All Saints Regional Catholic School in Manahawkin, which has provided education to children in five Ocean County parishes for more than 20 years, will move away from its regional model and reopen in July 2019 as St. Mary Academy under the administration of St. Mary Parish, Barnegat.
Photo Gallery: All Saints Regional Catholic School's 2018 Christmas concert
Msgr. Ken Tuzeneu, pastor of St. Mary Parish, announced and celebrated the change at the annual school Christmas concert Dec. 18.
“Our school is thrilled to begin this new chapter,” he said. “I believe strongly in Catholic education, and I am very excited that our parish community will have a greater role with the school. We have a lot of students from our parish attending the school and are deeply invested in its success, so the transition makes sense.”
Since 1997, ASRCS has been supported by St. Mary Parish, as well as St. Pius X Parish, Forked River; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Whiting; St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Brant Beach, and St. Theresa Parish, Little Egg Harbor. Beyond financial support, the pastors have been a presence in the school, celebrating Masses and enriching the spiritual life of students.
The transition to a parish model comes with the blessing of Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., JoAnn Tier, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools, and the pastors of the other four sending parishes.
All Saints has operated under diocesan administration since its opening as the first regional Catholic elementary school in the Diocese. During that time, All Saints has offered a Christ-centered learning environment that excels in the areas of faith education, academics (particularly science and technology), and Catholic social service. Year after year, ASRCS students have distinguished themselves with top rankings in national, state and regional competitions for STEM-related projects and research. Moreover, students’ day-to-day experience has always been steeped in the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church.
The new designation of “Academy” is both an acknowledgement of the school’s many achievements and qualities, and the vision that Msgr. Tuzeneu and others involved in this transition have for its ongoing legacy.
“In St. Mary [Parish], we twin with a parish in Uganda and have built a secondary school for them,” Msgr. Tuzeneu said. “They have adopted their motto as ‘Ever the Best!’ I like that and believe the same for St. Mary Academy.”
With the transition, strengthening tuition assistance will be a priority. Additionally, special attention will be given to attracting new students to the school, including families in all five participating parishes and involving the Latino community.
Barbara Vidal, a parent and teacher at the school, voiced her support of the adoption of a new parish model. “We love our school and know our children are growing in their Catholic faith, as well as being academically challenged. As a parent and teacher, I welcome the transition because I know it will lead to our school establishing itself as the premier private Catholic school in Southern Ocean County.”
Said Msgr. Tuzeneu, “Catholic education is an important part of our faith, and I believe that incorporating the school into our parish will benefit not only the school but our entire community. From being named a Future Ready School to our remarkable philanthropic efforts, there are great things happening in our school. There’s no better way to shine a light on them than to integrate the school’s operations into our flourishing parish.”
Msgr. Tuzeneu expressed appreciation to the other four parishes for the important role they have played in the school’s strong foundation and for the ongoing support they will offer. He explained, “They will still be associated with the new school as sending parishes and will continue to provide co-sponsorship funding. They have all expressed their support for the new school and have offered their assistance.”
Guiding these new developments will be a transition team, which will include members of the current school board of All Saints Regional. The goal is to have an informational meeting with the school community in January.