Blue Ribbon Award

It is not every day that we get to celebrate big achievements, but in this column I am proud to celebrate our Catholic school. St Paul of the Cross School received official notification from the U.S. Department of Education that it has been given a prestigious award: The 2020 Blue Ribbon for Academic Excellence. Our school joins an elite rank of schools around the country that have been recognized as leaders in educating our children. This year only 50 private schools received this distinction and our Catholic school stands tall among those few. Every year our graduates eventually go on to colleges and universities all across the country including Ivy League schools.

On September 24, 2020, the U. S. Secretary of Education announced the names of 367 schools identified by the U.S. Department of Education as the Blue Ribbon Schools for 2020. St Paul of the Cross School was chosen because our test scores placed us in the top fifteen percent of schools in the nation. Out of the fifty private schools nationwide on the list this year, 80% of the awardees were Catholic schools. This proves that Catholic schools provide academic excellence while they impart the Catholic Faith and build moral character. Our school won this award in 2011, and now we have received this honor for the second time.

The official website of the Department of Education states: “The National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging content.” Nine years ago when we received the award for the first time, the then Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, wrote: “America’s long-term economic prosperity and civic engagement depends on our children receiving a world-class education. National Blue Ribbon Schools are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their success is an example for others to follow.”

We are proud of our school and congratulate our principal, Dr Erika Mickelburgh, our vice principal, Ms Mary Therese Iacopelli, our faculty, staff, students and our school families for this unique achievement. The principal and the vice principal have been working hard towards this award. Over the last couple of years, our school has become stronger and our high enrollment this year bears testimony to the health of SPC. This award indicates that SPC is academically superior based on standardized scores, core curricular programs in reading, math, science, and social studies, and special course offerings.

Growing up in India, I saw that education was the key to getting one out of poverty and prejudice. The Catholic education system in India has made a tremendous contribution to improve the lives of millions. SPC, our excellent elementary school, is playing its part in our community to prepare honest citizens and committed Catholics. I have always said that our Catholic school is our ministerial priority. A strong school bodes well for a strong parish. We will do well to ensure that Catholic education is affordable to as many as possible. We make great efforts to increase our endowment and to beef up our scholarship fund so that more families will consider SPC as a viable option. Any support we give to our school – whether we have children in our school or not – is an investment we make in our society and in the Church.

Catholic education in our country has a rich and complex history. Unfortunately, some schools are closing around our diocese but all of them are making a significant contribution to the life of the Church. Strong Catholic schools bode well for the future of the Church in America. It is important that we support Catholic education in our parish. My wish and prayer is that our school will continue to transmit the faith to our children so that we will have a stronger and holier Church. We cannot forget that the primary reason for the existence of Catholic schools is faith education. I pray that we continue to be strong in the area of faith formation.

When you meet anyone from our school, please do not forget to congratulate them. This is a great honor. We do hope that this award will energize our efforts to form our children in the Faith, whether in our school or in our CCD program.

Please do keep our school and our students in your prayers. I know that our patron, St Paul of the Cross, is looking down on us with a smile of satisfaction on his face.  

Mission Statement: As children of God, living in a Catholic community of faith, we are united by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Aware that all we have is gift and grace from our Heavenly Father, we strive to give of our time, talent and treasure to build His kingdom on earth. We live this mission, challenged by the Word, nurtured by the Sacraments, and enlivened by the Spirit, to serve our brothers and sisters in peace, justice and dignity. All are welcome on this journey.

Liturgical Schedule


   Monday through Friday

   8:30 am - Upper Church


   4:30 pm - Upper Church


   7:30 am - Upper Church

   9:00 am - HFC

   9:30 am - Gym

   10:30 am - Upper Church

   12:00 pm - Gym


   1st and 3rd Friday

   after 8:30 am Mass

   (must attend Mass first)



   3-4 pm - Upper Church


   8-9 am - Upper Church

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Contact Information

St. Paul of the Cross

320 South Washington Street
Park Ridge, IL 60068

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Phone: (847) 825-7605

Mass Schedule

Monday - Friday

8:30 am - Upper Church


4:30 pm (vigil) - Upper Church


7:30 am - Upper Church

9:00 am - Holy Family Chapel

9:30 am - Gym

10:30 am - Upper Church

12:00 pm - Gym