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St. Anthony’s Indian School Joins AICSN

by Collin Gortner

St. Anthony Indian's School

St. Anthony’s Indian School, a Catholic school on the western edge of New Mexico that has served the Zuni community for nearly 100 years, has joined the American Indian Catholic Schools Network (AICSN).

St. Anthony’s is the eighth school to join the network, which provides professional development and shared resources through the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE).

The K-8 school, led  by Principal Sr. Marsha Moon and a faculty largely composed of Zuni educators, serves 120 students surrounded by cottonwoods and pine trees in the high desert of New Mexico. 

Moon, who taught in Ireland, Nigeria, Venezuela, and Los Angeles prior to her current role, said that the teachers “strive every day to blend Catholic and Zuni tradition as much as possible.” Students wear traditional Zuni dress during graduation, sing Christmas carols in the Zuni language, and read prayers of the faithful in English and Zuni. 

Fr. Pat McGuire, the pastor at St. Anthony’s, said that the school has a cheerful atmosphere with strong traditions. He said that it is common for alumni to send their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even great-great grandchildren to St. Anthony’s Indian School. “The alumni have a vested interest in the school,” he said. 

Moon said that St. Anthony’s joined AICSN to take part in professional development opportunities and benefit from the support of partner schools. 

Especially attractive to Moon is the AICSN Holy Cross Fellows program, which gives teachers the opportunity to earn certifications and degrees through Holy Cross College. 

“I would love my teachers to get qualified,” she said. “Our school community is very supportive of them whether or not they have the credential, but earning a credential will give them a boost of confidence.” 

She also said that having colleagues to partner with would be beneficial, “Every school on every reservation is different, but there are threads that tie us together. For me, that is a great support.” 

Will Newkirk, the director of AICSN, welcomed St. Anthony’s to the expanded network. 

“St. Anthony’s Indian School is a unique school community characterized by hope, tradition, and vibrancy,” he said. “We’re so excited to gain a new partner school with strong leadership and impressive students. We’ll be able to learn from St. Anthony’s, and they’ll be able to learn from the other schools in the network.”

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