View Full Version : All NYC Q&A with Principal of Village School the Academy of St. Joseph

06-19-2012, 08:42 AM
From DNAInfo.com (http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120618/greenwich-village/village-school-academy-of-st-joseph-teaches-compassion) by Andrea Swalec:

The private Catholic elementary school located alongside the Church of St. Joseph on Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village may be small in size with just 63 students but the head of the school says it has a big heart.

Angela Coombs, principal of the Academy of St. Joseph located at 111 Washington Place, says she focuses on turning children (from pre-kindergarten through fourth grade) into good students and kind people. That's not a task she takes lightly.

"When a parent entrusts their child to a school, that is a big responsibility and a big gift that they're giving us," she said. "We are going to spend more awake time with their child than they are."

The Academy, which boasts a maximum of 18 students per classroom, opened in 2007, after the parish school in its five-story building closed because of low enrollment, said Coombs, 55.

Today the Archdiocese of New York-affiliated school is growing by a grade each year before it will top out with an eighth grade class in 2015.

It is primarily attended by children who live in the Village, about half of whom belong to the parish.

The steep cost of tuition $21,000 per year with only 10 percent of families receiving financial aid is worth it, said Coombs, an Ontario native and longtime school administrator.

DNAinfo.com New York sat down with Coombs to find out more about the school.

Q: Tell me about the school motto, "Character, competence and compassion."

Angela Coombs: Character for me speaks of a person. I want our students to be a people of character I want them to have substance about themselves. I want them to know what they value and to not waver on it because the world says something different. Be true to who you are and to your roots.

Competence to me is not so much today about being book-smart. The computer makes us all very smart. It's about being aware I tell my children that all the time. I think really smart people are people who know where they are smart. At our school, we are trying to help the children find where it is they are smart, and then [we want to] be smart enough to surround ourselves with people who are smarter in the places we're not so smart, because together we become something great.

The third principle, compassion, is about having a great heart. I say to the children, 'Even before you get to school, you've been given a present. When you open your eyes, you just got a present. God just gave you another day of life. That is the biggest gift you get today.' It's about having a grateful day and understanding that the reason we were brought together is to help one another. We always say 'Be the kindest person you know today.' In polishing ourselves we become more to give more to the world.

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