Catholic Schools celebrate service

Published 12:18 am Sunday, January 25, 2009

Since 1974, each year Catholic schools around the country designate the last week in January to recognize and celebrate the important role that Catholic elementary and secondary schools play in providing a values-added education for America’s young people.

Catholic Schools Week not only celebrates the high standards of excellence and the quality of the education available, but also celebrates education that supports the whole child in developing those attributes for leading a fulfilled, balanced and meaningful life. It is education that goes beyond preparation for a secular life — it is a faith-based education that strives to prepare young men and women for a Christian life.

This year’s theme, “Catholic Schools Celebrate Service,” emphasizes the duty and delight of giving back.

Email newsletter signup

As Jesus commanded in Matthew 21:26-28, “whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

It is clear that we are saved to serve and called to a life of service, that we are put on this earth to make contributions and to make a difference with our lives.

At Cathedral, service has always been an integral part of the educational experience in an effort to give back to the community, but most importantly, to impart that virtue upon our students.

This Christmas, each grade took on a service project. The projects ranged from collecting food for the Jefferson Street United Methodist Church food pantry, donating toys to the Natchez Children’s Home, going to Magnolia House to sing and donating items for the Ronald McDonald House.

At Cathedral, our mission is to not only produce good students, but good people as well, who will unselfishly give back and make a positive difference during their lives.

On Monday, we will begin our annual observance of Catholic Schools Week. This is a time when we will gather in unity to share knowledge, celebrate the commitment of fully educating our young people, and simply enjoy each other’s company. We also honor those who help provide the academic excellence and spiritual values that make Cathedral a special place. Through their dedication and commitment, they make Cathedral School what it is and truly “celebrate service” for our students.

During the week, we will highlight our school’s high-quality, faith-filled education and we will honor everyone who contributes to Cathedral’s success, not only students, families, faculty, staff and School Advisory Council members, but also volunteers, community supporters, local leaders and benefactors.

We will begin the week with Monday being faculty and staff appreciation day, which begins with a celebration of Mass at 8 a.m. at St. Mary Basilica.

Tuesday will be student appreciation day/blue jean day/parent appreciation night. The Cathedral Parent Organization will sponsor a social beginning at 5:30 p.m. Our program will begin at 6 p.m. with Sharmane Adams, our featured speaker. Sharmane, a Christian recording artist and mission worker, will also be our featured speaker to the students during Harmony Day.

Wednesday will be Harmony Day and there will be open houses at 8:30-11 a.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. During the morning open house, prospective preschool 3 and 4 year olds, as well as kindergarten students, are invited to come take a part in the Cathedral students’ morning. During the day, junior high and high school students will take part in a peer-directed study of ways to live in harmony with themselves and with the world.

We will have another open house from 5 to 6 p.m. for prospective parents, current parents, alumni and friends.

On Thursday, seventh grade students will serve as hosts to community leaders for lunch and a tour of Cathedral School. And Friday we wrap up celebrating service with the entire school participating in community outreach activities. Pre-K3 through fourth grades will participate in “Wear a pair, Share a pair” of slippers or socks. These students will be treated to a movie and refreshments in the afternoon. The fifth and sixth grades will have a sock hop in the Multi-Purpose Room, at which the price of admission is a pair of warm socks or gloves. Donated items will go to resident area nursing homes, shelters and Catholic Charities.

Shannon Bland is the elementary school principal of Cathedral School.