Catholic Schools Week 2016

For this Catholic Schools Week 2016, the rest of the CCE Blog Team and I want to share with you some stories from our own journeys in attending Catholic Schools. We write for this blog because we believe in the mission of Catholic Schools and because we have been personally affected by that mission throughout our lives. We invite each of you to read our stories and to share a good memory that you have from attending a Catholic school! Happy Catholic Schools Week!

I have been going to Catholic School for fifteen years now, ever since kindergarten. In high school, when I was applying to colleges, my mom suggested I look at Dayton. "Why not finish off your education with four more years of Catholic school?" She said. Obviously, I agreed with this. I would not have gone to a Catholic University if I had not enjoyed my Catholic education, and I had come to be extremely grateful for it. In fifteen years of Catholic school I have amassed a lot of stories. Some of the good ones include the emphasis on community service that got me more involved in my community, of the great friendships that form at Catholic schools (my current roommate and I have been going to school together since we were ten). And of course a big benefit is being able to discuss and celebrate your faith during school. My favorite example of this occurred during Lent in my eighth grade year. I have always enjoyed the Stations of the Cross. I think it is really valuable to retrace the journey of Jesus and I always find it really touching. In eighth grade, we got to do a mime reenactment of the Stations. It was not traditional white face-paint mimes, but some of the students silently reenacted the Stations while other students read them. I really enjoyed being involved in and watching them, and it is a really good memory that I have from Catholic schools. So this Catholic Schools Week, think about all the great opportunities going to a Catholic school has afforded you and thank your parents for sending you to them.

-Emma Francois, CCE Blog Team, Middle Childhood Education Major at UD

I have attended a Catholic school for fourteen years of my life now, which has been a huge blessing for me and has helped me to grow in my faith in a special way. In grade school, I was not conscious of how important it was to have a relationship with God, being that I was a kid and I did not fully understand what it meant to be a disciple of Christ. However, I do remember how Catholicism and faith was incorporated into my classes, and it is a fond memory. In first grade, one of my favorite activities was when each day, or most days, my teacher would hand us each a half sheet of paper, and she would tell us which saint was celebrating a feast day. She would tell us a few things about the saint, and ask us to draw a picture on our half sheet, depicting what we learned about the saint. I remember how much I loved listening to stories. I also loved drawing pictures and coloring, and I fell in love with the saints as I drew their stories. At the end of the year, we each put our pictures together in a booklet. I kept a few things from first grade, the booklet being one of them. Simple activities like this meant a lot to me at the time, and reflecting on that reminds me how important my faith was in my life even when I was too young to realize it. I also remember receiving a children’s picture Bible for Christmas the year I was in first grade. I brought it to school to read during silent reading time, and I distinctly remember how eager I was each day to get my Bible out and read. I read it over and over again, and my teacher commented on how awesome it was that I was reading in my Bible. Simple things such as an open faith environment, and encouragement and integration of Catholicism and faith into the classroom, kicked off my faith journey before I was even aware of how much it would mean to me when the day came that I had to choose God.

-Karin Forsthoefel, CCE Blog Team, Intervention Specialist Major at UD

One of the major goals for Catholic schools is educating students of justice. My senior year of high school, I took a social justice class, and it impacted me in a profound way. The teacher had organized the class into four groups which would participate in a semester long debate tournament. Each week we would receive a topic relating to Catholic Social teaching. For example one week we debated immigration and the next we discussed life issues. Admittedly, my group finished next to last but, we more than held our own on any given week. However, this class, like much of Catholic education, planted a seed to understand and work to resolve social justice issues.

-Joe Twiner, CCE Blog Team, Secondary Religious Education Major at UD

I have only ever gone to Catholic Schools and I would not have wanted it to be any other way. I know that my faith is so strong now because of the foundation that was formed when I was a child. My favorite part about attending Catholic schools was the opportunity to go to Mass on days besides Sundays. In grade school, we had Prayer Partners at my school where an 8th grader was partnered with a 1st grader to sit with at Mass for the year. I looked up to my prayer partner when I was in first grade and I loved the young prayer partners that I had when I was in eighth grade. These relationships were a formative part of my faith life as a Catholic. More recently, I have many memories of going to Mass with all of the girls in my high school in our big auditorium. As a senior in high school, I was given the opportunity to carry the cross for May Crowning alongside one of my best friends who crowned Mary. That was such a beautiful mass that I will never forget about.

-Tori Schoen, CCE Blog Team, Middle Childhood Education and Religious Studies Major at UD
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