. That's indicative of what happens at the school.

One of my son’s best friends since preschool is a third generation St. Vincent student; his mother graduated in 1984 and her father before that. Our friendship had our two families celebrating the New Year together. As I call the school home, I call these friends family.  As a family, we hold service learning projects like the winter coat or book drive, and the stuffed animal toy drive for the local children’s shelter.  Helping the community motivates the students to meet the needs of their fellow “brother or sister."

An open house is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 30. Private tours of the school, located at 1015 Columbia Street NE, Salem, can also be arranged by email: [email protected] or by calling 503-363-8457. The web site is www.stvincentsalem.org. Tuition assistance applications are being accepted through March 15.

The writer, in addition to being a parent, is development director for the school.

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