Catholic Schools Week (CSW) provides wonderful opportunities to focus on the value that Catholic education provides our young people and the many ways Catholic schools serve and enrich our communities. Each day of the week has a different theme designed to inform, inspire, serve, and show
appreciation for all involved in Catholic education. The week kicked off with an open house on Sunday, January 27 that included STREAM activities in our McNulty Makerspace Engineering Lab, a service project, and a stunning display of student artwork.
To celebrate vocations, our new parish priest, Fr. Rob Katafiasz shared with students his vocation story and fielded questions. We love seeing how curious our students are about the faith! He talked about all of the sacraments and which ones priests and deacons can perform, and which only the bishop can celebrate, that being Confirmation.
Service is an integral part of our faith, so naturally CSW included providing for those less fortunate. Each year we raise money for our sister school in Haiti through our penny war; and wow do those pennies add up! Over the past few years, we have donated thousands of dollars to support this wonderful Catholic school in Haiti. Our families responded with immense generosity to a request to supply items that allowed us to make 250 lunches and 250 Blessing Bags filled with personal care items for those in need. Students decorated the lunch bags with inspirational message of faith and hope. It is beautiful to see their compassion and empathy develop as a fruit of their love for Christ.
One word that aptly describes OLPH School is “family”; and VIP Day is the ultimate opportunity to gather as one big happy family! We welcomed grandparents, aunts, uncles, Godparents, and special visitors for Mass, receptions, and classroom visits. Our guests heard from 8th graders who shared why they love their Catholic school. These heartwarming testimonies demonstrate how important it is to our students to be able to grow in their faith, worship and pray openly in school, and be in an environment that nurtures a love of God.
To celebrate our students, we have an annual and very spirited volleyball match between teachers and 8th graders. The younger students make posters and enthusiastically cheer on their favorite team. This was one of the closest games in years, with the teachers claiming victory for the first time in recent memory!
A relatively new tradition at OLPH during CSW is Teacher Takeover, where 8th graders prepare for and teach two class periods as part of Teacher Appreciation Day. It was covered by a reporter from the Archdiocese, Katie Sukeena, who wrote, “Today OLPH School allowed their 8th grade students to swap roles for “Teacher Take Over.” Students learned the fun of teaching and the challenges it brings. What topics did the students cover? Basic math skills were put to the test for the kindergartners, while the elementary students tackled telling time and composing “how to” essays. Science was a popular discussion where students learned about fossils, while other students learned about water pollution through an interactive online game. Practical life skills were discussed for the older students and they had the luxury to learn early about financial planning, credit, and loans. The real lesson of the day is you’re always learning even when you’re the teacher.”
OLPH, like all Catholic schools, relies on the generosity of others to help propel our mission forward. NCEA, the sponsor of CSW, recently added a Day of Giving to Catholic Schools, called Many Gifts, One Nation. It is a 24-hour campaign that asks everyone who has benefited from Catholic education to show their appreciation by making a donation. We received $1,500 which will help us incorporate flexible seating to classrooms. Thank you to all who helped make CSW a success and support our efforts to provide students with an education experience that fosters a love of learning, respect for others, and a friendship with Christ.