Catholic Schools Week 2018 has begun. For the Guardian Angels Regional School community, this means a week of excitement and reflection.
The week started off with Mass on Sunday with Bishop Dennis Sullivan as our celebrant. Listening to the words of Bishop Sullivan in regards to how a Catholic education makes a difference in the lives of each and every one of our students reminded me of why I loved attending Catholic school.
My mother sacrificed so much for my brother and me when we were growing up. Looking back on my childhood now, I see how the sacrifices she made for us impacted our lives. I was blessed to have attended Catholic elementary school from 1st-8th-grade and to have attended Catholic high school. I still have memories of prayers before school started with the Holy Cross sisters, of walking quite a few blocks, even in the winter, to attend Mass on Holy Days of Obligation, of Christmas Bazaars, and attending events after school with my friends and their families. That was just elementary school.
High School brings a whole new set of memories, football games, trips to Europe with the Wind Ensemble, attending an all-girls school and hanging out at the all-boys school after school for Wind Ensemble practice, or play practice. All of these events formed me. Whether I knew it or not at the time, these experiences made me into the person that I am today.
People ask me what makes a Catholic education so special, so different? Honestly, I can never seem to come up with just one thing.
It’s numerous things like:
1. Walking into a building where I felt safe, loved and accepted.
2. Having teachers who really seemed to care about how I was. You hear that from lots of people, but I remember many of teachers, I can picture them in my mind. They made an impact. They understood me, and they worked with me to help me be my best. They were encouraging yet they kept me grounded. They were strict yet loving.
3. Meeting friends that I have stayed in touch with many years past graduation. Many of us attended college together or at least near each other. We kept in touch over breaks those four years and after. We attended or were in each other’s weddings and were excited for each other when we started having children. We stay connected through Facebook, and we sometimes travel from far distances to attend our reunions.
If I had to come up with one or two words, I would have to say community and family. Catholic schools create a sense of community and family that unless you are a part of it, you can’t really understand it. The school families are like-minded people who want God to be the center of the children’s lives. In Catholic school, we speak about God often. We pray in the morning, before snack, before lunch, and at the end of the day. Prayer is all around us.
I guess that’s what makes up different and why Catholic Schools make such an impact, God is the center of our school and prayer is a part of our daily lives. We are a school community filled with God’s love.