Catholic Schools Week was a very special experience for our school. It was a fun and engaging moment to celebrate the many gifts we have received over the years, to celebrate our heroic and dedicated teachers and to appreciate our students and committed parent volunteers. Whether on the level of the whole school or in each individual classroom, the energy was palpable and the smiles were visible all around.
Let me offer a few reflective points as to why there’s immense hope for the future and two practical things we can all do meanwhile – today – to help foster a culture of authentic Catholic education.
- Do an Act of Service today: You might think this sounds easy: “I do this everyday already!” If so, keep it up. The reason I mention this is that authentic and self-less service is an action that is becoming rarer and rarer in today’s world. Serving means giving without expecting anything in return. Now, it is worth mentioning that at St. Margaret’s, precisely because we are a Catholic school, highly values fostering volunteering spirits in our students. As the Cardus Religious Schools Initiative reports, “Catholic schools are particularly strong in integrating community service and civic engagement directly into classes”.
We are proud of our students and the thousands of lives that they have positively affected over the years. But we would be missing the point if the rationale behind volunteering was to provide our school with a useful marketing statistic. Our hope and our goal is to foster a spirit of generosity and charity in our students. Taking Christ as our model, we are convinced that it is greater to serve than to receive (Lk 22:26). Whenever we serve, we are the ones who receive.
- Make a plan for your day: “Plan your work and work your plan”. There is much data to support the benefits of taking the time to make a schedule for one’s daily, weekly and monthly goals. How many times have we all had a task or duty come into our minds, maybe while driving, and by the time we arrive at our destination we’ve forgotten about it. Writing down our goals forces us to take time to balance our schedule and to manage our time in a responsible manner.
But what does any of this have to do with Catholic education? Our school is firmly committed to preparing all of our students for their future adult lives by instilling in them a profound sense of responsibility and a disciplined mind capable of facing life’s challenges with poise and confidence.
It’s a lot of work to plan but even more to the plan work. The traits of responsibility and self-determination are key to the daily schedule at our school. By fostering an environment where each student is respected, encouraged and given the opportunity to shine, we believe that each of our students has the potential to grow into our future examples of leadership and holiness.
We are encouraged by and grateful for the overflow of joy and enthusiasm that filled our hallways during Catholic Schools Week, reminding us all of our mission as Catholic students and education to make the light of Christ shine to everyone we meet.