In the News

Lighting the way, with UV technology

During the day, uniformed students studying at their socially distanced desks fill the classrooms at St. Ambrose School in Annandale. But at night, the school looks more like a sci-fi scene as something resembling an extraterrestrial lifeform moves through the empty building, radiating an eerie blue light that can be seen through the closed windows of the deserted classrooms. But far from being an alien threat, this mysterious presence is keeping the school sanitized.

The spectral lighting comes from a mobile unit that emits ultraviolet — c-spectrum light, a powerful energy that inactivates pathogens in the air and on surfaces. This remedial in-room decontamination system, or RIDS, is part of the nightly sanitization plan implemented by the school to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. To faculty and staff, the RIDS unit is referred to simply as “the tower.”

Read more: “Lighting the way, with UV technology” in the January 21, 2021 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

St. Ambrose is ‘a small school with a big heart’

“Good morning, Bishop Burbidge.” That sing-songy refrain greeted Bishop Michael F. Burbidge each time he walked into a classroom at St. Ambrose School in Annandale. Bishop Burbidge spent the morning of Nov. 22 with the students, teachers and faculty celebrating Mass, blessing the new parking lot and visiting all the grades.

Bishop Burbidge talking to students in classroomDuring morning Mass, Bishop Burbidge asked the students to remember three things: say, show and share. “Make sure you say thanks to (God) for all his blessings, show how grateful you are to him by living your faith and share the gifts he has given to you with others who need them the most,” he said. He also spoke about the Roman martyr, St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, whose feast was that day. He thanked the student choir for their beautiful singing during Mass.

Read more: “St. Ambrose is ‘a small school with a big heart’” in the November 22, 2019 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

Annandale students discover Catholic science heroes

Students perform a skit before a Jeopardy-style game during Faith and Science Week at St. Ambrose School in Annandale

Middle school science teacher An Cao wanted to teach his students about the science heroes of the past, such as Gregor Mendel, who is recognized for his groundbreaking work in the field of genetics. But besides a love of science, Mendel and Cao’s students have something else in common: their Catholic faith.

Every day during Faith and Science Week at St. Ambrose School in Annandale, Cao introduced the students to a different Catholic or Christian scientist, such as Blessed Nicolas Steno, a Danish bishop known for his work in anatomy and geology, or Father George Lemaitre, the originator of the Big Bang theory. The scientist of the day and other fun facts about science flashed on a screen in the school hallway.

“All week, the students have been fixated by this,” said Principal Angela Rowley. “The teachers, too.”

Read more:“Annandale students discover Catholic science heroes”i n the April 9, 2019 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

Students track Arlington priest aboard U.S aircraft carrier

students and world map
Fifth-graders at St. Ambrose School in Annandale smile in front of a map tracking U.S. Navy Chaplain Fr. James C. Hinkle who is aboard the USS John C. Stennis.
Fr. Hinkle and sailor
Ernest Odeh, an aviation mechanic, and Fr. James C. Hinkle smile while holding a letter from a student at St. Ambrose School.


It is all hands on deck at St. Ambrose School in Annandale.  The 200 students — ranging from pre-K through eighth grade — have signed on for the challenging task of predicting the location of the U.S. Navy’s formidable USS John C. Stennis Strike Group. In particular, they are tracking an erstwhile St. Ambrose parishioner and recently deployed naval chaplain, Father James C. Hinkle.

“Following the aircraft carrier and the battle group is not only a geography lesson, but a service project as well,” said St. Ambrose parishioner Meredith Hinkle — Father Hinkle’s mother and the visionary for the project.

As a longtime school volunteer, Hinkle suggested to teachers that the students try to guess her son’s location. Principal Angela Rowley liked the idea and the maps Hinkle donated are in each of the classrooms as well as the gymnasium with small photos of a ship placed on the aircraft carrier’s ports of call. A picture of Father Hinkle is put over the photo of the ship at its most recently visited port.

Read more:“Students track Arlington priest aboard U.S aircraft carrier” in the November 30, 201 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

Sisters from St. Ambrose School prepare for Irish dance world championship

Sophia and Reilly SavageSophia and Reilly Savage, both students at St. Ambrose School, traveled to Glasgow, Scotland in March 2018 to compete in Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne 2018, the world championship of Irish dance.

See “Sisters from St. Ambrose School prepare for Irish dance world championship” in the March 14, 2018 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

Motorcycle Santa visits St. Ambrose School

Santa arriving on motorcycle

Santa talking to young childrenFor several years, St. Ambrose School has teamed up with the local police station to participate in Santa’s Ride, a program where toys are donated to local hospitals for the children who will be there over Christmas. Arriving on a motorcycle to thank the students, Santa was accompanied by Mrs. Claus, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Frosty the snowman. Students gave hugs and high-fives to the Christmas crew who thanked them for the four giant boxes of toys the students donated.

See “Motorcycle Santa visits St. Ambrose School” in the December 13, 2017 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

Students acting like St. Patrick

students dressed as St. Patrick and contemporariesStudents at St. Ambrose School were treated to a special dramatization depicting the life of St. Patrick on March 22, 2017. Principal Angela Rowley hopes that by acting out the play, students will remember that the feast day is not just about green cookies and clothes, but about a real-life person and saint.“It shows that he came from humble beginnings and grew into the person God wanted him to be,” said Rowley. “I think in a very tangible way it shows (students) that they are saints in the making as well.”

See “Students acting like St. Patrick” in the March 29, 2017  issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

Ten diocesan students will compete in State Geography Bee

Thomas and globeThis year, eighth-grader Thomas Nguyen of St. Ambrose School in Annandale, will go to the state competition after winning the school’s geography bee and getting top marks in the National Geographic Bee’s online qualifying test.

An all-around great student and athlete, according to his teachers, Nguyen plans to prepare for the bee by poring over the National Geographic Society’s website during the days leading up to the competition. “It is wonderful to see the enthusiasm of young people having a wide range of interests, and Thomas is a perfect example of that,” said Angela Rowley, principal. “To see our students willing to put themselves out there to compete and expand their knowledge is so gratifying. I am proud of all the students who participated.”

See “Ten diocesan students will compete in State Geography Bee” in the March 15, 2017  issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

A Pantheon in Annandale

boy in Poseidon costume

St. Ambrose School’s annual Greek Fair brings Greek gods and goddesses to life.

See “A pantheon in Annandale” in the February 25, 2016 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

Combined choirs join in song

choir at ShrineThe choirs from St. Ambrose School in Annandale and St. Andrew the Apostle School in Clifton sang together for the 13th annual Worldwide Children’s Eucharistic Holy Hour at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington October 2, 2015.

See “Combined choirs join in song” in the October 7, 2015  issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

STEM garden will bloom in Annandale

garden beds STEM-garden2

The St. Ambrose School garden club uses sustainable technology to grow produce and flowers.

See “STEM Garden Will Bloom in Annandale” in the June 17, 2015 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald.

From ‘weekend warrior’ to priest

Fr. Walker
Fr. Steven Walker, who was ordained on June 7  by Bishop  Loverde, spent his year  as a Transitional Deacon serving at St. Ambrose Church. Walker will serve as a Navy chaplain after serving three to five years as a diocesan priest.

 See  “From ‘Weekend Warrior’ to Priest”in the June 4, 2014 issue of the Arlington Catholic  Herald.


Bringing the sacraments to those who serve

Fr. HinkleFr.  James C. Hinkle, who was also ordained on June 7  by Bishop  Loverde and who grew up in St. Ambrose Parish, hopes to provide the Eucharist to enlisted men and women. Following his required three to five years of service in the Arlington Diocese, Fr.  Hinkle hopes to express his love of Christ and the Navy through the military chaplaincy. In that role, he’ll be able to “bring the sacraments to the men and women in uniform who do without.”

See “Bringing the Sacraments to Those Who Serve” in the June 4, 2014 issue of the Arlington Catholic  Herald.



Nats pitcher surprises students

Nats pitcher and studentsSt. Ambrose School celebrated Spirit Day May 27. But this year, there was a surprise speaker invited by our pastor, Father Andrew J. Fisher,  — Washington Nationals relief pitcher Craig Stammen. Stammen is a Catholic who spoke about his faith journey and the importance of faith and prayer. 

See “Nats Pitcher Surprises Students” in the May 28, 2014 issue of the Arlington Catholic  Herald

Learning the ancient art of iconography

iconography copySt. Ambrose parishioner Veronica Royal, has been an iconographer since 1998, working diligently to hone her craft and encourage the use of icons in contemplation and prayer.  She teaches others, including St. Ambrose sixth grader Lynn Vecchietti.

See “Scripture in paint” in the June 5, 2013 issue of the Arlington Catholic  Herald

St. Ambrose School’s Ms. Tozzi is named Diocesan Middle School Teacher of the Year

Ms. TozziAt the annual Catholic Business Network Gala, four diocesan  teachers were presented with Teacher of the Year Awards by Sister Bernadette McManigal, superintendent of diocesan schools. Claire Tozzi of St. Ambrose School in Annandale was named Distinguished Middle School Teacher of the Year.

See “Making a difference:Catholic Business Network honors local educators and business leaders at its annual gala” in the April 17, 2013 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald


Virginia Public Schools Want Better Protections on Their Campuses

NBC News 4 report on Thursday, January 31, 2013. The news reporter is David Culver, St. Ambrose Class of 2001.

See “Virginia Private Schools Want Better Protections on Their Campuses” on the NBC Washington web site.

Who needs Catholic schools? A principal reflects on their unique blessings.

Our principal, Barbara Dalmut, expresses her views on Catholic education:

Catholic schools are an investment in the future. In the Arlington Diocese, we are blessed to have many excellent schools. Our standards are high, and our leadership strong. We need our Catholic schools.

See “Who Needs Catholic Schools?” in the January 23, 2013issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald

School Safety Takes Top Billing- Mrs. Dalmut speaks on school safety

The top priority of every school, public or private, is safety — including those in the Arlington Diocese. Barbara Dalmut, principal of St. Ambrose School in Annandale, said that in the wake of Sandy Hook, the school has reviewed lockdown procedures to make sure everything is in place. Doors are locked to control access; cameras cover the doors. A general awareness, among everyone at the school, needs to remain in the forefront so things don’t get lax, Dalmut said.

See “School Safety Takes Top Billing” in the January 23, 2013 issue of the Arlington Catholic Herald



St. Ambrose Catholic School

3827 Woodburn Road, Annandale, VA 22003

Phone: 703-698-7171

Fax: 703-698-7170

St. Ambrose School admits students of any race, color, and national origin.

"Christ is everything to us" – St. Ambrose