As the product of a Catholic elementary school education, a current provider of Catholic education, and a supporter of it for my own children, I’m so excited to be celebrating Catholic Schools Week! NCEA (National Catholic Educational Association) created this week to honor all the beautiful things a Catholic education provides for anyone able to attend, Catholic or not. NCEA’s motto is “Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” and I could not agree more whole-heartedly.
What Makes Catholic Schools So Great?
As a former Catholic school student, I am certainly well-educated. Smaller class sizes enabled my teachers to work with us and provide individual support before differentiation became an educational buzzword. We wrote and performed our own puppet shows for younger grades in honor of All Saints’ Day and were exposed to advanced math and science concepts without feeling overwhelmed by them.
We were able to participate in daily Mass twice a week as servers, lectors, cantors, and gift bearers. We served our church and the greater community by volunteering in a variety of ways. St. Lawrence gave us the opportunity to be leaders like Christ, serving those around us.
My elementary school classmates went on to achieve distinction in sports, leadership roles, and academics in secondary school. The foundation my Catholic elementary school provided has served me well throughout high school, college, and graduate studies. I am so appreciative for the Catholic education my parents prioritized for me.
Passing on My Catholic Education
I am now a Catholic school educator and the irony of me advocating for Wordly Wise for my own 6th graders is not lost on me. As I reflect on what my educators did well, there are many projects, tasks, and lessons that I realize I can continue to use to support my own students’ learning. Through a partnership with parents, the primary educators of their children, our scholars at St. Regis Academy are encouraged to seek God’s Truth in everything they learn.
Teaching at a Catholic school enables me to speak truth to my students. We can note that a certain character has committed a sin in our novel; we can acknowledge that God is the root of all that is good, is the divine inspiration for all of the things we read. I may teach English, but it is not uncommon for my students to leave with a mini-lesson on religion as well.
Our scholars are empowered to lead through opportunities to be active participants in the Mass as lectors and cantors. They serve their community in a variety of ways: visiting the elderly nearby, helping around the school, being buddies to the younger scholars, and taking leadership opportunities within their own classrooms. Our scholars are prepared to succeed in life; not just academics.
The ultimate goal of a Catholic school is not to just create bright, well-educated young people, it is to get them to Heaven. The Catholic school system enables us to do that!
A Future Catholic School Parent
Although my son is not old enough to attend an actual school, we are fortunate enough to have an early childcare center as part of our campus. The peace of mind I have dropping my son off each morning is enormous. I know that the teachers have my son’s best interests at heart; not just developmentally, but also emotionally and spiritually. My son is surrounded by people of faith who model good, Catholic behavior for him day in and day out. He prays with his friends each morning at circle time and they pray before meals.
As life goes on, we will prioritize a Catholic education for our children. My son will be raised to learn, serve, and lead as a son of God. His Faith development will be just as important as his ability to read or write. As silly as it sounds, God will not ask to see his report card when he arrives in Heaven. He will ask what my son did to further the Kingdom of God on earth.
Sending my son to Catholic school prepares him to live a life in service to others, not in service to himself. Although the responsibility to raise our children belongs to my husband and me, the partnership a Catholic school offers us is ideal for our family.
Catholic Schools Prepare You for This Life and the Next
My elementary years at small, rural Catholic school prepared me for a life of stewardship and deep understanding of my faith. The foundation my time in Catholic school built for me has served me well as a student, wife, mother, teacher, and, most importantly, a Daughter of the King.
Catholic schools were created as a space to educate young people with their parents, but also a place to help raise young men and women of God. They deserve to be celebrated. Whether you are a product of Catholic education, an educator in it, or a parishioner who supports it, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
There are many different ways we can choose to spend our money, but while things like name brand shoes and cars will eventually deteriorate, the education a child receives can never be taken from them. The relationships they build and the Faith formation they receive will remain with them throughout their entire lives.
Catholic schools provide outstanding learning opportunities but they also help parents create the foundation their child needs to be a successful steward of the kingdom of God.
Happy Catholic Schools week to all who attend or attended Catholic schools and all who support us! Thank you!The Beauty of Catholic Schools #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Post written by LeAnn Wood