Principal of National Catholic Honor Roll school explains its success


Principal Jessie Skipwith of Bishop Machebeuf High School in Denver, Colorado recently spoke with CNA about his school’s selection for the National Catholic High School Honor Roll.

The National Catholic High School Honor Roll, an independent project of the Acton Institute, has named Bishop Machebeuf High as one of the best 50 Catholic secondary schools in the United States for the third year in a row. The selections are made based on the criteria of academic excellence, Catholic identity, and civic education.

Writing in an e-mail interview, Principal Skipwith credited the school’s success to its “significant conscientious efforts” to live out its mission as “a community of Catholic faith.” In his words, the school strives daily “through all of its endeavors” to “form the hearts, minds and souls of our students in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the living tradition of the Catholic Church.”

He also praised the “direct impact” made by the school’s faculty, students, parents and administrators, calling it an “extraordinary blessing” to have families committed to the investment of Catholic education.

“It directly impacts the evangelization of our faith and the future numbers of the Church,” he explained.

Skipwith also described the Advanced Placement and Honors courses provided by the school, saying their availability is maximized to best prepare students for college.

Asked by CNA about the contribution of Bishop Machebeuf High School’s campus ministry, the principal said the program helps  set the high school apart from other schools and has been “one of the major defining aspects of that which makes our daily school environment resonate with our students and families in the way that it has.”

Campus ministry helps the school begin and end each day with prayer. All classes also begin with prayer.

“Students enjoy participation in the Sacraments of Reconciliation, the Eucharist and many, through their experience of conversion, participate in both Baptism and Confirmation,” Skipwith said.

Faith-based and service-oriented clubs at the school, he explained, help students acquire a focus on “cultural and socio-economic diversity, service in the community, and dialogue surrounding the many social issues that continue to influence the daily lives of our students and families.”

Each student will also participate in a theology class every day of his or her four years at Machebeuf, and they daily encounter members of the Dominican Sisters of the Saint Cecilia Congregation from Nashville, Tennessee and religious brothers from the Denver-based Servants of Christ Jesus.

Principal Skipwith told CNA that Bishop Machebeuf High School plans to continue to evaluate and assess its strengths and limitations. Further collaboration with student, parents, faculty, administration and board members will also be pursued with the goal of advancing “a more complete development and unsurpassed personal, spiritual and academic success” for Machebeuf’s students.

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