BC’s Race to Educate Supports Future of St. Columbkille Partnership School

St. Columbkille Partnership School’s annual 5k and fun run serves as the kindergarten through eighth-grade Catholic school’s principal fundraiser, funneling race entry fees and scholarships directly into the school’s financial aid budget.

Set to take place on Saturday, May 2, the Boston College Race to Educate hopes to raise enough funds to ensure that no potential student is turned away from St. Columbkille Partnership School, irregardless of the student’s financial circumstances. 

“It’s our goal to provide financial aid to any student that desires the St. Columbkille Partnership School education whose family lacks the resources to afford it,” said Kathrine Cecere, Director of Institutional Advancement at St. Columbkille Partnership School.  “70 percent of our students come from the Allston-Brighton community so we certainly want to make this affordable to anybody in our neighborhood who wants to come.”

In providing generous financial aid, the school hopes to both increase the accessibility of their Catholic education rooted in gospel teachings and see increased enrollment that would bring the school back from the brink of closure it experienced in the spring of 2006.

Founded in 1901, St. Columbkille School began with the intention of setting a new standard of excellence for elementary Catholic education, focused on fostering the mind, body and soul all within a caring environment, and is, today, the only Catholic elementary school in the Allston-Brighton area.  Despite its long and storied history of educational excellence, the school has recently seen a downturn in enrollment.  Though the school saw an enrollment of about 1,800 students in the 1960s, enrollment dwindled to about 270 in its 2006 downturn.

That year, as a result of the diminishing enrollment, St. Columbkille School partnered with Boston College, changing its name to St. Columbkille Partnership School in the process.  With this partnership, the school now hopes to both renovate its aging facilities to provide more extracurricular opportunities for its students, and improve and recalibrate its curriculum to more specifically fit the needs of each grade level.

“The Lynch School of Education is one of our primary partners and they are involved in terms of working with us in designing the curriculum,” says Cecere. “They also provide teacher education and student teachers who do their practicum at the St. Columbkille School.”

Currently, the school’s primary mission is to improve its middle school section—focusing on offering a well-designed, specialized Catholic middle-school education.

“We’d like to continue to grow the enrollment particularly in the middle school,” Cecere said when asked about the future of St. Columbkille Partnership School.  “The number of Catholic schools offering that 6th, 7th and 8th grade education has been declining.  We’d like to step in to fill that gap.  We have been continuing to refine the curriculum to meet the needs of the middle school students.”

St. Columbkille Partnership School hopes to transform its middle school, which it has renamed Loyola Academy at St. Columbkille, into an example of excellence through rigorous academics, new, up-to-date facilities and a wide array of extracurricular offerings.

“We are embarking on a campaign to mold the sixth, seventh and eighth grade programs into Loyola Academy at St. Columbkille School,” said Cecere.  “We want to continue to offer not only a curriculum that is rooted in gospel teachings, but also a curriculum that is aligned with Jesuit pedagogy.”

Through their annual Race to Educate fundraiser, St. Columbkille hopes to achieve the funds necessary to continue offering generous financial aid to its students, while also improving its own facilities and opportunities.

By hosting the fundraiser each year, Boston College's efforts have fostered St. Columbkille’s future growth and development.  Already beginning to rebound from its low enrollment in 2006, the school's current enrollment now sits at around 380 students, and is expected to continue growing.

The Race to Educate is scheduled to begin outside of Conte Forum at 9:30 a.m. for the kid’s fun run, with the 5k run and walk going off at 10 a.m.  Any interested in participating can sign-up on the day of the race or on the fundraiser’s website until noon on May 1.

Espresso enthusiast and amateur bike mechanic. Enjoys long shoegaze dream sessions and short walks to the local organic grocery store. Most likely working on a postmodern bildungsroman set in the Pacific Northwest.

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