When Our Lady of Grace School first opened its doors in 2002, the New Brunswick-based Catholic school has witnessed exceptional students, a dedicated community of parents and most recently a new membership with the Roman Catholic Independent Schools Association Atlantic Region (RCISA, AR).
The school’s history began when a group of four families launched Our Lady of Grace as a co-op homeschool. Five years later, it became a recognized school and moved to its present location in Nasonworth, New Brunswick.
The school fosters a great love for Mary who magnifies Jesus for us, bringing Him ever closer to each one. The school name, Our Lady of Grace, honors that fact. The school strives to fulfill the mission of Catholic education as outlined by Pope Benedict XVI:
“Education is integral to the mission of the Church to proclaim the Good News. First and foremost every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth (cf. Spe Salvi, 4). This relationship elicits a desire to grow in the knowledge and understanding of Christ and his teaching. In this way those who meet him are drawn by the very power of the Gospel to lead a new life characterized by all that is beautiful, good, and true; a life of Christian witness nurtured and strengthened within the community of our Lord’s disciples, the Church. Teachers and administrators, whether in universities or schools, have the duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice. This requires that public witness to the way of Christ, as found in the Gospel and upheld by the Church’s Magisterium, shapes all aspects of an institution’s life, both inside and outside the classroom.”
With a Motto, “Our Best for God”, Our Lady of Grace School has been Christ centered since its inception.
“We begin the day with prayers…we attend Mass once a week and adoration weekly and we pray the Stations of the Cross once a week during Lent and we celebrate feast days,” explains Carlolyn Barry, Administrator for the school. “All the children take religious studies. Our teachers and curricula are faithful to the magisterium of the Church.”
Each child is assessed when entering Our Lady of Grace School and placed academically according to his or her grade level in each subject. Students who have advanced skills in some areas or are behind in others benefit greatly from this approach.
“Every subject is challenging and great progress can be made in all subjects,” says Carolyn. “Small class sizes and a student to teacher ratio of six to one are invaluable.”
With no funding from the provincial government or the diocese, Our Lady of Grace School has to cover all of its costs. Student tuition costs are $150 per month, and fundraising efforts are ongoing.
“To keep our tuition low, all parents need to take part in our fundraising efforts,” explains Carolyn. “Parents have found it truly rewarding to be involved in the school in this way and great fun as well.”
Fundraising activities include an annual yard sale and bake sale, seed sale, Knights of Columbus breakfast and lasagna supper as well as bottle returns and exchanging Canadian Tire, Co-op and Perks money.
Parents are also involved in the school’s day-to-day operations. This includes school cleanup, birthday cake donations for their once-a-month birthday celebrations, lunch duty, help with reading, science help for science expeditions, dance rehearsals, directing plays, and teaching physical education.
“Parents are an integral and always welcome part of our school,” says Carolyn.
Families have benefitted from the CCSTA Toonies for Tuition Endowment Fund as well, allowing them the financial breathing room to send their children to a Catholic school.
Our Lady of Grace joins RCISA
This year, Our Lady of Grace joined the RCISA, AR giving it a stronger connection and representation with the Catholic school community across the Atlantic region.
“The member Boards of RCISA, AR are delighted to have Our Lady of Grace Catholic School join them in the association,” says Bon Fagan of the RCISA,AR. “While each of the member schools in RCISA, AR energetically protects its independent nature, there is also the recognition that solidarity and communion with each other, and by extension through membership in CCSTA to the whole Catholic education community throughout Canada, is a most worthwhile objective. In welcoming Our Lady of Grace, we wish the school well in its work to fulfill its goals.”
Learn more about Our Lady of Grace and the work they do to ensure students in New Brunswick have the opportunity to receive a Catholic education in a non-funded province, by visiting the Our Lady of Grace website.