A Family of Faith - Our Rich History
St. Mary’s School – A Religious Community
St. Mary’s is a Catholic School dependent on St. Mary's Parish, El Centro. The Pastor of St. Mary's Parish, Fr. Mark Edney, is the Superintendent of the school and the Principal is Fr. Allan White, O.P. Both Fr. Mark and Fr. Allan, are active in the educational, spiritual, and formative aspects of St. Mary’s School life. You will find Fr. Mark teaching eighth-grade religion and grammar, while Fr. Allan teaches seventh-grade religion. They are joined by a dedicated and believing lay staff who live out in their educational work the Christian call to discipleship.
St. Mary’s School – A Dream Come True
In 1957, St. Mary’s Parish, El Centro, celebrated its fifty years since its foundation in 1907. In celebration, St. Mary’s School was opened. The construction of the school was a community project. Local farmers allowed their workers to help with the building of the school and parishioners supported the project with their own labor and their financial gifts. St. Mary’s School was built on sacrifice to realize a much longed-for dream. Sixty years later, that vision of a place where Catholic children would be educated to the highest standards in an atmosphere of faith and worship still animates and inspires our school.
What Is at the Heart of This Vision?
St. Mary’s School is a common project. Teachers, students, parents, and the wider Catholic community strive to bring it to fulfillment. The early years were marked by financial hardship and uncertainty. At times, it was not clear if St. Mary’s would survive. Each generation has had to live out the hope on which we were founded. In 2017, the school underwent a major refurbishment and restoration. Thanks to the hard work of our pastor, the staff of St Mary’s, the parents and our construction team, we now have one of the finest school buildings in the Imperial Valley. The facilities have been brought up to date. Lighting, windows, roofs, electrical work, computers, electronic teaching aids have been renewed and replaced. All of this offers our students a magnificent environment in which they can develop their character and their learning skills. Each child is important to us. We believe that each has a gift and that it is our task and privilege to uncover that gift, to cherish it, and develop it so that the child can become a gift to others. We aim to foster direct contact between teachers, students, and parents so that St. Mary’s becomes an extension of the home where all students will feel ‘at home’ and become part of the St. Mary’s family for life.
What Do We Teach and How Do We Teach It?
We believe that knowledge and understanding are more than the accumulation of information. We live in an age in which the gathering and communication of information has become an industry. If the communication, memorization, and repetition of information is all there is to education, then we could abolish teachers and leave each student in solitary splendor with their computers.
We aspire to teach wisdom in such a way that each student will delight in becoming a ‘self-learner’. The pursuit of wisdom is something we undertake together as members of a community of faith. The subjects we teach are shared in an atmosphere of respect and love. We believe that people learn more by example than by precept and that if students know they are cherished as children of God, they will not only grow in wisdom and understanding, but they will grow into the person that God has made them to be.
What is the Aim of Our School?
Our aim is that of every Catholic school; at its heart is a vision of humanity. We want our students to learn how to live a fully human life. The person of each individual human being, in his or her material and spiritual needs, is at the heart of Catholic teaching: the promotion of the human person is the goal of the Catholic school. We want our students to grow in knowledge and in wisdom. We want them to become mature, independent, integrated members of the human community not only believing in the truth but, doing the truth in love.
Education always presupposes and involves a definite understanding of what a human being is and how the fullness of life may be attained. God made us to know him, love him, and to serve him. The entire human person is the canvas of the art of education. Catholic education appeals to the head: believing that we can grasp the truth of things, albeit in a limited way.
It appeals to the heart showing us the way we can love truly and aright. It appeals to the hands in that we are encouraged to put our gifts at the service of others. In grasping the truth, we hope that our students will know their duties to God, to themselves and to each other. Our school does not aim simply to shape the mind but, to form the heart.
More than Sixty Glorious Years: 1957- Now
Over sixty years ago, our school was founded in a great adventure of hope. In those years, it has known many joys and some uncertainties. Those who founded it and built the school, those who were among the first generations of students, rejoice that what they built still stands and its restoration is a splendid testimony to their sacrifice and faith.
We need to ensure that it can endure for another fifty years and more. We need the help of generous benefactors to provide for the continued life and ministry of St Mary’s. We always hope for financial and material security. God in his providence does not always allow that in case we forget that we exist because he wills it and the power belongs to him. Nevertheless, he offers us the chance to become co-workers with him in bringing about his kingdom. St. Mary’s School is a small part of that great work that He is building.
We ask you to share in this vision. Please be generous if you believe that this fragile but beautiful vision should continue to be realized. There are many ways in which you can help us. Any offering, great or small is always welcome. Since God regards the heart of the giver and not the size of the gift, He will reward each one’s generosity.
‘What we love, others will love and, we will show them how.’