Dear Friends of St. Rita’s School,
Thank you so much for your support of St. Rita’s School! I have so much progress to report – all in the last two months! The Caster family sent us a check matching ALL of the donations in this “December 8th” campaign which started three months before they pledged their $250,000 matching gift. That was such a blessing! As supporters of St. Rita’s School, your generosity is inspiring not just to me but to the teachers and staff, as well. Morale and motivation improve significantly when hard work is acknowledged. Your ongoing financial support shows us that you appreciate what we do. Thank you! The school community has been stirred up by the campaign’s success, too! Parents and parishioners are bringing smaller donations from grandparents and friends and asking if those can be matched. The value that you see in Catholic education at St. Rita’s is contagious!
Since our financial crisis and restructuring in 2014, our teachers and staff have stayed committed to our mission of serving our local children. Staying through pay cuts and an increased workload, we shared a collective belief in the value of our work and a certainty that God would provide. With God’s grace and your gifts, these beliefs have been affirmed. Our teachers return to work next week with a bit better compensation for their dedication to serving the children in southeast San Diego. All staff members received a modest increase – something that has not happened in years unless the minimum wage increased. I have hired a full-time teachers’ aide to work with struggling students in the classrooms. This aide will help provide more support for both teachers and students and thereby improve learning opportunities for all students.
The new computer lab (sponsored by a grant from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange Foundation) arrives next week, along with carts of laptops for the junior high students to use throughout the day. New and improved teaching strategies for greater advancement will be much more accessible with this new technology!
Looking ahead in the development department, Jim Mittermiller has been in negotiations with two large foundations. There is an interest in a multi-year commitment. They requested (and we secured) a three-year commitment of unchanging financial support from the Diocese. In these ever-changing times, this commitment is quite significant! Samantha Olsen and I have been reaching out to potential donors with pro-bono help of American Philanthropic throughout the summer. We’ve mailed over one hundred letters asking for meetings and/or support. Even though the process can be time-consuming, the potential benefits make it worthwhile. Fred Clark, Jim, and I traveled to Los Angeles to meet with an ardent supporter of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. At his invitation, we shared St. Rita’s children’s stories: where they live, the challenges they face, and their achievements in spite of adversity. This potential donor shared some of his experiences in promoting Catholic education, and asked for more information to help him in contemplation of a donation to St. Rita’s School.
As I said before: Great things are happening here – and you are a BIG part of it! I can’t express how grateful I am to have your support, along with Samantha, Fred, and Jim! You’ve made my work so much more manageable, and fruitful! Sharing this daunting task of sustainable Catholic education for our inner-city children has made a world of difference for me, and for all at St. Rita’s! Together we are changing the hearts, souls and lives of these beautiful little children! Thank you so much!
Yours in Christ,
Mrs. Gina Olsen, Principal