Students share what Catholic education means to them
The following story appeared in the January 28 Idaho Catholic Register.
Traditionally, Treasure Valley Catholic schools’ students gather for a Mass together during Catholic Schools Week. This year, given concerns with a lack of bussing, illness, and other challenges, the schools will not gather for a Mass.
Instead, each school recorded a 30-second video of students in their worship space and Bishop Peter Christensen recorded a message. These videos will be joined together in a single video that will be shown to all the students.
During the week, which begins Sunday, Jan. 30, each school will plan activities with these daily themes:
Sunday: Celebrating your parish
Monday: Celebrating your community
Tuesday: Celebrating your students
Wednesday: Celebrating your nation
Thursday: Celebrating your vocations
Friday: Celebrating your faculty, staff, and volunteers
Saturday: Celebrating your families
Some students across the state wrote brief essays on what Catholic education means to them.
St. Mary’s Catholic School in Moscow, like many schools, is experiencing increased enrollment and this year’s Eighth Grade graduating class is the last of the super small classes with only two students.
Sister Margaret Johnson, OSU (Order of Ursuline Sisters) and interim principal at the school, invited the two Eighth Graders to share their thoughts. One of them, Carter Hawkins, Sister Johnson notes, has two younger siblings who have had serious health issues. “I know this schools has assisted Carter and his family very much these during these years with emotional support,” Sister Johnson said.
Carter Hawkins, a member of the Student Council, wrote:
“For me, a Catholic education has helped me learn how to be responsible for almost everything – from basic manners to complex math equations. Almost all of my learning has come from my eight years at St. Mary’s.
However, looking a bit deeper, there were some difficult times. All I can say is, Catholic education at St. Mary’s Parish School has done a lot for me. Honestly, I don’t know where I would be without it.”
Seeley Johnson, the student body president, wrote:
“A Catholic education has meant a lot for me. When my family moved to Moscow, I had to decide if I was going to Moscow Middle School or to St. Mary’s Catholic School. I knew St. Mary’s was going to help me and my classmates grow in my faith. Without a second thought, I chose to grow in my faith as well as have an education at St. Mary’s.
“Now it is a few years later and I’m in my last year as an Eighth Grader.
I love St. Mary’s. I love the ability I have to talk about God as well as getting an amazing education in every subject.
“At St. Mary’s School, you are brought into a loving and caring com-munity. The community walks along-side you to make sure you are set and ready to go out on your own. How-ever, the community lasts a lot longer than just your elementary and middle school years. The community loves and supports you throughout your life. At St. Mary’s School, you are remembered. You can come back once you have finished your high school or college years, and you are welcomed with a big smile and blessings, just like you never left.
“I have learned so much since Fifth Grade, when I joined our St. Mary’s community. I have learned math, science, social studies, language arts and religion. But, the most important thing I have learned from St. Mary’s is to love one another.”
Nicholas Weick, an Eighth Grader at Holy Spirit Catholic School in Pocatello, writes:
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.’
“This verse connects to my experience at a Catholic school because it teaches us to always acknowledge the Lord. I’ve been at Holy Spirit Catholic School for about 11 years (counting pre-school years), and it has been a wonderful experience. Being at this school for this long has made me such a better person, by teaching me how to grow in my faith and helping me achieve my goals and academic excellence.
“This school has helped my faith grow and has helped me be a better person. It has helped my faith grow by teaching me about the life of Jesus and Catholic history in general. It has done this by having us present plays like the Easter play or a play about the Our Lady of Guadalupe apparition. Also, going to Adoration on Wednesdays has helped me go deep into prayer. By having the whole school go to Mass on Wednesdays has also helped my faith to grow, making me a better person, eventually encouraging me to go to Mass on Saturday or Sunday.
“Being at this school has taught me very well, helping me achieve academic excellence. It has taught me to be responsible for my actions and do my school work. Holy Spirit takes learning into another level. It does this by teaching us high school-level writing and math. Being at a private Catholic school has definitely been beneficial for my intellectual and spiritual development.”
Gabby Rinker, a senior at Bishop Kelly High School, writes:
“Catholic school has set a strong foundation for many essential aspects of my life. I have learned to manage my time better, deal with stress in healthier ways, and work to achieve my goals. The wonderful staff at Bishop Kelly has encouraged this, welcoming any questions I may have.
“I feel a personal connection with many of the teachers and other staff members because they continually treat me with respect, kindness, and love. Catholic school has also given me friends who always look out for me and help me make the best decisions in life. I believe these friendships will be lifelong.
“With this constant support from people at Bishop Kelly, I have also learned confidence in myself. I now have an easier time speaking up for myself and my beliefs. That will have a lasting impact on my character for many years to come.”
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