Celebrating Susi: Holy Family Bilingual, Seattle – Experiences a Surge of Students

Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School kicked off the 2018-2019 school year with a positive problem. The school was short on desks and chairs!

On September 4, Holy Family opened their classrooms to 40 new students, 12 of which enrolled during the month of August. This summer surge in enrollment coincides with the school’s hiring of a Latino Outreach Coordinator who has gone into the parish and local community to promote the school. Claudia Susana Orozco, Susi, joined the Holy Family team on August 1 with a vision of community support and bridging the gap between the parish and school. “There are so many children in our parish who would benefit from a Catholic education and I want to make sure they know that this is not just a dream, it can be their reality,” states Susi, who has been a member of the parish since 1995.

The school was awarded a Building Diversity and Inclusion Grant through the Fulcrum
, a non-profit organization that leverages financial support for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Seattle, last year to support this position. Not only has the school seen an increase in new families from the parish, but their current families are better supported through a Buddy Family program. Susi also works in collaboration with the Madres Embajadoras group to increase classroom and school events that promote socio-cultural competence among all students. An increased awareness of other cultures is in alignment with the school’s Two-Way Immersion Program objectives. “It is not sufficient to simply learn another language,” states Larkin Temme, principal of Holy Family, “students must also embrace different cultural perspectives as well as an understanding of their own identity.”

Through Susi’s efforts, Holy Family hopes to continue to raise awareness of their program in the local community while building a diverse family of faith within the school.

Principal Larkin Temme of Holy Family Bilingual Catholic School, Seattle