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Quality Education with a Catholic Focus at Rio Rancho's St. Thomas Aquinas School

By Elisha Neubauer

Saint Thomas Aquinas is considered to be one of the Catholic Church's greatest philosophers. Named as the patron saint of academics, Aquinas was regarded as a model teacher and student despite his refusal of being deemed a philosopher. Seven hundred years after his death, in 1974, the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish was founded in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

In June of 2000, the Parish managed to acquire an old elementary school building. Working as a team, the Parish, family, friends, and staff repaired and repainted the damage and deterioration that had affected the school, and in August, the school was blessed and dedicated. Starting with only 143 students in its first year, the school now holds over 420 students grades one through eight.

"Our mission statement is 'Empowering each other as educated Catholics to build the kingdom of God today and forever,'" explains Roseann Sloan, School Registrar for St. Thomas Aquinas School. "Students learn the traditions and tenants of the Catholic Faith through daily instruction, prayer, services, and participation in the liturgical life of the parish." The school strives to provide a well-rounded, full education in all required core subjects (reading, math, language arts, science, and social students) in addition to their religious studies.

Just as any public or private school, the St. Thomas Aquinas church provides extracurricular courses for the students to improve and expand their education. This includes Art, music, computer and gym classes, which are offered each week. Activities such as band, basketball, soccer, softball, track, volleyball, football, et cetera are also offered to all students.

"The school has a chess club, robotics club, boys and girls scouts," Sloan adds. "There are also academic clubs such as National Junior Honor Society and National Latin Honor Society." In addition, Sloan tells us that students participate in regional spelling bees, geography bees, and science fairs. "They have competed at the state level over the years we've been open," she details.

The school has been fully accredited by both the State of New Mexico and the Western Catholic Educational Association. "Accreditation by the WCEA signifies that our academic program has been evaluated by a team of educators and found to meet the high standards established by the Association," the facility's website states. St. Thomas Aquinas School employs only the highest quality educators; staffing the institution through the Religious Teachers of St. Lucy Filippini and Catholic lay teachers. In 2003, the school was awarded the Piñon Recognition from Quality New Mexico in recognition of performance excellence, improvement, and a commitment to use quality concepts and principles.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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