Oratorian News

Pro-Life March and Rally

Construcción de Circuito Eléctrico

Modelos Resistentes a los Terremotos

Construcción de Volcán


Spirit Award Honoree 2015

Congratulations to Mrs. Esther Aguirre our 2015 Spirit Awards honoree. Mrs. Aguirre has been a teacher at the Oratory Schools for 23 years, where day by day she has grown spiritually as well as academically and is profoundly grateful to God for all the people who have been an example in her life and contributed to her growth. May God bless you!

Celebrating Christmas

Students, faculty, and staff gathered on campus to celebrate the coming of Jesus' birth on Christmas Day, 2014. Parents and students were very generous with with food and presents for staff, for which we are very thankful for the love expressed by our patrons and families of the Oratory Schools. May Our Lord Jesus bless you and keep you all during the days to come as the year 2015 approaches!

Most Rev. Daniel E. Flores Celebrates Mass (Dec. 10, 2014)

National Honor Society Induction Ceremony

Guest speakers were Headmaster Fr. Leo-Francis Daniels, C.O. and President of Schools, G Yvonne Perez.

Faculty Professional Development

2014 PSIA State Winners

Walk-a-Thon 2014

Zoo Field Trip

Oratory Schools' Ribbon Winning Contestants at PSIA District 13AA

See Results List in PDF

PSIA District AA Competition on their way to STATE

Congratulations to the Pharr Oratory Schools' PSIA District AA Winners! Our entire student body and their families wish you the best at State Competition!

Pictured above are the Oratory Schools" Private School Interscholastic Winners, 2014, at this year's PSIA district competition hosted by the Pharr Oratory School System! There was a wonderful crowd of guests, judges, parents, and students who attended the days' events. After or between events, students thoroughly enjoyed the day's treats prepared by our faculty and staff.! A special thanks to the District PSIA Event Director, and our Curriculum Specialist, Ellen Allen, for her dedication and willingness to direct the event for all children attending private Christian/Catholic Schools in our area! A heartfelt thanks is also extended to our faculty and administration for being a welcome host for this year's annual academic competition, grades K-8.

Remember the First Day of School 2013?


Pre-school students at the Pharr Oratory Schools sponsor a Trike-a-Thon in autumn. It raises funds for children needing medical assistance at St. Jude's Hospital. This is one of our most moving events where God's love is clearly seen by our entire school community. This event is children helping children heal and to feel loved by others their same age.

Mardi Gras 2014

Folklorico servicio a la comunidad

The Oratory Schools' Folklórico dance troupe, under the supervision and direction of Rosa Rodríguez and Sylvia Vera, perform for the elderly of our communities' nursing homes bringing music, dance, and joy to those who have given so much to their families and communities.

Making a Promise to Not Use Drugs! (Red Ribbon Week 2014)

2nd Grade Field Trip to the Teas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi, TX

Second grade field trip to the Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi, TX under the supervision of their teacher, Mildred Molito.

The Divine Mercy Chaplet Mercy for Kids. (EWTN)

EWTN Website for Divine Mercy for Kids

10th Grade Field Trip to Washington, DC

Science Olympiad

See Powerpoint

Shoes for Orphan Souls Drive

Read about...

Gr. 8 at Camp Allen

Gr. 7 at the Martin Luther King Monument in Washington

Oratory Schools Granted State Accreditation Status

English PDF
Spanish PDF

Pasta for Pennies

Click image to view PDF.

Pasta for Pennies: The Pharr Oratory Schools' Campaign to help out the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society raising $4.500!

Ofrenda de dia de Muertos

Msgr. Gustavo Barrera

On Nov 14, 2013, the Oratory Schools celebrated its 30th Anniversary with a Red Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Members of the school, diocesan, and civic communities of Pharr, San Juan, Alamo, and McAllen were invited. After the function, the President's Office hosted a breakfast in the cafeteria for the invited guests. Invited guest Msgr. Gustavo Barrera from Our Lady of Sorrows Church in McAllen, and his staff were given a brief tour of the campus (see photo). The tour was led by Governance Board President and Co-Founder, Oralia Cantú, of the Oratory Schools System (PK-12) in Pharr, TX.

First Place Raffle Winner

Ms. V. Salinas is the winner of the Schools' Fall Raffle.

l to r: Ms. G. Y. Pérez, President of Schools, presents Ms. V. Salinas her First Place Fall Raffle winner's prize at the Corporate Office on Nov. 18, 2013!

Congratulations to our three raffle winners and a special thanks to our school and parent community for their participation in the Raffle. All proceeds will be for enhancing technology in the classroom.

Governance Board Annual Workshop

On Saturday, October 26, 2013, Mrs. O. Cantú and Schools' President G Yvonne Pérez, gathered with other diocesan boards from Rio Grande City to Brownsville Texas, to participate in the Diocesan Annual Board Workshop held at San Martin de Porres parish in Weslaco, TX.

(l to r:) Oralia Cantú, Co-Founder and Governance Board President, Rosa Maria R. Vida, PhD, Superintendent of Schools for the Dioceses of Laredo, and G. Yvonne Pérez, Co-Founder and President of Oratory Schools

Thank You!

Events Coordinator, M. Duran, enjoys a mini-breakfast supplied by a group of parents in thanksgiving toward the faculty and staff for all their work during the Team Accreditation Visit, October 20 - Oct. 23. After enjoying the refreshments, parents join Ms. Duran in planning for the upcoming Fall Festival. Thank you parents for your continued involvement and daily support of campus events and fund raising!

First Communion, Saturday, September 28, 2013

MOMS Organize School-Wide Food Collection for Flood Victims in Mexico

Above: Donation given by parent,Carino Zúniga (right) & Balleto Dance Academy

First Communion Practice 2013 at St. Jude Thaddeus Church, Pharr, TX

We were happy to see Fr. Mario at St. Jude Church!

Student Council 2013-2014 Induction Ceremony

Judge Fernando G. Mancias (center front) presides at the Swearing-In Ceremony for this year's Student Council Officers and representatives. To his left are Oratory Schools' Director, Iskra Díaz and Librarian, Fr. Juan Ortiz.

Parent Volunteers

Parent volunteers gather to create a Columbus Day (October 14, 2013) instructional mural for the Pre-Kinder students to color and discuss.

Parent Volunteers:
Dolores Cantú
Marlen Cavazos
Linda Anaya


The Pharr Oratory of St. Philip Neri Board Members held a breakfast workshop during the month of August, 2013. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Oratory Schools Long-Range Strategic Plan developed by the board, administration, faculty, and staff during the past two years. The "Domains" or areas of study are:

I. Mission, Philosophy, & Vision
II. Community
III. Governance, Administration, and Management
IV. Personnel (Administration, Faculty, & Staff
V. Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
VI. Student Services, Resources, & Activities
VII. Plant and Facilities.

The Governance Board, after many hours of reading and discussing the final self-study report, concluded the Oratory Schools had successfully completed the required state accreditation process and final report. The next step was to send the report to the Texas Catholic Conference Education Department (TCCED). Copies of the study are also sent to the state approved Accreditation Team Members who will visit our campus for three days. At the conclusion of their visit, the team prepares a "Final Report" to TCCED officials. The visit by the AccreditationTeam is scheduled from October, 20-23, 2013.

(Photo l to r) Pharr Oratory of St. Philip Neri School System Governance Board & Founders
Member: Oralia Cantú, Board President & Founder
Member: Ruben Rosales
Member: Fr. José E. Losoya, C.O., Director of Schools
Member: Fr. Leo-Francis Daniels, C.O, Headmaster & Founder
Member: Fr. Mario Aviles, C.O., Rector
Member: Manuel N. Pérez, Director of Finance and Plant Management & Founder
Secretary: Sochil Duran, Founder
Member: G. Yvonne Pérez, President of Schools & Founder (not shown)

30 Years of Service to Catholic Education in the Diocese of Brownsville

Two Oratory School System Administrators received yellow roses and an honorary pin in recognition of their 30 years of continued service to Catholic Education in the Diocese of Brownsville. Service pins were presented by the Superintendent's Office after the Eucharistic Celebration held at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in McAllen on August 26, 2013.

L to R
G. Yvonne Pérez, President, standing next to Fr. Leo-Francis Daniels, C.O., Headmaster, of the Pharr Oratory of St. Philip Neri School System

The Catechism and the Rosary

Fr. Nilton Cueto, C.O., Campus Minister, initiated an Oratorian Prayer Group. Those present committed to organizing a group of parents dedicated to meeting once or twice a month, (possibly on early release days) to pray the rosary and participate in a brief presentation by Fr. Nilton on the Catholic Catechism and the life of St. Philip Neri, our founder and patron.

Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica

Below is the list of honorable members who proudly are able to belong to the Society due their academic and personal excellence (minimum GPA of 3.7 and minimum A- average in Spanish). They have plenty of good ideas to develop next academic year, to represent our School in the Community.

Rodriguez, Ana Sofía (11)

Prado, Victoria (11)

Song, Sholi (11)

Alexandra Perez (10)

Alberto Perez (10)
Caballero, Sebastián (11)
Garza, Inés (11)
Nava, Andrea (11)
Vielma, Angélica (11)

Grade 9 in New York took a picture with Buddy's mom, the "cake boss".

Mother-Daughter Retreat

Science Olympiad

Chess Tournament

Vocation Day

PSIA News 2013

Read about...

Spirit Award Recipients Joe and Alma Vera

See PDF to read about.

Spirit Award Honor's Banquet

Pharr Oratory School System of St. Philip Neri administrators attended the Brownsville Diocese of Texas' Annual Spirit Award Ceremony held in McAllen Texas, January, 25th, 2013. The Award Ceremony was to "honor those who have dedicated themselves to the values and principles underlying Catholic education and who, through their energy, enthusiasm and service in outstanding support of Catholic education in the Rio Grande Valley have helped others achieve this goal." Guest speaker, Bishop Daniel E. Flores, S. T. D., spoke on how Catholic Schools form a Christian community and in doing so, model Jesus in their service to mankind.

Above: Pharr Oratory Schools' Administration and Rector Fr. Mario A. Aviles, C.O. pose for a picture with Bishop Daniel E. Flores, STD at the Awards Ceremony.

Red Ribbon Week Presentation: Underage Drinking

Presentation: "Underage Drinking"
Guest Speaker: Patricia Martinez, B.A, LCDC. QCC, QMHP, CADMS. CDDTS, CCH. ADC Level III Diplomate. Certified by Criminal Deparment of Justice.
Date: Oct. 25, 2012.

A recent program selected for the formation of our Athenæum students during Red Ribbon Week, was one that informed them of the dangers of alcohol consumption. Ms. Lilian Lastra, School Counselor, arranged a group presentation by Ms. Patricia Martinéz. Students received literature and important information on drug and alcohol abuse. Through an exercise using special eye gear, students experienced the physical impairment and were informed of the the resulting dangers caused by too much alcohol in the system.

Religion Certification Certificates

At the annual Diocesan-wide Inservice held in Brownsville at St. Joseph's Academy, on November 19th, 2012, three of the Oratory Schools' staff received their Religion Certificate for completion of their course of study for Religion Certification. They are: Yuridia Villarreal (3rd from left), Mildred Molito, (5th from left), and Margarita Sandoval (far right). Congratulations staff!

Hearing Screening

Annually, during the Fall semester, Hearing Screening Exams are done in keeping with the requirements of the Texas Department of Health. Parents are notified if a student exhibits difficulty hearing during the screening process. A final report is filed with the Texas Department of Health. Office staff personnel, Rosa Muñoz and Lilia Rodríguez, can be seen carefully administering the screening process in accordance to their training.

30th Anniversary 1983-2013!

Oratorian teachers and students announced the founding of the Pharr Oratory Academy in the fall of 1983 at "Casa Maria", located on the corner of Hwy 281 and N. Rancho Blanco Rd. Seated are the students who formed the first student body that included Pre-Kinder 3, Pre-Kinder 4, and Kindergarten. Founding Governance Board members who also served as volunteer teachers were Lala Cantú (top left) and Elida Paris (top right). Pictured in the center is Founding Governance Board member and Directress, G. Yvonne Pérez.

30th Anniversary Celebration Dinner

On October 19, 2012, in honor of continuing years of service and faith-filled commitment to the Pharr Oratory Schools, the President's Office hosted a 30th Anniversary Dinner at Santa Fe Restaurant in McAllen, Texas.  The dinner guests included alumni, former and current staff, founders, and Governance Board Members, current and past. The dining tables were covered with small photos of memories of the past 30 years. Guests also shared defining moments during their years of service, which for some is 30 Years! Guests: 

Former Staff: Maria Gutierrez- Secretary, Norma Uvalle- Campus Coordinator with daughter/alumna Karla; Albert Holder- teacher with wife Pat

Former Board Members: Idolina Vela with spouse Jesse, Anita Reyes with spouse Reyes, Ismelda Moroles with daughter/alumna Samantha 

Governance Board Members: Lala Cantú, Founder/President with spouse Cruz Cantú, Sóchil Duran, Founder/Secretary with spouse, Pedro, Larry Hernandez, Member with spouse Sally, Ruben Rosales, Member with spouse Irene, José A. Farías, Founder/Member with spouse Diana 

Administration: Manuel Pérez, Founder/Director of Finance with spouse G. Yvonne Pérez, Founder/President, Elida Paris, Founder/Elementary Vice-Principal, with spouse Mike, Izkra Díaz, Secondary Vice-Principal, with spouse Carlos

Fathers of the Pharr Oratory/Administration:  Very Rev. Leo-Francis Daniels, C.O., Founder/Rector, Rev. Mario A. Avilés, C.O, Director/Procurator General of the Confederation of the Oratories, Rev. José E. Losoya, C.O., VIce-Principal PK-12, and Rev. J. Juan Ortiz, C.O., Librarian 

Special Guest: Lizette Allen, Superintendent (Diocese of Brownsville)

Event Coordinator: Maricela Y. Pérez, Development Officer

Oratory Schools' Staff Receive Service Pins at Award Ceremony

Fr. Mario's Birthday Celebration

Students wish Fr. Mario a "Happy Birthday"!

Cristóbal Colón

In celebration of Columbus Day, the Library has on display the private collection of the models of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María, the three vessels used to discover the New World.

The models are on loan from Mr. Jorge Morales on the occasion of the 520th Anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus to America.

CPR Training

Oratory teacher, coach, and volunteer fireman, Mr. G. Handley, assists Early Childhood Teacher, Miss S. Vera, with her Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training. CPR training prepares staff to assist students & school personnel in case of a campus emergency.

Jr. High Cheer - 3rd Place

Border Festival: Third Grade, Mrs. P. Salinas

Aquarium Field Trip

Ms. M. Flores pictured below with her third grade students at Corpus Christi Museum of Science & History Corpus Christi, TX

Mr. and Mrs. Ryan and Jode Vaughan

Recipients of the 2012 Spirit Award for the
Pharr Oratory of St. Philip Neri School System

Ryan and Jode have been married for 12 years. They were both raised in the Mid-Valley and were high school sweethearts before going off to college at Sam Houston State and Texas A&M, respectively. After college they were married at Saint Mary's in Fredericksburg, Texas and moved to Leon, Guanajuato for a short time before settling in the Valley. Ryan went to work at Rios of Mercedes where he remains today manufacturing cowboy boots with his father-in-law and partner, Trainor Evans. Jode taught school for several years before having their first daughter, Hannah Grace. She now stays home with Hannah Grace (9) and her two younger daughters, Elise (6) and Macie (3). Both Grace and Elise started attending the Oratory Academy of St. Philip Neri in Pre-K 3 and are currently in fourth and first grade. Macie will start in the fall of 2012. Ryan, Jode and the girls are parishioners at St. Pius X in Weslaco. Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan have been great supporters and committed parents of the Pharr Oratory School of St. Philip School System and faithful collaborators of fundraisers and its annual fund raising gala, “Noche de Alegría”. It is with great appreciation that the Oratory Schools recognize Ryan and Jode Vaughan as its 2012 Spirit Award recipients and will be so honored at the Diocesan Spirit Awards Banquet.

This Holy Night

The First and Second Grade students received a storytime surprise from Mrs. G. Yvonne Pérez, President of Schools, and her staff, Ms. Maricela Pérez and Ms. Sara Walker. The students followed along in their own books as Ms. Pérez read This Holy Night, the story of how St. Francis of Assisi created the first créche to remind us of the real reason for Christmas.

See all photos.

Athenæums' Model United Nations

The Pharr Oratory Athenæum for University Preparation's first Model United Nations (MUN) general assembly was held December 10th. The delegates represented various delegations to discuss the topic of immigration to the United States. Each delegation established their position and held an educated debate on the pros and cons of immigration to the United States. - Paloma Die

See all photos.

Bishop's Fundraising Dinner Guests

On Friday, December 2, 2011, Bishop Daniel E. Flóres, STD, held the diocesan annual fund raising dinner in Brownsville, TX. The funds are to be designated to support the efforts of the Diocese of Brownsville in offering Catechesis and Evangelization to the faithful of the diocese. The event hosted over 700 guests who enjoyed silent and live auction, dinner and dancing. The event was a great success!

See all photos.

Semana de Hispanidad

Promethean Electronic Board System

Recently, the Oratory Athenæum was awarded a $15,000 grant from the Scanlan Foundation for the purchase and installation of 3 Prometheum electronic active board systems to enhance instruction in the fields of mathematics and science. Chemistry teacher, Miss G. Zanetti, can been seen utilizing this cutting-edge technological tool for classroom instruction.

Student Council

Student Council 2011-2012

Class Representatives

Ms. Giovana Zanetti, Advisor

See all photos.

Oratory Athletic Campaign for American Football

Coach J. Moroles has initiated an advertising campaign for parents and local businesses to support our efforts to successfully initiate a fund raiser to help purchase the needed equipment and uniforms for our boys American Football Team.

Ocelot cheerleader poses in the Administration Building entry hall to promote the Athletic Advertising Campaign poster that will indicate business and parent support. We have received our first sponsor of $1,000, and need at least another 25-30 to reach our goal. If you wish to be a sponsor call Coach J. Moroles at 781. 3056 Ext. 414.

Congratulations Oratory Gliders

Oratory Schools Place 44th at this year’s HESTEC Competition at the University of Texas Pan American, September 29, 2011

The Oratory Gliders competed with 50 schools from South Texas (San Antonio to Brownsville area). The student was the "Helicopter Pilot" and maneuvered through 6 obstacles with limited time using an iPad. The U.S. NAVY and U.S. AIR FORCE sponsored this event to showcase Air Force technology and their commitment to advanced engineering.

Quote by Neal Morton The Monitor, September 29, 2011

"And he (Staff Sgt. Rene Ochoa of the U.S. Air Force) commended the mastery of the four propeller drones by students like sixth-grader Marielle Hicban, whose St. Philip Neri Oratory School team from Pharr stood at second place at halftime."

Team Name: Oratory Gliders
Team Captain: Max Garza (7th)
Pilots: Max Garza (7th), Rauvey Garcia (7th) and Carlos Aude (6th)
Co-Pilots: Marielle Hicban (6th), Sophia Escobar (7th)
Coach: Mr. Larmel Madrilejos

Go Ocelots!  Fly High!!  Oratory Gliders!!!  Fly High!!

See all photos.

See video of demonstration by Oratory Gliders here.

More information at:

UTPA HESTEC The McAllen Monitor

Ocelot Cheerleaders preparing for football season!

Sept. 16 celebratory break learning the rules of American Football

Happy Birthday Fr. Mario!

Cardinal Grocholewski

Fr. Mario A. Avilés, Oratory Schools Director C.O. during his official visit to Rome, September 2011, pictured with His Eminence Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Donation Needed for Sanctuary Lamp

Soon, families, staff, and students will be able to visit and pray before the real presence of Our Lord. Thanks to a recent donation to the Oratory Schools, a Tabernacle (shown above) was purchased! The Blessed Sacrament will be housed in its tabernacle and permanently placed in the Oratory Schools' Chapel. However, the Fathers of the Oratory are in need of purchasing the required sanctuary lamp, which is not a minor thing. This lamp signifies the sacramental and true presence of Almighty God. If you wish to make a donation, please visit our Online Giving Page here and make a Gift Towards Greatest Need or call President of Schools, G. Yvonne Pérez, @ 956.781.3056 Ext. 601.

What Is The Tabernacle For In A Roman Catholic Church?

Staff Development 2011

Former parent and certified counselor, Liliana Lastra, met with faculty and staff to speak on the important topic of actively listening to others for effective communication. Her presentation was titled: THE CREATIVE POWER OF LISTENING. She was assisted by her children, alums Enrique and Regina (L to R) .

Campus Chapel: Celebrating the Liturgy,Tuesday August 16, 2011

Make a Crane. Clothe a Child. Campaign Results!!!

Original Announcement

Results Announcement

The Oratory Athenæum Mariachi Band surprised Mrs. Yvonne Pérez by serenading her with Las Mañanitas on her birthday.

St. Philip's Circle receives special attention in honor of his Feast Day, May 26.

Bishop Daniel Flóres, Diocese of Brownsville, visits Pharr Oratory Schools

Mother's Day Events

Kindergarten Mother's Day Performance

Kindergarten Mother's Day Celebration

Estudiantina plays for Mother's Day Celebration

Mother and Son at the Cross of St. Teresa of Avila

PSIA State Competition

Click images to view full size PDFs.

Click images to view full size PDFs.

Wins Third Place in Pharr Talent Contest

Congratulations to Oratory student, Heather Gager, who placed 3rd in 1st-5th Grade Category at Pharr's "Hub Phestival" Talent Contest. She did a great interpretation of, "I Can Only Imagine".
(H. Gager in white costume)

Estudiantes del Instituto Newman en Galveston-Houston

Estas fotografías son del viaje que hicieron los estudiantes de 5º grado a Houston.
(Cristina Plata, Directora: Newman Institute)

See all photos.

Private School Interscholastic Association, Newman Institute Winners

Mardi Gras Parade 2011

Oratory Students - Maximize Runners Club

Click image to see PDF.

The Pharr Oratory of St. Philip Neri School System Boys Winter Soccer Team Day

Click image to view in high resolution.

PSIA Contest Results and 2011 State Meet Contestants

PSIA Contest Results

Click image below to see slides in PDF.

The National Honor Society of Collegiate Scholars Welcomes Andrix Arguelles

Diocesan Spirit Award Recipients for the Oratory Schools: Roy and Caroline Robles

Roy and Caroline Robles, owners and managers of Regency Jewelers of McAllen, were selected to represent the Pharr Oratory of St. Philip Neri School System at this year’s diocesan fourteenth annual Spirit Awards Banquet. As former parents, Roy and Carol were and continue to be great supporters of the Oratory Schools and the principles of Catholic Education. Their generosity is greatly appreciated by the Congregation of the Pharr Oratory and the Governance Board of the Oratory Schools.

Oratory Athenaeum Men's Soccer - District 3 Champs, Area Champs, and Regional Champs

The Oratory Athenaeum Men's Soccer team advanced to the TAPPS 3A State Semi Finals which will be played in San Antonio at Central Catholic Stadium on Friday, February 18, 2011 at 4:00PM. The Ocelots advance after defeating the Dallas Lutheran Lions 10-0 in the TAPPS 3A Regional match. The Ocelots will face the winner of the game between Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills and Houston St. Thomas.

Food 4 Thought: The Value of a Catholic Bilingual Education at the Pharr Oratory Schools

On February 2, in honor of National Catholic Schools Week, the President's Office hosted a breakfast in the school cafeteria for administration, friends, and patrons of the Oratory Schools. Guests were then invited to gather in the Cesare Baronio Library for student speakers, Oralia Cantú and Rodrigo Garcí, who shared their experiences as members of the student body for over 10 years. After their sincere and very moving speeches, they were followed by guest speaker and Rector, Very-Reverend Leo-Francis Daniels C.O., who spoke on the history and value of a Catholic education at the Pharr Oratory Schools.

See all photos.

Fire Prevention Week

Papal Delegate from Austria visits the Pharr Oratory Schools' Campus, January 12, 2011

L to R: Director of Newman Institute, Cristian Plata; Rector, Very Reverend Leo-Francis Daniels, C.O.; President of Schools, G. Yvonne Pérez; Papal Delegate, Very Reverend Felix Selden from Austria; Oralia Cantú Governance Board President; Assistant Director, Izkra Díaz; Seminarian, Bro. Nilton Cueto, C.O.; and Librarian, Fr. Juan Ortíz, C.O.

Ocelots Boys Soccer Team Wins Division III District III Championship!

Message from Fr. Mario Aviles, C.O.
Boys soccer: Oratory 2-San Marcos Academy 0;
Oratory 2-Austin Regents 0.
Oratory Ocelots Boys Soccer: District Champions with 11 wins 0 losses.

Message from Athletic Director, Joseph Moroles.

To Everyone:

This last soccer trip was perhaps the most fun of any of our previous trips. Our high school boys soccer team won both of their games, and continue on their historic unbeaten streak. They are now 11 - 0! If they win their last game, which is this Saturday, January 22nd, here at school, they will be the first team in our district's history to go undefeated in district play! But that is not the best part! With our victory on Monday, the boys clinched the Division III District III Championship!! We are district champs, and we have home field advantage throughout the playoffs! Our first playoff game is scheduled for Saturday, February 5th against whoever ends up in third place from the Houston district. We hope to see you there in support of our monumental climb to the state title!

Thank You,

Buenos dias a todos!

Con mucho placer y orgullo por nuestros jugadores de fútbol, quiero informarles que el equipo de fútbol de los niños ganó los últimos 2 partidos de esta semana, colocándose como Campeón de Distrito, despues de jugar 11 partidos, sin perder. Éste sábado 22 de enero jugarán en casa, si ganan, harán historia como el primer equipo en quedar invicto en el distrito en el que participamos. Al quedar como Campeones de Distrito, tenemos los primeros partidos de eliminatorias para el Campeonato Estatal en casa. El primer partido de eliminatoria tendrá lugar el sábado 5 de febrero en la cancha de la escuela, en contra de la escuela que quede en tercer lugar del distrito de Houston. Los esperamos a todos, para apoyar a los chicos en las eliminatorias para calificar para el Campeonato Estatal!!


Joseph Moroles Athletic Director Oratory Schools of St. Philip Neri

Saturday, January 22 District Schedule:
Boys - 1:00 PM
Girls - 3:00 PM

Catholic Diocese of Brownsville Year in Review - 2010

Sure, learn to speak Chinese — but learn Spanish first
By Nicholas D. Kristof, a regular columnist for The New York Times.

Fashion Show Rehearsal and Event - December, 2010

Assisted by Oratory alumni, Samantha Moroles and Laura I. Pérez, the Development Office began its production of this year's Christmas Fashion Show, Arte en Vogue! Producer, Maricela Pérez and administrative assistant, Sara Walker, worked tirelessly with the senior girls to prepare an exceptional show celebrating God creation. The show theme was "The Four Elements: Fire, Water, Wind, and Earth". The event, dedicated to the patron saint of nature, St. Francis of Assisi, helped raise funds for the tuition assistance school fund. Below are photos taken during rehearsal at "La Placita", an open-air event center in downtown Pharr.

See rehearsal and event photos.

Oratory Schools Sports Field Lighting installed Dec. 11, 2010!

See all photos.

Atheltic Field Progress

See all photos.

Making a Case for Sainthood

Read more about Blessed John Henry Newman.

National Honor Society Induction

Red Ribbon Week 2010

Fall Festival 2010

See all photos.

Semana de la Hispanidad

Early Childhood Milestones

On October 22, the Oratory Schools hosted a lecture to educate parents on Early Childhood Milestones. The lecture is the first in a year-long series aimed to further involve parents in the lives of their children. This particular session, led by Lili Cantú (an Occupational Therapist) and Michelle Vecchio (a Speech Pathologist), focused on helping parents and teachers identify and guide their children through crucial stages of physical and mental development.

"Trike-A-Thon 2010" Video

View video.

PLEASE NOTE: This option may open a new browser window or play the video in your computers media player.



Hispanic, Engineering, Science, and Technology (HESTEC)
Robotics Competition Commentary
By: Mr. L. Madrilejos. Robotics Team Coach
September 30, 2010

The Pharr Oratory Schools’ Athenæum Robotics Team finished 8th out of 60 schools participating in the HESTEC robotics contest held at the University of Texas Pan American, Edinburg. I was very proud of my robotics team members!

Our team was young: 1 Senior, 1 Freshman, and 3 Sophomores. The team competed against all senior level teams from other schools.

Oratory Alumni were present to cheer: Andrix Arguelles, Mariana Garcia and Diana Maldonado

Additional support included Mrs. Garcia, Mrs. Vielma, Mrs. Bravo, and Mrs. Madrilejos (my wife) who came from work to cheer!

Other supporters were: PSJA schools, IDEA Schools, and some Filipino teachers from public schools. They, together with Navy officers, joined us in cheering for our team.

I was told other school district teachers labeled our team as: ‘A Good Breed for Future Engineers’!

Team Members: Zachary Garcia, Antonio Maldonado, Angelica Vielma, Daniel Elizondo, David

See all photos.

Kindergarten Breakfast Break

Kinder students enjoying a Continental breakfast in the school cafeteria prepared and donated by volunteer Moms. All funds are for student tuition assistance.

See all photos.

Athenæum Athletic Field in Progress - Go Ocelots!!!!!!!

See all photos.

Swearing In the New Student Council

The student body has voted for their 2010-2011 representatives, and on Thursday, September 23, the new members of the Student Council were sworn in by Fr. Mario Avilés and Judge Fernando Mancías.

  • Oralia Cantú - President
  • Laura Adame - Vice President
  • Galia García - Secretary
  • Andrea Galindo - Treasurer
  • Leonel Terán - Parliamentarian
  • Macarena Villarreal - Historian
  • Ernesto Gómez - Athletics Rep.
  • Andrea Espinoza - 12th Grade Class Rep.
  • Erik Hinojosa - 12th Grade Class Rep.
  • Mariana Galván - 11th Grade Class Rep.
  • Patricia Nuñez - 10th Grade Class Rep.
  • Sebastián Caballero - 9th Grade Class Rep.
  • Andrea C. Adame - 9th Grade Class Rep.
  • Fernando Calderón - 8th Grade Class Rep.
  • Raúl García - 7th Grade Class Rep.
  • Andrea Lazo-Romero - 7th Grade Class Rep.
  • Sofía Escobar - 6th Grade Class Rep.
  • Nathaniel Dyer - 6th Grade Class Rep.

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Oratory Students Prepare for HESTEC: Thursday, Sept. 30,2010 @ UTPA, Edinburg, TX

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Walk-A-Thon Breakfasts

Nearly every week at the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri Schools, a different class hosts the Walk-a-thon Breakfast. The students for that particular class are responsible for bringing items to be sold to their cloister; and as the students get older, they are also responsible for selling tickets and managing money. The result is a loud, joyous hour spent eating tamales and Shipley’s donuts. But these students are doing more than providing a delicious meal: the proceeds for each Walk-a-thon Breakfast go towards Tuition Assistance, ensuring that more Oratory students will be able to enjoy future Breakfasts with their friends.

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Student Council Assembly 2010

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Mexico's Independence Day

Oratory Schools’ Corporate Office Staff Celebrate Mexico’s Day Of Independence, September 16.

About the Mexican Flag

Diocesan Inservice 2010

On September 3, 2010, the faculty and staff of the Saint Phillip Neri Schools attended an inservice with other Catholic educators from the Diocese of Brownsville. The day started with Mass celebrated by Bishop Daniel E. Flores, Sacred Theologiae Doctor, who then gave each school a blessing for the coming year. Dr. Patricia M. McCormack, IHM, gave a presentation on the importance of promoting ‘soul formation’ within the classroom. And finally, a pin ceremony closed out the day, with each school recognizing those staff members who have dedicated years of service to Catholic education. Those staff members from Saint Phillip Neri who were honored are listed below:

  • Aminta Elizondo (5 years)
  • Silvia Lozano (5 years)
  • Jose Antonio Rodriguez (5 years)
  • Consuelo Velasco (5 years)
  • Yuridia Vilanueva (5 years)
  • Maria del Carmen Mireles (10 years)
  • Irma Roman (10 years)
  • Maria Soberano (10 years)
  • Rosa Emma Rodriguez (15 years)
  • Nydia Cantu (20 years)
  • Rosa Munoz (20 years)
  • Nora Silva Alvarado (25 years)

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Teacher Inservice 2010

On August 16-18, 2010, the faculty attended professional development presentations and workshops on the following topics: Technology Integration, New Teaching Strategies, and tips on maintaining a Healthy Classroom Environment throughout the school year. There was also a special presentation by guest speaker, Dr. M. Cristina Quilantan Díaz, speaking on “ Bullying Intervention”. These three days of professional development gave the faculty opportunities to refresh their skills and review new instructional materials before the students’ arrival on the first day of class. As required by the Texas Catholic Conference Education Department, professional development continues throughout the school year, helping faculty stay abreast of the latest materials and methods of instruction throughout the grades and subject areas.

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Meet the Teacher

Mrs. Sandra Jackson and Mrs. Herlinda Flores are ready to receive classroom supplies from obliging parents.

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8th Grade Graduation

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Kinder Graduation 2010

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Spirit Awards 2010

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Seniors 2010 Baccalaureate

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Noche-St. Mark, Lion of Venice

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Walkathon Winners of Kinder Raffle

Winners of the Kindergarten raffle for our Walk-a-Thon, 2010!

PSIA Creative Writers Contest

First and second grade campus winning students who participated this year's Creative Writers Contest sponsored by the Private Schools Interscholastic Association.

"Noche de Alegría" Kinder Quilt Volunteers & Committee Member Norma Uvalle

Robotics State Competition 2010

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Scholarship Walk-a-thon PK4

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Outstanding Commitment to Excellence and Innovation in Distance Education for an Organization

Texas Distance Learning Association Presents “Outstanding Commitment to Excellence and Innovation in Distance Education for an Organization” during it 2010 Annual Convention in Houston, Texas recently. For five years, Oratory Athenaeum for University Preparation in Pharr, Texas has used distance education as part of its regular curriculum making it a transparent part of its school’s culture. All social studies courses at the school are taken as online asynchronous classes. This includes AP social studies courses for those students who are interested in a more rigorous program. The school’s staff serves as liaisons for their students in partnership with online instructors who the students may never meet in a face-to-face setting. As a result, its students are better prepared for challenges they will face in a world that is relying on distance learning for education, training, and professional development.

Oratory Athenaeum is committed in providing its students with those skills needed to meet the 21st Century. Thus, it is making the commitment to ensure its students understand how to use technology, applications, and distance learning strategies to be successful distance learning students and world citizens. Many of the school’s student body are part of its international program mostly coming from Spanish speaking countries outside of the United States. It is demonstrating, through its distance learning program, that learning is no longer tied to brick and mortar boundaries.

Oratory Athenaeum participated in a unique collaborative cultural exchange project with Denmark for two years. The project allowed students in both countries to learn about the world at large using distance learning tools. Each team identified a global issue, demonstrated why it was of international concern, presented their findings, and developed a doable solution to the problem selected. Teams were composed of students from each school. They had to communicate across the globe, overcome language, cultural, and time differences. The five Oratory student leaders made presentations, via desktop video conferencing, to state and national conferences. The project was so successful it was featured in T.H.E. Journal magazine. Presently, the school is involved in its second collaborative project with schools in Poland and Colombia. In another online collaborative project, students in AP Government collaborated and competed with students from another Texas school in an online debate. Each collaborative team developed opening and closing arguments using multimedia resources and were available to answer judges’ questions in open forums. Each team’s members worked together through group discussion and file exchange areas.
Most recently, a student from Oratory Athenaeum was selected by iNACOL to be part of its featured student panel during its October, 2009 national conference. He emphasized the importance for taking distance learning courses especially if a student plans on going to college. Oratory staff has embraced online instruction and have become online instructors for students in other parts of the state of Texas where there is a need for instructors in Languages Other Than English.
Students from Oratory Athenaeum have been accepted to schools that include, Amherst, Washington University, Rice, Columbia, Duke and others. Many of the students have attributed their success and confidence in these critical college interviews to being able to talk about the projects and courses that they have experienced through distance learning.

Mother/Daughter Spiritual Retreat 2010

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Congratulations Oratory Academy!

You have qualified for the Texas State Science Olympiad to be held on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station on April 23 & 24, 2010.

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Private School Interscholastic Association One-Act Play Competition

Students in grades 6-8 participated in the PSIA's Area 4 One-Act Play competition Saturday, February 27, 2010. The cast was awarded 2nd Place, runner- up to State. The Technical Team was awarded 1st Place team by the Seguin High School Techs!

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Oratory Athenæum for University Preparation Receives Prestigious State Nomination

Diocesan Grant Awards


Giovanna Zanetti receives a Diocesan $1000 grant to support Extended Day Learning at the Oratory Schools! Linda Maldonado & Giovanna Zanetti receive a Diocesan $1000 grant for enrolling in the Robotics Science Summer Institute. David Meraz also received a Diocesan grant in the amount of $1000 for purchasing classroom AV presentation equipment.

Congratulations to Mr. David Meraz, the recipient of $1,000 from the Diocese of Brownsville's Teacher Incentive Grant. His grant proposal was to purchase an LCD projector and an overhead projector for enhancing instruction in the classroom. Seen below are students from an Advanced Placement (AP) high school English class. The photos show Mr. Meraz utilizing his training for teaching writing skills to advanced learners. He is seen demonstrating the use of strategies from "Step Up to Writing”, a program that offers effective instructional techniques and step-by-step approaches to improve a student's writing across the content areas. Mr. Meraz also uses this equipment for on-campus teacher training in which he shares the knowledge and skills learned in a two-day summer workshop in 2009 sponsored by Sopris West Educational Services, to which Mr. Meraz paid the cost of attendance. The Oratory Schools are very grateful to Mr. Meraz for his professionalism and a strong commitment to his continuing education for the betterment of our students.

Oratory Athenæum Fashion Show, “Arte En Vogue”

The Oratory Athenæum Fashion Show, “Arte En Vogue”, was held December 4, 2009, at El Cine Rey in McAllen, Texas, in affiliation with the city's Art Walk. This fundraiser was for the school’s Tuition Assistance Program. Twelfth grade girls served as models while the boys served as ushers for the event. Three young Oratorian girls also modeled representing the school’s Royal Court.

The fashion show featured famous and iconic works of art. Each model was given a work of art then, with the help of stylist, Samantha Moroles, (Oratory alumni), compiled an ensemble inspired by the art showcasing today's fashion. The event planning committee, the Oratory Alumni, helped to plan and execute the event. The alumni assisted as photographer, choreographer, stylist and publicity as well as models featuring accessories and clothing by Mexican designers, Pineda and Covalin, provided by Oratory mom, Pilar Zetuna. A special thank you to Karla Castro, Janet Alvarado, Samantha Moroles and Vanessa Guajardo: the alumni committee.

Event chair and Development Officer, Maricela Pérez, assisted KRGV’s, Camaron Abundes, who served as the Mistress of Ceremony. Sponsors, staff, students, and guests all enjoyed the fashion show and dinner catered by España.

This will be an annual event that incorporates the celebration of culture, art, alumni, 12th grade involvement, and the virtue of giving of themselves to benefit their community; in this case, scholarships for high school students seeking a Catholic education.

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2010 Spirit Award - Carlos and Cynthia Garza

Natives of McAllen, Texas, Carlos and Cynthia Garza are both graduates from the University of Texas Pan American. They have been married for 22 years and are the proud parents of three children: Meredith a 2009 Oratory Athenaeum graduate, Meghan a 10th grade student at the Oratory Athenaeum and Carlos a former Oratory Academy student. Their commitment to the Pharr Oratory Schools is reflected in the many years their children have attended the school. They are pioneers and enrolled their children in the only Dual Language and Bicultural program in existence at the time and are witnesses of the growth of our schools through the years. Together with their support as catholic school parents, Mr. and Mrs. Garza have been great supporters of our annual gala fundraiser, Noche de Alegría, and as well as many other school events as volunteers, chaperons, etc. Carlos and Cynthia have been working for 20 years at La Lomita, Inc., their family business, where there they serve as CEO and CFO respectively. Committed long time catholic school parents, community leaders, and successful entrepreneurs the Oratory Schools make Mr. and Mrs. Garza the honoree for the 2010 Spirit Award.

Oratory Schools Athletics

Winners of the Champion Soccer League

2009 Middle School Soccer team holds their 1st Place Trophy and Medal

The Oratory Schools offer multiple opportunities for students to become involved in different sports all year long. The sports leagues to which the Oratory belongs are highly competitive both locally and statewide.

Our high school Flag Football and Basketball programs compete in Valley Christian Athletic Association (VCAA), a local league of Christian schools. Our high school soccer program competes in the Champion Soccer League, another local Christian League. All high school athletic programs participate in local and statewide tournaments. The Oratory School is also in the process of joining TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.) This association will place the Oratory Athenæum into a statewide district, giving high school students an opportunity to compete in state tournaments. There is never a dull moment for the student athletes at The Oratory Schools.

A unique thing about the athletic program at the Oratory Schools is that sports are offered to all students beginning in first grade. That’s right – elementary aged students represent the Oratory Schools in football, basketball, and soccer leagues throughout the year. This gives students the opportunity to grow with their peers side by side into athletes that are exemplary leaders to the school.