Maryvale Academy celebrates 10th anniversary as private Catholic school

maryvale_galaWhen the founders of Maryvale Academy launched their first academic year 10 years ago, the enrolment was so small the founders faced a $100,000 deficit.

As the first treasurer and co-founder John Pacheco recounted in the program for Maryvale’s 10th anniversary fundraising Gala Jan. 31: “There was no business plan, but there were a few Catholics who were risk-takers, risk takers for God.”

Two weeks before the start of school, the founders sat around a kitchen table having to finalize teachers’ contracts. They agreed each family would be “on the hook” for a portion of the deficit and they all signed. Pacheco said that somehow the money came in and the families did not have to pick up the debt….read the rest here.


Here is the text that I wrote for the program:

God’s Risk Takers

Before Maryvale Academy opened its doors to Catholic families in Ottawa, there were a few memorable and uncomfortable moments.  As the School’s first Treasurer, I remember one day I received a call from an influential gentleman who asked if we had a Business Plan.  And I thought to myself:  “Business Plan? Huh?  We’ve got no business plan. This is God’s business.”  I was caught flat-footed by the question.  There was no business plan, but there were a few Catholics who were risk-takers, risk-takers for God.  We don’t normally associate being a risk-taker with a religious person, do we?  It has a gambling connotation which is not normally associated in the religious context, but in many respects, that’s what it is.  When you walk out in Faith, one always has to put something on the table that you might not get back. That’s the way it was when the Founders sat around a kitchen table with Maryvale’s first year enrolment being so low that we were facing a $100K deficit in the first year with two weeks to go before school started, and we needed to sign the teacher contracts within a few days.  I joked to the others that I didn’t know who I was anymore in this.  Which hat should I put on?  My accounting hat or my Faith hat?  The Faith hat was expensive and we’d all have to ante up if enrollment didn’t pick up.  Faith was expensive and messy.  Certainty and comfort were cheap and clean. MaryvaleAcademy represents everything of what is right with the Church in a sea of cultural and ecclesial confusion and fear. It exists because of the direct sacrificial love by heroic parents who are willing to risk something for the Lord.  The only guy who Jesus condemned was the guy who hid his talent – the guy who didn’t take the risk and who sought comfort at the expense of salvation.  True believers are “all-in” when their hand is called.

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