Next week we celebrate Catholic Schools Week, a time when we reflect on and rejoice in the value of Catholic education. Since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago, Catholic schools across the country have seen an increase in enrollment. After a decades long decline in numbers, why the sudden surge? It’s not as though Catholic schools had changed. We continued, as we always have, to provide a balanced academic curriculum that integrates with faith, culture, and life; to set high standards for student achievement and help them succeed; to partner with parents in the formation of their children; to emphasize moral development and self-discipline; and to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all. Rather, I suspect, it was parents’ perspectives that changed, realizing that the aim of education is, as Thomas Jefferson noted over two centuries ago, To penetrate and dissipate these clouds of darkness, the general mind must be strengthened by education.

Next week, we will be asking our students to think about why St. Michael’s School is important to them. Perhaps the best part about school is a favorite teacher or their friends. Maybe they love Music, or Art, or PE. For some, offering up prayer intentions at the beginning of each day is calming for them, or they enjoy our weekly school Masses on Fridays. Each day, each month, and each year, our children are growing, and they are compiling a basket of tools, resources, and knowledge, to help them continue their journey – a wonderful and exciting journey, filled with ups and downs, but always with God at their side.

We start our celebration at our weekend Masses where Catholic school students will be recognized by our parish priests. Students are asked to attend Mass proudly wearing their school uniform. You are invited to visit your child’s classroom at our Open House from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. Check out the new SMART technology in our SC classrooms, stop by the patio adjacent to the Parish Center for some refreshments offered by PTG, and visit our Book Fair in the Parish Center. You are encouraged to invite friends who might be interested in a Catholic education for their child.

On Monday, we begin our week with an all-school prayer service led by Mercy Corps on the North Campus blacktop at 8:10. Following the prayer service, we will all head over to South Campus so Mr. Cazares can video our students as they spell out #OUR CRU on the field. Students are asked to wear a red shirt and jeans on this day.

On Tuesday, we honor our students with a movie/popcorn day in the afternoon. Students may wear Pajamas or Sweatshirts/Sweatpants for this relaxing day.

Wednesday is Sports Day. Mr. Olazaba and Mr. Tassan are planning a mini “field day” for each grade. PTG will be offering students Kona Ice. They may wear Sports Dress on this active day.

Thursday is our day of service, an important component of Catholic education. This year we are focusing our attention on our friends at the Missionary Childhood Association. This worldwide organization is made up of Catholic youth and focuses on children helping children. They encourage students to pray for children in countries all over the world, and they also support Mission churches in dioceses located in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Oceania, and the Americas. Last week, our Diocesan representative, Sr. Eva, spoke with students about the Missionary Childhood Association and the work they do. This year, we are asking our students to find ways to earn money to donate to this worthy cause: perhaps they can help you out at home by doing extra chores or maybe a neighbor needs a lending hand. They are asked to donate any money they earn and bring it to school next week. For their efforts, students will be awarded a non-uniform dress day.

We conclude our CSW celebration on Friday with Mass at 9:00 AM. We are planning on having some special guests attend our liturgy, which will be live streamed so that you may celebrate with us.

It’s sometimes difficult to understand or recognize a thing of value, especially when there is nothing against which it is being compared. Oftentimes, it is not until high school or college when students return and share with us moments from their elementary education that they believe were pivotal. The seeds that are being planted and nurtured each day may not fully take shape until many years down the road, but they are there, and they will bloom.

Deo Gratias,

Kathleen Mock

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