Catholic Schools Week Talk – January 26/27, 2013 by Liz Chamberlin, SCCS Principal
Catholic Schools Week Talk
January 26/27, 2013
By Liz Chamberlin, SCCS Principal
It is truly a pleasure to be here today and I am honored to have a few minutes to talk to you about Catholic Schools and especially our St. Cecilia Parish School.
National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. During the week schools and parishes focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and Catholic education’s contributions to our church, our communities and our nation.
The week builds community awareness of and involvement in Catholic schools throughout the country. During this week, many dioceses and schools encourage parents to take full advantage of the benefits of local Catholic schools by enrolling their children in those schools. This is our kick-off to building our enrollment at SCCS. We invite you to our open house Sunday at 11:30 to meet our teachers and staff, visit classrooms and celebrate with us. We have many activities planned for our students and staff next week including our all school Mass on First Friday and the Celebration of Light Dinner in Seattle.
The theme for Catholic Schools Week this year is “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.” The theme supports the recent launch of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, which promote high academic standards and Catholic identity. The logo designed for the week illustrates a chart of steady growth culminating in the highest achievement of all, a cross representing the faith that underscores all Catholic education. What sets our school apart from the rest? Three things: faith, academics and service. Our children are taught faith-not just the basics of Christianity, but how to have a relationship with God. Prayer is taught and practiced daily. Our students learn to write their own petitions, pray the morning offering every day and hold prayer circles monthly. The meaning of prayer is explained by one of our students when he was asked by his teacher if his family said a prayer before the evening meal, he replied, “We don’t have to, our mom is a good cook.” “But she does make us go to Mass and confession as we pray at Church”.
Our students read about the lives of the saints and receive recognition weekly for Saints in the Making. They read study and compare famous Catholic people, like Tom Coughlin, the New York Giants football coach. His faith began at his Baptism, but in a recent article about him he made clear that a belief system isn’t frozen in place but evolves over time, through ups and downs. He was an altar boy and master of ceremonies at midnight Mass and the Easter Vigil Mass. He went away to school and was not quite as attached to his faith as he was when attending his Catholic Elementary School. Reflecting on what builds a Catholic- he says that a lot depends on the strength of the belief of your family-your parents and what they believed. We were raised in a different time and in a different way. I’m a firm believer that that has an awful lot to do with the values I believe in. I’m very proud that my parents sent me to a Catholic Elementary school, he said. He continues to say, the idea of sisters and lay people devoting their lives to the preparation of the young was very obvious. They did a great job of it. There isn’t any question in my mind that my values, my grounding, the way that I was raised are all a part of what I am now.
SCCS students are well prepared to meet any academic challenge. They also serve in our community as an expression of their faith and good citizenship.
When you visit the school, I am sure you will be as proud of our students as we are. What helps make their accomplishments possible are the dedication and commitment of our teachers, staff, school commission parents and volunteers. I am thankful for them every day, but I want to make a point-at this special time of year for Catholic Schools-of publicly extending my deepest appreciation to everyone who makes our school a success.
(At the end several SCCS students spoke about their experiences at SCCS.)