Tuesday January 30, 2018

Celebrating Catholic Schools Week

A heartfelt reflection on the value of Catholic education.

By Emma Grace Geckle

 This year, Catholic Schools Week is centered on the theme “Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.” As a student, I have been surrounded by Catholic education nearly my entire life. I grew up watching my mom teach second grade in a Catholic school, my dad lead the high school youth ministry at my parish, and personally attending Catholic schools. Because of this gift, I have grown into the woman I am today: one filled with love, courage, faith, hope, and a deep passion for Christ. When reflecting on the theme for this Catholic Schools Week, I recognize the degree to which these four values have allowed me to grow as a person as well as to continue to discern the vocation to which God is calling me.

 Learn: There is something unique about learning through Catholic education. I have found that each subject intertwines on some level with being a witness to Christ’s love. It’s not only our religion classes that allow us to grow as faith-filled individuals, but each and every class we walk into calls us to this mission. Whether it be the arts, science, or even calculus, I have learned that there is a way to glorify God through all of these things. So, yes, I received a top-notch education from top-notch teachers, but learning is about so much more than that. It’s about recognizing the gifts you have that allow you to become an everyday witness of love.

 Serve: Being in Catholic schools taught me what it means to be a servant-leader. It means meeting people where they are with what that have. It means using what you have to improve the lives of those around you. The most important thing that my Catholic education has taught me about serving is that it doesn’t have to be through a huge service project or a non-profit (although those are never bad things). Service is every day. It’s the “good morning,” the “how are you,” and the “how can I help.”

 Lead: My Catholic education has prepared me to be a leader not only in my parish or school, but in the world. Catholic means “universal.” It means leading the world closer to Christ. Although the whole world may seem like a pretty big feat, little by little one makes a difference. Leading is a domino-effect. To lead one person closer to Christ allows them to then lead another. This creates a catalytic movement in which the world can be led through love. I believe my Catholic education and those I encountered along the way were the first domino for me.

 Succeed: Catholic education has allowed me to grow, change, discover, and succeed. I have been taught how to reflect on who I am, who I want to be, and why I was created. My education has been focused on going deeper and allowing this reflection to inspire me to grow. Another aspect of my education that has inspired success is the focus on vocation. I have learned that a career or lifestyle isn't just about finding a way to make money or climb the social ladder but rather it's about discovering what God is calling each of us to. It has allowed me to be open to possibilities beyond what I'm already familiar with. It has pushed me to go beyond my comfort zone and into the unknown, knowing that God has a purpose for it all. 

 As you have probably noticed by now, I am incredibly grateful for the blessing of my Catholic education. It has led me places I never believed I could go and gifted me with knowledge, service, leadership, and success. As we celebrate this Catholic Schools Week, we celebrate the people and the God that make this kind of growth possible for so many students each and every day. 

 

Edited by Barb Miller

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